Everyone and their uncle seems to be organizing photography competitions these days. The big boys such as the National Portrait Gallery and the Picture of the Year International are still doing their contests — and providing giant bragging rights to go with the cash prizes — but now they’ve been joined by all sorts of relatively small competitions like this one and this one.
So why not organize your own competition?
You don’t have to give away a fat check as a prize. Most entrants would be looking for the pleasure that comes from beating the field rather than the fun that comes from spending the prize money. Fifty dollars could be enough to get people sending in their photos (although if you can rustle up a sponsor to hand out some freebies, so much the better).
But you will need a place to show the winners. A website will do but a real-life location would be even better. Your own studio can make a good offline exhibition hall — and it will get potential buyers through your door rather than someone else’s — but a local café can work very well too. You get a free location and they get lots of coffee-drinking customers.
You’d also need a way to receive the photos. That could be by submission online or through the post. Both are easy to set up.
And what would you get out of the contest?
Well, first, as the organizer of a competition you’d get some easy publicity and some top quality branding. Set yourself up as a judge of other photographers and you put yourself above them. Who are high-paying buyers going to turn to when they want images taken on the subject of your competition — the winning photographer or the well-known expert who picked him?
You could also put all the best entrants together in a Blurb book and sell it for profit at the exhibition and on your website. (Although you should also share the revenue with the entrants — and they should keep the rights to their images.)
But mostly you’d get to have some fun and encourage people to take pictures on a subject you love. All you need to get started is a topic…