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The Real Benefits of Entering Print Competition

Intro by Skip Cohen

Twenty years ago I entered my first WPPI Print Competition. I had a great image taken while scuba diving and wanted to see how it did. At the time I worked for Hasselblad, so there was no connection to WPPI.

Well, the photograph did well enough to be included in the exhibit that year, but the real benefit came from attending the live print competition. I went in expecting to stay for an hour and wound up spending a good part of the day listening to the critiques of the other judges on one print after another. It was an incredible educational experience and I learned things about composition, printing and even lighting that have helped me to this very day.

In this post from Sarah Petty, she shares another side benefit to entering prints in competition – how to leverage them for more goodwill with your clients and the local community.

While as my old buddy Dean Collins used to say, “Beauty is in the eyes of the checkbook holder,” don’t underestimate your potential to use print competition as a relationship builder with your clients.

By Sarah Petty

Sure it feels great to be recognized by an objective party for doing what we do best in our photography business. But if you’re like me, it also feels kind of like I’m patting myself on the back to publicize these wins.

The thing is, we have to get past that feeling because there is SO much mileage you can get by marketing the awards you win. Here are just a few ideas.

1) Call the client who was the subject of the winning image/marketing piece. Clients love to brag that their kids/family/wedding won you an award! If it was a winning marketing piece, make sure you give the client extra brochures to pass along to their friends and family.

2) Local chambers, newspapers, business journals and web sites love to hear how people in their community are succeeding. But here’s the trick. Don’t submit a stodgy press release. Those are for realtors and insurance salesmen. Be more creative and get noticed! Use the award-winning image to create a piece that WOWS the editor whose attention you’re trying to get. Whether it be by printing a small canvas or a small quantity of press-printed digital cards, your creativity will assure your news gets noticed.

And remember, even if you don’t win this time, you’ve just gotten a FREE critique of your work by an expert panel of judges. It’s not every day we get that. So go ahead, enter the next contest/competition that comes your way.