In September of 2013 I attended my first ever Tallahassee Professional Photographers Guild meeting. The following January I officially joined and I have been a member ever since. It’s been one of the most important moves I have made as a professional photographer. The group is a collection of like minded photographers who band together in order to learn, educate and encourage those around them. The skill set is wide, from those who are just starting out in their professional careers to those that are industry staples and well known throughout the country.
I can gush about this amazing group for hours on end but one of the things I want to focus on is the print competition portion of the meetings. Every month participants submit four images. There are eight categories they can chose from which include: Portraits of a Man, Woman, Child, Group, Two, Social Event, Commercial and an Open/Illustrative which makes for a catch all for anything else (go wild!). Category winners are selected first and then put on the block to battle it out for Print of the Month. All the winners receive points with the PotM receiving an extra point. These are tallied and all lead up to the guilds photographer of the year run off which is announced at the final meeting (Christmas Party) in December.
It took a couple months before I made a mark on the competition when I originally joined, but after a couple wins I was hooked. Every month I look forward to submitting new images and while winning is obviously a sweet reward the real goal is to push your abilities, try new things and receive feed back in order to grow as a photographer. Many of the images you see on my site or on social media are a direct result or play into the monthly competitions. In a future update I’ll dig up some of my older wins as well as talk about local Salon, State and National Competitions which I have taken part in.
For the moment though here are two images from this past meeting that won there categories. Alas, no print of the month winner this time (though I hear my commercial image was close!).
The first is from a recent restoration project I worked on and was entered into the Open/Illustrative category. I’ll have a full blog post up on it and its sibling images in a little while. I did not take the original picture, rather I scanned in sections of a large 11×16 print that was highly damaged after years of neglect. I repaired the holes, fixed creases and adjusted the tones in order to breath new life into it.
The second image is a twilight house shoot I did for real estate agent Miriam Nicklaus. It was intended to be a cover shot for Homes And Land buttttttt she sold the house too fast! The image was submitted in the commercial category and is a light painted long exposure done just before dark. I didn’t actually like the sunset at the time so I swapped it out for another twilight image of the sky I had taken in order to get warmer colors and better cloud movement.