Simple Tips for Hosting a Successful Photography Contest

Cristina Petrica

by Cristina Petrica

It’s exciting to plan a photography contest, isn’t it? The perfect way to review new work and discover talent. So don’t let the planning part overwhelm you. We’ll share a few simple tips that will help you host memorable photo competitions on your website!

Before you think about the contest itself though, first things first… You will need money for prizes, right? Transcribe your best pitch for partners into a sponsorship request form that you can easily customize and send out.

Then it’s time to craft the perfect photo contest entry form. Yes, we already have the model you need! It already includes all the necessary fields to collect applicant details and photo submissions. Take this online photography contest entry form into your 123FormBuilder account to personalize it with an outstanding photo collage in the header, as well as your branding elements.

And here are some cool things to do with this form in order to convey a positive vibe and create a nice experience for applicants.

Define your competition categories

You can use the same submission form with a dropdown for contestants to choose the photo category they apply for. But you can also have separate web pages for each section of your photo competition – portraits, street, conceptual, fine art, reportage, architecture, fashion, scenery, still life and so on. It’s your choice!

photography contest form drop-down

Use the photo uploader

Naturally, you need the file upload option to collect art submissions from your entrants. Make sure you provide them the chance to add more photos if your competition allows more than one submission per author or if the theme involves photo series. With the Dropbox integration, the uploaded photographs will be stored in the cloud and you won’t be limited by storage space. So go ahead and invite big resolution pictures!

Gather all the data you want

In order to give your jury more material to work with, add a short text field after the photo uploader where contestants can enter a photograph description (concept). If needed, go even further and request technical data for each photo entry, e.g. camera model, lens, focal length, shutter speed, aperture, ISO or extra equipment.

Collect participation fees

We have many payment processors to choose from when configuring payments on your photo contest entry form. If in doubt, use this comparison chart to analyze which one suits you best.

You may want to encourage participation by accepting the first photo/photos for free. Use calculations on the form to reflect this (Settings > Payments). Alternatively, offer a discount for submitting photography series – the discount can be applied per item or per total, of course.

Set a deadline

To configure an end date for your competition, go to My Forms in the editor and from the menu choose Deactivate. Here you can set the time interval when your photo contest entry form will be active. You can also convey more immediacy with a more creative submit button on the entry form.

photography contest form deadline

“Talk” to the contestants  

Make sure you allow entrants to modify their submissions later on (save & resume), to review their applications (preview submission summary) and send a submission copy to each contestant. Furthermore, you can set an autoresponder message or a Thank You page so that upon photo submission each applicant is redirected on a web page. For instance, one that shows interviews with the judges, photo galleries from previous competitions or a new form that collects entries for yet another one of your contest categories. In order to build stronger relationships with photographers, include a newsletter opt-in in your photography awards form, then integrate with an email marketing app such as MailChimp, HubSpot or Enormail.

Make it easy on the judges

So your form reached its end date and the jury can deliberate. In the Reports section of your 123FormBuilder editor, make sure you set a filter to consider only finished submissions, excluding those where contestants used the save & resume option.


There! You’re done! Now photographers can submit their work and what a blast it will be to see all those gorgeous works pouring in!


Cristina Petrica

by Cristina Petrica 123FormBuilder

Cristina is a Content Writer for 123FormBuilder. She helps the company communicate the product through blog posts, landing pages, brochures, infographics, and email marketing messages. She's always eager to learn new skills, so when she's not writing she's brushing up on UX Design principles or flirting with photography.

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