Specializing in Seniors ~ Why YOU NEED TO SUBMIT your images to the Senior Style Guide HOT 100 Contest!

I remember the 1st time I submitted an image to SSG for publication, I was SO nervous. I was absolutely SURE they would not pick it. It was for the Senior Style Guide magazine… issue 4.
I decided, I have nothing to lose, so why not just go for it. I still remember the email from Vickie Black saying she would like to use my image! WOW…when published, the image below became the inside cover for issue 4.  I admit, it was an amazing moment for me.

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We all are working in a genre that we LOVE. We are all are developing and honing out skills to make it in this industry. We strive to become better senior portraits artists and better business owners.
Part of my recent role as a Senior Style Guide columnist is to write about Specializing in JUST senior portraits. It’s about the journey of how to accomplish this. A journey I myself am on… and still trying to achieve. Part of this journey includes taking risks! It just does… Doesn’t life always include that?
And… in lieu of an amazing opportunity that is currently available to you through Senior Style Guide, I’ve decided to talk about SUBMISSIONS, submitting your work for features, articles, contests, publications, in other words, getting your work “OUT THERE.” I’ll even start by saying, I don’t do this enough myself, at all, but I need to.

I’m addressing this topic for a few reasons:
One: It’s SCARY! It just is, especially at first. NO ONE wants to be rejected….ever!
Two: It’s a practice that I believe is important. It’s important for you and it’s important for your business. And I’m talking to myself as well as all of you on this one. There is tremendous value in it.
Three: It CAN happen! YOUR WORK CAN GET PUBLISHED. YOUR IMAGE CAN WIN a CONTEST… It IS possible!
Right now, there is a contest on the SSG Blog: The HOT 100 of images of 2014 Contest. You can read about it here: THE HOT 100 CONTEST
I admit I have YET to submit images for this contest in the past. Honestly, I’ve been TOO intimidated, plain and simple.
You’re talking images from GREAT senior portrait artists like Amanda Holloway, Stephanie Pana, Lexi Vornberg, Brooke Daniels, Amanda Kraft, Stephanie Newbold, etc.. This list goes on and on….
And Yes… it’s intimidating. It IS.
But… just for one moment, I want you to say one thing: “WHO CARES?”
Come on…say it: “WHO CARES!” haha!   WHO CARES right? They are GREAT inspirations in our industry and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE THEIR WORK.
But… find an image YOU love, that YOU CREATED and SUBMIT IT. And just say, “WHO CARES.” Just do it! I’m going to! I’ve yet to do this for this contest…
To address reason number one, YES, it’s scary! But, the truth is, YOU’LL survive if your image is NOT chosen. I promise! And..taking this risk is valuable!
Regarding reason number two, here is the important part. As you are selecting images that you MIGHT submit, it causes you as a portrait artist to REALLY critique your work. You look at your images a little differently… and I honestly believe that this is a GOOD thing for each of us. It causes us to evaluate our work, to see where we can and want to change it, make it better, you name it!
It might cause you to take an image and re edit it – to make it better. Then you learn there is more you can do to your images…
It might cause you to understand a little more clearly the type of images you DO want to create. The value of JUST picking an image to submit is worth it. I believe it WILL make you a better Senior Shooter in general. Which can ultimately help you to even specialize in this genre.. if you so desire. So submitting is a good practice for you as an artist.

Lastly… IT CAN HAPPEN. Say that with me… “IT CAN HAPPEN!”

Guess what… that’s not a lie I’ve just typed. It’s true. I had NO idea that my image submitted for Issue 4 would be published, but it WAS.
You’d think I’d submit things more often… but I don’t. I get busy with shoots and running my business, and I let opportunities pass me by. I also get intimidated…
But this YEAR, I’ve decided to submit. I’m committed to it. I believe it has value whether I ever get chosen or not. So, I’m picking images and going through the process of taking the risk, refining my images, and hoping one might be chosen.
If they are not, oh well! The PRACTICE OF IT WILL HAVE BEEN VALUABLE TO ME.
And… I’ll live!
SO WILL YOU!!
So LET’S TAKE THE RISK TOGETHER… WHO’S IN?

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