What You Need to Know About Photography Competitions

When you’re a passionate photographer looking to make a name for yourself and gain exposure for your work, the benefits of photography contests absolutely can’t be denied. The competition process can teach you a lot about your work and where it fits into the photography industry at large. You learn invaluable lessons about what works and what doesn’t. Should you win, you can walk away with prizes and valuable exposure as well.

However, those that are new to such competitions eventually need to decide whether to invest their money in the experience of entering a paid competition or simply stick to the free alternatives. Here we’ll take a closer look at what’s really involved in regards to both options so that you can make a wise, well informed decision about where and how to enter your work.

Caitlin Rakers - Free Photography Competitions

Photo Credit: Caitlin Rakers

Are Free Photography Competitions Really Free?

At first glance, it makes sense that a budding photographer would lean heavily toward the free photography competitions, especially if they’re on a tight budget. People are hard-wired to think that free or extremely cheap is much better than the alternatives. However, it’s important to understand that generally speaking, there really isn’t any such thing as a free competition.

Free photo contests don’t take place in a vacuum. If the establishment sponsoring the competition isn’t asking for entry fees, you can rest assured that you’ll be paying for the opportunity to enter in some other way. Some of these competitions expect entrants to sign away the rights to their photography in exchange for inclusion. Others sell personal details and information to spam marketing companies and other third parties.

Naturally, these are not things an up and coming photographer wants to have to worry about. The whole point of competing is to gain an advantage and access to new opportunities, not lose the rights to one’s work or wind up added to a host of spam lists.

Eric Fagerheim - Free Photo Contests

Photo Credit: Eric Fagerheim

Why Does Proify Charge an Entry Fee?

Proify does not sell the personal information of its entrants to spammers, nor does it expect to take away the rights to their work in exchange for exposure and a chance at some prize money. However, it does ask that entrants pay a reasonable fee in order to be included. To begin with, it takes funding to run a contest as prestigious as the Proify Awards. The entry fees we charge help make up the difference when it comes to costs like site maintenance and marketing, as well as the actual prize money. (The competition promoters foot the bill for the rest.)

At Proify, we also believe that when you win a contest of this caliber, you should be winning something of real value. We don’t consider it enough to simply give our winners some prize money and wish them luck. We believe that your winning photography deserves real exposure. That said, some of the money taken in via entry fees funds public relations and marketing efforts that help both the contest and the winning entries get discovered. Winning images have been featured via high profile news sites, television, and multiple international press outlets as a result.

In other words, charging an entry fee adds value not only to the competition, but to entrants’ work as well – something every passionate photographer deserves. Come discover the difference when you join Proify today!