PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR... hearing those words were a little surreal and I'm still trying to let them "SYNC" in! Last week I returned from the SYNC photography conference with a little hardware. This conference, which focuses on high school senior photography, was held in beautiful San Destin, Florida. Image competitions are part of most of the photography conferences that I attend. For me, entering competitions is not about winning, it is about putting my work out there to be judged and critiqued in an effort to become a better and more well rounded artist. I knew going in to this competition that the work I was submitting was very different than the work I see coming from many photographers specializing in the high school senior genre of photography. I thought to myself, "this could be really good or it could be really, really bad!" It turned out to be better than I could have ever imagined as I walked away with multiple awards including 3 First Place finishes, a Second Place finish, Best of Show on an image that received a score of 100 (the first 100 that has ever been awarded to an image in the 10 year history of this conference) and Photographer of the Year!
Entering competitions is difficult for me. My photography journey is only a few years young and, like most artists, I struggle with believing that my work is "good enough". I constantly ride a roller coaster of: "My work sucks, what am I doing... this is horrible, this sucks really bad, I should sell my gear and get a real job, this is ok, I'm loving how this looks, I'm awesome, I suck!" Most creatives will chuckle because they get it! I'm a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to my art and putting it out there to be judged is, well, a bit nauseating! During the judging process I have to remind myself that judges opinions are subjective and the only opinion that really matters comes from my clients!
While I would love to post photos of my winning entries, I am holding them back for now as I will be entering them into the PPA competition. Merits from PPA will count towards my masters degree which is one of my next big goals!
I would like to thank all of my clients for trusting me with your portraits (This feels like an Oscar speech :o)!) All of my competition images came from client work. I think I have the BEST and most AMAZING clients!! To have portrait work that I can submit to competitions and for publication (I have 4 client images published in the March 2018 issue of Shutter Magazine) is an honor. I am truly humbled by the awards and by the incredible support that I have received!