You may be an excellent photographer. But, are you finding it tough to win a photography competition? If yes, then you are getting it wrong somewhere. No need to worry, in this article, I will share 12 tips to increase your chances of winning photography competitions.

1. Read Competition Rules & Regulations Properly 📖

In most of the case, the photo rejection happens in a photography competition because of the image not adhering to competition guidelines. All photography competitions will have a set of rules. So, you should read and understand it correctly.

Please make sure that you submit only those images which meet the guidelines. They may have restrictions in image editing, size of the image, and resolution of the picture. So, look for these rules carefully.

2. Photo to Match with Theme

All photography competitions will have a theme or a topic for contest. So, your photo should match with the competition theme.  

For example, let us assume that the theme is Birds of Costa Rica. If you submit a bird image that you photographed somewhere in India, then your image will get rejected for sure. So, don’t make such mistakes.

3. Image Composition Matters 🏞

Rule of Thirds in Photography

Great pictures are all about image composition. There are a variety of image composition techniques. It includes the rule of thirds, fill the frame, composing with leading lines, and many more. So, make sure that your image is composed correctly using any of the composition techniques.

 There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to photography. If you are an experienced professional photographer, then you can develop your compositional style by breaking these rules of composition.

4. Avoid Submitting Usual Images 

Don’t send the usual images with the ordinary frames. It will get rejected for sure ☹️. Always remember that the photography judges are very experienced persons in this field. 

They would have seen lots of images. So, don’t pitch in with a regular image. They would be looking for something different than the usual ones.

For example, if you send a regular tiger portrait photo to a portrait photo contest, then you are submitting an image just for the sake of it. You should try to submit an image that conveys some expression in the face/body or one which plays with the lighting in the scene. Try to get a different perspective. 

5. Technically Perfect Image ✔️

 If your image has technical issues like burnt highlights, crushed details in shadows, or any other exposure issues, don’t submit it. You can send such photos only if it is done purposefully for some special effects. Otherwise, it will get rejected in the first shot.

 Now, we have excellent digital cameras. So, such technical imperfections will not be tolerated, especially at a competitive level.

6. Correct Photo Description

When you write the photo description, don’t just mention the Title and Location alone. You should give an excellent creative description of the scene. It doesn’t mean that you should exaggerate and write. 

The photo description should not be too long and vague. The judges would be browsing lots of images. So, they won’t be interested in reading long stories. Keep it short and crisp. Some images are better conveyed with a proper description. It will act as a helping hand in winning photography competitions

7. Submit in the Right Category

Make sure that you submit a photo to the right category. It is one of the common submission mistakes seen amongst amateur photographers. So, read and understand the type carefully. 

If you have any confusion about whether your image is matching the category or not, then it is a good idea to take a second opinion from your friends.

8. Submit your Best Pictures 😇 Wild Dogs in Fight

 Always give your best shot. You can practice the habit of keeping your best images in a separate folder. It will help you to submit your best picture, which matches the competition theme.

 9. Don’t Submit the Same Image to All Categories

 You would have an excellent picture that can fit in may categories. But, don’t submit it to all the categories, or multiple categories in the same photo competition. 

Here, you are increasing the chances of getting the image rejected in all the categories. Submit the picture only once to a single category, which you feel is the right fit. 

10. Don’t Submit Series of Similar Photos

Series of Tiger Portrait Images

Suppose, if you have a series of images of tiger portraits, then please don’t all the frames. Do a thorough review and sort out the best images 😎.

Finally, you should pick one, eliminating the rest of the photos.

11. Check Previous Winning Images

 If the competitions were held earlier, then have a look at the earlier years winners.

It will give you a better idea of which image of yours will have a better chance of winning. Your chances are more if the members in the judging panel remain the same.

12. Participate in Many Photography Competitions

It will be a good idea to participate in as many photography competitions as possible. The theme should match with your type of photography

It will increase your chances of winning photography competitions. You may not win the first time. But, you will get good exposure and will get a better idea about award-winning images.


So, make use of these useful tips to increase your chances of winning. Don’t feel bad if you loose, try hard next time with better images.

Consider reading this article on best wildlife photography competitions where you can send your wildlife images.