Every month from January to November, The Societies hold a monthly image competition in which all members can enter an image into one of 27 differing categories ranging from Architectural to Weddings. Being a Portrait Photographer I tend to stick to my normal categories of Newborn, Children, Portrait Studio and occasionally Pictorial & Fine Art or Monochrome The top images from all categories in the monthly competitions are all judged and then nominations for Photographer of the Year are sent out and the winners are announced at the next Annual Convention’s Awards Night.
While I was away in London last month for this years Convention18, I, as normal, met up with friends, some of whom I only see at this convention and we tend to spend our evenings socialising in a rather large group, going for meals together etc and it was during our annual Curry Night (at Mughals Indian Restaurant in Paddington – if in the area make sure you try them out, amazing meals to be had from there) that our group on seeing a canvas on the wall of a red chilli pepper on fire that we came up with idea that we should all enter the Monthly Competition for January with our own take of a chilli on fire to see who (if any of us) could get a Highly Commended or even an illusive Gold Award for our efforts, oh how we all laughed at this idea but then being photographers and competitive we all came home and the joke started becoming serious! We all went out and purchased our chilli’s and with some safe practices and some very unsafe ones too (with a pair of Ugg boots being ruined in dampening down the flames by one of our group who shall remain nameless) we all set about the now officially titled “Chilli Challenge” and once completed we duly entered our images into the competition under various categories of Illustrative, Pictorial & Fine Art, Avente Garde and one entry even managed to end up being entered into the Street Photography category (by mistake we hope).
Today the judging was finalised and the results were published and I was over the moon to find out that my Chilli, along with one other from our group of friends had been awarded Highly Commended! Not only that, but entering my Chilli Challenge image also pushed me into entering another one into the Children’s Category which was of 1 year old Nicole who had come to the studio just 2 weeks ago for her first birthday Cake Smash session.
I hardly entered competitions last year as I felt no urge to do so as the judges “didn’t get my style”. You often hear photographers complaining that competitions aren’t for them as their images don’t seem to make the grade of being Merit or Excellent standard, but as I found out to get these awards to have to go further than the norm. Normal images that you take for clients, while a great quality and award winning in your clients eyes, aren’t the same as taking images for competition where Fellowship judges are looking for and finding faults with every aspect of your image. So my enthusiasm has been reignited, we’re carrying on with the Chilli Challenge setting new themes for each month and I’ll also be shooting for competition each month too, its the only way to improve your skills both behind the camera and in front of the computer.
With that said here are my Award Winning Images for January, courtesy of The Societies