Photo Contests: How to Stand Out & Win

In How-To
Photo contest - stand out

If you’re a photographer who participates in contests, you probably want to know what will help make your photo stand out. It’s nice to think you can just take a really great photo, and everyone will love it. That isn’t always the case. Sometimes there are features to a photo, and that is what people are seeing. So what makes an image stand out?

How to stand out in a photo contest

Photo contest - stand out
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It’s important that your photo offers something original. Something that people don’t see all the time. This will immediately catch the viewer’s eye. This doesn’t have to be a unique object, or a unique scene. It can just be a unique angle. Everyone has a different idea of what is “good” or “bad” when it comes to art. Ignore those opinions. But what is original will always attract more attention than what is common place. So consider viewing a common object in a unique way. Do that with a camera. Even if your picture is of a dog sitting on the sidewalk, you can make it one of a kind. You don’t want to make your image confusing to understand either. When it comes to photography, as it is considered a form of art, it’s important that you convey what you want to. If your idea for a dog sitting on the sidewalk is to convey simplicity, make sure that your viewer will understand that. The viewer’s reaction is the most important part of having your photograph stand out.


While it’s a good idea to view photographs in terms of what they mean, this term is being literal. Using Depth Of Field is a great way to make your image stand out. Depth of field separates the foreground from the background. It offers a slight blur to everything but the main object that you’re photographing. If you were to take that dog picture, the sidewalk and everything in the background would be blurred. This puts a focus on the dog, who would be crystal clear. This is a good practice if you’re taking pictures of still, or even moving, objects. It’s less useful if you’re taking pictures of the scenery. Unless you want a nice picture of a tree with the rest of the image blurred out. Either way, using depth of field can assign focus to your image.


Now, it’s important to make sure your photograph has the right amount of contrast as well. With certain cameras, this can be done while you’re taking the photo. It’s not a feature that you’ll find on every camera though. If you don’t have a camera with this feature, use a photo editing software. Adobe Photoshop is the most common one, and I’m going to choose it for referencing. There is a tool called the “Level” tool. This will adjust the color levels in your photo. It will adjust the brightness as well. This is a great step in having your photo stand out.


You do want to enhance your photographs, but you don’t want to go over board. So when I say enhance, I just mean the necessary adjustments to really make your image pop. If you’re a portrait photographer, you probably know all about making those adjustments. You want your photo to still look real. This is why I suggest only minimal enhancements. Such as levels, brightness, and exposure. Basically, make the adjustments to your image in moderation. As long as you don’t go overboard, you can maintain a beautiful and enhanced image. That’s exactly what you want if you’re submitting your photograph to any contests.


Finally, the best tip I can give you to make your images stand out is to know your competition. If it’s possible to look at the images that other people have submitted, do. Take it all in. Observe and analyze the images. This way you can avoid submitting a photograph that everyone else has submitted a variation of. You can get an idea of what will really stand out from everyone else. Since that’s your goal, the research portion in standing out is very important.

When you’re entering a photography contest, there are a few more tips to keep in mind. These are less about getting your image recognized, and more about making you’re following the guidelines. You want to submit photographs that meet the criteria of the contest. If there is a theme, you want to make sure your photograph is related. You want to know you’re eligible for the contest. There may be restrictions of location, or level of skill. You want to know the rules of the contest, and what the rewards are. If there are any costs associated, that’s important to know too. There’s no harm submitting your photographs to a multitude of contests. But keep in mind, it won’t do you any good if your photos are turned down because they didn’t meet the guideline.

Do you have anything else to add to this? Do let us know in the comment section below.

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3 commentsOn Photo Contests: How to Stand Out & Win

  • Thanks for your valuable tips to win the contest but in spite of all these I am not sure that when there is a condition like ‘maximum likes’ from the users.

    • Thanks for your valuable feedback. To give more importance to quality of the photograph, we have now launched our Photo Duel system which judges the contest.

  • the tips are very good and one thing which u wrote that “Something that people don’t see all the time. This will immediately catch the viewer’s eye. This doesn’t have to be a unique object, or a unique scene. ” its so true some care angles can make the photograph different……

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