Photo competitions: Yes/No?

Why photo competitions?

Until this year, I had never entered any photo competitions. Shoot and Share was the first. I watched my friend Tiffany rock it last year and I thought, “okay, maybe next year.” So next year rolled around and it was time to enter. Panic ensued. What to enter, which ones (you can enter up to 50), on and on. Naturally it took me forever to decide and cull through my photos, size and submit them. Then I waited (and voted, dying to see even one of my images pop up on the screen to select). Yes, I voted for myself, duh.Greensboro finalist badge

Shoot and Share is different from other photo competitions in that it’s totally free, open to anyone (pros or hobbyists) and is anonymous. There’s no social media rally to get people to vote for you and there’s little opportunity to be swayed by a name (unless you just flat out recognize the work.) I’m a stalker fan of some of these people so that did happen. The other fun (addicting) thing is that voting is done by everyone online for a specific period of time. There’s some fancy nerdy algorithm for how photos get shown, but never mind all that. It was just fun to be part of the frenzy.

Anyway, the talent was amazing and panic ensued again. Would any make the cut (any cut)? I waited some more….In general I’ve seen a few schools of thought on entering these types of photo competitions. The first is that unless it’s juried by expert panelists and you have skin in the game (a la entrance fee), you’re not getting true a true assessment of the quality of your photos. Another, more cynical view I guess, is that photographers only enter photo competitions to be seen by other photographers. I think my motivation for entering was fairly simple. “Let’s just see what happens.”

Some interesting stats from the competition:

  • 226,000 photos were entered from all over the world
  • 25 categories
  • All 50 states represented and 24 countries
  • 26,545,680 votes cast from
    • 51,473 unique voters from
    • 135 countries spent the equivalent of
    • 11.7 YEARS (4291 days) of time voting on the contest!


So, when I got my finalist badge I was super excited. That’s the top 3.5 %! Of all that above! We had to wait what seemed like forever to see all the results (I’m terrible at waiting), but here they are. And while I didn’t have any place in the top 100, I’m really pleased with the outcome. I mean seriously, 226,000 photos were entered! So yeah, I’m going to be stoked about a bunch in the top 20 and 30%. These are some of my favorite images of some of my favorite people and to have them selected by photographers and others who love photography made me proud. I will definitely enter again next year with a goal of improving my results.

Basically, my advice to you is if you’re considering entering a competition next year — do it. Yes, this was free and a zillion people voted instead of an impressive panel, but these people ARE impressive and they love photography too. And the work was OUTSTANDING. I mean JAW DROPPING. This group is passionate and supportive and doesn’t care where you are in your journey. Photo competitions push you to be critical of your work when selecting photos, strategic about what categories to enter and hopeful about your progress and success. I know that’s how I feel after participating. So start saving those photos for next year! I’ve got my folder ready.

To see all the amazing photos go here.

Greensboro finalist photo competitions

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  • Jodi - Congrats on making it to a finalist! such an achievement <3 you should be very proud!ReplyCancel

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