Photography Contests

What Type of Photography Captures Contest Awards? A Comprehensive Guide

Are you wondering what kind of photos win contests? Look no further! In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the type of photography that captures contest awards. From stunning landscapes to thought-provoking portraits, we will delve into the secrets behind award-winning photography. Get ready to discover the elements that make a photo stand out from the crowd and learn how to elevate your own photography game. So, whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, join us on this journey to uncover the art of winning photo contests.

Understanding the Criteria for Winning Photography Contests

Factors Affecting Contest Outcomes

Photography contests are highly competitive, and the bar for winning is set high. Many factors come into play when judging photographs, and understanding these factors can help you improve your own photography skills. Here are some of the most important factors that affect contest outcomes:

  • Originality and creativity: Originality and creativity are crucial factors in photography contests. Judges look for photographs that are unique and creative, and that offer a fresh perspective on a subject. This can include experimenting with new techniques, using unconventional angles, or capturing a subject in a way that has never been seen before.
  • Technical expertise: Technical expertise is another important factor in photography contests. Judges look for photographs that are technically sound, with good exposure, focus, and composition. This includes using the right equipment for the job, understanding light and shadows, and using techniques like depth of field and motion blur to create a specific effect.
  • Emotional impact: Emotional impact is a key factor in photography contests. Judges look for photographs that evoke emotion in the viewer, whether it’s joy, sadness, awe, or any other emotion. This can be achieved through the subject matter, the composition, or the way the photograph is presented.
  • Storytelling ability: Storytelling ability is also an important factor in photography contests. Judges look for photographs that tell a story, whether it’s a personal story, a social commentary, or a documentary-style project. This requires a strong sense of narrative, as well as the ability to create a cohesive body of work that tells a complete story.
  • Adherence to the theme or genre: Finally, adherence to the theme or genre is an important factor in photography contests. Many contests have specific themes or genres that entrants must adhere to, and judges look for photographs that fit within these parameters. This requires a deep understanding of the theme or genre, as well as the ability to create a photograph that captures its essence.

Tips for Enhancing Your Photography Skills

  • Experiment with different genres and techniques: Try out various photography genres such as landscape, portrait, wildlife, and still life to develop your skills and discover your strengths. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different techniques and styles to find what works best for you.
  • Practice composition and framing: Composition is a crucial aspect of photography, and it involves placing the elements in the frame in a way that creates a visually pleasing image. Practice different composition techniques such as the rule of thirds, leading lines, and negative space to improve your framing skills.
  • Learn to use lighting effectively: Lighting can make or break an image, so it’s important to learn how to use it effectively. Experiment with different light sources, such as natural light, artificial light, and flash, and learn how to manipulate them to create the desired mood and effect.
  • Master editing and post-processing techniques: Editing is an essential part of the photography process, and it can greatly enhance your images. Learn how to use photo editing software such as Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom to adjust colors, contrast, and other elements of your images.
  • Develop your own unique style: Developing your own unique style is crucial for standing out in the competitive world of photography. Experiment with different techniques and styles until you find something that feels like your own. Remember, your photography should reflect your personality and creativity.

Identifying the Most Popular Genres in Photography Contests

Key takeaway: To win photography contests, it is important to understand the criteria for winning, including originality and creativity, technical expertise, emotional impact, and adherence to the theme or genre. Tips for enhancing photography skills include experimenting with different genres and techniques, practicing composition and framing, learning to use lighting effectively, and developing your own unique style. Popular genres in photography contests include landscape, portrait, wildlife, and documentary photography. Researching contests and considering factors such as reputation, prizes and awards, entry fees, and judges’ expertise can help photographers choose the right contest to enter. To prepare entries for contests, photographers should choose their best work, adhere to contest guidelines, and edit and display their images effectively. Winning strategies include building a strong portfolio, networking and promotion, adapting to contest themes and genres, and persistence and determination.

