If you're a part of the VIEWBUG community, you know that photography contests are a lot of fun and that photo contests are definitely worth it! To make the most of your experience, don't stop at the submission process. There's a lot more you can do to succeed, regardless of the contest results. Not sure where to start? We're here to help!

Be Aware of Each Contest’s Expectations

Every photography contest website has its own requirements. Some winners are chosen by other members in a voting process, while others are selected by a panel of experienced photographers.

If a website is known for its prestigious judges, make sure to look at past winners and their submissions. It's likely that the judges have a specific taste that reflects in their choices. Some websites prioritize an edgy style, while others accept a wider range of styles. If you take the time to analyze these photos, you'll save yourself a lot of time (and maybe even money) in the long run.

Find Inspiration in Other People’s Submissions

Photography contests offer more than prizes. To make the most of your experience, take a look at your fellow photographers' submissions. On VIEWBUG, you can do this by picking a contest and clicking on 'Photos', which is located right under 'Submit Photos'. It might seem counter-intuitive to assess your competitors' submissions. Instead of considering them competitors, consider them your personal sources of inspiration. They could motivate you to do better and encourage you to think differently about lighting, posing, and composition. Photo contests are worth it, they help you improve your skills and creativity.

Study Your Favourite Photographs

On VIEWBUG, you can create collections using other people's photos. I highly recommend creating a collection filled with photos that stand out to you. In your free time, analyze these photos and figure out why you like them. This will help you understand your own taste as a photographer. This is different from browsing through a gallery of photos. Whenever you take the time to study someone's work, you give yourself the chance to learn something new. Even half an hour of photo-studying can lead to new discoveries.

It might help to make a list of the following:

Lighting: Is it dramatic or subtle? Natural or artificial? What kind of mood does it create in the image?

Colors: Do you notice any signs of color editing? If it's a black & white photo, pay attention to contrast and tones. How do these colors (or a lack of colors) affect the photo?

Editing: Selective color, dramatic contrast, levitating props, etc., are all signs of photo editing. Pay careful attention to the way an image has been manipulated. Even a small change can make a simple photo stand out. Think of creative ways to edit your own work.

Take Initiative and Make New Friends

Don't forget to like and comment on your favorite pictures! Even though the world of contests is competitive, it doesn't mean you can't make new friends there. Let others know that you appreciate their work. With time, you'll be able to build your own community of supportive photographers. Some photography contest websites, such as VIEWBUG, have a messaging system where you can interact with members. Don't be afraid of taking initiative and reaching out to people first.

Do you have a technical question? Is there a specific type of lighting that you'd like to master for a contest? Contact a few photographers and ask them for advice. They might provide you with tips that will help you submit outstanding photos to your next contest.

Join Contests That Look Intimidating

Let's say that you're an avid nature photographer. Portrait photography is out of your realm, but there's an interesting Father's Day contest that's open to submissions. You know a few people who could model for you, but you're afraid that you don't have enough skills to win.

Instead of thinking about the destination - the contest prize - consider your journey to submitting the photographs instead. You'll learn something new, no matter the outcome. This knowledge will lead to better photoshoots and a stronger creative intuition. Also, the more you do this, the braver you'll become!

Ask For Feedback Before You Submit Anything

Find a few contests that inspire you and create a gallery of photos that you'd like to submit. Then, reach out to a few experienced photographers and ask for their honest feedback. Share a link to the contest(s) you'd like to join and briefly explain the rules.

If you don't know any photographers personally, look for guidance online. Join a forum, a Facebook group, or a sub-reddit. There are many social apps, such as Amino, where you can join groups for photographers and ask for feedback. Again, it's all about taking initiative!

Don't underestimate the power of objective feedback. An unbiased photographer could help you look at your images from a professional point of view. They might share tips that could help you improve a variety of important photography skills.

Advertise Yourself Through Your Portfolio

VIEWBUG - along with a plethora of other photography websites - allows members to create portfolios directly in the community. Create a gallery, write an artist bio, and let people know that you're available for hire.

This can be a powerful marketing tool if you want to connect with companies or fellow photographers. Your portfolio might highlight the contests you've won or the peer rewards you've received. A gallery on a photography contest website has the power to be much more effective than your own website.

Share Your Knowledge With Others

Some photography contests encourage their contestants to write something about their submissions. Take advantage of this opportunity! It will show the judges that you care about your work, and it will also encourage other members to interact with you.

Write a thoughtful description for every submission. How can you provide value? Share a technical tip or a personal story that helped you improve your photoshoot. No matter how experienced you are, you can inspire others to take better photos.

Helping others in the photography industry is gratifying. If you can achieve this regularly through photography contests, you'll enjoy the submission process even more.


Photography contests are an exciting opportunity to get exposure and win amazing prizes. However, there's more to them than that. The recipe for a successful photography contest is simple but effective: be an active part of the community, take initiative, and always be open to learning something new. If you follow these steps, you'll always be a winner in the world of photography.

Now, click on Photo Contests and start submitting!