For the last 3 years, I have entered the Shoot & Share Contest. Its a completely free, but super fun photography contest. Anyone can enter and anyone can vote. It takes place in the first few months of the year and voting is a great way to pass the time during my down season. I do it for fun, but of course I want my images to place high. Every year, the contest has grown larger. There are 25 categories, half of which are wedding categories (which I don’t enter since I don’t shoot weddings.) The other are mainly portrait categories, like Kids, Teens & Seniors, Families, Styled sessions, etc. You can submit up to 50 images, which is what is called going “All In.” I always go all in! The contest is anonymous, meaning images are submitted without watermarks and you vote randomly. Each image is seen 48 times in each round and there are 12 rounds of voting in roughly a month period. Each round knocks out the lowest ranking images. The 12th round is the “Finalist” round, after that is “The Best of the Best”, which are the top 100 images in each of the 25 categories. The top 20 images in each category are announced and eventually there is 1 winner! Also, we don’t get to see how our images are doing until after the 1st place set of images are announced! So the only way to know if your images are still in the running is either seeing them yourself (or friends seeing them and telling you!) or by seeing your “heart” count increase, as you can favorite images during the voting process. The anonymity is part of what makes it equal parts exciting and frustrating, since we can’t see our ranking of our own images until its all over! 

This year, there were 413,000 images that were submitted! That’s HUGE! Out of my 50 images I submitted, 39 placed in the top 30% or higher of the entire contest. The highest I placed was in the finalist round. The previous 2 years I had images make it into the top 100. But as the contest grows, so does the level of images submitted. While I was disappointed my images didn’t do better, I am proud of how well they did considering the overall amount of images submitted and the overall amazing quality of the images. 

I placed 6 images in the finalist round, the highest image ranking 126/11,101 images! Not too bad, right? (Its the image of my Zoe in the fog with the red balloon.)

I had 17 images place in the top 10% of each category. 17!!!

11 of my images placed in the top 20%. 

And lastly, 5 of my images placed in the top 30% of their categories. 

I have to admit I was surprised that some images didn’t place higher than they did but that is the nature of the beast. Because anyone can vote, (they keep the contest family-friendly for this reason), the votes are based on taste. Meaning, art is subjective. My kids love voting with me and sometimes they do select the same images I would have, but sometimes they don’t. 

I’m looking forward to the 2019 contest and have already started pulling images to possibly submit! Stay tuned!

Which images of mine are YOUR favorite?? Comment and let me know!

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