4 Steps to Photo Award Submission Confidence

May 28 : 2022

by Team reFocus

2:00 minutes read

Bookmark these 4 tips for success so that you can confidently submit your photos to the reFocus Awards or any other photography contest.

If you want to improve as a photographer, critically examining your own work is a great exercise for photographers at any level. Even the professionals at the top of their game still need to look at their work and make tough decisions about what makes the cut.

Only submit the best of the best.

Yes, this may seem obvious, but in practice, it can be quite hard to whittle down your hard work into a few images. In order to make the best decision, try to figure out the deadlines for submitting to the contest and get ahead of making a last-minute choice based on time pressure. Lay out your top choices and then, a day or so later, look at them again. If you have any colleagues or trusted friends or family, ask them for an opinion as well. You want to submit the images that you feel best represent your work, the idea you wanted to convey, as well as those that make your images unique. It can be hard to be critical of your own images, so give yourself time and space to choose wisely.

Research what’s won in the past and choose categories wisely. If you don’t have a history to utilize, make the most informed choice possible using the below exercise.

You can tell a lot about what the judges have selected for past contests, and therefore gauge what images to enter. For example, imagine you enter your work into a contest, deciding to submit one of your images of a wild animal to the black and white category over the wildlife category simply because all the past winners in the wildlife category are in color.

As for another note on categories and research, you might think of your work as falling in line with one category while the contest you are applying to may see your work as aligning with a different category. A good example of this is portraiture since a portrait can often fall into several categories. To make a confident and informed decision, take a look at your work in the most literal sense while also looking at previous winners to see if the judges are malleable with their definitions and how your work fits into the history of winners.

If you don’t have a history to utilize, try this:

  • Pull up the list of all available categories (or copy and paste it to a new location so you can mark it.
  • Check off all the ones your work aligns with.
  • From there, you’ll arrive at the most fitting categories and can make an informed decision using everything you know to be true.

Time your award submissions appropriately.

The better you are at keeping track of deadlines, the more money you can save! Once a year, add all due dates to your calendar so that you can take advantage of early bird discounts. If you are selling your work you can also try and time awards so that you can release new images with awards already attached to them.

Keep your own records and use them to share your win.

Consider organizing your wins so that you can squeeze the most of out them. Try keeping a folder for each contest that includes the images you’ve submitted and any winning assets such as the logo of the contest. Then, keep an archive charting where and when you’ve shared the award won, such as on social media or in an email to your audience.




Black & White Photo Contest

Black & White Photo Contest

Early Bird

Apr 8th - Jun 5th

Regular Submission

Jun 5th - Jun 26th

Extended Submission

Jun 26th - Jul 23rd

The Black & White Photo Contest by reFocus Awards welcomes both individual image and series submissions that honor and explore black and white photography.

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