Yesterday, I received the results from a contest I entered called the Digital Photo Pro Emerging Pro Photo Contest. And the results were good. This is a contest for students and professionals with less than 5 years of professional experience, which I have. It's free to enter, and this wasn't my first year trying. But this time, they accepted my initial entry as a finalist, which was this:
I shot this back in college for a class assignment.
There were 9 finalists in total, in three categories: Fashion, Fine Art and Sport. They sent each of the 9 finalists a Red Scarlet-X Red Dragon Lightweight Collection and tasked us with shooting a series of 5 images in the same category we entered initially, using only the Red Scarlet. I've never shot with one of those, and have only some basic training and experience with DSLR video, so that was both exciting and intimidating. The Red doesn't shoot stills. So I was supposed to shoot video with stills in mind, and then grab frames out of the video later for retouching.
My first shoot was a little rocky. I wasn't familiar with the camera enough to know how to zoom in on the display to check focus, and balancing framerate and resolution with the other settings was a little confusing. Fortunately I got several good shots I could use, and after retouching I had the confidence I needed to go into the next shoot. We had only one month to prepare our series, and I decided I would wow the judges by sending 5 images, each from a different shoot, rather than 5 images from a single shoot which I was certain everyone else would do. Besides, I have a Red Scarlet for a month. I have to get as much footage as humanly possible before I have to return it! All of the shoots were very challenging, particularly the rock climbing and running shoots, which were shot within 24 hours of each other in weather and temperatures around 40 degrees or less.
While I was at it, I shot a good deal of 60fps video footage of each athlete with the intent to make a video project for self promotion when all was finished. That project is in the works, currently waiting on a song I've commissioned for the background music. I'm very excited to have something better than a quinceanera shot on a Canon t3i in my video portfolio. :P What a step up this is.
So the final result was--I won. The judges selected my entry, and here it is:
For a project shot in a very short time, with no budget whatsoever, no lighting, on a camera I was unfamiliar with, and in sometimes unpleasant weather, I am very pleased with how these images turned out. In fact, I think several of them are consistent in quality with my normal work. I had an incredibly good time doing this, and can't wait to do more work like it.
So what did I win? The prizes for this contest are as follows:
The very kit I shot these images on. A Red Scarlet-x Red Dragon Lightweight Collection, which normally costs around $25,000. Here's the other prize:
A $2000 printer from Epson.
So I'm now equipped to do more creative things. I'm equipped with the knowledge of how to use the tools. I'm equipped with a video reel with which to get work. If you are a photographer, I highly recommend having contests as a staple of your business. It pushes you to put your work out there. It pushes you to make better work. It can be a source of new gear and opportunities. And, like this contest, your work will be published in magazines, which creates buzz around what you do. As soon as I have my new gear, and as soon as I find out about some other cool things I have in the works, I'll be pushing my work to new levels and trying new things, and I'll certainly post it right here as it comes.
Thanks to everyone who helped me with this project, many on very short notice, at significant discomfort or inconvenience. This is really game-changing for me. Thanks.