How to Win a Photo Contest?

Posted: December 14, 2011 in career tips
Tags: , , ,

Photography contests are awesome ways to improve your photography skills. While photography can be a fun hobby, joining a competition will take your skills to the next level. Photo contests come in a variety of sizes and shapes from assignments through local competitions to friendly online competitions. Here are easy tips on how you can win a photo contest.

Compete according to the rules.

While rules can be very boring to read, they are the most important aspects of the competition. There are two primary reasons for this:

  • How will the photos be used? Every competition uses images differently and it would be crucial to consider the implication of this.
  • You can easily lose a contest by violating rules. One of the most frustrating things about contests is that you could see a lot of beautiful entries submitted incorrectly and not considered for a prize. Read the guidelines of the photo contest and find out the number of shots you can submit, what file format they should be in and etc.
Make sure you stick with the theme.

While judges make way for creativity and theme interpretation, they definitely will not allow photos that stray away from the competition’s theme. Images leave plenty of imagination to judges and how they relate to each. Try to shoot something with the photo contest in mind.

Do your homework.

It is amazing how research and logical thinking increases your chances of winning a contest. It you are joining an annual competition, try to look at the winning pieces from the previous years. These photos can offer you valuable hints and clues as to which images do well in the competition. If the contest features a major sponsor or is managed by an organization, this can also give you a hint as to what type of images they are searching. If you know the judges, it would be wise for you to study their work and familiarize yourself with their styles.

Avoid clichés.

If the contest features a theme, then there could be a fine line between an awesome shot and a predictable cliché. Judges will be viewing hundreds or thousands of photos and if your photo is just like everyone else’s, then you may not get into their radar. Stand out from the competition by choosing striking colors, compelling subjects and strong competition.

Try to aim for technical brilliance.

If a photo isn’t perfectly focused, strongly composed or brilliantly exposed, then make sure you take another one. Never settle for mediocre images because the judges won’t.

Get into emotions.

Award-winning photos tend to connect to the judges and the people who are looking at the image. Tell them a story, evoke their emotions and connect with the people’s feelings. Fantastic shots without a soul will only leave judges wanting for more.

These are just a few tips that you can apply on your next photo contest. Happy shooting!


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