Photography competitions are one of the best methods to improve your photography. While the art could be done for fun, these completions help you compare and learn more on the road to becoming a professional photographer. The top performers also get recognition and could get jobs, new equipment and some extra cash (we don’t do it for the money though, at least not entirely!). Competitions range from friendly competition and assignments to local and even international competitions depending on your caliber. It is wise to start from friendly competitions all the way up. In order to win or even get recognition in these competitions, there are a few tips to follow. Let us guide you on how to win photography awards, who knows, maybe all you need is a little completion to get your creative juices running!

How To Win Photography Awards – Tip #01
Know And Follow Competition Rules

How To Win Photography Awards
One major similarity in these competitions is the rules. I know it sounds boring but let’s face it you can’t be in a competition with no rules. Therefore, terms and conditions have to be the first thing you read before you enter a competition. These terms and conditions have specific tips on the number of photos, rules, and the deadline. Understanding the rules gives you better odds over other competitors. You also learn what will attract judge’s attention while evaluating the photos. Also, you find out the prize amount and additional support the winners get (just for motivation purposes; of course). The most important reason for reading the rules is so as not to get out of context.

You may have the best photographs but gets eliminated because they don’t meet criteria. For instance, the completion might be on black and white photography yet you end up shooting in color just because you couldn’t take a few minutes to go through the guidelines!

How To Win Photography Awards – Tip #02
Stick To The Theme Of The Competition

How To Win Photography Awards
This again is an obvious but important tip in every competition. It’s heartbreaking to submit wonderful photographs only to get that it is out of context. Most photographers stray from the theme due to imagination. While there is room for creativity and interpretation of themes, most judges happen to stick to the nominated theme of the competition.

A word from the wise, it is better to shoot something new for the competition rather than finding an image in your archives even if it matches the competition theme. You get to learn as you shoot also, your chances of getting it right are higher since you are shooting theme in mind. This way, you get to take new images while still learning more about photography. Killing multiple birds with one stone I’d say.

How To Win Photography Awards – Tip #03

How To Win Photography Awards
I know doing research is no fun but in this case, it is vital to your winning. The main trick is to start by researching before shooting. First, start by checking recent winners of that competition. This doesn’t mean you should copy their work, you are only taking hints on what the judges look for.

You should also look at major sponsors for the competition just to give you a rough image of the style they are looking for. If the judge’s names happen to be posted, researching lets you know what type of work they do and appreciate. You most importantly have to research on your topic if the results are going to blow minds.

How To Win Photography Awards – Tip #04
Stand Out

How To Win Photography Awards
No one likes clichés. What’s so amazing about it if everyone can do it? You have to stand out. This is where creativity plays a huge part. Keeping in mind the judges have to view thousands of images, they cannot waste time on cliché images. The best way to stand out is choosing compelling subjects, striking colors and different styles etc.

You can also stand out by the type of equipment you use and the storyline behind your photoshoot. A tip in order to stand out is to identify the type of shot most competitors are likely to submit then you can set your work apart from it.

How To Win Photography Awards – Tip #05
Go For A Reaction

How To Win Photography Awards
From experience, the best photographs happen to be the ones that invoke an emotion or tell a story. You don’t have to produce a whole gallery for this, just one photo is enough. This is the wow factor that the judges look for.

For instance, a photo of a child seems normal but if the child displays an emotion like sadness, it gets the judges wanting to know why. Look for stories happening around you like trending topics or social injustices. You can also create a mystery or questions by uniquely editing the photograph making it stand out.


Hiya, I’m Maud. I’m an English girl who's moved to Berlin - because who wouldn’t fall in love with a country which has words like ‘Kummerspeck’ hidden around every corner... I love traveling and finding out the quirks of each country - and what better way to remember them than on a postcard?

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