Think your photos are great? Think you could win a competition or two? Be aware of the fine print before entering any Internet photo competitions... you might save yourself a lot of grief.
Search for "Photo Competition" on the Internet, and you'll be greeted with lots of ads and websites that run photo competitions for amateurs.
Be aware that some of these are scams hoping to fleece amateur photographers out of cash.
Here's what happens in these scams:
- You upload your photos to a competition website.
<li>They write back with an ecstatic email or letter telling you how great your photos are</li> <li>They will print your photo in a new book called "2007 Brilliant New Photographers" (or something similar)</li> <li>In some variations, they even say your photo will be on the cover!</li> <li>You have the option of purchasing one (or more than one) of these books - at over $50 each.</li>
Of course you are honored that your photo has been selected (and on the cover, no less!) so shell out for a few copies of the book.
And this is the scam: Every single person who uploads their photos receives the ecstatic email and is printed in the book. Even if their photos are ordinary. So your photo is printed with lots of ordinary photos and not a 'winner' at all. For the 'cover photo' variations, they print a unique book for you and place your photo on a flimsy cover.
Other variations invite you to purchase a trophy or attend a photography conference (for even more money).
So you've paid a lot of money to receive something that is of questionable value.
Now technically, these sites do give you what they promise. However, be vary careful to not get sucked in when you hear that your photo is fantastic - they are just telling you what every amateur photographer wants to hear.
Ways to avoid these scams:
- Always read the fine print.
<li>Don't enter competitions where you give away your rights to your work. Most legit competitions only ask for the permission to reprint your photo if you win - not demand rights from everyone who enters.</li> <li>Check that the competition only accepts photos that have not been published before.</li> <li>Only enter competitions from recognized big names (like Canon, Nikon, or your local newspaper)</li> <li>Finally, do your homework. Do a search for the website name and 'scam' in Google and see what comes up.</li>
These sites fill a need for those who want to see their images in print. If you want to see your photo printed in a book, my recommendation is you do it yourself. Most of the online photo printing companies give you an option to print your photos as books.
Have you had a bad experience with one of these sites? What about a good experience with a competition? Share it below.
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