Its that time of year again when the landscape photography community is invited to enter there best work for consideration in the prestigious Landscape Photographer of the Year awards. Last year was my first year entering the competion and it was certainly a bit of an eye opener for me. I'd always been pretty dubious about entering competiitions, probally because I never really thought my work would be good enough and a little bit of in built lack of confindence. I would always look at the calibre of the entrance and would think 'how can I compete with them'. However, with the covid pandemic and the general doom and gloom around, I thought what the hell, life is too short and I gave it a crack and I'm really pleased that I did. Ok I got nowhere near to winning as the quality of the entrance where mind blowingly exceptional, however I did get an image shortlisted which was a huge boost to my confidence, so for that alone I deemed it worth while. I understand it can be difficult to put your images under the scrutiny of the experts, as we are all fiercely protective our work, however I actually think its another tool to help you to become a better photographer and if thats the only thing you take away then that isn't a bad thing is it?
I know there are some in the landscape photography community who believe the competion to be a waste of time and money but I believe it makes you a better photographer. So why? Well a couple of reasons, firstly to use the experience to refine your work. We still need to be individuals as photographers and shoot what is pleasing for us but we need to do this to the upmost quality and presentation of our images. This for me was one of the most important lessons I took away from entering the competition last year. It really tuned me into to thinking a little more about the quality of my images, attention to detail, file presentation, composition and editing. It can be easy to miss the finer details when posting pictures on social media, as these platforms can hide a multitude of sins that simply cannot be hidden when printed and viewed on a larger scale. So I found this really interesting and I will certainly be checking my images for this years competition with greater scrutiny. I've always maintained that I want to produce the highest quality images I can and just taking that little bit of extra time and care over our images is really important in taking those steps to improve. Its also good to observe what the quality of the winning images are, this way it gives you something to aspire towards. Finally if you do get a winning image, then that is a huge statement and certainly put a little more weight behind your photography.
Loughrigg Mists - My shortlisted image for the 2020 competition:
I think its also important to not get too down hearted as well, competitions are based on peoples opinions and this makes it very subjective. What I like might not necessarily be the taste of the judges, but thats not to say that its not a good image. So while it is great to get recognition, it is also important to not get too hung up on it. I entered two competitions last year and got 3 images shortlisted. A couple of the images for LPOTY that where rejected got shortlisted in another competition, so as you can see its all very subjective and based on individual opinions. So just a few litle thoughts for you on the subject, some love it, ovthers hate it but for me it'd definitely a worth while exercise. Anyway I must get cracking with my chosen images over the next couple of weeks and submitting them before the April cut off. If you are entering then good luck.