How you could win photography competitions even if you are a novice?

Professional and amateur photographers can enter photography competitions all around the world. The world of digital photography really opens opportunities for you – you don’t have to be a pro, or even own the most expensive gear. All you need to do is take a unique and original photo. So how do you do it?
photography competition

Photography competitions around the world

The world of photography competitions is split into two: Permanent competitions, and special-occasion competitions. The special ones are put together as one-time events by all sorts of organizations. The permanent competitions can be annual or biannual and they have certain themes. Some of these photography competitions are ‘open’, which means that anyone can enter, and others are restricted to a certain group (e.g. people living in a certain city, or people who have a certain ethnic background).

How to take a photo worthy of a photography competition

Even if you are not a professional photographer, applying a few simple tips will upgrade your photographs and make them worthy of any competition. You should know that organizers of photography competitions are not necessarily looking for the most professional photographers to win, rather the photos with a certain quality, uniqueness, and originality that will surprise and delight the viewer.

Here are some easy-to-apply tips that are borrowed from the world of professional photographers:

Stay on the theme – photography competitions have themes, so don’t send in entries that are way off. It’s tempting to send a photo you took that has nothing to do with the theme just because it’s really great. Resist the urge and focus on the theme. On the other hand, don’t limit yourself to the strictest interpretation of the theme – find a unique story or angle within that theme.
Go for unique composition In the arts, the term ‘composition’ has its roots in the word ‘creating’ – just like a painter creates a painting layer-by-layer. When you take a photo, try and create something special by looking for that unique angle that will give your photo an edge. You might have to shift your stance, move around your object (to see what angle will be more interesting, dramatic, or just different). Try different lenses, filters, aperture, shutter speeds, etc. One of the most important challenges photographers face is finding this special angle that portrays something familiar through an unfamiliar perspective. Try to find this composition – create your shot, don’t just take it.
Find the best lighting Even if that means you have to wake up at 4 a.m. to make it in time for sunrise. It is definitely worth it. Light is the most important element in photography (‘photo’ means ‘light’, by the way). Take advantage of natural light for your photograph. For example, shade is longest at sunset – which can look quite dramatic. At sunrise the light is soft and pinkish, which can also be used for all sorts of visual effects. Good light can sometimes be all that sets apart a winning photo from a losing photo. You can also play around with the shutter speed and aperture to create visual effects such as: motion blur, or depth of field. Another tool in your chest is a filter – filters can create a softening or a sharpening of colors. A ‘Sky Light’ filter will warm up the colors in your photo.
Always be ready Sometimes (wildlife photography, for example) the best photograph is the one that just happened serendipitously. You can never know what a wild animal might do, so be patient, look for the right opportunity, and then be quick. You have to know your camera well enough so that you are able to shoot from the waist without getting tangled in camera menus. Make sure you always have your camera with you – on your person or in the car. Also, make sure the battery is charged – nothing’s worse than seeing a once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity go to waste because your batteries were dead. It’s also a good idea to keep an extra memory card, so you don’t have to delete good photos to make room for new ones.
Keep the quality high Yes, you can take a photo with your cell phone, but it’s not going to cut it for a photography competition. Use a quality camera (though it doesn’t have to be the fanciest, most expensive model). There are lots of quality cameras on the market that won’t break the bank. Also, make sure the resolution is set to maximum. The competition organizers will enlarge your photo and if it’s not sharp enough it’s not going to look as good.
A final tip: use nature’s reflectors Photos come out more dramatic when the sun comes out on cloudy winter days. Also, you will avoid the shadows that are part and parcel of shooting on sunny days. These conditions are usually brief so don’t let them slip by you!
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