Tula Edmunds / Wednesday, December 13, 2017 / Categories: MPI NEWS

What Has Competing in Photographic Competition Taught Me?

My experience in entering Professional Organizations Competitions.

What Has Competing in Photographic Competition Taught Me?

For me personally, growing in the Art of Photography was more than just visiting a camera store and purchasing a camera. Like many other trades and professions, I was going to do it right and harness the qualified education that was and is available from Educational Institutes and Professional Organizations.

Over the past 10 years, the Profession of Photography has changed drastically and daily I hear of many photographers struggling to make ends meet, with many closing shop. I have monitored this from the time I began my photography career full time in 2005 and have come to my personal conclusion which I believe many other successful professional photographers will agree with.

When I view some of the work on social media and the feedback received, it is a shame that many of the photographers who are working hard at making this a career are receiving, in many cases the wrong feedback or rude feedback with no substance to the comments that will allow them to grow in their art. Why is this? Many believe that if their friends like their images, then it is a good image, right?... Wrong…  Yes you receive feedback and critique – but who has qualified these people to give this feedback or critique? Are you certain you are receiving the right feedback to help you grow into a more qualified and successful professional?

For myself, I would never think or trust asking for feedback on social media, especially when I was just starting out. I began by working through a two-year diploma program and then joined a professional organization to continue and grow to where you see my work today. Is my method the best - not saying it is however I wanted to receive the most qualified feed back I could. My photography career was extremely important to me and I was not going to leave it to social media to teach me. I was going to learn from the best in the industry.

Now let me clarify. Not all professional and successful photographers belong to a professional organization or enter competitions from professional organizations. There are a number that don’t – that being said, to evolve as one of these phenomena’s you have to be special and personally for me, I was not going to wait around to see if I was one of these phenomena’s.

So I joined my first Professional Organization and started entering as a student. My first year entering into competition went great with me earning Student POY. The following year was not the best when I entered into the professional – however is was great education as I pushed myself to newer levels. I then joined another professional organization which had tougher competitions and learned more from them as I challenged myself.











Currently with the Master Photographers International Image Challenge (MPI IIC) and with the MPI Judging system which includes feedback received from the actual judges that have judged a particular image – I feel I have grown tremendously in the past few years. 

I would like to share this image which I recently entered into another competition from a professional organization, and that I could not understand why it did not score higher than it did. I re-entered it again into the MPI International Image Challenge and again it did not score as high as I had hoped. Being so close to MY work and knowing how hard I worked on this image to perfect it, I was confused until I read the comment from one of the judges. 

I named this image the National Music Centre Pano. The image scored high in many of the categories however the judges could not see the magnitude of this image and felt it had nothing to compare the image to and to get a feel of how big this pano really was. The judge suggested that if the image had people in it, someone would be able to vision to size of this building.

Made perfect sense and I agreed with them totally. Once I included people into the images, sense of size and place for the image was completed. 

When you have qualified professionals who also judge on categories that they work in, you have the perfect cocktail for success in receiving qualified feedback. The MPI Competition has six categories you can enter and achieve Photographer of the Year. 

Commercial Photographer of the Year | Digital Illustration Photographer of the Year | Fine Art Photographer of the Year | Nature Photographer of the Year | Portrait Photographer of the Year | Wedding Photographer of the Year

Yes, there are many competitions you can enter. Some are for winning prizes, some are just to enter and see if you get anything and some are for education. The MPI IIC is for education and MPI as well includes an Open Challenge for non-members. Some of the competitions can include upcoming new talent as judges and some can include Instagram’s best as judges. What I enjoy about the MPI International Image Challenge is that the judges are actually qualified, meaning that many they have taken judging classes and receive ongoing training, and some of the judges are seasoned professionals with countless accolades from professional organizations. My Photographic Career is too important to me not to receive the best advice. 

MPI does not take its selection of judges lightly or its judging method which has been known to be one of the best educational competitions internationally. 

In closing, what has competition taught me. It has taught me to listen, not to get too close to images, to look at my images from another person’s perspective, to pay attention to details, to send in my best work - not what I like, to push myself competition by competition and year by year. It has also taught me not to take comments to heart but to learn from them. Just because a judge mentions something you don't like or agree with, maybe do take your image and try what the judge mentioned, as I did above, it may surprise you. 

It has also taught me that I don't have to be Photographer of the Year to learn.. with the MPI International Image Challenge it helps me grow in achieving more Masters Designations and higher levels. I work hard for this and do it for me as a personal goal. 

A heartfelt thank you to all the MPI Judges and Mentors for your continued support and for your experience and mentorship. It is truly valued.  


Meet The MPI 2017 IIC Judges




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