How Do I Enter A Photography Contest

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The Cyberspace has brought an influx of photo contests. Information technology seems similar every blogger, lensman and “momtog” is putting upwards a photo contest.

Equally a serious photographer, how can you know which ones to submit to, and if you exercise choose to submit to one, how to maximize your chances of winning? Here is everything you need to know about photo contests.

What Is the Purpose of Photo Contests?

For the professional photographer, what purpose exercise photograph contests serve? Tin they assistance you grow your business or gain customers? Are yous in the competition simply for the prize?

The respond to this question is going to vary depending on your goals. For some, a photo contest is a chance to gain marketing exposure. Getting your name out there as the winner of a prestigious competition is one fashion to increase your exposure. For others, the goal is the prize, which may be in the grade of gear or even greenbacks.

If you are a professional who is earning money through your photography, existence able to say that you won a detail competition can help you proceeds more customers. People pay attending when someone has been called the “best of,” even if in that location is no good reason to practice so. If you are looking to gain exposure, winning a photo contest is a not bad mode to exercise information technology.

For others, the prize may be the goal. If you lot are in it to win a prize, make sure the competition really offers one. Know what the prize is and if information technology is worth your efforts before you sign up.

Read the Terms Carefully

Before you sign up for whatever photo contest, be sure you sympathize the terms and conditions. The organizations who put out photo contests don’t practise information technology simply for the beloved of photography. They often accept their own calendar, and you need to sympathise the function your photo plays in that.


For example, the Smithsonian Photo Contest has a $5,000 grand prize and no entry fee. This can exist quite tempting to an up-and-coming photographer, but if you lot read the terms and weather condition, y’all will come across this:

“By inbound the contest, entrants grant the Smithsonian Institution a royalty-free, worldwide, perpetual, not-exclusive license to brandish, distribute, reproduce and create derivative works of the entries … The Smithsonian Institution volition not exist required to pay any additional consideration or seek whatsoever additional approval in connectedness with such uses.”

Read that again. Is that the kind of license you want to requite up on your art with only a slight chance of compensation? If so, then by all ways join the contest, just if you value the correct to your art, you may want to retrieve twice. Earlier putting an image in any photo contest, know how it is used and what rights you are giving abroad past doing so.

Now, most photo contests volition take some rights to the winning photograph, and most photographers would be happy to sell the rights for the cash or gear prize. All the same that does non mean the grant needs to exist a perpetual license, nor does information technology hateful that all entrants should have their rights stripped. Finally, make sure that the agreement does non grant third-party use of your epitome without your limited, written permission.

Finally, look at the toll. Some photograph contests are free, simply many are cleverly disguised as income-generating vehicles for the parent company. Paying a fee is not necessarily a bad thing, only brand certain you know what it is and are willing to enter for that cost.

Every bit you read through the terms and atmospheric condition, try to understand what the purpose of the competition is. Oft, knowing the purpose will show y’all quite a bit about whether or non the contest is something you desire to participate in.

Know the Rules

Before submitting for any contest, take a careful wait at the rules. Know what the borderline for submission is, including the time, and how judging volition accept place. Learn what file formats are acceptable, how much photo manipulation is immune and the size of the file you can send.


The last thing you’d want to do is send an image that is cropped to the incorrect ratio or send a RAW file when just JPG are adequate and become butterfingers as a result.

Do’s and Don’ts of Photo Contests

If yous are because signing up for a photo competition, consider these do’s and don’ts.


