Why are awards programs so important to a photographers resume?

Does winning an award make you a better photographer? Maybe.

Does having a stack of awards make you look better to your prospects and clients? Maybe.

So why should you concentrate of getting awards?

Because awards make you feel better about yourself, and ultimately impact the way you do business.

First, lets look at how an award can make you a better photographer.

Image judging contests can occur in one of two ways: either at a seminar/expo, where you can sit in on the judging, or at the business without contact with the image takers.

The best is where you can sit in on the judging, and learn what the top photographers are looking for in a photograph. There you can learn a wealth of information on how the elite photographers look at images, and how they judge. While judging is always subjective (it depends on what the judges like), they also look for certain qualities over and over again. That’s the information you can use to change your photography.

Judges will show you how they judge, what they are looking for, and how to make a photograph better. They teach things like composition, lighting, and structure. They help you understand why a photograph is award winning quality, and how to improve an image in the future.

One of the things I discovered early on is judges often like photographs that your clients will never buy. It’s just a difference of opinion. Make sure you photograph for both perspectives if you feel you have an award winning location and subject.

Second, does being an award winning photographer help you get more clients?

An award is a starting point. It adds to the checklist in a clients mind, and can possibly be a deciding factor for certain clients. But usually it isn’t a sole reason for someone choosing a photographer.

People like choosing photographers for a variety of reasons. They usually fall in love with one of your images, and want a duplicate image for their wall. They like the way you display your artwork, and are looking for something similar.

Being an award winning photography simply adds another reason for choosing you. Also understand that winning multiple awards over time will also look better for you then winning one or two.

If they see you are constantly entering contests, and winning various prizes, they will know you are working at becoming an expert in the field of photography. Which looks better to you?

  • Winner of the 2002 Photographer of the Year Award
  • Winner of the 1999 Photographer of the Year Award
  • Winner of the 2001 Best Album Award
  • Winner of the 2002 Photography Studio of the Year Award
  • Winner of the 2003 Best Family Portrait Award
  • Winner of the 2004 Best Children’s Photographer Award
  • Winner of the 2005 Best Photography Website Award

Obviously the second. It shows consistency. It shows this photographer is concentrating on his passion, and wants to show his ability. He’s developing his own expertise within the industry, and sharing his love of photography with the world.

Which is what your ultimate goal is with winning awards. Your goal is to WOW your customer, and showcase your talents in many ways. When a prospect enters your website, or receives an information kit in the mail from you, being able to WOW them will set you apart from your competition.

As an example, I know of one speaker who has spoken at hundreds of seminars and expos over the years. When someone asks for information on his speaking, he doesn’t mail a brochure. Instead, he mails them a box of thank you letters – the kind of box 500 sheets of paper comes in. You can imagine the impact on an event producer when they start reading 500 thank you testimonials! Needless to say, he usually gets the speaking gig.

You can do the same with your photography. Imagine the impact of mailing a customer an information kit filled with testimonies, press releases, articles about you from leading magazines, and award sheets. Wouldn’t this set you apart from your competition?

Who do you think they will choose as their photographer?

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