Applications, Submissions and Rejection

Fear of rejection is a huge thing and I believe it lives in all of us. For some it hides in the deep recesses of our minds and for others it is right there, constantly in the forefront. It’s there in varying degrees depending on the individual and there is nothing wrong with that, it’s natural. Nobody wants to be rejected be it by a member of the opposite sex, not getting a job we applied for or in an artist’s case, not getting accepted to exhibit in that art show or gallery or even a magazine submission.
The result of this fear can be absolutely paralyzing to some that it can even prevent a person from going after what they really want in life. Now to me that’s heartbreaking! We have all faced rejections in our lives at some point and survived the trauma to talk about it. Hell, maybe some of us have even laughed it off. My point being: it will not kill you, it will only strengthen your resolve! In fact, I have had a recent string or run of rejections. I didn’t get my work accepted by a gallery. I didn’t get a job I bid on and I didn’t get accepted to exhibit at a show I applied to and all of this taking place in less than a month’s time. Lo and behold, here I am still standing and talking/writing about it.
You are going to get rejected but you will also go on runs of good things happening and feel like you just can’t lose or be stopped. You have to be prepared to take the good with the bad. As Chase Jarvis says “get used to hearing the word NO”. In this business and in life, the sooner you learn and accept that the better off you will be.
There are always going to be people that don’t like your art or what you are doing but don’t let it discourage or dissuade you. There will also be people that love your work, your style, and your art. Just don’t let rejection and disappointment get the better of you or get in the way. Never stop creating and go after what you want in life. Make it happen, make it work!


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Photo Contests - To Submit or Not to Submit

We as photographers know there is absolutely no shortage of photo contests out there on the web, in magazines and newspapers for us to enter. Our work will be judged by random strangers and our peers in order to gain recognition and in some cases even compete for prizes and monetary gifts. The question is, which contest(s) are right for you.

Submitting your work into contests can be a great thing for photographers depending on who or which publication(s) are running them. Some of them will charge a fee per image submission and some are free to enter. It could mean great exposure for you, it just depends on what you are looking to gain through the process. I think it is a great way to start to get your name out there. Helps you get used to hearing the word “no”, accepting rejection and will give you some insight into what judges are looking for in an award winning image.

I have only ever entered into free photo contests which will not really earn you any money or prizes but I earned experience as there have been a few lessons learned along the way. A couple of times I didn’t carefully read the rules and disclaimers and this mistake cost me my artistic integrity by way of losing control and ownership of MY OWN images. One in particular that I entered, I did not win anything but by not reading everything and agreeing to enter, I gave them the right to use my work in any future instances they felt was applicable for their needs and there wasn’t anything I could do to prevent it. I have heard of other photographers that have submitted images and by doing so they gave over exclusivity rights to the companies which means the magazine has full ownership of the work and you cannot use those particular images for display or contests or sale anywhere else.

I can only hope that you learn from my mistakes in reading this post. I cannot stress enough, the importance of reading the fine print before you check that little “I agree” box and hit the submit button.

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