5 Tips for Entering Photography Competitions

Updated: Jun 17, 2020

Photo competitions are opportunities for photographers to show off their amazing images and score some recognition.  They also provide rewards for hard efforts out in the field.

I recently had the opportunity to judge the Landscape Category as part of the annual Sony Alpha Awards. There were several different genre categories, and as a previous winner of the Landscape Awards, I was asked to serve on the judge’s panel.

Here are 5 things I learned from being both a contestant and a category judge.

1. Try to get the image as right out of camera as possible.

This is the reference point for where the image concept began. Photos can be easily manipulated with Photoshop, and artificial intelligence can even replace skies. The original, unedited file shows the baseline of an image prior to processing. The timestamp shows whether the photographer has the patience and persistence to capture the best light of the day. Or whether the file was altered to appear as if it were taken in the best light.

Getting horizons and buildings straight in camera also helps with correcting warped perspectives and lines in the image. Nothing is worse than crooked horizons as they clearly signal the end of the of world is coming, and the flat Earthers will be freaking out…..

2. Edit your image.

It’s nice to get the base image right out of the camera, but editing the image is the polish that makes it come to life.

Colour correction and even basic adjustments to exposure and contrast can make an image more appealing. Cleaning up dust spots is essential when the image comes under scrutiny.

There’s a fine balance between over editing and deep diving down the rabbit hole. My suggestion is to look at the base image and construct a plan for what you want to fix and adjust. Then proceed step by step.