Am I an award winning photographer?

Over the past few years I’ve entered a few different photography competitions with a few different shots. So far I’ve won 7 ‘proper’ awards and 411 ‘lesser’ awards (if that makes sense). To me none of this stuff even matters! I don’t brag about any of it.

The most recent ‘award’ I’ve received I found out about literally a few minutes ago. It has sat in my inbox for a couple of weeks, unread… If it wasn’t for an email notification regarding something else I wouldn’t have even known!

There’s a huge obsession with being ‘published’ and ‘award winning’, but why?? And what even makes you an award winning photographer? I touched very slightly on this on the most recent podcast episode, and the questions remain..

I personally think it’s subjective. Some people will take any award and call themselves award winning. It could be a completely made up award that’s never been heard of.. To some, winning a competition makes them award winning. Either way, it’s seen as bragging rights and a badge of honour of sorts amongst a sea of photographers.

All of that stands for nothing though if your shots suck. For the most part, potential clients don’t care about your accolades, degrees, awards, etc. Unless of course you’re a NatGeo award winning photographer or of that calibre.. The first thing they tend to look at is your previous work. If your work sucks then nobody cares. It may sound a little harsh but that’s just reality.

While an award or two are nice little ego massages, don’t let them get to your head. Use them as fuel to improve your photography. Your photos should speak louder than your words.