Entering Competitions as a Tool for Photography Marketing

The advent of digital photography has literally created a new generation of photographers and sometimes it’s hard to distinguish the legitimate from the photographer “wannabees”. That’s why photographers are entertaining new methods of marketing their skills through social media and a unique portfolio. However, sometimes even the best needs a break to come out of anonymity and become well known. Entering a photography competition is becoming a favourite among photographers as a tool for photography marketing.

Being shortlisted in a reputable photography competition instantly increases your branding to many individuals who are previously unaware of you. Word of mouth will follow the rapid spread of your work as the finalists for a photography competition is announced. This is also an ideal avenue for photographers to stamp a particular photograph to their branding. Just recall various well known photographers who are known or almost synonymous to their award winning piece.

Make sure to choose the right category which will fit your style of photography. If you’re style is documentary type then do not enter it into the amateur or glamour photography categories. Pick a competition that already has a major following and a great reputation and history of past famed winners. Winning such photography competition will instantly catapult your name together with the other popular photographers.

Photo from: Inhabitat.com
Photo from Inhabitat.com

On the marketing side, this is a major boost to your brand and appeal across all sectors of prospective clients. It will bring sudden name recall and instant popularity. On the other side of joining a photography competition is the bitter taste of losing, do not hang your head when you lose some competition because in photography competition winning isn’t everything. The fact that your image was shortlisted is enough to be proud and others to take notice. Remember, just to have your photograph displayed as among the finalist is already like winning and having a free marketing to boot.

The only downside to entering a photography competition is when you do it more than it should have. People will notice if you constantly enter a competition like a habit or it become pretty obvious that you’re just free-wheeling on the publicity and the marketing it gives. Make sure to only select a few photography competitions and let a lot of time in between before you join another. Remember, joining a photo contest is just a stepping stone and should not become a cornerstone of your overall photography marketing.

Photo from: Magna UK
Photo from: Magna UK


Just like every other marketing strategies, entering a photography competition should be controlled and carefully decided upon. Also, remember to only choose your favourite work to submit, do not enter a sub-standard photograph that doesn’t represent your style and skills as this will only do more harm than good.

The basic thing to remember is to have a great strategy in choosing which photography competition to join as well as submitting the right photograph that fits the theme and category of the competition. In the end, the marketing balloon it will generate will help boost your photography career.

About Kristine Buenavista

Tin oftentimes takes her folding bike and old camera along country roads. Sometimes, she forgets to take pictures (though she never forgets when she finds great photos elsewhere). She narrates through words and images here. Travel, creativity, laughter, cerveza negra, scavenge hunt for beauty, starry-windy nights are among the things that make her feel weightless.

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