Photo Contest Insider Blog


Our Top Tips for Entering Photography Competitions

January 24, 2018

Photo Contest Insider is home to the world’s largest collection of photo contests, with well over 100,000 photographers tuning into our weekly newsletters to find out about the latest and greatest competitions.

While we’ve covered photo contest tips on our website, we thought it’d be great to narrow these down to those of utmost importance, in order to help you put your best foot forward and increase your chances of winning!

So, here are our top tips for entering photography competitions. Let’s get started!

Read the Guidelines Thoroughly

You can guarantee that those who win a photo contest (or even who place second and third) have submitted all of the relevant information when they originally entered. Photographers who miss a necessary submission element here or there dramatically decrease their chances of even having their entry considered.

That’s why it’s very important to read the contest’s guidelines, terms, or conditions thoroughly, to ensure that you understand exactly what is required from you. Here are some of the things you’ll want to determine or take into consideration:

  • The size of the photo being submitted – both in terms of pixels and megabytes
  • Any rules regarding modification (some will only permit you to modify colour balance and exposure, crop or resize the photo, some will permit full modifications, and others will not permit any at all.)
  • The format of your submission. Do they prefer it in JPEG or TIFF? Does the photo have to be digital, printed, submitted via email? Etc.
  • Can you enter more than one photo, or just a single submission?
  • Does the contest have a specific theme?
  • Are you eligible to enter the contest (i.e. are there age or location restrictions?)
  • Does your submission have to have been taken at a specific time (i.e. a month or year)?

When it comes to entering your work into photo contests, it’s best to be as prepared as possible!

Do Your Research

You can also put your best foot forward when entering a photo contest by doing some simple, yet effective, research beforehand. For example, if the contest has been running before, you should check out who the previous winners were and what their submission entailed. This gives you a great idea of the type of quality the judges are looking for.

Speaking of judges, it also wouldn’t hurt to research who they are and what they do. What particular imagery or themes are they interested in the most? What has their past entailed? While judges often partake in a contest without any bias or favouritism, it certainly can’t hurt to know more about the people who will be judging whether your image is a winner or not.

Select Your Most Suitable Image

Often, photographers enter a contest knowing that they have the perfect image in mind to submit. Other times, a photographer may have to use something already in their portfolio, but struggle to determine which photo would be best.

This can be one of the hardest parts of entering a photo contest, however there is always help on hand. Ask your friends and family for their opinions, or look to Facebook photography groups and forums to seek-out the advice and critique of your fellow photographers. Their insight could prove to be vital!

In our previous advice, we explained: “you should always submit your best work. Make sure it is strong in composition, exposure and focus. Try different perspectives and angles and don’t be afraid to break the compositional rules from time to time.”

Plan Your Submission Carefully

Some photo contests may require you to capture a whole new photo altogether to submit, and while this can seem daunting, it actually gives you a chance to start from scratch and produce a winning entry. We know what you’re thinking though: what if I go to all of that effort just to receive nothing? Yet here’s the thing: even if you don’t end up winning the contest, you’ve still put in extra practice and grown as a photographer. Plus, you now have a brand-new photo to add to your portfolio (that could even be used in other photo contests if it meets the requirements).

It’s also a really valuable skill to be able to take a brief and create a photo meeting those guidelines, so you can actually give yourself a pat on the back – regardless of whether you win or not.

Have Fun

Last but not least, we urge you to find the fun in entering your work in photo contests, rather than being dragged-down by any non-wins. Imagine just how many people enter each photo contest, particularly those offering incredible prizes such as huge sums of cash, holidays, or new equipment.

Use the experience to better yourself as a photographer and you’ll come out as a winner anyway.

There you have it – our top tips for entering photography competitions! Will you be entering any of the amazing contests available on our site? Best of luck if you do!


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