For me, entering a photography contest was a hard thing to do. This meant I would be going head to head with other photographers to see whose final photo would be judged, "The Best".
I found out quickly that doing this is more about the experience, then the win. It gave me the chance to appreciate different photographic styles and techniques. After seeing the winning photo, I felt quite honored knowing that I was even judged at the same level.
After the winner is announced, I like to study the winning shot to figure out why it won and how it captured the judges eye. The above shot was my first entry into a contest. It din't make much of an impression on the judges. Looking back, I see a lot of things I could have done better-
- Under exposed
- Wrong angle for that time of day
- I should have had less sky in the shot
- There are dirt spots on the actual waterfall
- burn out on the top of the waterfall
...and the list could go on for some time. It was at this point that I had to revisit what I was doing. How are my shots set up, What camera adjustments should I have made, and most importantly... take my time and never rush a shot.
I think this experience has made me a better photographer. That photo may not have won any prizes, but I did sell a couple copies of it.
Like I said, entering a contest is a great learning experience that might take you photography to the next level.