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Key Tips to Winning a Photography Contest

A Guest post by Nicholas Moeggenberg from moeglydesign.com.

Many photographers attempt to sell their photos on stock sites or at galleries to make some money off of their work. However, photography contests are a great way to earn some easy cash from photos you’ve taken and you can do it with a few simple clicks. This guide will take you through some simple steps that will greatly enhance your chances at winning an online photography contest.


Step 1: Find the right contest(s) for you


There are hundreds of photography contests out there, but instead of entering them all, find a few contests that you are particularly interested in. There are many sites that are easy and free to enter, such as the online photography contest May the Best Photo Win. If you feel that your strength is in portraiture, then do a Google search for “portrait photography contests”. Whatever your strength is, find a handful of contests with that theme or subject type and bookmark them. Try to vary the contests based on how they are setup. Don’t only have contests based on visitor votes, or solely on a panel of judges.

Step 2: Do Your Homework

Now that you’ve found a handful of contests you’d like to enter, study them. Many contests will have a gallery of previous winners or previous contests still posted. Take a look through these and see what quality the previous winning photos contain. Whether the contest is judged by a panel or by the visitors to the site, they will typically have a slight bias towards certain types of photos. You may find that the judges tend to prefer crisp, clean looking photos opposed to something more experimental and artsy. If a site is based on visitor votes, they may collectively enjoy landscapes opposed to portraits. Whatever it may be, you will find some sort of connection between the winning photos.

Step 3: Organize Your Collection


You should now have a list of contests you’re going to enter as well as an idea of what types of photos typically do well in them. Now it’s time to go through your collection of photos to determine which photo to enter into each contest. Find photos that you feel are strong in your collection and collect them into a folder. Now try to match those photos with the contest that you feel they would do best in based on what you know of the past winners. More than likely, you will have to touch up or do some reedits on some of those photos to match the theme or feel you’d like.

Step 4: Enter the contest(s)

You’re now ready to enter the contests that you’ve chosen! Contests will typically have a set start and end date for submissions, but submit your photo as soon as possible. This will allow your photo to get seen early on by the visitors and judges. It is scientifically proven that people can recall images that they see at the beginning or the end of a series of images much better than those in the middle; so make a point to get yours in the beginning. If the contest is based on visitor votes, this will allow you a longer time to promote your photo and acquire votes. This brings us to our next and final step…

Step 5: Promote


Promote your photo! The best way to do this is on social networking sites. Copy and paste the link to the contest on your Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, blog etc… and tell people to vote for your photo. Let them know what the prize is as well because they’ll be more inclined to help you if they know what they’re helping you win. Many people who enter these contests just submit their photo and check back at the end of the contest to see if they’ve won. If you are actively trying to get votes by friends, family and fans or your work, you have a much greater chance at taking home the prize.
If you find the right contest to enter, know the qualities of a winning photo, submit a photo with those qualities and promote it, you should have a great chance at winning. Remember these contests are for fun too. Even if you don’t take home the prize you will at least get great exposure to your work. Good luck and keep shooting!
Nicholas Moeggenberg is a web designer and photographer from Cincinnati, OH. Check out his work at moeglydesign.com.

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