6 Annual Photo Contests That Could Bring You Fame And Glory

It’s not always easy to come up with new, creative ideas for your photos. Sometimes you need to give yourself an assignment to snap out of the old way of doing things. Submitting your photos to contests not only gives you a specific goal to work towards, you also get feedback on your work from the pros. And if you’re lucky, a prize or two to boot.

Here are 6 annual contests you should consider entering:

Leica Oskar Barnack Newcomer Award In celebration of its 30th year, the Leica Oskar Barnack Award (for professional photographers only) has added a Newcomer Award category, open to prospective professional photographers, 25 years or younger. They are looking for a series of photos (up to 12) showing the interaction between man and the environment, and the deadline is March 1st, 2009. The winner will receive $ 2,500 Euros (presented at the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie festival in Arles, France) and their work on display in an online gallery at Leica’s website.

International Photography Awards You’re sure to find a category that suits your tastes in this contest: there are 8 main and 51 subcategories for amateurs, and 9 main and 63 subcategories for pros. The deadline is March 27, and the cost to enter is $ 25 for a single image, $ 50 for a series and $ 15 for each image after that (for amateurs). A jury picks 21 category winners, and prizes include cash ($ 10,000 and $ 5,000), exhibits of your work, Lucie statues, and the winner awarded the “Photographer of the Year” prize will also be featured in (and shoot part of) a Pilsner Urquell documercial in the Czech Republic!

Underwater Images Photo/Video Competition The 12th Annual Underwater Images Photo/Video Competition is obviously limited to photos taken underwater, but these prizes will probably make you want to go out and invest in a waterproof housing if you don’t already own an underwater camera. Winners are awarded dive trips to Papua New Guinea, Honduras, the Solomon Islands, the Cayman Islands, Bonaire, Hawaii, and Indonesia. Other prizes include a 7 night all inclusive dive package in Roatan, a five day stay (for 2) in Borneo, dive equipment, gift certificates and more. The contest is open to amateurs only, and it’s $ 10/image to enter (as many images as you want). All prizes are donated by the dive operators and resorts, and the proceeds from the contest go to marine conservation, education, and scholarships. The deadline for 2009 is April 1st.

2009 National Wildlife Contest This is the 39th annual photo contest held by National Wildlife Magazine, and they welcome pros, amateurs and youths (13-17). The categories are: Mammals, Birds, Other Wildlife, Backyard Habitats, Connecting People and Nature, Landscapes and Plant Life, and, new for 2009, Global Warming and Wildlife. It’s $ 15 to enter, and you may submit up to 20 photos before the July 20 deadline. The fee also includes a one-year membership to National Wildlife Federation AND six issues of the magazine, so it’s quite a bargain! Prizes include cash ($ 1,000 and $ 5,000), field guides, calendars, and your photo(s) online and in print.

National Geographic’s World In Focus If you’ve ever leafed through an issue of National Geographic, you know that they are used to stunning photography. There is some serious competition in this one, but don’t use that as an excuse not to enter! No details have been announced yet for the 2009 contest, but the deadline is normally in late summer/early fall (check their website for updates), and categories last year were: Sense of Place, Outdoor Scenes, Travel Portraits, Photo Essay and Spontaneous Moments. The entry fee is ordinarily $ 12/image for amateurs and $ 35/image for pros. Prizes in 2008 included camera gear, photo workshops, trips to various exotic locations, and your image in print and online.

Islands Magazine’s Annual Photo Contest For those who love to travel, entering this competition, where the best island photo wins, is a must. Not only will you have a great excuse to travel so you can get the shots you need to enter (unless you’re lucky enough to live in an island paradise already), the winners are awarded trips to fabulous locations. We just missed the deadline for 2009 (it was January 31), but that gives you almost a year to work on your submission for 2010. Keep an eye on their website for updates.
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