This may be the first year ever I’ve entered all three competitions that the WPPI hosts in a calendar cycle: the First Half, the Second Half and the Annual 16×20 Print Competition. For whatever reasons (lack of time, lack of planning, lack of funds, being super self-critical, etc.) I’ve never entered all three of the image competitions in a single calendar cycle. It can be a rather steep investment. Last year alone, I spent nearly $600 entering the three prints in the print competition and didn’t even both to enter the other two.
WPPI Print Competition
This year is different. I’ve already entered four images into the First Half and four images into the Second Half Members Only Online Competitions—so, that’s eight total. And, I’m one-upping last year’s entries in the 16×20 Print Competition and submitting four! This may or may not be a total of 12 images entered for me, because under the WPPI rules, you do have a chance to re-enter images from the First and Second Half Online Competitions into the Print Comp. You can rework the images based on feedback you receive in your critique to try and improve your score—even if it merits.
Each time I’ve entered one of these competitions, I am pretty consistent scoring in the 77 range. This time, one of my images fetched a 78! That one little point may not seem like much, but it is a huge deal to me! If the image had scored an 80, it would have merited and earned me a silver award and one point towards my honors of excellence rating. Scoring five points within four years gives me an Associate of WPPI distinction. If I earn another 15 points within six additional years, I become a Master of WPPI. For now, I’m content with slowly creeping up on that one silver award.
This competition sees thousands of entries from dozens of countries. This competition showcases and garnishes the very best portrait and wedding photographers in the world in categorical head-to-head competitions. Many say, this is one of the most competitive photo competitions in the world.
Competing at this level forces me to really open my eyes and be extremely self-critical. It’s been a very important part of my photographic evolution. Hearing Masters of WPPI judge the images in this competition is more valuable than any seminar or workshop I’ve ever attended, any YouTube channel I’ve ever watched or any book I’ve ever read. It has been a constant factor in my growth as a professional photographer and as a graphic artist. This competition motivates me to look beyond what is “good enough” and compels me to create fine art pieces.
The biggest takeaway that I have learned so far is that there is a major difference in shooting for clients and shooting for competition. However, when your goal is to shoot for and enter competition, your clients gain from that. They gain from the knowledge, skill, expertise and confidence you gain by becoming better. This is one way to invest in your craft and everybody wins when you invest in your craft!!
Please enjoy this short video about the WPPI Annual 16×20 Print Competition.
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I am a professional wedding and senior photographer based in South Texas near San Antonio. I pride my business in offering a premier and personal service coupled with an unforgettable photography experience. I cater to clients who appreciate quality photography and help them to create family heirlooms that will last for generations. As a full-time professional photographer, my sole purpose is to provide amazing, memorable and full-service photography.
I started Ata-Girl Photography Co., LLC in 2010. I firmly believe that the unique set of circumstances I have faced in life has prepared me to take a personal and genuine interest in my photography clients. I enjoy documenting the important milestones and captivating moments in people’s lives. I love being a part of people’s journey and consider myself privileged to document their legacies.
When I’m not photographing a wedding, family or high school senior, I love to spend my spare time hiking, camping, cycling, reading, listening to Elvis and Prince. The most important things in life are for me to see my two daughters happy and to create a family history my grandparents would be proud of!
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