Ask the Photo Business Coach: What’s the Truth About Photo Contests?

In this edition of Ask the Photo Business Coach, I answer the question, “What’s the truth about photography contests?”

9 Responses to “Ask the Photo Business Coach: What’s the Truth About Photo Contests?”

  1. Excellent, keep up the good work.

  2. Contests freak me out for the most part. I've done very few because so many are simply rights grabs looking for free images. I think it is important to read the terms and conditions of any contest though. I do like the idea of the label "award-winning" photographer. I've won contests but never really used that label.

    Good video. 🙂

  3. All I shoot are concerts, and I won the People's Choice award in PDN/Billboard's Ultimate Music Moment Photo contest in both 2009 and 2010. It is nice to be able to say that I'm an award-winning concert photographer, but I can't say that this has helped me too much. But bragging rights are bragging rights though, which is why I'm commenting here 😉

  4. @Rich, good point. When winning you have to have a marketing campaign to launch to maximize the win. The entire point is to have a reason to contact (potential) clients.

  5. I can see the value in winning a reputable contest (particularly for advertising work) but what I would say is that if you are trying to develope a carreer/business, it is more important to concentrate your time on contacting new clients and then keeping them happy. They are the people who give you work. Contests by comparison are entered by thousands potentially, and there is only ever one winner (or one and a few runners up).

  6. @Peter, wait, so you don't enter contests because you expect to loose!
    Unless you think you can win yes, don't waste your time. If you don't believe in your work, don't waste your time either.
    Contests are a marketing measure. Cold calling, client relations and networking are business strategies. Two very different things.

  7. Participate in competitions gives me the opportunity to explore my artistic side and get away a little of the routine. It gives me a parameter for what ordinary people like and sometimes you get surprises. Personally, I participate in competitions because it gives me the opportunity to have a reputation locally and internationally. Try to exploit these Awards to attract customers and keep up dated my networking.

    Not easy to win, but feels good when you do and I agree, this is a Business strategy opportunity.

  8. Usually the winner of a photo contest is the sponsor. Study the rules and if they fit your aspirations, go for it. Did you know, the great operatic star, Luciano Paveratti, got his start by winning a singing contest in Italy where he was an elementary school lteacher?

  9. I enter several contests a year, big ones and small ones. I have yet to win, place or show. I often think it's not the photography that wins but the photographer. Promoting a known quantity has certain guarantees.

    Whether the game is rigged or not, I will still enter contests, because I believe in my work and I think like an old miner; one day I'll hit the mother lode.

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