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Yesterday we announced our 2010 Grand Prize Photo Challenge Winner.  Congratulations again to Miles Morgan! He won this year’s $2,000 Grand Prize. Did you enter? You should know that photo contests, if you’re not careful, can be tricky. Some (not ours) make you give up all the rights to your photograph just to enter.  It’s in the fine print.  And, even if you lose the contest, you lose the right to sell your photo once you’ve uploaded it to their site. What’s more, some contest sites will then take your pictures and turn them into things like calendars and note cards which they sell for a profit.  It’s all in the fine print.  But lots of new photographers don’t know to look for it until it’s too late. Below I’m including a list of the most common scams to watch for, along with a link to a website that rates photo contests according to their fair treatment of photographers.  I’m also including a little advice below on how you can win the next photo challenge you enter… Good luck!  And remember: November’s Photo Challenge theme is: “Orange you glad…” We DON’T take your photo rights by entering.  And, all winners are entered into our Grand Prize Photo Challenge next October to compete for the big $2,000 payout right before the holiday shopping season begins. Lori Lori Allen Director, Great Escape Publishing ******************* November 13, 2010 The Right Way to Travel ******************* HOW TO WIN A PHOTO CONTEST AND AVOID CONTEST SCAMS Photo contests are one of the best (and most fun) ways to break into professional photography. They give you a chance to practice good composition and lighting.  They help you build your portfolio by offering motivation to shoot images around a designated theme.  And, they encourage you to carry your camera and use it regularly.  Practice makes perfect. Unfortunately, as with everything on the Internet, there are a lot of companies and photo contest offerings that aren’t what they appear to be. Here are three of the most common scams you’ll find when you’re looking for a good photo contest to enter… 1.    The “Release Form” Scam: If you’re asked to sign away too many rights, it’s probably a bad contest to enter. One posting we found said that the photographer had to sign away All Rights for their photographs to be used in “any way the contest organizers see fit.” The organizers then combined all the photos submitted for the contest and sold them as royalty-free stock photo CDs to the public without giving the photographer recognition or compensation. Check the fine print before you enter ANY photo contest.  Sometimes, just uploading the photo means that you agree to their terms and conditions and you don’t have to physically sign anything to give up your rights.  Read carefully and search out all language that pertains to your photo copyright. 2.  The “They Want Your Money” Scam: You shouldn’t have to pay to see your photos in print. They should be paying you, not the other way around. 3.  The “Everyone Wins” Scam: There used to be a poetry contest like this. The applicant sends in his or her submission and receives a note back about how good it is. Then each is asked to buy a book in which all the submissions are included.  The book sells for between $60 and $80.  Yikes! So how do you know when a contest is safe to enter? Well, first and foremost, read the fine print.  We list a few reputable photo contests and advice on how to win them in our Turn Your Pictures into Cash program, Session 9. You can also check out a company called Pro-Imaging.  The people there support our enthusiasm for photo contests and they list a variety of photo contests that are legitimate and provide great opportunities for emerging photographers. Remember: Always do you homework.  And have fun!  If it becomes a chore to practice your photography, your road to success will be really, really long (or at least it’ll feel like it is). Here are some tips from our Turn Your Pictures into Cash Program on how to get the upper hand and win your first (second, or third!) photo contest: 1.    Follow submission guidelines closely – they may give away hints as to what they’re looking for in a winner, and it’s a surefire way to make sure you don’t get disqualified for something small. 2.    Look for ways to make your photo stand out. It’s important to follow all the rules, but be sure to creatively compose your photos. 3.    Pay attention to the audience of the publication hosting the contest – a website based on cooking does not want photos of your new puppy submitted! 4.    Do research on past winners – check out their archives to dig up the old winners and see what they did. [Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can turn your pictures into cash in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.  Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Selling Photos for Cash: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]

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