Just in the last few months I set 2 professional goals for myself, one to enter a professional image competition, and two, to start working towards a PPA degree (PPA is the Professional Photographers of America association). Earning a PPA degree requires entering your images into competition and meriting at a national level, so really these goals are intertwined.
Last night I took the first step by entering my first competition at the local level, the PPSCF (Professional Photographers Society of Central Florida, and yes, there are a LOT of abbreviations in this profession!), which I just recently joined. While it may “just” be a local guild, we are insanely lucky to have some really powerhouse photographers in our group, several of whom teach at a national level through PPA and also those who teach an international audience through Creative Live. I could not even begin to name all of the accomplishments and accolades of this group, and I am seriously in awe of the people I am getting to say are becoming my mentors, and my friends. With that said, the fact there are so many AMAZING photographers in the group made me one to throw up more than once during the process of entering into competition with them. So I was very excited when 2 of the 4 images I submitted scored high enough to receive merit, and then I was shocked when one of those 2 images was voted by the judges to receive an award for 3rd place in the portrait category!
This image, I titled “The Cat’s Out of the Bag” merited and was also awarded 3rd place by the judges for the portrait category.
And “Horsin’ Around” was my other merit image and I entered this into the Illustrative category. There appears to be an animal theme with the judge’s picks. 🙂
It was scary to put myself and my work out there for critique, but by continuing to do so and by working towards my PPA degree I know I will be pushed to always be learning and growing as a photographer. And in turn I know that means I will always be striving to be the best photographer I can be for my clients. It feels phenomenal to have received an award on my first try. I know that is not likely to always be the case, but I’m looking forward to the next big step which will be competing at the national level in January!