It is so very easy to join in with something when it is free. There are those who instantly look for the catch, there is always a catch isn’t there. Well isn’t there?
Take the Peoples Photographic Society, please. It is a free Society, with a free magazine, and free to enter competitions. We are not financially sponsored (yet), so the only reward you may get is a society certificate and a years membership to the Photographer Academy and the Cat Survival Trust (bless them). We are going to stage an International Photographic Exhibition it is free to submit pictures for consideration, it is free for people to visit and enjoy the day. We plan to have a portrait studio set-up and more besides.
But, ahh, here is the catch, exhibitors will be required to pay to have their pictures printed and mounted, at cost, because we do not have financial backing. But hang on a minute, pictures displayed at the event will be offered for sale by blind auction, so there is a chance that photographers will get their money back, with interest. There is also the opportunity to have other pictures for sale on the sales table, but for all this opportunity, people will have to have enough faith in their pictures to invest in them.
As a professional you do not have the time for societies and competitions because your photography is your livelihood. It has ceased to be enjoyable because you must accommodate the desires and often the petty nitpicking of your customers. Many professionals have forgotten why they began in photography, and have sacrificed the picture to gain the £ or $. In any other line of work when people spend all their time ‘on the job’ we call them workaholics, doctors say these people must slow down and learn to enjoy life. Get out an see the world around them and to relax more, even to get a hobby, photography maybe.
You do not enter competitions or offer pictures for comment because you think that your pictures are too good for others to be allowed an opinion, or perhaps that a potential customer might see them and be put off. Well here is the wake up call, far better that the customer sees the standard BEFORE paying you the money. If you are good enough, the will come to you. Or perhaps you feel that if you do not win, the judges are not good enough to offer an opinion on your pictures. After all your pictures are the best in the world, aren’t they?
As an amateur you already know how to relax and enjoy your photography, as a hobby, but when it comes to putting your self out there, fear takes hold. Some of you are willing to pay five dollars to enter a competition where you may get a prize, but where the only certain guarantee is that your money is wasted if you do not win. Ask yourself, how many people see your pictures in major competitions if they do not make the final 10 out of 10,000 entries? The prizes may be $5000 the promoters just made $50,000,
Being free does not mean there is something wrong with it, it just means that you may have to put in the effort to make it work, but then again, you could pay a fortune and it still won’t work.