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Your contest ideas wanted

I’m planning on running a contest in the next couple of weeks here at Photodoto.com. Besides everlasting fame and glory I’d like to give actual prizes to the winners as well. So far though, I only have some vague ideas about the format of the contest and what the actual prizes may be. This is where you come in.

I’d like to find out what you’d like in a contest. Please share your ideas in the comments about contest format, possible themes, judging, prize suggestions and anything else you can think of. Is it just a photo competition or something else photography related? Should we allow photos from the archives or only new photos? How should winners be selected? Skill or chance? Should there be a judging committee or some kind of open voting? Is there a theme? Should we have contests regularly?

Please share your thoughts in the comments. Thanks!

John Watson

John is the original founder of Photodoto, but after running it for 4 years he had to focus on different things. If you're interested in what John has been up to recently, you can check is personal blog or browse his photo blog.
  • Definitely allow older photos. It would actually be kind of fun to search through my archives looking for pictures that match the contest criteria.

    As for themes, consider some very specific and unique themes. Like “Kids Eating Ice Cream” or “Things I Saw At The Park.”

    Reader judging would be fun, but if it’s done via comments people might just act like sheep and follow the crowd. You could just judge the pictures yourself. It’s your blog, after all.

  • Graeme

    Why not run a contest to see who can come up with the best contest idea?

  • One idea would be to only allow folks to submit RAW files, thus allowing you could strip out any adjustments and see what was captured in camera alone. You could then have different categories – portrait, travel, landscape, wildlife, etc.

  • Kat

    Hmmmm….I’d say the first thought that came to your mind right after you came up with “I’d like to start a photo contest…” idea. I’d trust that. Ok, maybe the second? That is if your first was a contest on photos of lint:) – K.

  • cliff

    I think it should be new photos only, that could be part of the contest, including something in the photo proving it is a new photo (dates or news headlines or something). the reason I like the idea of new photos only is to encourage us all to get out of the house and take some pictures. regular contests would be good, that way if you don’t like the theme on one you could just wait for the next to come around.

  • I agree with Phil on using images regardless of time frame and very specific themes, like jpgmag does. If you include reader judging, make it a multiple choice voting format and don’t allow comments. Gets way too messy and disorganized that way. Good prize options would be small photo-related items that we want but never get around to ordering: camera bags (I want a Crumpler bag); those gorilla tripod thingies; Holgas; super samplers; maybe fun, cheap, vintage (but fully operational) cameras found on eBay or thrift stores; film (expired or not) lots (I just picked up a lot of 95 rolls of expired film on craigslist for $40!); stuff that inspires us to get out and shoot more and explore new technique…

    O, and photography is 100% a mixture of skill (or lack thereof) *and* chance, so that certainly shouldn’t be a criterion, IMO…

  • Erica

    Hi there ^^

    First time I’m making a comment – I’m almost done reading through the whole lot (just stumbled upon this blog a couple of days ago).
    First of all I think regular contests would be a great idea! The prices doesn’t have to be big then. A public voting could be fun (as long as you own oppinion counts for 50% of the votes – that way it’s not just a popularity contest), and should probably be in the form of a poll.
    Oh, and I think the idea about entering only RAW format files is horrible (sorry Brian). I can’t shoot in RAW, as many with point-and-shoot cameras can’t either, so it would rule out a lot of hobby photographers which I don’t think is fair.
    Timeline wise I think it’s the most fun if it have to be newly taken pictures – like top most a month old. Then it also depicts the photographers current talent and creativity, not those rare brilliant pictures that some might have taken. (You could of course make a ‘show your best picture to date’ contest too.)

  • Erica

    About themes, I actually like broader themes better – for example like a colour (‘something pink’ could result in pictures of children, candyfloss, gum paper on the ground, shoes, flowers, cars even).
    Prices could perhaps be a membership to a magazine for a year, the chance to write for the blog, or a feature of the winner’s pictures. And if it’s ‘hardware’ as in real items, be sure you are also willing to send it overseas – cause it would be open for international readers, right? (I hope so)
    Criteria should be the overall value of the picture – unless the contest is about a specific technical aspect (f.x. the best use of Depth of Field). But then again, it might not be very interesting. I think the pictures should be in good technical quality (correctly focused, good exposure and so on) and if that criteria is upheld, then the creativity, originality, subject matter, and superb technicality would ‘score’ even points thereafter.

  • Either allow old ones and keep the subject tight or make it just for new ones and let the subject be loose. The other two possible combinations tend to be tricky. Personally I’d go for the first one, but allow a time frame of maybe a couple of weeks to a month.