The best part of competing in a photography contest is not only winning a prize, but getting a great platform to display your creativity. You have to prove how good you are with your work, before you can get some recognition and become a professional.
A winning entry in a photography contest is usually selected by a panel of judges based on various criteria. One of major criteria that a judge will look for in your photograph is the visual impact that it can make. The image should be such that it should demand attention. A fresh and imaginative approach to the image is as important as the style. In a contest, the judges will also evaluate the technical competence with which the photograph was taken, some of the areas of technical expertise being correct exposure, composition, contrast, and clarity. Lastly, to enhance the chances of you winning, ensure that the photographs you submit are printed in the highest quality.
Some of the categories that are generally available in free photography contests are as follows:
- People, Baby or Child
- Creative, Artistic or Digital Art
- Black and White
- Nature, Landscape or Seascape
- Macro, Abstract or Still Life
Here are some tips that you can use:
- The subject of the photograph should be chosen wisely. It will help if the entire photo, except the subject, is plain, so that the focus of the person viewing the photograph is immediately captured.
- Anticipate and plan out photo opportunities instead of waiting for a ‘great’ shot.
- You could also create a photograph from somebody else’s perspective, like a baby’s view out of its crib.
- Incorporate new angles, use different times of daylight, filters, and colored lighting to create new and innovative effects.
- It is important to constantly go through books, magazines, websites, and product catalogs to keep up with all the latest and new trends, and also pick up new ideas.
- It is always advantageous to use a tripod or a monopod to help increase the details and reduce the blur in the photographs.
- Your photograph must provide a compelling reason that will force a user to look at it. Other that the fact that your photograph must be really good, you can add a thought-provoking or an interesting title that will help grab the attention of the viewer further.
- The color combination should be such that it should capture an interesting color palette which is complementary and analogous.
With the help of silver, gold, and white reflectors, lightening can be improved. Further, ensure that you bounce your flash off the ceiling, as a direct flash creates ‘red eye’ and harsh shadows.
- Analyze the theme of the competition correctly before submitting your photographs. Further, you must make it a point to view the winning images in other competitions, and try to understand as to why they have been selected. Incorporate the positive qualities that you find in these entries into your photographs.
- When you have to submit a set of pictures for a competition, ensure that all the pictures are equally appealing, as a single bad picture can weaken your overall score considerably.
When you win a contest, notify your local newspapers with a press release. The press is always looking to publish good stories, and this free publicity will go a long way in increasing your credibility as a photographer, and will help you get work, which I guess is the aim of entering a contest, unless you enjoy photography as a hobby. All the best!