Landscape Photography

Landscape photography is a popular genre in photography contests, capturing the beauty of the natural world. It is a type of photography that focuses on capturing the beauty of scenic vistas, natural wonders, and urban landscapes. Here are some details on the most popular sub-genres of landscape photography:

Scenic Vistas

Scenic vistas are one of the most popular sub-genres of landscape photography. They capture the vastness and beauty of the natural world, showcasing breathtaking views of mountains, valleys, and plains. These types of images often require a wide-angle lens to capture the entire scene, and they often have a strong emphasis on light and shadow.

Natural Wonders

Natural wonders are another popular sub-genre of landscape photography. These images capture the beauty and majesty of natural landmarks such as waterfalls, glaciers, and geysers. These types of images often require specialized equipment, such as a telephoto lens or a drone, to capture the intricate details of the natural wonder.

Urban Landscapes

Urban landscapes are a unique sub-genre of landscape photography that captures the beauty of the man-made environment. These images capture the beauty of cities and towns, showcasing the architecture, culture, and people. These types of images often require a combination of wide-angle and telephoto lenses to capture the entire scene and the intricate details of the urban landscape.

In conclusion, landscape photography is a popular genre in photography contests, capturing the beauty of the natural world. The three most popular sub-genres of landscape photography are scenic vistas, natural wonders, and urban landscapes. Each sub-genre requires a different approach and equipment to capture the beauty of the natural world in a unique and captivating way.

Portrait Photography

When it comes to photography contests, portrait photography is one of the most popular genres that consistently captures awards. This genre involves taking photographs of people, either in environmental settings or in a studio setting. Within portrait photography, there are several sub-genres that photographers can explore to create unique and captivating images.

Environmental Portraits

Environmental portraits are photographs that capture the subject in their natural surroundings. These types of portraits often showcase the subject’s relationship with their environment and help to tell a story about who they are and what they do. Environmental portraits can be taken outdoors or in a location that is significant to the subject, such as their workplace or home. These types of portraits often require careful consideration of lighting, composition, and background elements to create a compelling image.

Studio Portraits

Studio portraits are photographs that are taken in a controlled environment, such as a photography studio. These types of portraits allow for greater control over lighting, composition, and background elements, making it easier to create a specific mood or style. Studio portraits can be taken using a variety of lighting setups, from natural light to artificial light, and can be used to create images that are both formal and informal.

Black and White Portraits

Black and white portraits are photographs that are captured in monochrome, without any color. These types of portraits often have a timeless quality and can be used to create a classic or vintage look. Black and white portraits can be taken using a variety of film or digital cameras, and can be edited to enhance contrast, texture, and tone. These types of portraits often require careful consideration of composition and lighting to create a striking image.

Overall, portrait photography is a popular genre that can capture awards in photography contests. Whether it’s environmental portraits, studio portraits, or black and white portraits, photographers have a wide range of options to create unique and compelling images that showcase the beauty and diversity of the human form.

Wildlife Photography

Wildlife photography is a popular genre in photography contests that captures the beauty and diversity of the animal kingdom. This genre of photography is all about showcasing the natural world and the creatures that inhabit it. The goal of wildlife photography is to capture the animals in their natural habitat, providing an insight into their behavior and lifestyle.

Animal Behavior

One of the most popular aspects of wildlife photography is capturing the behavior of animals in their natural habitat. This type of photography requires patience, timing, and an understanding of animal behavior. It involves observing and studying the animals to anticipate their movements and actions, allowing the photographer to capture unique and candid moments.

Wildlife in Their Natural Habitat

Wildlife photography also involves capturing animals in their natural habitat, which allows the viewer to see the animal in its natural surroundings. This type of photography requires the photographer to have a deep understanding of the environment and the animals that inhabit it. The photographer must be able to anticipate the animal’s movements and be in the right place at the right time to capture the perfect shot.

