One of the things I like to do to help me stay creatively fresh is to regularly compete in Professional Portrait and Album competitions. Every summer I compete the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) International competition and every fall I compete in the Southwest regional PPA competition. The judging is tough! No one is praising your image just to be nice to you. Quite the contrary, you will get scored according to very high standards. There have been times watching the judging when I felt like crawling under the chair, even though no one would know the image being shown was mine.
Competition makes me a better photographer. I am constantly striving to be more creative and to produce higher quality work. Most of my entires start as client dogs and have some extra work done on them for print competition.
The image above is a client’s greyhound. I love the way the light falls on the dog. It did well in the most recent competition and received what is called a “merit”. A merit is what everyone is striving for. It was originally shot against a black background but I wanted a little more pop. I took away the black background and added a golden texture to make the dog stand out more. The texture in the background is from one of the walls in one of the San Antonio missions! (Probably Mission San Jose, but I am not sure.) Who knew?
What do you think of the changes? Comment below.