Photography Contests in 2022 (+ Tricks to Win)


One of the most rewarding things that can happen to you as an amateur photographer is to introduce yourself to a photography contest and you win it. Many BdF readers make photographs worthy of the cover of National Geographic but do not finish taking the step to participate in a contest.

In today’s article I’m going to do everything in my power to convince you to apply for a photography award 😅.

I’ll explain why it may be the best decision you can make when it comes to photography, I’ll give you some tips to increase your chances of winning, and I’ll leave you with two of the most interesting photography contests going on right now in 2022 for that you are encouraged to participate with your photo.

As you will be able to see, participating in a photo contest is a learning experience.

Let’s go there.

What do you gain by entering a photography contest?

The monetary value of a photo contest prize is not the most important thing. Trust me.

Entering a photo contest is one of the most rewarding ways I know of to enjoy photography. When you choose a photo and submit it to a contest, you are actually getting a lot of benefits that are hard to get otherwise.

Here some examples:

1) Many people, in their beginnings, make an extremely “literal” photograph, a somewhat superficial one, a simple visual description of a scene.

A photo contest usually has a theme, and often a specific cause. Participating in a contest of these requires a certain effort of “interpretation”. It takes you to start the coconut.

In a photography contest you learn to look beyond the visual part: you have to try to understand the context of the contest, the theme, the background, the objective.

A photography contest makes you think about the way you can visually communicate an idea, an emotion or a story.

From what I have seen, people get very obsessed with the technical part, with the adjustments, the focus and so on, but they completely neglect the “plot” that every photo should have.

2) How many digital photos do you have in total? Tell the truth. So, an approximate figure. One hundred? One thousand.. ten thousand? Do you have a chance to see them all? Do you enjoy the photos you take?

The hectic pace of life makes it almost impossible to enjoy in retrospect the memories and moments we create. A photography contest is the perfect excuse to sit down for a while and go through your photos to choose the most suitable one for the contest in question.

Nikon camera reflections on glass

This exercise is a unique moment in which you can review and enjoy your photographic legacy as we rarely do.

3) Photography is a form of social communication between humans. In my humble way of seeing things, 99% of the meaning of a photo is made concrete when we take the photo of the captivity to which we had it subjected in our archive and decide to share it with other people, starting with the jury that is going to see it.

A photo contest gives you the opportunity to show your photo to the world, to turn your photo into a true tool of social expression.

4) Many photography contests award the winner (sometimes more than one) with an exhibition space in a major gallery. For me this is more important than any other material award. Having the possibility of exhibiting your photos, at no cost to you, with the corresponding recognition that this entails is priceless.

The biggest mistake everyone makes

The biggest mistake you can make when entering a photography contest is precisely not showing up.

It is a common mistake, as common as the number of people who consider sending their photo to a contest and end up giving up due to lack of self-confidence.

By submitting yourself to a photography contest you lose absolutely nothing. If you rush me, you even win. You earn everything we said at the beginning of this article and more.

Did you know that many photography contests end up being declared void, simply because of the lack of jobs that arrive?

It is a mistake to refrain from participating in one of these contests, for thinking that your photo does not even get a 7 out of 10, let’s say. You don’t know the number of photos that will come to the contest, nor the quality of them.

Don’t make this mistake. Choose 2 or 3 photo contests for this year and submit your photos. Take it as a habit. Aim to participate in at least 2 different photography contests a year.

Photographer participating in photo contest

Quick tricks to win photo contests

Assuming you’ve gotten yourself excited about the first part of this article, and you’re itching to submit your photo to a photo contest, let’s look at a few tricks that will help you get closer to that “First Prize”.

Remember that if your photo does not win, nothing happens. But since we participate, we are going to do well right?

1. Understand the theme of the contest

This is basic, but I have to underline it. Understanding the theme of the contest is critical. Do not rush when choosing (or taking) the photo with which you are going to participate. First, spend a good amount of time understanding the topic proposed in the contest by reading the call carefully.

