The Best Photography Contests

Many of us have an outlet which allows us escape from the stresses of our everyday lives and partake in something we thoroughly love and enjoy. For some, this may be something as simple as reading a book or walking their dog, but for others, they use this spare time as a time to express themselves and get creative. Many of us own a camera of some sorts, and will often carry this with us during social events as a means to capture some memories in the form of an image. In some cases, we may not be too fussed with how we look in the image and the way in the composition has been captured. That is unless you are passionate about photography. Photography has quickly become a popular pastime with many people, and with new models of digital cameras on the market at the moment, it really couldn’t be easier to take a decent photograph and use computer software to tweak certain aspects of the image to make an impressive piece. However, in a lot of cases, great photography comes from some sort of training-whether it is from higher education or teaching yourself, but the more you practice and try new things, the better your photography will become.

If you’re serious about photography, one of the best ways in which you can get your work viewed by many, and possibly turn it into a career is through entering a photography contest. There are a wide range of photography contests which can be found both on the internet and through reading photography publications. Some are designed as a means to seek out fresh, new talent, and also as a way for many aspiring photographers to win some cash for their efforts. If you are looking to enter a contest, you firstly should research into the different photography contests which are out there and which ones are best sited for your level of expertise, whether you are a beginner to the art or a keen photographer who has practiced the craft for a number of years. The next thing you should look into is what type of photography contest it is-some are specialist contests focusing more on work which is based around wildlife and nature, others may be looking for something much broader.

One of the best resources for photography contests is This provides you with all of the main, official contests which occur throughout the year with details on how long the competition has been open for, what the deadline for entries is and also the categories that the competition is focusing on. This allows you to easily find the contests which are relevant you and the work you produce, as well as giving you the great knowledge that you are entering a legitimate competition which you will gain exceptional acknowledgment for were you to win. Alternatively, you can visit your local magazine store and ask to be shown to the arts aisle. Photography magazines are usually run by either avid photographers and/or members of a photography association, and so will be looking to put on official and recognized contests. Creative publications such as this will often put on a contest a few times a year, so there are plenty of chances to try your hand at winning a contest. If you are lucky to be shortlisted or even win, your work will also be seen by all subscribers of the magazine.

Getting your work shown to the world is often one of the hardest things you can try to do as an artist, but by taking part in a photography contest, you will have a much better chance of not only having your work viewed, but also have some feedback from outside parties. By researching into contests which are related to your subject matter, you could soon see yourself a winner of a great prize.

Baby Photography Contest – 3 Perfect Poses For Particularly Cute Pictures

So you’re thinking about entering your bundle of joy into a free baby photography contest? I can’t say I blame you. It’s fun, a great way to show off your cutie pie, and as an added benefit you can win some serious cash too.

Here are my three favorite poses (and they are easy too) to get super cute baby pictures every time.

Pose #1

The first pose is the baby eating pose. This pose works well no matter what the baby is eating. Bottle poses come across as being sweet, while food all over the face poses come across as being a little more silly and cute. Either way it can work. The key to getting these poses is simple. Just have your camera ready at dinner time and voila you have cute pictures.

Pose #2

Baby with fingers in mouth. This is a great pose, and really easy to get, because your baby will do this naturally all by himself. It will also score big points in a baby photography contest for sheer cuteness.

One thing to remember when getting this type of picture is to make sure that baby’s hands are not covering her face. Another thing that will help to greatly increase the cuteness factor of this picture is to catch him smiling around his fingers. Adorable.

Pose #3

The big personality pose. All babies have cute things that they do. When you capture this with your camera, it’s called the big personality pose. The key here is to showcase your baby doing what he does best, playing in bubbles, laughing her head off, playing patty cake, or even pulling the cat’s tail.

There are two things to remember when it comes to this type of pose. First, silly pictures are often contest winning pictures and happy babies will win a baby photo competition hands down over other types of pictures.

Did That Photography Contest Just Steal Your Photographs?

