Taking photo contests seriously

A friend asked me if I could help her set up a photo-contest for her non-profit educational institution. I told her I do enter some photo contests, but I am quite leery of many, because they are often little more than easy ways for groups to gather imagery for their own use at little or no cost to them. I think I know a bad photo contest when I read the rules but what I really wanted to send her was resources for knowing what a “good” photo contest is, in terms of being fair to the photographers.

So I posted some queries on some of the on-line forums I regularly read. I was thrilled at the info I got back and as soon as I read it I realized this information was worth posting on my blog. Here are a few sites with specific info on what makes a photo contest fair to the photographers/contributors:

www.pro-imaging.org/content/view/177/156

and

www.compginz.org.nz/

I am not opposed to entering photo contests. They can be rewarding and even real career boosters in some cases. What I am against is contests that exploit photographers’ delusions of grandeur. For me, photography is my passion, but it is also my business. The only way I can continue to practice my passion is to treat it like a business. The better informed you are about what makes a good or bad photography contest, the more likely you are to be able to continue your passion.

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