i'm NOT a professional.

by Ellen in

So, I love to enter photo contests. Doesn't matter what the subject is...flowers, summer, animals, color-themed, babies, whatever. I don't care, I'll enter any contest. I think I like to compare myself to other people, see what others do, and learn from them. So many people have all kinds of different ideas that I would never think of, and I really do end up learning a lot just from looking at all the other entries...


It makes me completely CRAZY when someone announces a photo contest designed for amateurs, and the winning photo has obviously been taken with a professional camera and the photographer's brand is somewhere in the photo. I'm sorry, you cannot be considered an "amateur" if you have enough money to buy a professional camera AND editing software. Do you know how much those cost? THOUSANDS of dollars. Also, if you can hire someone to make a brand for you, you DEFINITELY don't need that $60 prize OR the Mark II. You HAVE a professional camera, you don't need another one. Leave it alone, let someone who doesn't have one WIN IT.

The absolute WORST about this is The Pioneer Woman. I know, I know, you love her. How could you not? She's precious, creative, interesting, fabulous. WHATever. She has all these great photo contests, but NEVER picks anyone who is an amateur. OK, I don't think she actually ever says they're amateur. But if you look at all the entries into the contests on Flickr, 80% of the photos have NOT been taken with a professional camera. And really, if you look at those actual amateur photos, they are AMAZING. Creative, compositionally and conceptually interesting, and some great moments are captured. But Ree NEVER picks any of these. And her prize is always some gift certificate to an online photo store so the photographer can get more equipment. Who do you think actually needs that equipment? The professionals? Negative.

People like me. I am a youth minister. I have been saving my money for the past year for a professional camera, and I still don't have enough for the one I REALLY want that I could do the best with. I need those gift certificates to photo shops. I need that Mark II. I need that little extra cash to add to my camera fund. I mean, not specifically me, just people like me. I LOVE to take photos, and I do want to be a professional in the near future. I am not bad at it either, so why does it come down to the quality that my camera produces? It makes me nuts that it's all about the moneys. AND, I don't love digital. I wish all the photo contests required film images. Now, THAT would be a real contest of artistry.

And don't get me wrong, I always want to promote creativity from everyone, including professionals. How else would I be able to learn anything? All I'm saying is that you've got your fancy stuff, let other people have a shot at it. And contest judgers, look at the art, not how many megapixels make up the image.

This has been prompted by the Zoo's latest contest. They're having this photo contest to compile their 2011 calendar. Now, I love to take photos at the Zoo. But I don't have the big fancy camera and super special lens that I would NEED to win this contest. I'm still going to enter, though. You just never know. I'm probably not going to win, but I can still share my love for the Zoo here:
Stop Looking at Me, Swan
Very Ferocious
Hey, You Got Any Bananas?
You Look Like Looney.
To Infinity and Beyond!
Goooood Morning, World!
You Got Something--Oh, I got it.
Yeah, Right There...
Straight From the Horse's Mouth