Close-up and Macro Photography

Close-up and macro photography is another popular aspect of wildlife photography. This type of photography involves getting up close and personal with the animal, capturing intricate details and textures that would otherwise go unnoticed. Close-up and macro photography requires the use of specialized equipment, such as macro lenses and flash, to capture the details of the animal’s features.

Overall, wildlife photography is a challenging and rewarding genre that requires patience, timing, and a deep understanding of the natural world. Whether it’s capturing the behavior of animals, their natural habitat, or the intricate details of their features, wildlife photography allows us to appreciate the beauty and diversity of the animal kingdom.

Documentary Photography

  • Social and political issues
    • Capturing the struggles and injustices faced by marginalized communities
    • Examples: poverty, discrimination, human rights violations
  • Human interest stories
    • Focusing on individuals and their personal experiences
    • Examples: refugees, displacement, disability, aging
  • Cultural and historical events
    • Documenting important moments in a community’s history
    • Examples: cultural celebrations, traditions, religious ceremonies, historical landmarks

Documentary photography is a genre that aims to capture real-life events and stories, often with the goal of raising awareness and prompting social change. It encompasses a wide range of subjects, from social and political issues to human interest stories and cultural events.

One key aspect of documentary photography is its commitment to revealing the truth and bringing attention to matters that might otherwise go unnoticed. By focusing on marginalized communities and their struggles, documentary photographers can shine a light on the injustices and inequalities that exist in the world.

In addition to social and political issues, documentary photography also includes human interest stories that delve into the personal experiences of individuals. This can include the struggles of refugees, the challenges faced by people with disabilities, or the daily lives of the elderly.

Finally, documentary photography can also be used to document cultural and historical events, preserving important moments in a community’s history for future generations. This can include capturing traditional celebrations, religious ceremonies, and the beauty of historical landmarks.

Overall, documentary photography is a powerful tool for capturing the realities of the world and bringing attention to important issues. By exploring a wide range of subjects, from social and political issues to personal stories and cultural events, documentary photographers can create compelling and thought-provoking images that inspire change.

Fine Art Photography

Fine art photography is a genre that is often recognized and celebrated in photography contests. This genre is characterized by its focus on creating images that are not simply documents of reality, but rather are meant to evoke an emotional or intellectual response from the viewer. Fine art photography can encompass a wide range of styles and subject matter, but there are a few key characteristics that are commonly associated with this genre.

  • Abstract concepts: Fine art photography often explores abstract concepts such as form, color, texture, and composition. These concepts are used to create images that are not representational, but rather are meant to evoke a sense of mystery or intrigue. Abstract fine art photography often employs techniques such as manipulation of the print or digital image, multiple exposures, and unconventional printing processes to create unique and striking images.
  • Still life compositions: Another common theme in fine art photography is the still life composition. This type of photography involves the arrangement of objects in a composition that is intended to evoke a particular mood or feeling. Still life photographs can be shot in a studio or on location, and they can feature a wide range of subjects, from everyday objects to rare and exotic specimens.
    * **Conceptual and experimental photography**: Fine art photography often involves a strong conceptual element, which means that the photographer has a clear idea of what they want to communicate through their images. This can involve experimenting with different techniques and approaches, such as shooting with unusual cameras or film stocks, or creating images that are not traditional photographs at all. Experimental fine art photography often pushes the boundaries of what is considered to be photography, and it can be highly creative and innovative.

Overall, fine art photography is a genre that allows photographers to express their creativity and vision in a way that is not limited by the constraints of traditional documentary or commercial photography. By exploring abstract concepts, still life compositions, and experimental techniques, fine art photographers can create images that are both visually stunning and emotionally powerful.

