Interview with Martin Krystynek About his Experience of Photo Awards

As the second episode of our new blog series which is called “Award-winning Photographers”, we had the chance to ask Martin Krystynek about his experience of photo awards.

Martin Krystynek is an award-winning portrait photographer with a very special visual style.

Why do you find that important to participate in a photo award?

Participating in photo awards is for me something like satisfaction, I know, that judges are professionals and recognize good work, and photo competition is good way to acknowledge your work and to make it recognized by others if it is successful.


How do you decide which of your work will be submitted?

Photo competition is good school for me, every competition has other goals, other judges, so I choose carefully where to submit my photos and how I choose them. Many of my awarded pictures will never win some other competition, because they are more focused to reportage or art, my pictures are more portraits/fashion. I`m reading rules, looking last edition winners and then I choose if participate or not and which pictures.


Which awards do you prefer to participate?

I know many photographers participating in awards, so I try to check their pictures, their choices and if they are satisfied and recognized worldwide, I will participate in next edition. Other important choice is money awards and worldwide exhibitions. Nobody want an award, if it is only online, with no money prize and with no exposure.


Do you think photo descriptions are important part of a submission or do you let your images talk for themselves? If you think description is important then what are your main guidelines?

I never write description under my photos; I think photo should be strong enough to tell a story or to make viewer or judge to stop when see your photo.

I am also judge in some competitions, and I have to tell that description is not so important for me, if the photo doesn’t have “wow effect”. Of course, in reportage /documentary photos sometimes you need to read what is written under photos to understand better what is going on. But for me is always important WOW effect and if the picture is strong.


By winning a price, is your work get more exposed?

By winning a price your work gets more exposed of course, I have to say, that many prints sales were after winning some awards. I see, that my social media grows every time I win something, more of my fans are from other countries. Also, many photographers ask some advice, some info and very often we became good friends and we share our passion to photography.


Do you have expectations when you enter an award?

Everybody have expectations when entering awards, so I have too. Often, I was disappointed when my photo was lost and not exposed worldwide, but this was my best school. I always came back and research my photos and winning photos and then I saw what was wrong and why my photos didn’t touch judges. This is most important for me when I don`t succeed, to find why and to admit my mistakes.

How did you feel about your first success?

My first winning photo was for me big success and big school for me. Paradoxically it was first and last winning entry in my country, after that I never succeed in my country again. At the exhibition I had many nice feedback, some personal talking about photo, how I made it, about technical skills and lightning, so I feel very honored.

Would you recommend to young photographers to try one of the competitions?

I will recommend it of course, it is big school for them, to compare own photos with best authors. Do not hesitate to contact your favorite photographer for some advice or for portfolio check. Meek (humble) photographer will always try to help you.


When you make a submission do you find sometimes hard to define the category you would like to compete in?

Depends on kind of photos, sometimes there are so many categories, that you have to read very carefully when you are uploading, sometimes there are only few categories where your photos does not fit well. Try to find competition, where it will be clear.


This award season is unfortunately formed by COVID very significantly. Many awards made it clear that they want to spend some of their submission incomes this year to charity. What is your opinion about it?

It is good idea to support also people in needs and affected by COVID. Income from competition in bigger awards is huge in my opinion, so charity id good way to help.


Martin Krystynek


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