10 Tips for Entering a Photo Contest

10 tips for entering a Photo Contest Photo Challenge
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Why enter a Photo Contest?

An excellent idea to promote your art and increase your visibility online is to win or place in a highly regarded photo contest. Many professional photographers today have competitions to acknowledge for assisting them on the road to a successful career.

Entering and winning a photo challenge is a fruitful business movement if you take it seriously. Each year photography periodicals distribute a wealth of prizes. If you add that to the benefits provided by other journals and organizations, you statistically have as much of a chance of winning as anyone else.

If you don’t want to waste your time and money, there are a few rules to keep in mind.

10 tips for entering a Photo Contest

Secrets to success:

  • Carefully choose the level of the photo contest according to your level of photography. Start with a primary photo contest; don’t start with a professional contest. You could also start by entering contests operated by non-photographic magazines or organizations. You want to enter a contest that will allow you the best chance of victory naturally. The standard of entry tends to be lower, always be aware of these contest levels.
  • Read and follow the guidelines! There is entirely no reason to put hard work into entering a contest if your photo doesn’t fit the expectations.
  • Produce something original so that it stands out. Only enter your very best work.
  • Disregard your first ideas, because they’re perhaps too apparent. Wait until you feel you have something truly original.
  • Only enter a photo challenge that appeals to you. Enjoy the subject!
  • Shoot pictures designed for the competition and consider ideas as far in advance as possible.
  • Use impact. Here are examples of effects that catch the attention of judges: humor, expression, color and shape. If your image incites viewers to ask questions, it is likely that the image has a solid story and could fare well in a contest.
  • Your images should be well exposed, composed and in focus. In other words, your photos have to be technically perfect. Don’t assume that the judges will consider your mistakes as a photographic genius.
  • With some photography periodicals, you can enter photo contests that take place over a long time period, such as a year. If you stagger in a category, you have the chance to catch up in subsequent weeks and secure the overall prize.
  • Test your photos with your friends and family before submitting them to the photo contest. Don’t take offense if they don’t like them; critics are always fruitful. Don’t share the photos on the internet as they would lose their originality.
Art Exhibition - socializing

Rules to watch out before entering a photo contest:

Most competitions are honorable. They desire to improve the standard of photography by giving prizes and acknowledgment to photographers. For that reason, rules often contain a clause regarding the use of the winning photographs. For example, the contest organizers may show the winning pictures without further payment to the photographer. Please note the section of rules that discusses winning pictures. Winning photographers are usually awarded a material prize as payment-in-kind for the use of the photo in a limited fashion. This award should not affect copyright, which should always remain with the photographer.

Avoid competitions where you may lose copyright of your images. Luckily, these situations are few and far between, but be aware of them to avoid mistakes. The use of pictures submitted to competitions can lead to the exploitation of photographers by organizers. This situation happens when the contest includes rules with phrases such as: “we reserve the right to use ALL images submitted.” If an image isn’t acceptable enough to win a prize but is enough to be used as an advertisement or other use, then the photographer should be paid for the use of the image. Payment may only be a token amount, the artist should receive restitution, and the copyright should be acknowledged. 

Enter photo contests, and you will have the opportunity to make a name for yourself and win prizes. The most crucial objective is to have fun! If you lose a photo challenge, don’t be discouraged. Keep pursuing and submitting images to photo contests.

Don’t miss the other articles in the “Tips and How To” category, dedicated to the Artists.

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