Choosing the Right Contest to Enter

Researching Contests

Researching contests is an essential step in choosing the right contest to enter. By researching contests, you can determine which contests are reputable, which contests align with your photography style, and which contests offer the best prizes and exposure opportunities. Here are some ways to research contests:

  • Online research: The internet is a great resource for researching contests. You can start by searching for photography contests on search engines like Google or Bing. You can also use social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to find photography contests. When researching online, make sure to check the legitimacy of the contest by researching the organization hosting the contest and reading reviews from past participants.
  • Social media groups: Social media groups can be a great resource for finding photography contests. Many photography groups on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms are dedicated to sharing information about photography contests. By joining these groups, you can learn about new contests and connect with other photographers who have participated in contests.
  • Photography communities: Photography communities are another great resource for finding photography contests. These communities can include online forums, photography clubs, and photography organizations. By joining these communities, you can connect with other photographers and learn about new contests that are available. You can also ask for recommendations from other photographers who have participated in contests before.

Factors to Consider

  • Reputation of the Contest
    When selecting a photography contest to enter, it’s crucial to consider the reputation of the contest. Look for contests that have a history of selecting high-quality images and awarding deserving photographers. Reputable contests typically have a strong track record of attracting submissions from established and emerging photographers alike. It’s also a good idea to research past winners and judge’s critiques to gain insight into the type of work that typically excels in the contest.
  • Prizes and Awards
    Consider the prizes and awards offered by the contest. While some contests offer cash prizes, others may offer exposure opportunities, equipment, or other valuable goods and services. Keep in mind that while a large cash prize may be appealing, other opportunities such as exhibition opportunities or mentorship programs can also provide valuable exposure and development opportunities for photographers.
  • Entry Fees
    Be mindful of the entry fees associated with the contest. Some contests charge a per-entry fee, while others charge a flat fee for unlimited entries. While entry fees can be a significant consideration, they can also act as a filter to ensure that only serious photographers are submitting work. Be sure to read the contest rules carefully to understand the entry fee structure and any restrictions or limitations on submissions.
  • Theme and Genre Focus
    Consider the theme and genre focus of the contest. Some contests have a specific theme or focus, while others are open to a wide range of genres. If you specialize in a particular genre or have a particular theme in mind, look for contests that align with your work. Alternatively, if you’re looking to expand your skills or explore new genres, consider entering contests that have a broader focus.
  • Judges and Their Expertise
    Finally, consider the judges and their expertise. Look for contests that have a panel of experienced judges with a strong background in photography. Ideally, the judges should have a diverse range of expertise, including photographers, curators, and industry professionals. The expertise of the judges can significantly impact the quality of feedback and critiques provided to entrants, and can ultimately impact the success of your submission.

Preparing Your Entries for Contests

Image Selection

Choosing your best work

  • Assessing your portfolio: evaluate your past work to select your most outstanding images.
  • Consider the story you want to tell: select images that work well together to convey a cohesive narrative.
  • Technical proficiency: choose images that showcase your technical skills, such as proper exposure, focus, and composition.

Adhering to contest guidelines

  • Read the rules carefully: ensure you understand the requirements and restrictions of the contest.
  • Image requirements: verify the accepted formats, dimensions, and resolutions for your submissions.
  • Entry limits: confirm the maximum number of entries allowed and organize your selections accordingly.

Editing and post-processing

  • Enhance your images: improve the overall look and feel of your photos through post-processing techniques.
  • Balancing creativity and authenticity: strike a balance between artistic expression and maintaining the integrity of the captured moment.
  • Resizing and compression: optimize your images for web or print submission, while maintaining a high level of quality.

Remember, image selection is a crucial step in preparing your entries for photography contests. By choosing the most outstanding work, adhering to contest guidelines, and editing your images, you’ll increase your chances of success and capture the attention of the judges.