2. Try to get to the bottom

Most people “get the theme” of the award to some extent, but they stick to it, approaching it as an “isolated” photographic theme.
In a photography contest, in addition to understanding the subject, you need to think about the context of the award. Who announces the prize? (city council, association, company or private entity, etc.) Why do they announce this award? What’s your objective? (raising awareness, denouncing, promoting, supporting, etc.)

We need to get to the bottom of the call.

Asking ourselves these questions will help us come up with a “perfect” photographic proposal for the contest in question.

3. Explore galleries of past winners

Unless it is the very first call for the contest in question, it is normal that there have been previous calls with different topics. Dig into those calls, check the theme of each of them and take a look at the winning photos.

This exercise will allow you to get an idea of ​​the direction or line in which you should work.

4. Look for inspiration

This is a piece of advice I always give: try to soak up as much inspiration as you can. Look at social networks, online galleries, websites Flickr either 500px. Look for contest-themed photos that can give you a dose of inspiration.

5. Surprise the contest jury

Provide a differentiating element in your photo that can attract the attention of the jury. Try to stand out in a way that powerfully attracts attention, either on a technical level, or on a story/message/emotion level.

6. Respect the basics

Make sure you submit your photos in the correct format and resolution. Respect the formal/technical requirements of the call. It would be a shame if you were the author of a possible winning photograph and that it was discarded because it did not have the correct resolution, for example.

Two photo contests I recommend

At this point I would like you to be encouraged to participate in one of the contests that are called right now. If you search, you will surely find several.

As an example, at this moment there are two very important photography awards that are:

Eurostars Grand Marina Award for Photography

Eurostars Madrid Tower Photography Award

The two awards are well known and already have a consolidated track record, the one in Madrid is in its 9th edition and the one in Barcelona in its 20th.

Both prizes are a very good excuse to practice photography but in addition, both grant succulent prizes: 2,500 EUR to the first winner and 1,000 EUR to the second. The following 8 classifieds get free stays at this 5-star hotel chain.

Winning the top prize would be great, but if you don’t, reaching the top 10 should be easier.

The theme of the call for Madrid revolves around the artistic dimension of this city. I think it is an easy subject and within everyone’s reach. Nor is it about sending a photo with the Prado door without more. Or yes, maybe an absurdly “simple” photo leaves the jury stunned and conquers it. I do not know. But I would try to find a different and groundbreaking angle to the idea of ​​”Madrid is Art”.

Think about the different expressions of art. In its various manifestations.

When we think of art, the typical painting comes to mind, which also comes to mind, but think of other facets of art that characterize Madrid: sculpture, architecture, music, theater, a tablao, etc.

Remember what we said before about “differentiating” our proposal from that of others.

Nor do you limit yourself to the strict concept of “works of art”. Think of places, characters, etc.

Photography contest Madrid is Art

“Icons of Barcelona” is a similar proposal, because it seeks to highlight a particular city, however here the focus is broader, transcends the artistic, and covers any aspect that we could find as “iconic” of the city of Barcelona.

Close your eyes 🙈 and think of Barcelona.

What is the first thing that comes to mind?

Park Güell, Tibidabo?

Keep your eyes still closed.

Keep thinking.

What other characteristic things come to mind?

The typical architecture of the Gothic Quarter perhaps? The ancient bar “Casa Almirall” that has been around since 1860? Any neighborhood in particular? The passing of life in El Raval?

Or maybe a view of the Port from Montjuïc?

Think of something iconic in Barcelona and portray it with a unique, different perspective. Amazing.

Barcelona Icons Photography Contest

Next steps

If you live in Madrid, Barcelona or surroundings, there you have 2 of the most interesting photography awards and to which you can aspire as an amateur photographer. Whether you live in one of these two cities or if you plan to be passing through one of them in the coming months, you can take advantage and send a photo that conveys the essence of the topic.

Here I leave you the bases of the Madrid and Barcelona prize contest.

If I see that you like this idea of ​​photographic contests, I promise in the future to publish contest ideas in other cities in Spain and Latin America (for now you can see other calls for this same chain in other cities in Spain here).

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