During the slower winter months I took some time to dream about what my photography and business goals would be for 2012. I decided I needed to challenge myself, I mean really push myself to tread unknown territories. I.didn’t.want.to.play.safe. I figured if I was to get anywhere I needed to take risks. And if you know me, I like risks. Plus, I fear stagnant work styles and so I always want to change things up and up my game. If you ask my husband Tuan, he’d call this my ADD. Hahahaha.
So that brings me to challenges, critiques, and competition. I entered my first photo CHALLENGE ever just 2 months ago. I was elated to have three images chosen as top picks; you can read about it here in an earlier post. I gained some confidence and decided to submit two more challenges to date. The second challenge was unsuccessful, but the third challenge my images were chosen again! With more than 800 entries, TWO of four images I submitted were listed as top 40 favs.
Parallel to these photo challenges, I participated in a month long CRITIQUE with internationally known Wendy Whitacre of Blue Lily Photography – a woman who’s photography I am in awe with and who I simply like as a person. Imagine working with someone you feel is a celebrity. I was soooooo ridiculously nervous leading up to my first critique. I doubted, questioned, contemplated, sweat, and stayed up some late nights submitting three images a week for her earnest critique. But oh my gosh, it was so worth the time and energy on so many levels! I learned a few technique tricks but mainly felt validated in what I am doing, lifestyle photography. I felt that if Wendy really liked my work, then my risk of starting a business was the right path after all.
And finally, COMPETITION. I want to participate in an intensive multi-day workshop this year – a costly endeavor – so I applied for a highly competitive scholarship at the Santa Fe Workshops in New Mexico. This required not only sending in a 20 image portfolio, but to submit two letters of recommendation and a personal statement. This was hard! Although I did not win the full scholarship, I did earn an Honorable Mention and a mini scholarship. To be honest, I am grateful I was even recognized in the pool of talented applicants.
Now for some fun images. The four images below were taken with my very first digital SLR a few years ago. I had just switched from being a long time Nikon user to Canon and I had only owned it less than a month at that point. We were on our honeymoon in Vietnam and I had an unfamiliar camera and new format (digital versus film) to boot. I was initially a bit uncomfortable with the new camera, but I was sure happy not to be lugging around 30+ rolls of film! The images were entered into the I Heart Faces challenge. Top picks were announced in Part I and Part II.
All represent “B” – barber, bottles, bikes, and bougainvillea. The first two were chosen as the top picks.