Photography contests can be a great way to promote your photography business. Your images could wind up on prestigious websites, in magazines, or in publications that are sent to photo buyers all over the globe. I enter contests for this very reason, but I carefully look at the rights I’m giving away. All too often, for whatever reason, a contest will ask for rights that range from the unnecessary to the ridiculous.

I fully expect to have my winning images used to promote the contest and the company putting it on. They give me a good prize and I let them use my photographs. It’s a fair trade. The problem starts when the contest asks for rights to your images, just because you entered your images.

Many contests, put on by some of the best-known magazines, organizations and galleries are basically Rights Grabs. They’re nothing more than a way to get lots of images that they can use for free, and sometimes even sell for their profit, not yours. To add insult to injury, many of these contests will charge a $10 to $40 entry fee. So you’re paying them to rip you off.

The rights requested by many contests would allow them to sell your image in any way they want, including:

  • A printed or ebook
  • Posters, screen savers, wallpaper
  • To illustrate magazine articles
  • Advertising and marketing pieces
  • Company logos and websites
  • Calendars

And you would never see a penny from these sales, or be credited for the image.

Now don’t get me wrong. There are some good contests out there that aren’t in the business of doing Rights Grabs, but it’s up to you to determine who they are. Be sure you read all the rules before entering, paying special attention to the “Rights Granted” section.

It can be daunting to read rules as they can go on for several screens, and have links to other pages with more rules. Rules that go on for screen after screen may be a sign the contest people are trying to bury something where you won’t find it, or are just asking for too much. The longer the rules, the more nervous I become. And these rules are written by the legal department and are full of legalese. Certain terms and words should set off alarm bells, including:

  • In Perpetuity
  • Any and all media now or hereafter known
  • Designees
  • By submitting an entry

Here are some samples of real rules, both bad and good. I’m not naming the bad contests because I don’t want to kick that beehive full of lawyers.

Bad Rules

So you’re photo isn’t good enough to win, but good enough to use in our advertising, for free of course. (I was personally contacted by the head of this company and asked to enter his contest because he liked my work. I was flattered, but had to politely refuse, and I told him it was because of the rights requested.)

  • The Administrator, Organizer, and their respective licensees, successors and assigns will have the right to use all or a part of your Entry,… anywhere in the world and in perpetuity, for future advertising, trade, promotion and publicity in any manner and in any medium now known or hereafter devised throughout the world in perpetuity, without compensation…

If you win, your photo can be used to promote this, or any other contest, as well as for advertising, forever. Wouldn’t it be nice to put a one-year limit on use?

  • … each winner grants to the Sponsor and its designees an irrevocable, royalty-free, non-exclusive, worldwide perpetual license to use and distribute… in any and all media now or hereafter known… for purposes of… advertising and promoting Sponsor… without further compensation…

WHAT??? It’s bad enough that they want to use your images for free advertising, but as free downloads and wallpaper? Unbelievable!

  • Entrants consent to the Sponsor offering images for free downloads and as computer wallpaper.

Good Rules Guy Tal – Guy’s rules were short, sweet and most importantly, fair. He even titles this part of his rules, “The No-Rights-Grab Rule.”

  • By entering this contest, you allow me to post your submitted image(s) on this site and on my blog, along with your name. You also agree to provide your name and contact information to my sponsors in order to facilitate delivery of the prizes. You retain all other rights.

Communication Arts – This rule is so short and sweet, it’s like a breath of fresh “contest” air.

  • You retain all rights to your images. If selected, you will need to grant us the right to reproduce the image or images for both our online and print-based publication.

Photo District News – What I like about this rule is that it’s short, precisely outlines where the image will be use and for how long.

  • By submitting images you grant PDN the right to use the entry in exhibitions and promotions in print and online when directly related to the PDN Curator Awards for 24 months.

Photography contests require that you be an informed consumer. You can do this by:

  • Reading the rules
  • Understanding what you read
  • Determining what rights you’re comfortable giving away

Now go out there, take lots of great photographs and have fun entering contests.