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5 Tips for Improving Your Chances on Photo Contests

July 19, 2015

When it comes to winning a photo contest, the odds are definitely stacked against most people who enter. The reason is simple. Photos are generally easy to take and that means most photo contests will have hundreds of submissions, if not thousands. In order for your photo to even have a chance at winning, it absolutely needs to stand out from the crowd. Even the most well-run contest will have situations in which the photos are not given an overall, thorough inspection initially. To win, you need to make a big impression right away. To do that, consider these five tips. They are sure to help you improve your chances of success.

#1: Start with the Rules

One of the most common ways photo contests narrow down the potential entrants is to take out anyone that’s entered a photo that doesn’t match the requirements of the rules. These rules can be small things – such as a logo on someone’s shoe that’s present or the wrong lighting. Read through the contest’s rules very thoroughly before making the move forward.

#2: Choose an interesting composition

It’s the most important component of your photo and yet, most entrants never actually plan the composition of their photo very well. This is where it counts, though. Instead of placing the focal point of your shot in the center, put it off to the side. You can also shoot from a different angle, perhaps one that you haven’t tried before. Choose to shoot looking down on the subject rather than straight on or to the side. You can also get very close and fill the entire frame. Don’t go with your basic centered photo shoot if you can avoid it.

#3: Focus in on sharpness

Another fantastic way to make an impression and to stand out when it comes to photo contests is to zero in on sharpness. Sharpening the image will help it to stand out, creating a more visually appealing photo. Soft issues are often one of the easiest ways for a judge to overlook the picture for another. This is also one of the most common rules: soft images are often a violation. Take the time to learn how to make your images sharp. Generally, this means you’ll need to work with your camera and improve your skill.

#4: Put in the hard work

It takes time to get the best shot. This means taking time to plan, focus, shoot and re-shoot. You’ll stay up late, work hard at it, creating a million mistakes, and redo the project several times to get just the right look. You need to be willing to sacrifice some time and perhaps even some money to get the look you desire. You may need to bother people, get elbow-deep into the mud, or even have a lot of people staring at you to get the look you desire. Do it.

#5: Put some meaning and story into your shot

Another important way to make a statement is as simple as telling a story. The most effective photos are those that make a person stop, take stock of every detail of the photo, and then realize it has true meaning. Look for people, talking, interacting, struggling, or otherwise behaving in a way that shows a true image of “life.” Capture these moments and let the reader draw the details of the story on their own.

Creating the perfect photo isn’t easy, but when you do so, you’ll increase your chances of winning that photo contest. While you may walk away with a reward, you’ll always get an exceptional experience when you put the work in to get the shot.