Can you shoot the heart and soul of a city, the society and its people? As people move between private and public spaces, finding inspiration from the street, or any other mundane place can be a generous and vibrant stage for photographers. It offers a window into a particularly compelling place and documents the time for any careful observer.
All photography contests have one thing in common -that is, they want to see your work if you can creatively capture the weird and beautiful moments of life as they unfold around you. Whether you are using the smartphone to document daily life in your hometown or are shooting with an analogue camera of the street life around you, all that matters is your unique perspective. No matter what your tools are or what is the location, it is your view that will define it.
Photo contests advance many invaluable advantages to photographers. They allow us to examine ourselves and the body of work, gain exposure, and eventually push us to become better cameramen. If you are working for a long time or are just a beginner, the chances are that you will feel stuck in a rut unless there are any changes or upgrade in your activities. Photo contests present a means for developing and expanding the creativity and stepping outside the comfort zone. Every photographer, beginner or advanced, are encouraged to consider entering into a photo contest and see how the experience improves them.
There are countless photography contests which you can participate in. Both online and in your local community contests are available, and you don’t need to be professional for all of them.
Planning to join a photography contest? Here’s why it is an amazing idea:
Gives you Direction
There will be times as a photographer when you’ll drift from your originality. Whether that means you shoot less, or when you do photograph, they are not exceptional snaps or much cohesion in the subject, it depends on you as a photographer. Even those with bright ideas about their photography can learn from a clear direction to head in, and a photo contest is one of the best ways to achieve this. Most photo contests have themes, and it’s this theme that will help you concentrate on your mind as you look to compose the best photo.
Out of your Comfort Zone
In a similar way that a themed contest can give you direction, it can also shove you out of your ease zone. Of course, if the competition is too far out of the box, you might prefer not to enter for a variety of reasons (maybe only DSLR or specifically wildlife entries). However, with enough time before the final entry date, these competitions offer the considerable possibility to hone your craft in another area of photography. Contests also allow you to modify the way you take photos to fit the theme of the contest. For instance, if you enjoy landscape photography, a contest theme set to crystal ball photography can be one of the ideal chance to learn this new photographic technique while implementing what you now know about landscape snaps.
Great Way to Gain Exposure
There are various ways you can expose yourself to new vistas through a photo contest. Once your snap stands out in the competition (as most contests get thousands of entries), your work can reach places. It’s in the interests of competition to engage its audience though, so how can that serve you? Those contests which run for several of months may well have a weekly top ten or some other ways of declaring the winners. Photos from these ten may not end up winning the prize, but it can attract some expert eyeballs on your photo. Besides, typically these photo contests have a winner, as well as a pontoon of commended photos. Once again, this gives a significant chance of more exposure to the audience out there, should your picture be congratulated.
Doing well Validates You
With all that scope for exposure and a potential prize is not the only interest for you to enter into a photo contest. Having a winning entry, be that the overall winner or a top five/ten pictures give your skill and work specific validation. There is nothing that beats when it comes to things like growing your photography skill or business. The strength to call yourself a prize-winning shutterbug can go a long way, especially when the world runs on impression. You ask, does the size of the contest matter? From the perspective of calling yourself a prize-winning photographer, it is always wise to enter a smaller contest where there is a higher chance to win rather than jumping into a nat-geo scale.
Don’t just enter, win it
When enrolling a contest for the first or fiftieth time, there are specific methods which, when put together, can add to the winning edge. These are some ways to help you reach closer to the winning head of the competition.
Read the Rules
Reading the contest rules is the primary thing you should do. You will be surprised by how many entries are thrown out just because they fail to abide by the rules. You could have the most fantastic photo in the world, but if it infringes any of the contest guidelines, it’s as good as not entering at all!
Create a Compelling Composition
One of the precise ways to stand out in the contest is by paying attention to the photo composition. For instance, try not to place your focal point in the centre always, which directs to come off as Rule of Thirds and are considered as dull and predictable. Photo contests can be great for experimentation and are the best ways to make your photos astonishing. There are myriad ways to make your photos stunning by merely using a novel composition. Don’t be hesitant to try something new.
Tell a Story
Everyone loves a good story. The best photograph is one which evokes an emotion and tells a story, or at the least, conveys an idea. The judges tend to look for a connection with the image – the one that connects them within the first couple of seconds of looking at it is what makes it different than the rest of the entries. Practice looking for the stories occurring around you, such as two people conversing on the street, repetition of colours in nature, or a mundane object caught in action. You can also add the storytelling during post-processing and create a sense of mystery and question. Just stick to the theme of the contest and curate a beautiful story you want to say.
So, if you find yourself in the crossroad of asking whether photography contests are worthless or worthwhile, understand one thing that it forces photographers to curate their best work and eventually push themselves to compete with “the best”.
Keep in understanding, every contest is geared towards a different level of the photographer (for instance, student vs beginner vs pro), the genre of picture-taking (commercial, documentary, fine art), and is judged based on separate guidelines.