• Georgina Steytler

Why and How to enter Photo Competitions

I know that feeling. You are staring at photos on your computer screen and you have no idea if you should even enter the competition, let alone which photos to enter. You could turn to your better half for guidance, but you already know what they will say and, anyway, you suspect they are biased.

So why enter photo competitions? Of course, we would all like to win the 'big' one, but let's assume you won't. The best reason to enter is because you want to be a better bird photographer. Just going through the selection process, outlined below, will improve your images (even if you don't enter them) by forcing you to be your own judge.

If you do enter and none of your images are short-listed, don't let it get you down. No-one pops out of the womb taking award-winning photos. Never give up. In the words of Samuel Beckett,

"Fail, fail again. Fail Better."

So you are ready to put your top images to the test, now you have to decide which of them to enter? The best advice that I have read on photo competitions was to 'put yourself in the position of the judges'. It's time to pack away all your prejudices, delete your pet 'faves' and bring to the desk a heady dose of objectivity. It ain't easy and yes, there will always be an element of the judges' subjectivity that can't be predicted, but there are some basic steps that will help you along the way.

READ THE RULES. Re-read them until you can recite them in your sleep. Is there a time limit? What are the image size requirements? Is there any geographical limitation? Does my photo really match the theme?