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How to Enter and Win Photography Contests

Updated on July 8, 2014
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One of the better ways of improving ones photography as well as to get name recognition is often to enter a photography contest, better yet if one actually wins the competition. There are no secret weapons or one size fits all approaches. However,there are some things that you can do in order to better your chances of winning.

First of all all contest have rules and regulations. They can in relation to the subject matter, the size of the images, medium such a color, black & white, digital or film. Learn these rules and requirements before you enter the contest. Submitting images that do not follow the regulations is probably a waste of time since they are more than likely to be excluded outright.

Choose contests that are realistic for you. A contest featuring photographs of the Himalayas is not realistic if you can't go there. National and international contests will attract more quality photographers than local ones, so choose appropriately and be fair in judging your chances..

The overwhelming majority of photographic contest have themes; landscapes, nature, children, emotions and so on. Understanding the theme is vital for if you send in pictures that do not fit the theme, yet again, your images will probably not be considered. A good idea is to browse current photographic magazines and the web for samples of photographs that fit the theme. By the way, a quick way to find photography contests is to search the web.

Once you feel comfortable that your images fit the theme, follow the rules, are pleasing, and technically sound, then the next step will be to choose a few which you think are the best. This is key, do not submit more images than you need to specially if you are not even sure that they are good images.

Once you have selected a few good shots share them with some friends, family and ask them to rated them for overall quality, technique, pleasing elements and so on. A simple trick is not to divulge to those to whom you are showing the images that they are yours as many times family and friends will be too kind in order not to hurt your feelings and tell you that they are good when in reality they do not think so.

Keep working on satisfying the requirements of the contest like the theme, and keep taking photographs until the submission deadline. With this said, a good rule of thumb is to submit your selections at the beginning of the contest. This usually gives those who will be judging them more time to really evaluate them and those who send in their submission early have less competition, at least at the onset, but at least your images are in the mindset of the judges; they will have been seen more often than those that come after.

Another good approach to take is to take pictures that in one way or another stimulate the senses or awakens feelings. Regardless of the theme for the contest, most seek images that do either or both of these two things.

If your images are accepted then something worthwhile doing is to promote them if the contest allows. Keep in mind that the majority of contests take audience's votes or impressions and comments about photos seriously into consideration. Use several social sites to promote them and hopefully your social visitors will take the time to vote or at least comment.

Approach the contest with an open mind. Think positive but be realistic that there will always be those who have more experience and better technique than you and if you do not win you can take comfort if your images were accepted and viewed by those who matter. Next time the same organizers who set up one particular contest may end up doing another, which is usually the way these contests work and they will be familiar with your work.

Take rejection as a learning activity and be your own worst critic. Seriously dwell on why your images did not get selected or why they did not win. Look for ways of improving them and be ready when the next contest comes along.

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© 2012 Luis E Gonzalez

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