First, the upsides:
• Choosing photos for entry into a competition forces me to look critically at my work; making decisions on which photos are the best - technically and artistically.
• Re-editing before entry makes sure the photos are as good as I can make them. I may have learned new editing techniques since I first made the photo.
• If accepted, printing the photos makes them real in a way that digital photos are not.
• Sharing my photos with an interested audience can be affirming. Having a discussion with a real person about a photo trumps 100 likes on a social media site.
• Winning a prize can be affirming and motivating.
Now, for the downsides:
• Not every photo entered will be accepted. Even the best photographers don’t get EVERY photo accepted into a competition. I can’t anticipate what the judges will like or not on any given day.
• Printing and framing can be a headache and expensive.
• Seeing other photographers’ amazing work can be overwhelming.
• Not winning a prize can be devastating.
I’ve decided that, on the whole, the benefits for entering competitions outweigh the negatives. This doesn’t mean that the negatives don’t get me down. I try (sometimes even successfully) to keep the whole thing in perspective. Focus on the positive and try to let go of the negative.
Four of my photos placed in a local photo club competition last night, but others of my photos didn’t make the cut or didn’t win a prize. Our brains tend to dwell on the negative, but I want to focus and share the positive.