January 29, 2019
Each January, photographers and photo enthusiasts from around the globe excitedly begin uploading their favorite images into the Shoot & Share Photo Contest.
Shoot & Share is a free photo contest where anyone can enter up to 50 images into 25 predetermined categories ranging from weddings to pets to cell phone photography. According to the Shoot & Share website, in 2018, over 400,000 images were entered into the competition—it’s huge!
During several weeks within the month of February, voting is opened where voters are able to select their favorite images. The images with the most votes in each category win, with the winners being announced sometime in March.
Last year was my first year entering the contest. I did not go “All In” as they say in Shoot & Share world; only selecting a handful of my favorite images from the previous year to enter into the contest. As soon as voting opened up, I was completely addicted to voting. Image after image, I selected my favorite images from other photographers around the world.
I was thrilled to have one of my images make it as a “Finalist” and several others within the “Top 10%”, “Top 20%” and “Top 30%.” ( Curious which images made it? Head on over to Shoot & Share to see my 2018 results here.)
Though super proud of my 2018 results, I had some hesitations about entering this year. I think, as a creative, it can be easy to get stuck in the “comparison game” and quickly find yourself dissatisfied with your own work when comparing yourself to others. Yes, it’s wonderful to be recognized, receive awards and have a bunch of publication badges to add to your website and portfolio. It can be great justification to increase your pricing and can definitely get your name out there and in front of a larger audience. But, the flip side of that is does all of that really matter?
I went back and forth in my head about “do I or don’t I?” enter the Shoot & Share competition this year. And what I decided is yes. Yes, I am going to do this; not because I want to be in competition with other photographers or to use this as a way to measure myself against other artists, but because I realized the only person I need to be in competition with is myself.
So this year, I went “All In” and entered 50 images. In my mind, I’ve already achieved something in that I was brave enough to put my work “out there” (check out the cute little badge they give you for entering) and already did more than I did in 2018.
I realized it does take courage and a whole lot of vulnerability. I am proud of my work. I am proud of my couples who totally rock their engagement sessions and wedding day portraits. I am proud of the families who make themselves vulnerable and invite me in to document their reality. And I am so proud to be one of the 46,000+ photographers in this incredible community.
So, here we go! Cheers to being courageous, vulnerable, and the only me there is.
Stay tuned for 2019 results, which I’ll be sure to share in a future blog post!