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?