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Photo Contests – Beware – They Might Try To Rip You Off

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© 2007 Gina Genis

Photography contests have become big business. They rake in tens of thousands of dollars. Some are reputable, some not. I know one person who claims to be a gallerist. What people don’t know when they enter the international call for entries is that the gallery is in this person’s living room.

Personally, I am sick of contests. I will only enter if there is a juror I have not presented my work to, and there is no other way I could make contact. But even if I am dying to have a particular juror see my work, I refuse to enter if the price is too steep. I’m not talking about the entry fee. I’m talking about the copyright.

I have wanted to write a detailed article about how entering¬† photography contests can be harmful. You could be handing over your money-making image to someone else forever. It all has to do with the fine print in the terms and conditions document that you probably don’t read. You just check the box next to the words I agree to the terms and conditions…. then upload your photos. In doing so, you are acting like an amateur instead of a professional. Do your research. Find out about the jurors, the venue, and the company or magazine benefiting from the contest.

Noella Ballenger for Apogee Photo Magazine beat me to writing a very detailed article regarding things you should be aware of. Please take the time to read it before you enter another contest. Here’s a little incentive. There are many photographers who have sold a single image for $25,000. Are you really going to give that up for a 1 in 10,000 chance at winning an exhibit in a living room?


About Gina Genis

Hi Friends, I'm a photographer and artist who lives in Washington DC. I have two blogs. The Gina Genis Blog is about art and photography. My new blog, DC Discoveries is dedicated to showing you everything from fashion to art, food to entertainment in all sections of the District. I hope you will take the journey with me. I exhibit my work in museums and galleries across the U.S. I'm included in the permanent collections of the Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry, the Otto G. Richter Library Special Collections Division of the University of Miami, Hard Rock Casino, Orange County Transit District, IBM, and the Sarah and Adam Markman Collection among others. My series "Window Peeping" was included in OsCene 2010 at the Laguna Art Museum, Truman State University, Fellows of Contemporary Art, Biola University, and solo shows at Gallery 825 and Cypress College. The "June Gloom" series was exhibited in a solo show at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. The "Kala" series has been exhibited at MPLS Photo Center, Cypress College, and Gallery 825. "Economy Portraits" was created as an Artist In Residence project at the Huntington Beach Art Center, and was awarded "Best Art Show of 2011" by the OC Weekly. I curated Wide Angle View, an exhibit of 16 international, award-winning photo and multi-media journalists at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art to much critical acclaim. Recent reviews of my work have appeared in the Huffington Post, Art Scene, OC Weekly, Orange County Register, New University, Riviera Magazine, Coast Magazine, Huntington Beach Independent, and appeared on CNN, NBC, ABC, and more. I lead the Gina Genis Photo Workshops where I show beginning and intermediate photographers how to jump to the next level with their work. I also teach online photography courses through The Compelling Image.

One response »

  1. Professional photographers should be a tight knit community sharing our knowledge, experience and expertise with each other. Bless you for doing this, Gina. Regarding this notice about money-making schemes to make money off artists who are desperate to get their work out into the world and attract top galleries, thanks for this heads up Gina. I’m glad to reciprocate in any way that is welcome & useful.


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