Competitions have upsides and downsides so it’s important to try for a personal balance. 

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. 
"The Singer" 1st place - Concert; "Deep Red" 2nd place - Macro; "Spiral" 2nd place - Architecture; "Tree in Silhouette" 3rd place - Plant. 
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