Our annual Photographer’s Guide to Photo Contests ranks a number of well-known contests with a letter grade from A-F based on entry fees, prizes, and exposure. Most of the contests we review are aimed at the professional or aspiring professional photographer, but I can’t help but comment on TimeOut New York’s #TimeOutFoodAwards Instagram Contest because, well, they contacted me.
Thirty-nine weeks ago, I posted this photo on my Instagram feed of a new sushi restaurant in New York and geotagged it. This past weekend, TimeOut commented.
Curious for all the details, I bounced over to the official contest website. Here’s the short of it:
So the contest will go down something like this: TimeOut will use your images to illustrate the nominated restaurants instead of sending a professional photographer – this in the name of “reader participation.” Then maybe if the image doesn’t suck, they’ll put you on the cover, but not give you anything else.
My photo won’t be winning any contests, least of all because it’s a crappy image. More so because I refuse to subjugate myself to such onerous terms.
I fully understand that consumer-based photo contests are for fun, and the thought of a pro-level prize is an anathema to the sponsors. But here’s an idea to make it palatable (pun intended). Why not offer a $500 gift certificate to the restaurant depicted in the image? This rewards the photographer for going there and taking a photo in the first place, the restaurant for winning, and makes your advertising revenue-generating publication look less like a cheap bastard. How’s about no one enter any images until they offer a decent prize?
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