Photography Contest FAQs

/Photography Contest FAQs

Got Contest Questions?

Most answers and solutions can be found below.
Please take a moment and check it out.

Because we hold two contests per year and receive entries from thousands of people for each contest, we manage each contest in its own unique and separate database. Contestant information is not carried over from one contest to another. Please register from scratch for each contest that you enter. Once registered, you can always log back in to THAT contest (the one currently running) as a “returning contestant.”

You can simply log back in to the contest and see your photos. If you can see them, then we have them! Please note, you cannot log back in after the final deadline. At that point, only the judges have access to the database.

No. Entry fees are per photograph and you may enter as many as you like.

Subject matter is open, and we have no categories. You must indicate for each photo entered whether it is a black-and-white photo or color; however, the judges and publisher may move it from one color to the other for judging and, if chosen, for publication in the hardcover book.

We encourage you to obtain a model release if possible whenever the subject’s identity is recognizable. We do not require that you submit this with your photos, but it’s good for you to have for your own files. We recognize that this is often not possible with street photography.

Yes. We accept both digital and traditional film photography. Digitally manipulated photos are also acceptable. In other words, the use of Photoshop is fine.

Rights remain with photographer. By entering this contest, you understand that we have one-time rights for publication of all finalist photos in the hardcover book “Best of College & High School Photography” (for the College & High School Contest) or “Best of Photography” (for the Spring Contest). First through Fourth Place winners will also be published one time in “Photographer’s Forum” magazine.

To determine the Winners and Honorable Mentions, we employ a panel of three judges, changing judges with each contest. Our judges are always professional photographers who are also college-level photography instructors.

No, you may use any make of camera/equipment for any of our contests.

Image Size: Image must have a long dimension of at least 1000 pixels and less than 3000 pixels

Save file as (JPG) with maximum quality.

Color Space: sRGB, Adobe98,or untagged color space.

File Size: The file should be no more than 4 Mb

A “runtime error” or “server error” does not indicate a problem with the contest website. It’s just the system’s way of letting you know the photo(s) cannot be uploaded for some reason. First, be sure that your files conform to the Image Specifications. If they are too large (4 Mb file or larger, or one side with 3000 pixels or more) or too small (less than 1000 pixels on the long dimension), the system will not be able to take them and you will see a “Run-Time Error” message. However, this is easily solved: just re-size them and try again. Sometimes if you’re too close to 3000 pixels, the system might still “choke” on the file because other data is sent with it during transmission, so in that case just make the longest side closer to 2900. If you do not know how to use your image software (or app) to re-size your photos, consult your program’s “help” function, or the manual that came with your software. You can also google the question “How do I resize my photos in name of your software or app, such as iPhoto or Snapseed?” You do not have to register again; please simply log in as an”Already Registered” contestant.

There may be a delay with your entry fees reaching our account. Most of the time, this is instant. However, sometimes there is a short delay between your payment into the system, for which you receive a receipt from PayPal, and the funds arriving in our account. Until the funds are in our account, the system will not accept your upload. Please wait 24 hours and try to upload again. This is especially common on deadline days. To avoid this, please try and enter several days prior to a deadline. If this is a deadline day and you are running into this problem, please let us know by emailing us at

Ignore the codes; they are not photos. They are simply our internal codes that will be assigned to your photos once they are uploaded. To begin the upload process, click on a SUBMIT IMAGE button and you will be taken to the page where you will upload your photo(s).

No. If you have already paid and registered FOR THIS CONTEST you may bypass the registration process. Look for the line that says “Already a Registered Online Contestant in This Contest? Click Here ” To get to the upload area, you must use your user name and password, so be sure to write them down when you first register. Please note: Each of our contests is maintained in a separate database. If you have entered previous contests of ours, you WILL need to register again from scratch the first time you want to get into the current contest.

The Spring Contest is open to all amateur photographers, both student and non-student, in the United States, Canada and worldwide. There is no age limit. (If you make your living as a professional photographer, you may not enter.)

Finalists in the Spring Contest are notified by letter around the third week of July, via regular US Postal Service mail. We do not mail to every contestant, only to those who were selected as a Finalist. The notification letters to the Winners and Honorable Mentions are mailed in mid-August. All Finalists, Winners and Honorable Mentions can be viewed online in our Winners Gallery, after the Winners have had time to receive their notification letters (generally on or before August 24th each year.)

The same is true for the College & High School Contest, except the finalist letters go to the finalists in late January, Winners and Honorable Mentions are notified in the middle of February, and the Finalists, Honorable Mentions and Winners are all showcased in the Gallery after February 24th annually.

The College & High School Contest is open to all high school, college, and university students in the United States, Canada, and around the world. Both full-time and part-time students may enter. You are also eligible if you have graduated within the past six months. (If you are an amateur photographer but not a student, you may enter our Spring contest. Please watch for it beginning in January of each year. )

Finalists are notified by letter around the third week of January, via regular US Postal Service mail. We do not mail to every contestant, only to those who were selected as a finalist. The notification letters to the winners and honorable mentions are mailed in mid-February. All finalists, winners and honorable mentions can be viewed online in our Winners Gallery, after the winners have had time to receive their notification letters (generally on or before February 22 each year.)

No. Each instructor or school that would like to have the book must also place an order. About a month after notifying the finalists, we send a notification letter and order form directly to their instructors. Therefore, it is important that you fill in your instructor’s name and the complete name and address of your school on your entry form.

For details about how to submit prints or slides, please download the manual entry form. All the specifications and guidelines are on the entry form. DOWNLOAD MANUAL ENTRY FORM

If you are entering prints or slides, we will return them only if you include a STAMPED, self-addressed envelope large enough to contain them and with sufficient postage on it. Keep in mind that U.S. postal rates may change between the time you submit your photos and the time we will send them back, so you may wish to consider putting on extra postage. All photos not returned after six months of the closing of the contest will be destroyed.

Yes. You may enter online or mail in prints or slides. If sending prints or slides that you would like to have returned, please include a self-addressed envelope and an international postal coupon for return postage. Funds for payment of entry fees must be in U.S. dollars. If you would like to have us charge the return postage and are paying your entry fees with a credit card, please include a note on the entry form that asks us to add the cost of return postage to the amount we are charging for the entry fees.

Payment of entry fees must be in US dollars. If you are entering online, the PayPal system that manages the online entry fees will take care of it automatically. If you are mailing prints or slides, include a check or international money order in U.S. dollars, or supply your credit card information on the entry form. We do not accept Western Union, debit cards, or wire transfers.

You cannot log back into the contest after it is over. Once the contest deadline has passed and we are in the judging phase, then only the judges and Photographer’s Forum administration have access to the database. We have a schedule of when we notify the Finalists, Honorable Mentions and Winners. We notify by regular mail and we do not announce the results until all Finalists, Honorable Mentions and Winners have had time to receive their notification letters. The results all go up in the Winners Gallery on our website about three months after the final contest submission deadline.