Increase Community Engagement with a socially distanced photography contest.

Comparison culture is real people and it is here to stay thanks to the likes of Instagram and their influencers. However, on the plus side users have learned have to conduct business, promote and sell products, and become the go-to experts in ‘x’ through photos. While Instagram definitely is the king of photo contests, it’s only one of the many channels out there. This article will show you how to make $$ from running a photo contest as well as giving you instructions on how to set one up.

What is a photo contest?

Although the concept of a photo contest is pretty understandable, the landscape of such events is so huge that you might want to dive deeper into it. According to the guru of social media marketing, Jeff Bullas, it was the improvement of smartphone cameras that breathed new life into photo competitions. The opportunity to make high-quality photos whenever and wherever you go made photo contests fully mobile. As a result, campaigns like sweepstakes, UGC contests, one-day contests, and peer review contests gained immense popularity. As different from one another as they all are, online photo contests are all based on simple techniques of photo upload, voting, tagging, commenting, and more.

  1. Sign up for a free account
  2. Define a topic interesting for the local community 
  3. Prepare a list up to 50 content participant from local community
  4. Prepare messages
  5. Define and be creative with awards 🙂 
  6. Invite participants
  7. Engage the paricipants to comment published content
  8. Publish results
  9. Comment or update this Bild with your findings or write an Use Case Bild

Why should you organise a photo contest?

Making investments in photography is easy, the difficult part is determining the value that photo-related campaigns can bring to you or your business. Anyone can run a contest, but the real winners in the space tie it into their marketing and editorial calendar, as well as having a solid link to their product or service they are looking to promote.

  • Community engagement. If you or your business already have a solid fanbase, you should keep them tuned to you 24/7. Photo contests give online communities a voice, and those who engage with your activity or business feel part of your decision-making process, share you with their network as well helping you to reach your goals. In other words, your fans should know they are valued. 
  • You’ll expand your community. You’ve probably seen countless “tag-a-friend-to-win-a-prize” type of photo contests. These activities don’t require much effort on the part of users since it’s usually just voting or uploading a photo with one click.

How to organise a photo contest online


When organising a photo contest online, you have to focus on the client experience first, which can mean a lot of different things. However, the point here is to build a campaign that can catch the attention of your target audience and encourage engagement. The following steps are a surefire way to get results.

Choose a platform

If an Instagram account is not enough for you to reach your business goals, then there are plenty of content management platforms with features to get you closer to creating a winning contest.

  • Management of multiple entry categories
  • Configurable submission forms
  • Multiple photo upload options
  • Social media sharing capabilities
  • Public voting module

Set up the rules

The rules of any contest are created for two purposes:

  1. to define the terms of participation; and
  2. to establish clear metrics. The common mistake many event planners make is separating these two points when they should focus on aligning them instead. Based on your previous performance or statistics, define the strategy for reaching your goals. For instance, if you know that it takes 5,000 visits to generate 50 leads, develop a strategy for hitting 10,000 visits with your photo contest if your goal is to get 100 new leads. Simple calculations can lead you to the right path. Once you have the metrics, structure the rules accordingly. Decide how long the contest should run, what the participation conditions are, what the mechanism of photo upload is.

Establish criteria for judging a photo contest

Whether it’s a board of industry experts or random users voting for photos, they should be acquainted with the list of evaluation criteria. Depending on your objectives, the following criteria can be applied:

  • Visual design
  • Colour and lighting
  • The originality of a concept
  • Humour
  • Unique message delivery
  • Commercial appeal
  • Inspiration
  • Specific social impact
  • And more

It’s a good idea to provide short explanations of all criteria to ensure that both entrants and judges understand what they actually mean.

Choose and reward winners

If you use a contest management platform, you don’t have to be bothered about the calculation of scores. It will be done for you. To make the process seamless, ensure the system you use can process multiple voting streams as well as enable personalised notifications on results announcements for all entrants. To generate some post-event buzz, you can make a public announcement on social media, set up a live streaming session, or encourage additional activity by sharing the winning photos across multiple platforms.

Photo contest ideas

From promoting an art gallery to selling services through photo activities, there are hundreds of photo contest ideas that can be truly inspiring. Check out these themes that can be added to your photo contest toolkit:

  • Attendance-focused photo competitions. If foot traffic means a lot to your business or you’re doing some cross-promotion, you can benefit from photo contests that encourage users to take photos in specific locations. From a local store to specific tourist attractions, the location should be chosen based on what you want to promote.
  • Peer review photo contests. To maximise engagement, encourage your audience to take an active part in the evaluation of each other’s submissions. This can be the right scenario for professional communities of people working in the same niche because the critique can be considered objective.
  • Professional weekly contests. Photo competitions can be used with the goal of educating your audience. Viewbug’s Cover Photo Contest is an excellent example of a weekly online event that helps young photographers hone their skills and gain public recognition.

Why you should use Judgify

Judgify is an awards management system that combines effective tools for managing contest applications, judging processes, public voting, and online event analytics. Flexible in terms of criteria management, photo upload settings, and customised voting, Judgify is the right choice for managing photo contests of any size.


The ideas on how to organise online photo contests may differ, but it’s always about making a photo activity the channel for reaching your business goals. With a bit of planning and alignment tools for managing the contest, you can set up photo contests that win you, new clients, boost engagement, and generate useful connections. Judgify is a beginning-to-end solution for online awards/contest/abstract management which supports modules for public voting, flexible entry submission & judging, as well as free events at no cost. So, if you are up for awards automation, get started with Judgify free of charge!


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