Presentation and Display

  • Sizing and resolution: When preparing your images for a photography contest, it’s important to ensure that they meet the minimum requirements in terms of size and resolution. Typically, images should be at least 1080 pixels on the long edge for a digital submission, and 300 dpi for printing purposes. However, it’s always a good idea to check the specific guidelines for each contest to ensure that your images meet their requirements.
  • File formats: It’s important to save your images in a lossless file format, such as TIFF or PNG, to ensure that the quality of your images is not compromised during the submission process. JPEGs are acceptable for digital submissions, but should be saved at the highest quality setting to minimize any loss of image data.
  • Digital or physical submission: Depending on the contest, you may be required to submit your images digitally or physically. If you’re submitting your images digitally, be sure to follow the guidelines for file naming, organization, and file size. If you’re submitting your images physically, be sure to use high-quality printing methods and materials to ensure that your images look their best.
  • Printing and framing: If you’re submitting your images physically, it’s important to ensure that they are printed and framed to the highest standards. This means using high-quality paper and ink, as well as properly framing and matting your images to showcase them to their best advantage. Additionally, be sure to follow any specific guidelines for matting, framing, and presentation that may be provided by the contest organizers.

Entry Information and Requirements

Completing Entry Forms

When submitting your photography entries for contests, it is important to carefully fill out the entry forms. These forms typically require your personal information, such as your name, address, and contact details. It is important to ensure that all information is accurate and up-to-date, as errors or omissions may result in disqualification.

Submission Deadlines

Each contest will have its own set of submission deadlines, which it is important to adhere to. Late submissions may not be accepted, and failure to meet the deadline may result in disqualification. It is important to carefully review the submission guidelines and ensure that your entries are submitted on time.

Payment of Fees

Many photography contests require an entry fee, which must be paid before your entries can be considered. It is important to carefully review the fee structure and ensure that your payment is received by the deadline. Failure to pay the required fees may result in disqualification.

Contact Information and Communication

When submitting your entries, it is important to provide accurate contact information, including your email address and phone number. Contest organizers may need to contact you with questions or updates regarding your entries, and it is important to respond promptly to any communication. Additionally, it is important to review the contest rules and guidelines regarding communication, as some contests may prohibit communication during certain periods.

Strategies for Winning Photography Contests

Building a Strong Portfolio

When it comes to winning photography contests, having a strong portfolio is essential. Your portfolio should showcase your best work and demonstrate your skills as a photographer. Here are some tips for building a strong portfolio:

  • Showcasing your best work: Your portfolio should be a representation of your best work. It should showcase your unique style and the type of photography you specialize in. Choose the images that will have the most impact on the judges and that will help to tell your story as a photographer.
  • Diversifying your portfolio: It’s important to have a diverse portfolio that showcases your range of skills and the different types of photography you can do. Include a mix of landscape, portrait, still life, and other types of photography to demonstrate your versatility.
  • Telling a compelling story: Your portfolio should tell a story about you as a photographer. It should showcase your vision, your creativity, and your unique perspective. Think about the message you want to convey and choose the images that will help to tell that story.

Remember, your portfolio is often the first impression that judges will have of your work, so make sure it’s a strong one. Take the time to carefully curate and edit your portfolio, and consider getting feedback from other photographers or industry professionals to help you improve.

Networking and Promotion

Joining Photography Communities

One effective strategy for winning photography contests is to join photography communities. These communities can provide valuable networking opportunities, as well as a platform to showcase your work and receive feedback from fellow photographers. Some popular photography communities include [insert specific communities here], which offer various events, workshops, and contests to help photographers improve their skills and gain recognition.

Social Media Presence

Another essential aspect of networking and promotion is maintaining a strong social media presence. Social media platforms like [insert specific platforms here] can help photographers reach a wider audience and build their personal brand. To effectively utilize social media, photographers should post regularly, engage with their followers, and participate in relevant hashtags and discussions. Additionally, photographers can collaborate with influencers or other photographers to expand their reach and gain exposure.

Collaborating with Other Photographers

Collaborating with other photographers is another excellent strategy for winning photography contests. Collaborations can help photographers learn new techniques, gain inspiration, and develop a more diverse portfolio. Photographers can collaborate on projects, share resources, or simply provide constructive feedback to each other. Networking and collaborating with other photographers can be done through online platforms like [insert specific platforms here] or by attending photography events and workshops.

