You might think that the most important reason why you would submit your images to photo contests is to win. Of course, winning a photo contest would be great! You not only get a prize but you also receive meaningful recognition and acknowledgement.
But, for me at least, there is much more to entering photo contests than just the chance of winning. In fact, the chance of winning is secondary to the benefits you can get from simply participating.
Themed Photo Contests
Most good photo contests are themed. That is, the contest rules state that the photographs you enter must be on a specific subject or in a particular style. This can get you out taking types of photographs that you wouldn’t normally take. For example, one contest I recently entered specified the subject as ‘Plants in Black and White’. Another, titled ‘What is This?’ called for abstract images. Neither of these subjects are ones that I probably would have chosen to shoot if I had not decided to enter. So, just the act of participating pushed me to try new things. And, when you do try new things, you are apt to learn new techniques and enhance your skills both as a photographer and in post processing.
Moreover, when you enter photo contests, you’ll likely take a pretty close look at the other entries. Seeing how other photographers have approached and interpreted a specified subject can be interesting and inspiring. You can get a lot of new ideas just by examining other entries. You might, for example, wonder how a photographer achieved a certain look and take the time to find out so you can try it for yourself. Or, perhaps a photo in the contest depicts a subject shot from an unusual point of view that you might not have thought of trying.
And, of course, since we all like to win, you’ll probably make every effort to submit the best photos you can to photo contests. So, mindful of your goals, you might take a little extra care when composing, shooting, and post processing your entry photos. This, in itself, can enhance your knowledge and skills over time.
Many Online Photo Contests Available
The good news is that the Internet provides us with plenty of photography websites that run photo contests, large and small.
But not all photo comps are free and entry fees can quickly add up.
Viewbug – Outstanding Photo Contests
Which is why I love the photography competition site ViewBug. ViewBug offers subscribers access to dozens of great themed competitions. For a reasonable monthly fee, you can join as many contests as you like.
ViewBug is also a very vibrant and friendly photographic community. You can view vast numbers of fantastic and inspirational photos from other members, both amateur and professional. You can also give fellow photographers peer awards if you think their work is outstanding. And, of course, other members can give you peer awards as well. I’ve been a member of ViewBug for several months now and I really enjoy it. You can check out my ViewBug profile here.
The site also offers an entry-level free membership that allows you to upload photos and enter a few of the contests. A great way to get started on the site without any outlay.
Anyway, regardless of what sites you use to enter photo contests, I think the act of participating really can make you a better photographer. Whether you win or not, it really is worth the effort.