I’m not an award winning wedding photographer. Why not? Because I don’t enter awards!
In my first year as a wedding photographer, I entered awards and won. I wasn’t particularly good, I hadn’t spent thousands of hours honing my skills. Learning how to use my cameras with the available ingredients on each wedding day to get the best possible photographs. It was a popularity competition. If enough of your friends ticked a box to say you were half decent, you won. It was something to add to my very empty website and Facebook page (Instagram was still in its infancy). I could then tell my potential clients that I was an award winning wedding photographer because it sounds good.
It was a hollow victory and I knew it lacked any value.
My second award was however justified. I know a lot of wedding photographers and one such lovely photographer organises a Christmas party for Yorkshire wedding photographers and videographers every year. Self employed people don’t have a works Christmas do, so it’s a really lovely thing to meet up with other people who do the same work. In 2019 it was fancy dress at a bar in Leeds. I immediately knew what I was wearing, so popped on my penguin costume and hopped on the train to Leeds. I arrived and soon realised that everyone else had decided to wear normal clothes! Another photographer put a costume on for approximately 5 minutes and I was declared the winner.
The award has a prized place on my windowsill in my office, I sometimes take it with me to wedding fayres too.
There are plenty of awards that do have value if you match the style required. I don’t enter these. I did once enter the Guild of Photographers monthly awards and won a silver or bronze. I don’t quite fit in with their style, which I knew before entering. For me, it’s more important that the couple whose wedding I’m photographing are happy with their photographs. I shoot for my clients, not for my portfolio, my ego or awards.
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