Like photo-taking – but not earning anything? Maybe it’s because you haven’t been ‘seen’ enough around the Internet.
The Internet is a very visual medium, and so if you take pictures for a living (or hope to) the ideal way to get started is to get your photos out there and seen.
And although you can get your own Flickr account and upload them, it’s kinda like putting a blog out there – doesn’t mean anyone will visit.
Another way however, is to showcase your work where the traffic is – and an easy way is by entering photo contests.
For example, I was looking at Lenzr today, which is currently advertising three contests:
- Best Gourmet Food. Fellow bloggers The Wine Ladies are building traffic to their wine blog with a contest featuring a photo on ‘the best meal’. Capture an image that cries out ‘delicious’ and you might win.
- Kids in Action. As the page points out, it’s riding, jumping etc (the sponsor, a Toronto dentist, obviously cares about kids).
- Everyday Tangled Web. I like this one the best: a photo expressing the tangled that is our wired lives, but artistically. A mess is one thing – but a pretty mess? Not coincidentally, the sponsor of this contest is a supplier of an office phone system that will help you ‘untangle’ your life.
Enter one – or enter all. The advantage of contests like this is many fold:
- Obviously in this case, there is the recognition if you win. Tack that to your resume and improve your ‘brand recognition’.
- The contest is socially run – that is, viewers vote on the best. So even if you don’t win, your photo gets looked at by a lot of people – and that exposure can easily beat a single website of your own.
- You get practice. As they say, writers get better by writing – and photographers get better by taking pictures.
- It’s great discipline. Sure, anyone can take a picture, and if a photo can be anything or everything, then everyone can take a shot or two that’s passable. But to make a tangle of wires appealing? That takes talent and discipline, since you likely will have to stage a very specific shot to win.
- And of course, there’s prizes for the winner – each contest has a different one.
If you’re starting out, and you’re committed to making a life around photography, contests like this are a boon to getting your portfolio out there. And if you also score a win, your name and recognition can help cement your ‘brand’ further.
…of course, even if you don’t plan a career in photography, being able to say ‘there’s my photo’ is a great conversation starter – and a perfect invitation to explain more about your interests.