Is It Worth It to Enter Photography Competitions?

There are a ton of photography competitions out there, often promising prizes, prestige, and more to the winners. Are they actually worth taking the time and spending the money to enter, however? This excellent video essay discusses photography contests and their pros and cons. 

Coming to you from Simon Baxter, this great video essay discusses the topic of photography competitions. Competitions offer a seemingly quick route to recognition and success. The thing is, though, I do not know of a single photographer who has landed a client because they have won awards, nor have I ever had a client ask me to show them my awards resume. Clients generally only care about the images you produce and if you can provide them with a satisfactory professional experience. And so, before you expend effort and spend your money on entering a competition, be sure you are doing it for the right reasons. If you want to enter them for personal gratification, by all means, go for it, but if you are trying to increase your professional standing, that money and effort are probably best spent elsewhere, like improving your craft. Check out the video above for Baxter's full thoughts on the topic. 

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6 Comments

Paul Farace's picture

Didn't think it would be that expensive, dang....

Chase Wilson's picture

They matter a little for a fine-art resume.

J.d. Davis's picture

Personal comment & thought: Unless it's a Pulitzer, no one cares or is impressed!

Robert Oslin's picture

How did he reverse zoom that forest shot starting from top of the tree back to the fallen tree? Was that a drone shot?

Ziggy Stardust's picture

The best thing about it AFAIK is reviewing and selecting your photos and seeing why they made the cut - what your style is.
Winning is rewarding too but not as beneficial.

Christian Lainesse's picture

I view them as lotteries for whatever hardware they give out as prizes. With the chances of winning on the same order of probabilities. So are they worth it? If you think they are not, you probably never buy lottery tickets either.