It's Fun to Take a Risk . . . And be Recognized by Your Peers!
I first heard about the Shoot & Share Community when I started my wedding photography journey back in 2013, and I was a little intimidated. Shoot & Share is a free community of photographers and industry-leading educators whose goal it is to inspire, connect, and educate other photographers around the world. I found it to be a place online where I went for inspiration and business ideas as a fresh-faced college graduate. But when it came to their annual Photo Contest, I have to admit, that I was afraid to enter.
I would scroll through hundreds and hundreds of amazing wedding, engagement, and lifestyle images from photographers who were killing it and they inspired me to aim higher, but back in 2013 I also felt like I had nothing to offer. I was just starting out with my first camera and some of these people who entered into the contest had been photographing couples in dreamy, wanderlust type locations for years . . . How could my images possible stand aside their's and compete in a contest? I was afraid to be judged, like most of us are, and so I decided not to enter.
I was like the new kid in the cafeteria, and although I signed up for their newsletter and read their blogs on growing your photography business, I sat at my table alone, too afraid to sit with the cool kids. This has continued every year since. . . until this year!!
Over the last three and a half years, however, I have grown SO much in my abilities and artistry and when Shoot & Share's annual announcement to participate in their Photo Contest showed up in my inbox, I took a leap and clicked the link to enter! I realized in the midst of serving couples and building my wedding photography business, that I also created some pretty awesome photographs!!
I think this Shoot & Share Photo Contest is one of the biggest free contests out there that welcomes all types of photographers! Last year, 8,000 photographers entered images and 75,000 people saw and voted on the best of the best! Guys, that is a HUGE audience! It is really amazing and it's addicting to log on everyday to vote for your favorite photos! Out of the 25 categories, I entered 50 images into the Wedding, Engagement, and Lifestyle categories, and you know what? My images placed in the Top 20 - 30% in each category!! Ah!
I still can't believe that in my first year of participating in the contest, my images made it as far as they did in the rounds of voting. It makes me kick myself a little bit for letting fear get the better of me these last couple of years. I wanted to share this small humble-brag with all of you, today, to remind you that it's ok to take a risk! I know how nerve-racking it can be to put yourself out there, but everything you want is on the other side of fear, and you won't know the outcome of a situation / contest / dream until you try. And if you never try, it'll never happen.
I'm here to say let's all take a leap this year (big or small) and learn to fly on the way down!
Top 20% in Engagements & Couples Category
(Taelor and Emily's engagement image made it to round 7 of 12 and placed at 4,445 out of 32,282 images in this category!)
Top 20% in Lifestyle Children & Babies Category
(Sweet little Payton's image from Brooke and Ben's Lifestyle Family Session made it to round 7 of 12 and placed at 3,892 out of 22,953 images in this category!)
Top 30% Wedding Photography: Emotion & Excitement Category
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