Uncompromised Quality Photography
By Photographer Dan Harris

A home-studio photography business in Jacksonville, FL
1124 Riviera St.  Jacksonville, FL  32207 (904) 398-7668

Here's my first ever 'award winning photograph'
Learn more about my award winning photograpy

Award Winning Photography
of the year!

You can't win if you don't play!

It's amazing the number of 'award winning' photographs and photographers there are out there!
Who's giving out all these 'awards' and what do they really mean?

Reminds me of my last visit to Las Vegas when everywhere we went was either an 'award winning' establishment or was voted "the best". It was fun to read the fine print which often said something to the effect that the voting was a random survey of left-handed, middle-aged tourists wearing green on the 2nd Tuesday in February 2009 who were walking the strip in a Southernly direction between noon and 2pm.

Some photo magazines, calendar publishers and photography organizations promote print competitions as a money-making activity. Some photographers enter hundreds of contests each year so they can collect and display lots of award ribbons. Some brag on these awards in their advertising and on their website. Some even have 'trophy rooms' or shrines to themselves in their studios. Some of these awards are truly impressive, others are only popularity contests. I have been on both sides of awards, both in receiving and in giving. I shutter to think of some of the 'back story' I have been a part of while on award committees. Too often it is too political, not everyone follows the rules and it isn't always accurate or fair.

People who do everything possible to win awards and then use those awards to promote themselves too often are not very ethical. How impressed are you with a 'best of' award designation when you find these people on facebook begging all their 'friends' (many from out-of-town) to vote for them so they can be the best of their local area --totally bogus. Do you ever wonder why the 'best' vendors as listed in a magazine are also the paid advertisers? I see where this is going.

In photography competitions, too often the submitted photographs are compared only against the limited number of other entries submitted. Some competions include 'recognition' for having paid the entry fee. In other cases an extraordinary amount of time, effort and expense is put into an 'award-winning' photograph but that same amount of effort and expense wouldn't be put into an everyday customers order so the 'award-winning' photograph isn't really a fair representation of that photographer's regular work.

Not everyone needs an 'expert' or 'award designation' to tell them which photographer is best for them. You can look at the images a photographer creates on a regular basis (not just the happen-chance, once-in-a-lifetime award winners) and if they are what you like then that may be the photographer you consider as the best for you. Besides, the photo you hang on your wall from your photographer should look much better than the award certificate they have hanging on their wall.

Without knowing the specific criteria for a photography award, the number of entrants, how they were judged, etc. it is difficult to determine who has an impressive award and who is just flashing ribbons. (beware of the 'bottom-feeders' who include fake titles with their name and have purchased many a plaque, certificate and ribbon from the local trophy store to decorate their studio with!)

If I wasn't as busy maybe I would have more time for competions but I find the pursuit of awards and competition can become very distracting to my current business. I have entered a limited number of reputable competitions (as time would allow) and paid some hefty entry fees and actually won a few awards but I'm not making a big fanfare stink over it nor am I directing my business/photoshoots toward awards and competitions --my client's needs still come first.


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Dan Harris PhotoArt, LLC (904) 398-7668
1124 Riviera Street Jacksonville FL 32207