Photography contests are a great way to have fun, improve your picture-taking skills, and win prizes. Best of all, you don’t have to have a lot of expensive equipment or be a professional to win. These tips will help you take amazing pictures with a higher chance of winning photo competitions.
Read the Rules Carefully
When you want just to start shooting, it’s not a lot of fun to stop to read through a bunch of legalese.
If you’re going to enter photo contests, though, it’s worth the time to read the rules carefully.
Many contests have special requirements about the photographs they’ll accept.
For example, many contests won’t accept entries that contain any brand names or logos.
That means that the wrong t-shirt or a logo in the background of your shot could disqualify you.
And you’d never know if you didn’t read the rules. I’m The Baby! shares Gerber’s baby contest guide and tips which is a worthy read to participate in the contest.
Check the Judging Criteria
While you’re checking out the rules to make sure you qualify to win, also check the criteria that the judges will use to pick the winner.
Is technical prowess the most important quality of a winning shot?
Or maybe they want something that’s funny, touching, or super creative?
If you can tailor your photo to match what the judges are looking for, your chances of winning will be much higher.
Are you able to use Photo Editing Software?
Use the Sponsor’s Products in the Shot, When Appropriate
When possible, and when it fits the contest’s theme, try to incorporate the sponsor’s products in your picture.
For example, if a fabric softener company is sponsoring a baby photo contest, try laying your child on top of your dryer (safely!), wrapped in a soft yellow blanket with a bottle of their fabric softener in the background.
In most cases, sponsors are more likely to select winners whose photos help their advertising efforts.
Improve Your Technique
You don’t need to be a pro to win photo contests, but there are some simple ways to improve your photography techniques (and following them will often improve the score your photos get from judges).
Watch Your Background
I can’t even describe how often I’ve taken a great shot, only to be unable to enter it into a contest because something in the background doesn’t look right.
So before you click that button, make sure that everything looks right. Learning how to see the world as your camera can help with this.
Experiment with Distance
A common beginner’s mistake is to take a picture from too far away, including too much irrelevant background.
Many times, coming in close and letting your subject fill the shot will give you a more moving photograph.
If your original shot is too distant, cropping the photo could achieve the same result.
On the other hand, some of my favorite photos feature a stunning background with the subject showing up as a small part of a broader shot.
Experimenting with distance gives you more options for the shot you’ll submit into your contest.
It’s a great way to come up with something unique.
Tell a Story with Your Picture
Most contests have some kind of theme. It may be a one-word theme like “gold” or something more philosophical like “the meaning of life.”
In any case, make your entry stand out by not just sticking to the theme, but actually telling a story with your shot.
If you are invited to submit a title and a caption, these can be used to reinforce your story.
To see why making your photos stand out from the crowd is so important, read this article: Advice from a Photo Contest Judge on dpmag.com.
There are various factors that need to be considered.
From the above explanations, it is evident that no single tip will guarantee success.
All the tips should work together if the best results to be achieved.
Provided that you adhere to the requirements as indicated, you should expect nothing less than excellence.