Helpful ProTips To Win Photography Competitions

Posted on: 20th March 2013

Photography CompetitionsJoining photography competitions is the best way to improve your skills. While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it doesn’t hurt to know the inside scoop in photography from a professional’s discerning perspective so that you can produce pictures that can be displayed in winning shelves. Raise the bar as a photographer with these helpful pro tips for an award-winning photo.

How to win photography competitions


  1. Stay true to the theme.


More often than not, entrants submit photos that fall nowhere near the allowed topic of the competition. You must determine the rules, both inside and out, and stick to it. Aside from the subject, be sure to check other vital special instructions about colour balance, exposure, allowed modifications, file format, etc.  Of course, photography is not a rigid form of art so there are endless interpretations to a single topic. Nevertheless, you have to be focused on the target. If not, all your hard work might go to waste.


For example, if the theme is ‘The Meaning of Life’, you might come up with a million ideas to portray it the best way you can. You might even be overeager to come up with a straight illustration or an abstract take that would honestly reflect your own life. Then again, the audience, especially the judges, might not even take the slightest hint you want your picture to represent so you risk losing the purpose.


  1. Do not be afraid to break the rules.

This might be conflicting with the first tip but the truth is, there really are no hard and fast rules to be able to produce an excellent photo. In the end, it is up to the viewers whether they would deem your photo easy on the eye or downright horrible. For example, the rule of thirds is one of the most basic photography techniques that budding photographers and professionals alike should be aware of.

It is okay if you want to experiment beyond that but you have to tread the line carefully. You might end up with an image that stumps even the regular folks. The key to a winning image is to know all the photography rules like the back of your hand and then choose the ones you want to break to help you produce a picture that will produce a greater impact.


  1. Simplicity is never out of style.


Even if you find it too hard not to submit a picture that conveys a lot of message all at once or a photo that has many complex meanings, resist it. You want your entry to stand out but still be able to tell a clear story without creating a massive headache in the part of the viewers.


Simplifying your image is not just about decreasing the amount of objects in it. For example, it might be difficult to adopt a minimalist style when your subject is a pastoral landscape. This might be achievable if you reduce the number of saturated colours or tones. The limited palette can in turn enhance the beauty and tranquillity you want your picture to characterize.


  1. Endeavour technical brilliance.


Even if you want the audience to look beyond any technical imperfection your photo might possess and admire its true beauty, you should also consider that you will be up against some genius photographers. Your passion for your convictions is admirable but even small slip-ups the judges will notice might cost you precious points that could mean victory or loss.


Originality and creativity can compensate for some mistakes but don’t bet on it even if you are armed with the most modern cameras your money can buy. Like physics, photography is a calculated discipline that values aspects such as exposures, focal distances, refractive indexes, etc.


  1. The X Factor will get you ahead the pack.



Sometimes, even after following all the guidelines or being discreet about breaking some of the rules, you cannot figure out what seems to be missing in your photo. You find your picture still wanting of that X factor that would put you on the lead of the competition. Whether it is originality, technical superiority, or the ability to make instant connection to the viewer – you have to find that special ingredient or the invisible link to get the stamp of approval of all the judges.


These photography contests tips can lead you to sweet success but also make a mental note of the following:


  • Avoid advertising a particular logo, trademark, or brand name.
  • If you did not win, accept defeat graciously and keep your chin up.
  • Evaluate the winning combination that your opponent has employed.
  • If you did win, do not stop there. Build up your brand by entering another competition. All the glory and prestige will soon fade in time but the challenges hurdled and the lessons acquired are priceless.


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