About underwater photography contests: winning a prize or not.
Underwater photography contests are becoming increasingly popular among professional as well as amateur shooters For the starting amateur it is a way of getting known in the ever growing world of underwater photographers. The average quality of UW pictures is definitely rising, due to better equipment, the Internet with its many nice examples, and UW workshops. And the fact that more people now have the opportunity to visit exotic diving locations, with a good chance to meet their favorite underwater subject. Shark, whale, grouper , dolphin, school of snappers, caves, critter ‘heavens’, just name it. Even an encounter with the legendary great hammerhead, one of the very rare visitors of the reefs, has now become a reality if you visit the right place at the right time of the year.
And let’s not forget the ‘luck factor’ in making that ultimate shot. If you are a regular visitor of the Red Sea , the Bahamas or even New Guinea and just shoot away on your favorite location. Then definitely a day will come that the picture that appears on the screen of your lap top will make you gasp and shout: YES!
Back to competitions. If you join a competition, you send in some of your best shots hoping that a jury will nominate to your picture as best in the category macro, wide-angle or overall. Gold, silver and bronze medals or even money prizes are waiting to be handed out to the lucky winners. An even more honorable award is that your picture is chosen to appear on front page of a leading underwater photography magazine or – in the ultimate case- the National Geographic magazine.
The fact that many good photographers now compete for the prizes makes it of course more difficult to reach that platform of honor. Which could be disappointing for the ambitious starter, who was so happy with his or her fine shot of a grouper, pterois volitans, muray eel, or even a shark. Or that nice sharp macro shot of a cleaner shrimp or goby. But please don’t forget: most important of all is your own judgment. That you are happy with your shot, that even may be as good or better than the ones that were awarded. And of course, there are always your family, diving and non-diving buddies who will praise you, slap your shoulder or find your picture ‘awesome’ on face-book!