Entering Photo Contests
If you shoot photos you may have gigabytes of photos on your camera and computer that have no home. They are ignored. Perhaps you add them to a website that no one visits or add them to your Facebook page for a few likes. But have you considered entering photo contests? There are many photo contests that you can enter that provide visibiility to your photos but also provide you a chance at cash prizes. But before entering any contests follow these guidelines.
Photo contests usually have a clear topic. The idea for contests is not to find something on your computer that kinda matches what the topic is. The organizers want you to get outside and find that perfect shot that matches the topic. Most judges look for originality, technical skills and the topic. So if the topic is a macro and you don't share a macro you won't have a snowball's chance of winning the contest. Understand and follow the topic before entering a contest.
Tricks and Techniques
The difference between a "professional" photographer and an amateur one is usually technique. There are a few things you can do to help your photography improve.
LightFirst, understand your light source. Place your subject in the best position to benefit from natural light when possible.
TripodNext, use a tripod. There are lightweight tripods avaliable that fold up to a surpisingly small size that you can get for a few dollars. It's well worth the investment because it will free up your hands to help communicate and most importantly will hold your camrea steady. When entering photo contest technique is an important consideration by the judges. A shaky camera won't help your chances.
CameraWhile phones are becoming more sophisticated and take higher quality images there is no subsitute for an investment in a good camera. There are many to choose from and the prices keep coming down. For a few hundred dollars you can purchase an excellent camera that makes it easy not just to take photos for contests but also to transfer them to your computer so you can easily enter them in the photo contests.
You aren't going to win the first photo contest that you enter. Or the second, or the third most likely. But be patient and keep entering. If the contests are free there is no loss to you. Understand that you are going against a lot of photographers and all of them have faith, just like you do, in their entry. So don't be put off if you don't win. Try to improve your skills and better choose photos that follow the topic of the contest and a win will surely come.
Social media is somewhere you may already be. This FanArtReview shows some of the benefits of being part of a community. But if not create accounts that will share your photos and get you feedback. This feedback can be helpful in helping you improve. And having a fan base can benefit you in photo contests that have a public booth. You have something others want to see - so share your photos. But don't share photos that you plan on entering in contests because some contests expect that they are the first to show it (that's their reward for providing you a prize if they win - they have first rights).
Finally, have fun. Enjoy shooting photos and entering the photo contests. If you are having fun it will show up in your art.