I’ve been spending a lot of time lately going through my image library and backlog of un-catalogued photographs. All this work is to prepare images for an upcoming project and nature festival in the Scottish borders, new submissions to a picture agency, and two competitions. Whilst wading through my pictures I got thinking about why I bother with photography competitions. I only enter a few per year, mainly because it’s such a time consuming (and costly) procedure. After picking images that you think is suitable for that competition and what the judges might be looking for, there’s the time involved in preparing and uploading images.
Competitions can be a useful indication on the quality of your work compared the others (though picking the right image is a big factor), and if you get some success is always an ego boost. However there are a lot of photo competitions out there now. It seems every nature or conservation organisation or outdoor event runs some sort of photography competition. While some mean well, a number of organisations do use competitions to boost their own image library. By taking part (sending in pictures, even if they don’t win) you can sometimes lose copyright or at least give them rights to use your work as they see fit. Looking in the terms and conditions is where usually I decide to continue or walk away. Lines like this are a clear image grab as far as I’m concerned: By submitting images to the photography competition you agree to grant (insert name of org. ) a perpetual, royalty-free, non-exclusive, right and world-wide licence to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, display and exercise all copyright and publicity rights.