No one just randomly becomes a professional photographer.
If asked how they started, most photographers will tell you about how they picked up a camera and developed a love for photography that would eventually turn into a business.
Unfortunately, when photography goes from a passion project to something used to generate an income, many photographers complain that the artistry that once made them fall in love with the camera disappears.
Discovering and entering a photography competition can be a great way to not only “get your groove back” but also improve your business.
Photography competitions can help you gain exposure and SEO backlinks
Networking is the backbone of any photography business and it’s important to get your name out there whenever and you can.
By entering photography contests, you are not only putting your work out there for the world to see but also linking yourself online to a hopefully already well-established company.
Upon entry, your work and biography will often be posted for public viewing.
This gives you the chance to attract an entirely new crowd and add a backlink to your biography which will help increase the credibility of your website- a huge marketing boost even if you don’t win!
They can teach you new skills and take your photography in a new direction
When shooting photos for a profit, it can be easy to get stuck doing what you know works well.
Next thing you know, you’re on your 50th puddle reflection shot of the bride and groom.
While beautiful, the monotony isn’t good for you or your client.
After all, a bored photographer is rarely going to have the adventurous eye needed to get that spontaneous, “wow!” shot.
Entering a photography contest can give you the push you need to try something new with minimal risk involved.
There are no worries about disappointing a paying client and you are on your own time, so it’s the perfect chance to try something out-the-box!
Competitions can help validate your work and act as a benchmark
There’s just something hugely satisfying about having someone validate your work and tell you it’s awesome.
When that someone is a highly regarded source who is comparing you against your peers, it’s even better.
On the flip side, if that same source has some constructive criticism, it can be a way for you to discover how you need to improve on your work that you may not have known otherwise.
Let’s face it, not everyone is going to love you and your photography and that’s ok.
Sometimes being told what changes you need to make to take your work to the next level is the best payoff you can get!
If you go into a competition with an open mind, you can come out ahead no matter where your entry places.
They can help you get inspiration and ideas from other entries
It’s natural to scope out the competition.
See a shot that you love?
Figure out ways you can put your own spin on it and possibly open up a whole new style that you can add to your portfolio.
While plagiarizing someone else’s photo is obviously not suggested, taking some of the elements that drew your eye and incorporating them into your work can be a great way to freshen up your work.
Cash and prizes
It’s not a competition without a prize!!!
While the publicity that comes with winning is great- a monetary or gift award makes the win even sweeter!
Some sources for various photography competitions:
Want to compete but not sure where to look?
Here are a couple of lists that are sure to have at least one photography contest to spark your interest: