Why Photography Contests Are Good for Business: 3 Arguments

photography-contests-are-good-for-business01Photo competitions have been around since the art of photography itself, but their history in itself doesn’t mean they are without detractors. On the one hand, there are those photo aficionados who tend to believe  that such contests are a sheer waste of time, organized by money- and rights-grabbing brutes with no real interest in the art. Yet, on the other, photo competitions do have value for the artists, since they prompt them to take an honest, objective look at their own work, cull it, curate it, and put their best foot forward. That’s why we at Virtual Photography Studio believe photography contests are good for business, no matter if you’re into wedding photography, glam, editorial, or photojournalism. They can help you carve out a niche and build a name for yourself and they can also do a whole lot more – join us as we explore three essential arguments in favor of photo contests.

#1 The money

It might sound petty, but one way to tell apart professional competitions from lame ones is the cash prizes. The winner of the International Photography Awards gets $10,000 in cash; the winner of the Deeper Perspective section within the same contest receives $5,000, and there’s also a $2,500 prize for the year’s best new photographer. If you win the grand prize of the Smithsonian Photo Contest you get $5,000 and there are also five $500 cash awards for the categories, plus a Readers’ Choice award worth just as much. The National Geographic Photo Contest awards its Grand Prize winner with $7,500 and each category winner with $2,500. Petty or not, when a serious chunk of cash is involved, one can’t help but think of how great money would be for making further investments into business.

#2 The exposure

Some photography contests are good for business even though they provide no actual cash prize, as is the case with the Photography Masters Cup. This competition asks for a $30 entrance fee and promises exposure in the PHOTO Paper Magazine, as well as several online media outlets. The above-mentioned IPA has had the work of its winners published on Buzzfeed, as well as on EYEMAZING. It goes without saying that some photo contests are great for exposure even only by sheer association (Smithsonian and National Geographic are two examples).photography-contests-are-good-for-business02

#3 The business leads

If you win the IPA, you get a trip to the prestigious Lucie Awards in NYC – and if you’re double lucky, you can even get your image selected for a 45-photo exhibition in the build-up for the show. And most local winners will get automatic exposure in local media outlets, irrespective of how prestigious the competition is – you can usually count on national/local pride to boost your prestige. Many previous winners of the contests mentioned above explained that photography contests are good for business because they allow you to become more connected with actual buyers in your niche. As such, winning the right contests is highly likely to ultimately boost your revenue.

Verdict: Top photography contests are good for business every time

Yes, we did say top photography contests are good for business – because the shady ones can actually be detrimental. Here are a few guidelines, if you’re looking to expand the notoriety of your wedding photography business by entering a contest and don’t know where to start:

–          Be wary of contests that charge entrance fees, but don’t offer any cash prizes. These are the money-hungry leeches we were referring to in the beginning.

–          Always, always read each competition’s policy on copyright. You do not want to give rights to your work for free, no matter how otherwise prestigious the contest sounds.

–          Make sure you enter the right category, when applying – and also check out the profile of each contest. Some are geared toward editorial work, while others tend to lean toward photojournalism more.

Can You Still Use Etsy For Making Money With Your Photography?

If you’ve been online for any length of time, you know sites come and go. What people were using even just a few short months ago to market their businesses may not work any more.

Many months ago I started looking at Etsy as a way to build up your brand as a fine art photographer.

Dig Deeper: How Photographers Use Etsy

Dig Deeper: 10 Places To Turn Your Photography Into Sales

Is Etsy still relevant today? As it turns out, the answer is yes.

Etsy is the king of the marketplace when it comes to selling handcrafted goods. You can sell your art without having to know how to build a website or start up an online store. Etsy does it all for you. You list it for free and pay a low commission on anything that sells. [Read more…]

7 Places To Display Your Fine Art Photography

Even if you are a full time photographer photographing commercial work, portraits or weddings, you’ve probably dreamed of having your best work on display for the world to see. As photography is more prevalent in our lives than ever, there are more places to display your work than ever before. Yes, you might have more competition for the few spots out there. But imagine how you will feel when you’re work is accepted?

Whether for display, or to sell as a piece of fine art, consider these places in your community as opportunities waiting for you.

Commercial Galleries

Probably the easiest galleries to find, and what people most commonly think of when you mention an art gallery, is the for profit commercial gallery. These galleries accept work that meets their clients’ expectations, and makes a profit when a piece is sold to a collector. A commercial gallery will offer you a contracted time period to represent you and show your work, and will split the sales price with you if a sale is made. Exhibitions are usually scheduled well in advance – sometimes 12 months or more – to prepare and market for the event.


Co-Op Galleries

Many galleries out there are associated with an artist and a group. In order to show your work, you have to have a membership into the group. Each membership has different requirements for acceptance, so shop around and find a group that meets your needs, as well as accepts your type of work. In some cases you will have to work at the gallery as well, so be sure its accessible to you and your schedule. [Read more…]

How Should You Be Marketing Your Fine Art Photography?

Here in the U.S. we celebrated Independence Day yesterday. And as a part of the 4th of July traditions here in Denver, we always head out and attend the Cherry Creek Arts Festival, one of the largest of its kind here in the U.S.

I love taking in the sites and the sounds – they have great bands on the main stage to help you enjoy even more. And this year we spent as much time as we could heading in to each booth, as it was in the mid 90’s with lots of sunshine as we strolled around the area.

This year, I noticed a few trends I thought I would share here.

Take Advantage Of Their Marketing

Any time you work at a festival, whether its something like the Cherry Creek Arts Festival, or even a bridal festival, chances are they are experienced at putting together a show. They know how to set up booths, get the best vendors, and market their show to the community.

Because they are always looking for ways to market their events more effectively, chances are they offer each artist a chance to use the latest technology. This year they have a website that showcases each artist within the appropriate gallery: photography, jewelry, drawing, wood, etc. And they also offered something new: a QR code attached to the sign placed at each booth. And this is where almost all need help.

People understand older technology – websites – and so they are using that fairly effectively. Yet when something is new, rather than finding out more about it, they simply use it in the easiest way possible. And this is where opportunity is missed.  While most people simply use the QR code to send people to a website, this is really your opportunity to grow your following. Why not send them to your Facebook Page, and give them a reason to like and follow you? Or maybe a special page on your site where they can take advantage of a show special? [Read more…]

Finding Photographers With A Niche

After three days off, and a whirlwind of fun activities, I’m back at my desk. Long weekends are great for rejuvenating, and for finding something to inspire you.

In my last post on Fine Art Photography I mentioned we were off to the Downtown Denver Arts Festival over the weekend. Despite the looming clouds and rain, we spent several hours there on Saturday enjoying the artists and the overall atmosphere (the Nuggets were playing that night, so Downtown Denver was wild!)

As we strolled through the streets visiting the booths, I noticed something that made me realize there is always a way to survive in business. If you differentiate yourself, you’ll draw in the crowd. And you’ll make the sale.

While I loved all of the photographers work, several really stood out to me.

[Read more…]

Fine Art Photography – An Easy Way To Find Your Next Festival

One of the things I love about the summertime in the Rockies is the arts festivals. I know I’m not alone in loving to hit the great outdoors, and walk through some amazing artwork at the same time.

Andrew and I also have a new interest as our future goal is to start building up ourdowntown denver arts festival own fine art photography business.

So this weekend, we’ll be heading out to Downtown Denver Arts Festival, featuring Colorado artists, and 18 Colorado photographers.

I went to their site just to learn more about the festival, the submission process, and a few other details. And in the process found a great resource to share with you.

The Downtown Denver Arts Festival (and as it turns out hundreds of other arts festivals) use a program called Zapplication.

[Read more…]