Should You Participate In Photography Contests?

Posted by Dennis Berti on April 10th 2016 .Comment(3)

Photographer Contact Information

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico Photographer

http://www.dennisberti.com hello@dennisberti.com (+52) 6241725213

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Should You Participate in Photography Contests?

Many photographers have asked me why I participate in photography contests. Do I do it for photographers or customers, or for my ego? The reasons are several and none is more important than another, so here they are in no particular order:

1) Better SEO. From the point of view of SEO, an association website with a Google page rank of 5 or 6 will generate quality visits to your site because each click is worth more than clicks from sites with a lower page rank. Getting traffic from a high quality site will give your site more importance in the eyes of Google. You mom linking to your site from Facebook is not as good as a link to your site from the New York Times. :)

If you're lucky to have one or more contest winning photos you will rank higher on the directory pages of the association sites. So if you have, for example, 15 awards, you will be in a better position than another photographer who has no prizes. What is the consequence of this? If a customer searches on Google for "best wedding photographer mexico" the links that appear first are the photographic associations, and that is where you will be seen, at the top of the directories for your location.

And there is a difference for people searching for "wedding photographer cancun" and another searching for "best wedding photographer mexico". The more specific the search terms and phrases, the more specific will the results be. If a client find you in a directory of photographers because he/she was searching for "the best", this customer may give more importance to photography than a customer who simply hears the recommendations of one person, such as a wedding coordinator. Of course the fact that you are in a directory as "The best" not absolutely mean you're the best. Many associations use these keywords for SEO and Marketing.

2) More Bookings. In the last three years, I have booked an average of three weddings each year because the couple found me in an association such as ISPWP, Fearless Photographers, or WPJA. I feel that these are the only associations which have helped me so far, by giving me work and making me money.

Others such as MyWed, Wedding Photography Select, Wep, and WPPI among others have failed, so I am not a member of these or I do not participate in their competitions. For my clients, and my work, and my location, and many other factors it is not worthwhile to participate in these competitions, but perhaps they will work for you. Do some tests, invest a little and participate in the various competitions to see if one suits you more than others.

3) Improve Your Photography. Taking part in competitions makes me feel alive photographically. The contests test me, challenge me, and make me understand if my pictures are different from the ordinary. I really love photography and I am very happy to be a wedding photographer, which is why I always put love in my photos and if one of my pictures wins, it gives me a profound happiness. There are many wedding photography competitions in the world today, some legitimate, another less serious, some for many years, some born yesterday. The fact of winning a prize does not make you a better photographer, absolutely. You're still the same photographer as you were yesterday. But 10-15 years ago wedding photography did not have much of a voice and printed photos were simply displayed in the window of a photography studio. Now that your photos are shown on websites and are seen by many people, you have to admit that this is a great satisfaction. Some call it EGO, great. I call it love your photography and I am happy that my pictures now has extra value and can be seen by a wide audience.

4) Networking. When I am a member of an association, I will participate in their competitions about every 2 or 3 months depending on the association’s contest schedule. There was only one time when I forgot to participate. Sometimes I win but sometimes it is not that easy. For me, it is like a workout, every two or three months I review my work to see if I have high impact photos that are worthy of the contests. Consistency and discipline are constants in my life and not just for photography, so it's important for me to participate, I do not want to miss the chance to take advantage of having award winning photos. Showing off those photos helps me to book more weddings, and oftentimes it means I will book even better weddings with couples who care very much about their photography. Also, thanks to the competitions I have met new friends and fellow photographers from around the world, this would not be possible if I was not involved with the contests ... or at least it would be more difficult to connect with photographers around the world who do not participate.

5) Workshops and Promotion. My greatest passion for many years is to share and teach photography. Thanks to the competitions I have met very talented photographers from around the world. This has created friendships and new working relationships and sometimes both. Thanks to being recognized through the contests I have been invited to give workshops and conferences in several countries. Sometimes it is because they know my work, sometimes by Periscope or Facebook, sometimes through recommendations etc etc .. But being a contest winner makes your name appear on the list and not pass unnoticed.

So why, if I have all these advantages from participating in competitions should I quit? I love photography, I love to share, I love having constant challenges to grow as a photographer and as a person. Everyone can do what you want with your life, your photos, and your achievements and this is what moves me and what makes me happy and I want to keep doing it!

Photographer Contact Information

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico Photographer

http://www.dennisberti.com hello@dennisberti.com (+52) 6241725213

See This Photographer's Website

Photographer Bio

Dennis Berti born in Livorno, Italy in 1978. Dennis discovered the magic of photography at the age of 18 and he immediately felt in love with. Using a compact camera and taking friends and family snapshots he discovered that portraits were the thing he most loved to shoot. Before going on to work as a photographer on a cruise ship, he attended a basic photography courses but most of his knowledge has been self taught, putting into practice techniques learned on books and photography magazines. After several years of travel around the world and visiting many countries he learned languages and earned photography skills while travelling and work. On 2005 he arrives to México to work on a big company as a wedding photographer, since then Dennis first began taking photography seriously as a way to live, he shoot more than 500 weddings and after 5 years he decided to moved from Playa del Carmen to Los Cabos to start his own company. Today Dennis is a renowned wedding photographer with a unique documentary approach. He's member of Ispwp, Wpja, Wppi, Best of Wedding photography, Fearless Photographers. He won more than fifty awards at wedding competition. He also likes to teach and since 2013 is teaching photography at workshops and conferences in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Chile, Mexico, Usa, Perú and Argentina

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3 Comments

Ufuk Sarisen March 12th 2017 at 08:54 AM

Dilusso essay Denis!

Christelle Rall July 1st 2016 at 09:21 AM

Well said! Your work is beautiful and thank you for this article!

Monika April 15th 2016 at 08:42 AM

Beautiful work and amazing story! Great work!

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