  • Consider your goal – Do you desire to win the prize, or acquire something to assist your photography? Will you be able to achieve your goal? For instance, if you desire to grow as a photographer but the competition will not provide feedback, information technology may not be worth entering.
  • Read the terms and weather condition – Give careful attention to the rights.
  • Await at past winners – Viewing the by winners volition assistance yous know if your way and techniques are a skillful fit for the judges.
  • Read the rules – Know how to properly submit for the contest.
  • Calibrate your monitor – Why throw away your chances with an image that has poor color residue? Calibrate your monitor to ensure that the colors on your screen volition match the print or the judge’s screen.
  • Have a quality epitome – Don’t submit sub-par work. On the rare take chances that y’all win, that piece of work will be fastened to your name for many years.
  • Ship a quality paradigm – If your prototype needs to be reduced in size to fit the parameters of the contest, brand sure yous do and so properly. Ship the largest file allowed, and brand certain that you check the file for pinch issues before sending.
  • Make clean upward your image (if allowed) – We live in a digital world, and most of the images in the contest will be altered slightly. If digital manipulation is immune, exercise it!
  • Use the required gear – Some contests volition specify what lenses or other gear should be used. Follow these specifications.
  • Submit the appropriate information – Your contest may want to know what settings and gear you used or may crave an essay. Submit all required information when submitting your image.

These are all great tips, simply remember not to fall victim to the following errors. When entering a photo contest.



  • Enter something that isn’t yours – Claiming someone else’s work every bit your own is stealing, so don’t practise information technology.
  • Manipulate images too much – Read the rules carefully, and try to keep your retouching to bones retouching, not actual manipulation, depending on the terms of contest.
  • Take information technology personally – Photography is art. The judges are people with their ain ideas most that art. Don’t have their opinions as well personally.
  • Enter images that don’t fit – Most photo contests have highly specific goals and image requirements. Don’t enter images that aren’t a good fit. You are wasting your time and the judges’ time.
  • Submit a poor essay – If your competition requires an essay, take the fourth dimension to proofread information technology. Information technology needs to look professional, but like your image.
  • Permit personal fear continue y’all from entering – Information technology’s piece of cake as an creative person to ever second-judge your abilities. Don’t let your personal fear keep you from inbound any contest. You only might have a winning prototype to submit!

Recall, a contest tin can help your reputation, only information technology can as well hurt it. Find a quality contest to enter and see where information technology takes you.

Popular Contests to Consider

If you take decided that photo contests volition help yous reach your personal and professional photography goals, and then the next footstep is to choose the right one to enter.


This is non an exhaustive list, simply it is a good place to get started on the search for a contest to enter. Each of these contests has been rated highly for its depression entry fees, clear judging process, fair usage rights and excellent prize packages.

  • Red Balderdash Illume Image Quest – This international competition is focused on the globe of sports and action gamble photography. It has no entry fee and rewards the winner with new gear.
  • Earth Press Photograph Competition – Another international competition, this one awards x,000 euros to the winning photograph and costs nothing to enter. Winners are placed in a worldwide exhibit.
  • Sony Earth Photography Awards – With categories for professionals, amateurs and youth, the Sony Earth Photography Awards is a free contest with a hefty $25,000 grand prize.
  • The Open up – As its proper name implies, The Open is open to all photographers, and offers a big cash prize, with a pocket-sized entry fee.
  • The Wild animals Photographer of the Year – This U.1000.-based contest offers an award of 10,000 pounds and costs 20 pounds to enter up to 20 images, but images must be of the natural earth.
  • Travel Lensman of the Year – Some other U.K. contest, this one focuses on travel photography and offers a range of prizes from unlike sponsors. Toll to enter is 10 pounds.
  • International Photography Awards – This contest awards $10,000 and the title “International Photographer of the Year” to the winner. The cost to enter is $35.
  • National Geographic Photo Competition – Equally if getting your image printed in National Geographic Mag is not reward plenty, winners of this famous contest earn up to $7,500 and a 3-24-hour interval trip to Washington D.C. Cost to enter is $15.

If you are considering entering a photograph competition, hither’s a terminal tip: Choose ane or two contests and stick with those until you have mastered their rules. Because of the diverseness in rules and regulations in this industry, it is piece of cake to get dislocated. Keep it simple, and watch your photography amend as you embrace the world of photograph contests.

Writer’s Bio:
Ashley Reeder is the Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships at Nations Photo Lab, a leading professional person photo lab that specializes in a wide range of print options for hobbyists likewise as professionals. Acquire more than past visiting their site at


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