Did you know that I had an image of mine featured in Times Square, New York a couple of years ago?
I was 19, it was a photo I'd taken of one of my friends at university, and it was taken on a little old Nikon D80. I was super fresh to photography still, but I had a deep passion for it. A competition popped up called "Art Takes Times Square" and on a whim, I entered. Little did I know, I'd be one of the photographers selected to have her image featured in Time Square on the event day!
Was that really cool? You bet it was! I still get people asking me today how I did that, or bringing it up in meetings. If oten goes something along the lines of: "how did you get featured in Time Square?!" The answer is pretty simple: I entered a competition!
So this blog post is obviously directed at photographers, but if anyone reading this ISN'T a photographer, then I think the same still applies to you. If you're a blogger, designer maker, writer, whatever it is, there will be some kind of creative competition out there that you can enter, and I hope that in reading this post, it will help you to feel more confident in doing so!
So why should you even bother entering competitions?
1. To Get In Front Of Industry
Most competitions are judged by some big names in the industry. And we all know that we want to try and get our work in front of the right people, especially big influences in the industries we're in. So if you see a competition and one of the judges is a big player in your industry, then I believe it's 100% worth entering.
2. Press Coverage
If you get selected as a winner, or often even just a runner up of some kind, you're probably going to get some press coverage! Again, this is all about getting your name out there, and getting more eye balls on your work. I think this alone makes it worth a shot!
Pretty self explanatory, but most competitions come with prizes! Sometimes they're really small (like a shoutout). Sometimes they're really big, like £60,000 cash, or £10,000 worth of camera kit. This is often the biggest drive for people wanting to enter competitions, and I say why not!
4. Practice and Feedback
Some competitions will ask you to shoot something to a specific brief, which is always good practice when it comes to interpreting a brief, and delivering something of value. Whenever I enter anything like this, I try to treat it as a job: what would my client want out of this if they were paying me to do this for them?
Most of the time, you can also request feedback from judges. This is INCREDIBLY valuable, and if you enter a competition and don't get through to final rounds, or win, I'd recommend asking for feedback from the judges... heck, even if you do win, still ask for feedback. There is always something you can improve on. Use this as a chance to speak to some amazing judges about your work, and improve it!
5. If you never play the lottery, you'll never win
I have a friend who is always winning those giveaways on Facebook. I asked her how she did it, and she told me straight up: "I just enter a lot of giveaways!" and she was right. I never do those things, so obviously I never win. That stuck with me, and now whenever I see a giveaway I'd like to win, I take a second and enter. If you don't ever enter things, how can you ever expect to win?!
In light of all of the above, I wanted to share with you a competition that I am actually entering this week: the "Production Paradise Spotlight Awards." There are categories for almost every photography discipline (Fashion, Beauty, Advertising, Portrait, Food, etc) and the competition is open for entries right now. The best bit about this, I think, is the huge panel of judges who are going to be deliberating on the images; over 50 editors, marketing managers, art directors, etc from industry. It's pretty amazing opportunity to get in front of some amazing people (whether you win or not).
I'm entering 3 images, and if you're interesting in entering too, here's a 15% discount code on the entry fee: OLIVIA15SA
Let me know if you do decide to enter, and what you choose to enter with!