Award Winning Photographer! Well, not quite.

It must be very confusing for those outside of the photographic industry to work out which photographer to hire. After all, how do you decided which is best? How do you even define what “best” means? One sure-fire way is to look for photographers who have won prestigious awards. Surely, if there has been some form of international recognition for a photographer it must mean that they are good?

Well it ain’t neccesarily so.

I know of one wedding photographer, based locally, who proudly proclaims that he has been recognised as being the best wedding photographer in his county in an international competition. The only fly in the ointment is the fact that he is the only wedding photographer listed for his county! As if that wasn’t bad enough, the award is based on a popular vote – you post a link on your website, on your Facebook page and you spam your mates by email to get them to vote for you. The person with the most votes wins. Or to put it another way, the person with the most friends wins. I suppose it also helps when you are the only photographer in the county. It’d be embarrassing to come second!

You see, there are awards and then there are awards – you need to look beyond the hype and the marketing hokum. Investigate what the ‘award’ means. Is it something that is nationally or internationally recognised like the Kodak Awards, or the PPA Grand Awards, or is it a shallow marketing exercise where the winners have to buy their trophies and certificates?

Similarly, you quite often see examples of photographers proudly proclaiming that they are “bronze award winners” with organisations such as the SWPP. This is utter nonsense – it is rather like claiming that the photographer came third in their local camera club competition.

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