How to Win Photography Competitions

how to win photography competitions

How to Win Photography Competitions

Perhaps winning a photography competition is your pathway to an exciting career as a photographer or you need to get your hands on some camera kit. Maybe your family are driving you mad and you see photography as your way to get out of the house.

Whatever your motivation for entering photography competitions here are a few tips we have put together to help you achieve your goal!

1. Read the Rules

read the rules

Don’t break the rules! Some competitions only allow for slight image manipulation, mild dodging and burning and change of colour cast but anything more could disqualify your work. Are the portraits you entered accompanied by a model release form? What about the geographic location, some contests restrict entries from photographers living in other countries. Read the rules first and you could save yourself a heap of time.

2. Understand the Terms and Conditions

understand the rules

It’s in your interest to understand the terms and conditions of any contests you are entering. The worst case scenario is when you enter your image and find out the contest organisers end up owning your work! This is called a “Rights Grab”. You need to check that you maintain the rights to your image and the organisers of any contest can only use your entry in conjunction with the competition.

3. Make sure your picture fits the brief

fit the brief

If the theme or brief for the competition is “Winter Landscape” don’t send a picture of your cat sleeping on the mat. It may be a great image and worthy of an award or two but if it does not fit the brief chances are it will be disqualified.

4. Think about the judges

Photography competition judges

If you know who the judges are for your competition you can tailor your entries to best reflect their tastes. You will, of course, need to spend some quality time researching the judges likes and dislikes. As a side note, anyone who knows me knows I love black and white imagery!

5. Gather some inspiration

be inspired by other photographers

Before you start your quest for the winning image have a look around the web for inspiration to those creative juices flowing. You may not like what you see but it will give you a good starting point, even if it’s what NOT to do!

6. Make your image stand out

An image that holds the judge’s attention for just a few seconds longer than the average picture will have a good chance of success. Put some time and effort into your shot, don’t just pull an image from your archive and hope for the best. Get out there and create something exciting and fresh. Imagine yourself as a photojournalist trying to tell a story and produce an in-depth body of work around the competition theme.

7. Get a second opinion

get a photographers second opinion

Getting a second opinion from another photographer is a great way to confirm you have chosen the right image. Perhaps you can give your photographer friend the short list of images and let them choose for you!

8. The Journey is the prize

The Journey is the Prize

We all love to win but don’t sweat it too much. Getting out there and shooting for the fun of it really is the prize! Enjoy!


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