Participating in a photo contest can offer numerous benefits and opportunities for photographers, especially those who are looking to develop their skills and gain recognition within the photography community. Entering in a photo contest can be a personal challenge that pushes you to improve your skills and creativity. Competing against other talented photographers can inspire you to try new techniques, experiment with different styles, and take on new challenges. In this article, we’ll explore the 7 key benefits of joining photo contests.

Photo Contests Help You Evaluate Your Work

landscape photography sony fe 24 70mm f 2.8 gm ii
Photo by Matthew Saville

By setting a goal to create the best possible images for a contest, you may find yourself striving for perfection. This can lead to growth in your technical and artistic abilities as a photographer, as you constantly evaluate your work and seek ways to improve. Contests also provide an opportunity for self-reflection and evaluation. Through the process of selecting and submitting your best work, you can gain a better understanding of your strengths and weaknesses as a photographer. This can help you identify areas where you need to improve and develop a plan for enhancing your skills in the future.

Photo Contests Can Provide Valuable Feedback

Photo by Matthew Saville

One of the key benefits of participating in a photo contest for professional photographers is the opportunity to receive valuable feedback from industry experts or from your peers. Many photo contests are judged by experienced professionals who can offer insightful critique and advice on how to improve your work. This feedback can help you develop your skills and refine your style over time.

Photo Contests Help You Gain Recognition and Exposure

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Photo by Lin and Jirsa Photography

Another benefit of participating in a photo contest is the exposure and recognition that comes with it. Winning a photo contest can lead to your work being featured in galleries, publications, and exhibitions, which can help you gain more exposure and establish yourself as a respected professional in the industry.  Many of these awards and features could also come with backlinks to your website, which will help your overall SEO rankings.

Photo Contests Challenge Your Creativity

street photography composition memphis leading lines
Photo by Shivani Reddy

Photo contests can challenge you to step outside of your comfort zone and try new things. Of course, it’s important to choose a contest that is within your skill level and photography style, otherwise you may become discouraged and not enjoy the experience.  But if you challenge yourself and try creating artwork outside of your immediate comfort zone and default style, you can explore new areas of photography and develop your skills in a new direction.

Photo Contests Are Often Free

Many photo contests are free or inexpensive to enter.  If you are looking to participate in multiple photo contests VIEWBUG is a good place to start for several reasons. First, it allows photographers to maintain ownership of their images, which is an important consideration for many photographers who want to protect their work. Additionally, VIEWBUG’s community of photographers is known for being supportive and inclusive, making it a great platform for beginners and experienced photographers alike. The platform offers daily contests and challenges, which provide regular opportunities to engage with other photographers and to practice and improve photography skills. Furthermore, VIEWBUG offers a range of resources and tools to help photographers learn and grow, including tutorials, photography logos, workshops, and access to curated galleries.

For more photo contest options, see our list of the best photo contests for more options.

Win Prizes with Photo Contests

Many photo contests offer prizes, gift cards, product credit or even cash prizes to the winners.  While the values aren’t enough to provide photographers with income that they can rely on, they are a fun bonus that can help pay for gear upgrades.

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Screenshot of Viewbug’s Prize Winners

Contests Help You Network and Participate in a Community

Participating in a photo contest can also be a great way to network with other professional photographers and industry insiders. Many contests offer opportunities for photographers to connect and collaborate with one another, which can lead to new partnerships and projects.


Participating in a photo contest can be a valuable and rewarding experience. It can help you improve your skills, gain recognition, and connect with others in the industry, ultimately leading to greater success and satisfaction in your photography career. So, if you’re a photographer looking to take your work to the next level, consider participating in a photo contest and see where it can take you.