"A sample of photos I was considering entering in to a bird photo competition until I read I lose sole rights to them"
Online photo contests are big business and there was a time when I used to enter as many as I could find. The promise of a new camera, new lens, new studio strobe, a grand to spend on photography equipment etc. always lured me in to entering as many images permissible per applicant.
I never won an online competition, my photos were never recognized or acknowledged in an online photo competition and I never got anything out of the competition either. Despite this I carried on for a few years always with the hope of winning (I didn’t even have to win as I would have been more than happy with second or third) and the attitude “Someone’s got to win”.
The problem with the online competitions is I never found out who won and I never saw the winning photo. Looking back, I wonder if anyone ever won or whether it was just a marketing ploy to get visitors to a particular website to generate some traffic, and hence advertising revenue or whether it was a ploy to get free photos that were sold on for stock.
When I was submitting my photos to online photography competitions I was naïve and didn’t really know how people made money online. I didn’t know how Google Adsense and other advertising platforms worked, I didn’t appreciate companies sold advertising space, I didn’t know people earned money with affiliate links to online retailers like Amazon. Basically, I didn’t realize that “TRAFFIC = CASH” and the more traffic a site could generate the more cash they could potentially earn.
Another thing I didn’t realize about the online photography competitions is that once you submitted the photograph you gave away all the rights and the people running the competition could do whatever they wanted with the photos. I can’t believe I was so stupid.
It was a bloke at my local photography club who showed me the error of my ways, and if it weren’t for him I would still be entering as many online photography competitions I could find in a bid to win some prize.
It was one club meeting I went to where I casually asked a few of the members if they would be submitting any of their photos to this “awesome” online photography competition I had found. All of the members, except for this one bloke, said absolutely nothing and quickly changed the subject, but this one bloke suggested I check the small print of the rules before I give my photos away for nothing.
Needless to say I checked the small print when I got home and I was flabbergasted by the terms and conditions, as well as the fact the people organizing the photo competition took full rights and ownership of all entries. What’s more, is if I sold a copy of the photo I entered in the competition I could end up being financially penalized and have to pay over some money. Yep, I would have to pay over money for the photograph I took. How ludicrous is that?
That online photo competition was the last one I entered and I haven’t submitted any of my photos to any others since, and neither do I intend to. I want to keep full rights and ownership of my work and there is no way I am going to let anyone else profiteer from my photos and give me nothing in return. That’s not right. I fully admit that I was naïve and stupid back in the day, however not any more. Oh no, I have much tighter control over my photos and I never enter anything in to online photo competitions.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.
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