I’ve had a few conversations recently with professional photographers, former panel judges and hobbyists. My personal conclusion after speaking with everyone is that some of these huge competitions like the IPA’s are a huge cash grab. While there is no doubting that most judges on all the big competition panels are experts and very good at what they do, I feel that there are too many other variables that factor in to their decision making. After considering the points below I feel that there are other, cheaper ways to go about getting noticed in your craft. There are other ways to get noticed such as social media, self marketing, magazine submissions and many free competitions or just good old wedding shoots! What do you think?
- What’s the mood of the judge, is it impacting why they advocate for one photo over another?
- What’s going on in a a judge’s personal life, is it impacting why they advocate for one photo over another?
- Does the judge have fellow colleagues in the competition which they may be biased towards?
- Are there up and coming photographers in the competition that the judges may have heard of that they may be biased towards?
- Does the judge have former students or proteges in the competition that they may be biased towards?
- Are there sponsored photographers who have or are working with the competition affiliates?
- Is there corruption with a judge, the whole panel or within the organization?
- Paid photo contests / competitions are a huge cash grab; work hard and get noticed in other ways.
- Paid photo contests / competitions give me a huge chance to try and get noticed and can offer valuable feedback.