by Mark Ashworth Published 01/04/2012
Every photographer should know the value of great competitions, the extra encouragement they give you to consistently try to produce your best work, the kudos that comes from a win and the value of being able to tell your clients that you're rated highly by your peers. With the Click Photography Awards there's an extra incentive as well, which is the cash value of the prize, not just for the winning photographer, who walks away with a cool £6000 worth of prizes, but for their client as well, who benefits to the tune of £500.
Mark Ashworth is in a position where he knows first hand just what a lift winning a competition such as this can give to a business, having recently been named Click Photographer of the Year 2011 with a classic black and white toned portrait of a young couple that simply oozed quality, both in terms of production values and presentation.
"I've been a member of the Click and Fresh Group for around five years now," says Mark, "and as a member you have a real incentive to be top of your game. It's really important that you have a steady stream of leads and clients coming through your door, existing as well as new ones, and that's exactly what the Click Group provides. To then be able to tell your clients that you're considered to be the best in the group you're part of adds an enormous amount of value to your business.
"As well as the prestige that has come with the award the prize fund is amazing, and I believe it's the largest provided by any of the social photography competitions out there. I particularly liked the fact that my clients also benefitted from the award, and they were thrilled with their prize. I just took one look at what was on offer and decided that I'd be silly not to take time entering my best work. In the end I spent a full day going through images - the pictures all had to be taken on shoots that had arisen from leads generated by the Group - and then preparing the ones I'd chosen to get them ready to submit. I was looking for work that was visually appealing as well as being a little bit different, and I submitted 10 and four were shortlisted for the top prize."
Click's CEO Charlie Kaufman, one of the competition judges, honed in on Mark's entry straight away. "The picture that we eventually selected to be the winner was just a classic shot," he says. "There was no gimmickry about it and no clever postproduction to try to make it something that it wasn't. It was so beautifully set up, executed and presented that it could have been a portrait taken in 1900 not 2011. To be a really great photographer you've got to know lighting, and no amount of postproduction will save you if you haven't got that right. It was one hundred per cent the best picture in the competition."
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