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Do I enter photo competitions, or just judge them? I certainly still enter. Why? I enjoy the process. Do I always win? Hardly ever. So why do I enter? Because it pushes me to make better photographs.

Enjoying the process is so important. And the results of that process are, in my opinion, better quality photos whether you win or not.

Some photographers don't enter competitions because they're scared of failure, but in my mind, not entering because you're worried about how you might do is already failure. That's not a good excuse - especially since the photos are judged anonymously and people will only learn about your successes! I realise there are other reasons for not entering and that's up to you. And of course, I will have a more successful photo competition if I convince you to enter. All true!

But I practise what I preach because I believe in the benefits, even after entering competitions for over 30 years.

The image above scored fourth in the Celebration category in the recent Silver Linings Awards run by the AIPP. There was some brilliant photography entered and you can check out the results here:

The image is a composite of a festival in Trashigang, Bhutan. The actors are monks dressed up in the most incredible costumes and a slow shutter speed was used to create the blurs. A series of images was taken with the idea of putting them together into a composite that reflects the animation and congestion of what are usually very intensive, two or three day events.

And for the record, I entered quite a few photos that didn't make it into the semi-finals or finals. 

So, no first prizes! Am I disappointed? Definitely not. The aim of entering photo competitions shouldn't be to win the prizes - although if you do, it's very nice. The aim is to meet a standard which, in the case of the Silver Linings, was to be a semi-finalist or finalist.

For the Better Photography Photo of the Year awards, the aim is to earn Bronze, Silver or Gold awards. Bronzes are your first test and if you find them easy enough, then challenge yourself and go for silver! There's still time to enter - details below!

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