Have you ever considered entering any of the competitions that we see either in our magazines or online?.
For me personally this is something that I will not consider. Allow me to explain, you see over many years I have looked at many images that have been entered by friends and others, and to me thay have been simply stunning. One amazing sport photographer I know had an unpleasant experience with a truly remarkable image he had taken of a racing motor cyclist. Encouraged by friends he entered it in a competition and waited. He was present when the judging took place and was rather baffled by the image that won which was a very mediocre image of a landscape, by all accounts it was nowhere near the quality of the pics we see in our gallery. While standing there taking this in, he overheard someone ask the judge who was in his 90's, what was wrong with the motor cycle racer photograph. The judge replied that a landscape looked nicer than a motor cycle. This judge also had a penchant for landscapes being a keen landscape phtographer himself.
So no matter how superior an image may be to anything else in a competition, if the subject is not looked upon with kindness by a judge or indeed judges, then it seems that their favourite subjects will always take precedence, even though quality may be an issue.
When I look at the amazing imagery in our gallery I know that many of them are more than capable of being outright winners in any competition, and indeed to me they seem far better than many so called prize winners. In the final analysis though, it's what the judges personally prefer that will win, not quality, subject, or composition.