Tap the community
Knowledge is power. Speak to fellow creatives, especially individuals who have won the award in the past. Quiz them on their experience – did they feel like the award delivered on the prizes advertised? And what other tangible benefits came with winning?
Think critically about your entry
It’s crucial to think critically about what you enter and how you present the work. Keep your edits tight and the quality consistent. Photographers are often too close to the work and struggle to see the work objectively. If that sounds like you, find a trusted picture editor who can help.
The words are just as important as the images; they provide judges with a deeper understanding of the entry, providing crucial context that can often elevate an entry.
If you need to supply a bio, overview and captions as part, be sure to take the time to do this well. If you’re not a confident writer, make sure you get someone to proof it. Tools like Grammarly can help capture any rogue typos and punctuation errors.
Read the small print
Awards can have stricter criteria than appears on first glance. A common pitfall is entering work created outside of the required time period. Don't bother trying to enter old work; you will be found out.
Also, be vigilant about the usage rights you are giving to organisations when entering awards. It’s critical you understand how they can use your work outside the competition to avoid nasty surprises later down the line.
Make the most of every opportunity
If you do win, then make the most out of it. Seek out relevant judges for a portfolio review, or a chance to show them your book. Ask them for advice and see if there are any mentoring opportunities.
Don’t forget to share the news with your fans, followers, clients and your agent if you have one. The more you can amplify the work the better.
And finally, good luck!