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How to enter and win digital photography contests online

Updated on January 23, 2010

If you enjoy digital photography, why not try and get your work out there. It is very rewarding to have other people look at it and appreciate it. And if you can win prizes with it too, even better.

No need to feel overwhelmed if you feel you are just an amateur, there are lots of digital photography contests online, for professionals and amateurs alike. So get out your camera and start surfing! 

Since there are an endless variety of contests you can have a look around and maybe submit some photos that you already made. Or you can go out and take a new photo. Find photo categories that suit you and in which you have some experience (like for example nature, portraits, or art). Or go out and experiment by finding categories which you have not tried before (maybe fashion photography, art photos, or photoshop art). This way you can expand your skills, and who does not love a good challenge?

Steps to photo contest success

- Find online contests that interest you. Since there are so many, this should not be too difficult. Try and google ‘digital photography contest’, ‘travel photo contest’, ‘pet photography contest’.

- Have a good look at what is expected of you, look at the photo contest rules. So in what format do you have to send in photos, how many photos you are allowed to send in, what the deadline is, what you can win. And of course you want to know exactly what the theme is, what do they expect of the award winning photo. Also check what the photo might be used for, and whether you will still have ownership of it after you send it in. And it is often forbidden to use the photo you send in for other purposes. So check this and make sure you don’t send 1 photo in to 2 different contests.

- Check out your competition. Also see if you can find the winning photos of previous competitions. This might give you a good idea of what is expected and what you are up against. Don’t try and let those photos discourage you though. What they can do, you can do better! Looking at previous winners and the comments the judges gave on their photos, will also show you what the photos are being judged on. All this can help you in deciding which photos to send in.

Now decide on the photos to send in

- If you decide to send in photos you already made before. Go look through them, decide which ones you find award winning material. Then find contests for which they are appropriate.

- If a contest inspires you to shoot some new material, go and do that. You can randomly go out and shoot some material. For example, when the theme is ‘city life’, just walk around town and shoot as many quality images as you can of the things that catch your eye. Once back home, select the ones you like best.

You can also plan your photo. Think about it, and decide what you want. Make a few sketches to work out your idea, and think about how to execute it. If you stick to the city life example, you could decide you want to photograph the local mall where smoking teenagers with their scooters hang around next to the elderly men smoking pipes and sitting in their electrical wheelchairs. So go there, and take some pictures. Be sure to ask the people in the pictures for permission. It is might also be a good idea to come back at different times and different days. Because of different weather and light conditions, this can bring an entirely different atmosphere to the same place.

- The next step is to submit, and wait for the outcome of the contest. Even if you don’t win, always check out the winning photos and their feedback. This can give you insight in why the judges liked that particular photo, and you can learn from it. Study the winning photos. Why did the photographer take it like that, what details jump out. Also try and ask the judges for feedback on your photos, to help you improve for the next time. Their are also a lot of photography forums where people will be willing to give you feedback and some great tips.

- Now take what you have learned and move on to the next contest, and the next win. Even though it might take a while, if you keep trying and improving yourself, eventually you will win!


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    • profile image

      LizzyJean 7 years ago

      I like to take pictures and I am getting better at it. I might give a few contests a try.

      Thanks for sharing,


    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 7 years ago from the short journey

      Interesting read...thanks for putting it together so nicely.