Photography Competitions? 5 Huge Mistakes to Avoid

Avoid these common mistakes in your photo competition entries and you stand a much better chance of doing well:

Mistake #1. Photographers present tired and predictable subjects and treatments. Hackneyed shots are extremely tedious for everyone concerned. Individuality and originality, however, stand out. Be ruthlessly tough on your material – does it have an immediate impact? Is it original? Compelling? Emotive? If not, then go back to the drawing board.

Mistake #2. Photographers play it too safe and fail to explore extremes in their entries. What is presented is more like a merely accurate representation of something rather than a shot that vividly captures the ‘drama,’ ‘essence’, ’emotion’ or ‘personality’ of the subject. Shots that do are alive. Those that don’t are flat and are quickly discarded from the judging process.

Mistake #3. Photographers violate the basic principles of composition and framing. By doing this, an ignorance of the fundamentals of photographic aesthetics is immediately apparent. Such entries never win and there is a massive difference between knowing and understanding the rules but then consciously bending or breaking them and, on the other hand, being completely ignorant of the ‘rules’ in the first place. The difference will be very obvious in the images. Aspiring photographers need to educate themselves about the fundamentals of framing and composition or else will be wasting their time in most photography competitions.

Mistake #4. Photographers don’t enter enough shots into a competition. There is always subjectivity involved in the judging of any photography competition so aspiring photographers need to put in more than one entry if they can – especially in the major events.

Mistake #5. Photographers submit their entry at the 11th hour. In any significant photography competition, the vast majority of entries (to call it a tidal wave would not be an understatement in some cases) arrive at the last possible moment before the deadline. Judges are then confronted with the daunting task of wading through the mountains of (e)mail and judging each and every piece of work with equal dispassion. In theory, it should not make any difference when an entry arrives but in practice, judges can give more time and thought to those entries that arrive before King Kong’s mailbag.