Adapting to Contest Themes and Genres

Researching Contest Themes

  • Thoroughly examine the contest’s theme or genre requirements.
  • Look for any clues or hints about what the judges may be looking for.
  • Analyze past winners’ photographs to understand the style or subject matter that has been successful in the past.

Experimenting with New Genres

  • Diversify your portfolio by experimenting with different genres, such as portrait, landscape, or documentary photography.
  • Strive to find your unique voice within each genre.
  • Don’t be afraid to push boundaries and try something new.

Understanding the Preferences of Judges

  • Research the backgrounds and experiences of the contest judges.
  • Look for any common themes or styles in their past work.
  • Use this information to tailor your submission to align with the judges’ preferences.

Remember, the key to success in photography contests is to be adaptable and open to new challenges. By researching contest themes, experimenting with new genres, and understanding the preferences of judges, you can increase your chances of winning.

Persistence and Determination

  • Not giving up easily
    • Continuing to pursue your passion for photography despite setbacks or obstacles
    • Keeping a positive attitude and believing in yourself and your abilities
  • Learning from rejections
    • Understanding that rejection is a natural part of the creative process
    • Using rejection as an opportunity to grow and improve
    • Not taking rejection personally, but instead using it as a learning experience
  • Using feedback to improve
    • Actively seeking out constructive criticism and feedback from others
    • Being open to new ideas and perspectives
    • Using feedback to identify areas for improvement and to refine your skills and techniques


1. What type of photography typically wins contests?

The type of photography that typically wins contests is a matter of the specific contest and its judging criteria. However, some common types of photography that often win awards include landscape, wildlife, portrait, and documentary photography. These genres often showcase technical skill, creativity, and the ability to capture compelling stories.

2. What elements make a winning photo?

A winning photo typically exhibits technical excellence, creativity, and the ability to evoke emotion or tell a compelling story. It should have a clear focus, good composition, proper exposure, and well-balanced colors. The subject matter should be interesting and engaging, and the photo should have a unique perspective or approach.

3. Are there any specific themes or subjects that tend to win contests?

There are no specific themes or subjects that guarantee a win in a photography contest. However, some themes and subjects that often attract attention and are well-received by judges and audiences include social and environmental issues, human emotions, and the beauty of nature. It’s important to note that the winning photo ultimately depends on the specific contest’s theme, criteria, and judges’ preferences.

4. Is there a formula for creating a winning photo?

There is no universal formula for creating a winning photo, as it largely depends on the specific contest and its judging criteria. However, paying attention to the basics of photography, such as good composition, proper exposure, and focusing, is essential. Additionally, experimenting with different perspectives, techniques, and subjects can help you create unique and captivating images that stand out in a contest.

5. Can I improve my chances of winning a contest by entering multiple times?

Entering multiple times can increase your chances of winning a contest, as it allows you to submit more photos and learn from the feedback received. However, it’s important to focus on quality over quantity. Ensure that each submission is your best work and meets the contest’s criteria before submitting.

6. How important is post-processing in creating a winning photo?

Post-processing can be an essential part of creating a winning photo, as it allows you to enhance the image’s quality, correct any issues, and add creative elements. However, it’s important to remember that over-processing can detract from the photo’s originality and authenticity, which are often highly valued in contests. Striking a balance between creative enhancements and maintaining the integrity of the original image is key.

7. How do I know which contests to enter?

Researching and choosing the right contests to enter depends on your goals, experience, and the type of photography you specialize in. Look for contests with reputable judges, relevant themes, and significant prizes or exposure opportunities. Additionally, consider the contest’s entry fees, rules, and previous winners to assess its suitability for your work.

How to win photography contests? | What are some contests you should participate in?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *