The Importance Of Entering Photo Contests!
June 6, 2008 10:59am CST
My advice for anyone who wants to improve their photography skills, and especially those who want to pursue a career in photography, is to enter photo contests! Enter as many as you can, whenever you can! The experience will definitely help you to improve your work! Plus, it is a fantastic way to get your name out there and get noticed! I know a very successful wedding photographer who says the best advertising she ever got was due to entering photo competitions! Even if you don't think you have a chance of winning, still enter! I entered a photo contest once for a wildlife magazine. I didn't think my work was nearly as good as the winners of the same contest the previous year, but since there was no entry fee, I figured I had nothing to lose. The grand prize winner of the contest received $200. There were 10 first place winners that each received $100, 10 2nd place winners that each received $75 and 10 3rd place winners that each received $50. So I figured at best I could win some money, at worst I'd win nothing... but still gain the experience! So I went for it! The winners of the contest were announced, and none of my photos were among them. However, a year later, I received an e-mail from the publisher of the magazine who sponsored the contest. He wanted to know if he could use one of the photos I entered in the contest in his magazine, and he would pay me $200 for it. So even though my photo was not selected as a winner, I still got my photo published in a magazine AND I ended up getting paid as much as the grand prize winner of the contest! There are lots of free photo contests out there or photo contests will small entry fees. A great way to find these contests is to visit shutterbug.net and click on the tab that says "Contests". They list different photo contests by month and what the entry fee is if there is any! Plus often local state or county fairs will have photography competitions. Also, local camera clubs will also do things like have gallery shows and photo contests! Definitely something to look into! The experience you get from entering photo contests is very beneficial! Plus, you often have the chance to win camera equipment and cash prizes! You also often have the chance to have your images published! It is an excellent way to get your name out there and start getting people interested in your work! But remember to ALWAYS read all of the terms and conditions before entering your photos! Make sure the contest is legit and that you're not giving away any rights to your photos! So, have any of you guys entered any photography competitions? Share your experiences and success stories! Or share any photography tips you've picked up along the way!
• United States
6 Jun 08
Thanks for the tips! I'm always on the lookout for free photography contests. I won one once before. It was funny because there were 5 placings. The first place won a scanner, and then there were 4 other prizes. I didn't think my photo was going to win because I only had a film point and shoot (this is before most people had digital cameras because even a 2 megapixel point and shoot cost nearly $1,000). Well, each week a winner was announced. I already had a nice scanner, so I wasn't sad as I saw that prize go by. I watched the next 3 people win. And then I stopped checking the website because I figured I did not win. And a few weeks later, I received a notice in the mail that I won the last place... a Nikon CoolPix 800, the best digital camera money could buy at the time (and still a nice camera if you want to take some exceptional 2 megapixel photos). I was so excited. I used that camera to take over 10,000 photos. I took photos for the rabbit rescue, for the humane society, for the guinea pig rescue, and for other groups as well to help get pets adopted on the internet since digital saved time from having to scan in photos (and saved money from all that film and developing). If I didn't win that camera, it probably would have been at least 2-3 more years before a digital camera would have been affordable to me. I've also entered local contests. One I didn't win because they thought the photo was photoshopped just because it was digital and it was so perfect. And then another time I was the only entrant so that didn't feel like much of a win. The only recent photo contest I won was one for a pet store, where I won a $100 gift card. I ended up donating it to a rescue since I buy everything for my own pets at the feed store. But it's always nice to win even if you can't use the prize yourself.
• United States
7 Jun 08
That is so awesome that you do so much work with small animal rescues! I am currently in the process of adopting a mouse from a local rodent rescue! I also volunteer at a pet adoption center that helps find homes for dogs, cats, reptiles, rodents, and any other type of pet you can think of! The center also helps raise money for local rescue groups.
• United States
7 Jun 08
Oh that is so cool that you are adopting a mouse. I've fostered rats before for a rat rescue, but never had a mouse here yet. Maybe someday. :) I still foster for the guinea pig rescue and do a lot of photos for them. I also volunteer with a marine mammal rehab center. They had a photo contest so that their calendars would have nice photos, and I was shocked on that one that my photo made the cover. They have a lot of professional photographers who volunteer, so I was quite pleased to have that honor.