Entering Competitions

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by Akki14, Apr 13, 2010.

  1. Akki14

    Akki14 Member

    Messages:
    1,873
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Location:
    London, UK
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I seem to have a long list of various competitions I might like to enter. Now that I'm considering not entering every single one of them due to entry fee costs (in total. All of them are within reason to me.), I'm purely wondering why I'm going to enter. Obviously some competitions are for a charity cause and I don't mind enter those so much.

    How many of you enter lots of competitions? I mean shows in galleries and local spaces, not camera clubs.

    Do you get lots of sales or attention when you do get into a show? I've only been in one show so far (a group one) but didn't get much "attention" (emails or sales) from it.
     
  2. eclarke

    eclarke Member

    Messages:
    1,972
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2004
    Location:
    New Berlin,
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    If you are doing this for a sport, go nuts. If you want to end up pandering to judges, enjoy yourself. If you need somebody else to tell you whether your photographs are good, indulge. If you want fulfillment, find a venue to show, share and discuss your photographs with people who just appreciate them...Evan Clarke
     
  3. largeformat pat

    largeformat pat Member

    Messages:
    287
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2008
    Location:
    Upper Hunter
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    I would agree. I entered a couple of competitions. I did get a little upset when a staff member received a mention in dispatches. Also DOP seems to rear it's ugly head. "Oh thats a nice shot, down to the store for a a4 or a3 print. Maybe a little shop work before hand." I did get satisfaction though at one, The judge went " well well well how very nice,However nothing for you, you don't work here." A visitor walked in and selected my two works and parted with a thousand dollars just like that....
    I only wish to do displays at galleries now. Hard to start with. However internet allows you to stay in touch with past customers.
    Hope this helps
    Pat
     
  4. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,051
    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2004
    Location:
    Nicholasvill
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    I'm in Fine Art, and am on faculty in Fine Art departments, and as such am required to show my work as part of the "publish or perish" deal that all faculty have. A good rule of thumb from my perspective is: if I am not getting at least one rejection letter a week, I am not sending enough stuff out.
     
  5. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,908
    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2005
    Location:
    Northern Vir
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You should be approaching galleries, entering contests, and doing whatever it takes to get your work seen by the public.
    2 things to remember:
    1- the work can't sell if it's sitting in a box at home.
    2- If you're in a venue that gets 500 visitors in a month, you only need 1% of the visitors buying your work to get 5 prints sold.

    Your cyanotypes are wonderful. They will find a market.
     
  6. Akki14

    Akki14 Member

    Messages:
    1,873
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Location:
    London, UK
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I have a website and I have a webshop. I don't produce enough work often enough for a gallery. Thems the facts. Hence the publicity offensive planning.
     
  7. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    5,861
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2004
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I've been steadily entering competitions, and have shown in several of them. The upside, I'm building a nice resume of shows. The downside, shipping and framing are generally on me. I won a Camera Club of NY competition two years ago, which was so great, and they gave me a solo show in NYC... big time, right??? Well, no sales, and getting the prints there was a pain, and the $300 stipend just barely covered the expenses. Fortunately, I already had the pix framed for a previous show. I considered those framing costs as an investment, and it makes it easier to submit to shows knowing the exhibition prints are framed and ready to go. Still... wouldn't have traded that experience for anything. So, after that I realized that I'm going to be very careful and selective about which shows to enter. I generally stick with regional competitions... the northeast of the US, stick with those that have some sort of benefit to winning other than bragging rights... like cash. Lastly, I don't make work to satisfy some juror, but I don't submit work to jurors that I think are a bad fit for my work. It's always good to know who they are.

    And yes.. it's slow process, but it's how you can get your work out there.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 13, 2010
  8. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,051
    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2004
    Location:
    Nicholasvill
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    I should add that I don't enter shows to win prizes. It's nice if I do win, but it's not my motivation. I would be very discouraged if it were. I show my work because I want to share it and to build my CV. Framing and shipping can be very expensive, but over time, my work gets framed and ready for the next show.
     
  9. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    5,861
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2004
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Shooter:
    Multi Format

    Just to be clear, my motivation is not necessarily to win. It's to get the work into shows for the most part, and I've had enough rejections that I've learned not to take it personally.

    I just get annoyed with competitions that don't offer something in the way of award. It feels like a ripoff... you pay to play, and they get some great stuff to show on their otherwise empty walls. So, if the prize is, I don't know, a camera bag, and the entry fee is, say $50 then I'm likely to pass. Black and White Spider awards seem pricey to enter, and not much in the way of benefit, for example.

    If the entry fee is more like $25, with, say a $300 award or that a winner's pic will be purchased for a museum collection, then I'd say that's worth it. It's important, it seems to me, to be sure that you know what you are entering, and if you are selected what you will need to do, and how much it might cost you to get your pictures on a wall.
     
  10. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,051
    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2004
    Location:
    Nicholasvill
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Sorry, I wasn't trying to criticize you for any reason you enter, just iterating to the original poster that entering to win a prize may end up being very disappointing and discouraging. I think it's nice if I win, but it shouldn't be my motivation for entering any juried competition.
     
  11. Akki14

    Akki14 Member

    Messages:
    1,873
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Location:
    London, UK
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    It's okay, I never look at the prizes. I'm more interested in getting stuff exhibited than winning a biased lottery.
    And I have been looking at rules closely and wondering if it's worth a small entry fee to submit to a show that is only going to be exhibited for a week. Most other competitions seem to exhibit for longer.
     
  12. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    9,315
    Joined:
    May 24, 2005
    Location:
    Washington DC
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I don't enter nearly enough shows with my work, but I do show periodically, most often in unjuried exhibits. The thing i do like about the unjuried shows is that they give me a chance to curate and edit my own. I've gotten a bit frustrated with local juried shows because their selections never seem to make sense. When I do submit, I don't care about the prizes - what counts is getting accepted.
     
  13. George Collier

    George Collier Member

    Messages:
    1,066
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Location:
    Richmond, VA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I enter mostly local (I can deliver work driving no more than 3 hours) shows and get in more often than not. I'm told that shipping work can be fraught with issues of trust and (non)care of work.
    Analog silver work is becoming a minority and it may help (not sure on that one). I haven't sold a print, but I like attending the openings and talking to people about the work (all of it, but especially about mine, if I can.)
    Most submitals are digital today, which is convenient, and there is enough time to print up and frame what gets accepted. I bring up the image on 8x10 paper, scan for submital, then print up to intended framing size if accepted.
    Most of the shows or competitions I submit for have a prize, though I haven't won one yet, which doesn't bother me. Mostly I want to get my work up. For example, the last show I got into (still up), I met and chatted with the director of a state art museum, who had two images in the show (B&W, like mine, shoots with film, then goes digital). So, who knew that this guy was a fine art photographer?
    As someone pointed out, it takes only a small percentage of viewers (one is enough if it's the right one) to make it worth it, but I think it is important to view the whole process as an important part of the artistic effort, not so much for immediate rewards.