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How to Run a (Flawless) Photo Contest: The Complete Guide

How to Run a (Flawless) Photo Contest: The Complete Guide


Photo contests of all shapes and sizes can drive user engagement, inspire user generated content (UGC), and promote your brand with stunning visuals. While a well-run photo contest can help boost brand visibility and broaden your reach, a disorganized photo contest can be a regrettable waste of resources. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the entire process, from crafting the initial idea to tracking final results, so that you can plan for your next successful contest.

Whether you’re looking to engage your audience, build your base, acquire a rich source of data, or leverage consumers to do a little marketing for you, photo contests are a great choice. Heartfelt and creative images generate interest when shared online and serve as authentic marketing photos, unstaged, and free from any hint of self-serving agenda. These contests make your brand feel more personal, make people feel more personally invested, and increase trust.


Running a photo contest can have its benefits as well as its challenges. It’s important to understand both so you can set yourself up for a successful and fruitful contest.  As you prepare to run your next contest, has your organization considered these benefits and potential challenges?

Photo contests can help your organization:

  • Discover new market demographics
  • Form a library of UGC
  • Boost user engagement
  • Gather feedback about your brand
  • Photo contest can be expensive, depending on your processes and prizes

Photo contests can come with a set of challenges:

  • Photo contests can be susceptible to fraud and cheaters
  • Contests can demand a lot of administrative work

Before your organization dives into your next photo contest, download this 12 step guide and get one step closer to collecting quality submissions for your next photo contest.

Submittable is a submission management platform that makes it easy to accept, review, and select any kind of content, no matter where you are. Since 2010, Submittable has helped organizations collect more than 10 million submissions for thousands of customers all over the world. With customizable forms, organized rounds of review, and batch emailing, accepting submissions and applications is now easier, faster, and more dependable, all while making things like scholarships, fellowships, contests, and awards more visible and fair.