Photography competitions are a great way to showcase your talent and current work. Of course, we all want to win, but getting your images in front of a well-known group of judges can be extremely valuable in itself. We recently concluded the annual 2013 American Aperture Awards with over 1,100 entries from 63 countries. Our judges reviewed each entry and hand selected the winners in our top three categories as well as 51 additional categories. They also selected a handful of “honorable mentions”.
There are endless amounts of photography competitions promoted across the internet and here are a few things to consider when sorting through the clutter and finding the competition that will be most valuable to you and your photography business:
- Cost: Most photography competitions have an entry cost. Don’t shy away from these. It is very common. But it is important to consider if this competition is best suited for you before making the financial commitment.
- The Judges: Make sure you know who the judges are that will be reviewing your work. It can be very valuable to have your work reviewed by the right people. Are the winners selected by a panel of judges or voted on by the public? Many times, competitions voted on by the public can be more about a popularity contest than a fair assessment of work.
- Mission: Although the prizes may be most important to you, it’s important to find out what the competition’s main mission is. Is this an organization that truly supports photographs and artists? Are they a reputable company with a history of supporting the arts? Are they interested in not just making money, but also in advancing the work of their photographers? Do they understand and support your medium and expertise (ie. mobile, street, experimental, etc.)?
- Timing: Like most things, timing is important. Will you have your best work to present at the time of submissions? Will you be available if travel is included in the prize package? Be sure to take a look at the full schedule of the competition, from promotion, to submission, to winner announcements, to prize fulfillment to make sure it aligns with your personal schedule.
- Prizes: This is why we enter, right? Review the prize package and make sure that it is valuable to you and your business. Don’t just consider the monetary value of the prize package (ie. equipment, money, travel, etc.), but are they also going to help you build your business and get your work in front of the right people? Exposure to the right people is priceless.
- Social Media: If social media is important to you, find out how active the competition will be on social media. This may prove more important to mobile photographers and others who rely heavily on social media to promote and build their business. If it’s important, make sure you connect with the competition on social media and ensure they are promoting the program in the right ways.
For a full list of photography competitions on the web, check out this website: http://www.photocontestinsider.com/contest/all-themes/