Photography Club Competition Ideas

Written by sally howard
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Photography Club Competition Ideas
Consider all the members of your photography club when you hold a competition. (photographer image by Kurhan from

Members of a photography club often appear to have only one characteristic in common: the love of capturing an image. Some photography enthusiasts concentrate on nature, while others are drawn to architecture or studio work. For a club competition, consider all the different approaches and construct a list of themes that will appeal to all members, while allowing scope for creativity. Additionally, you should consider the display of the entries and the selection of the winners.


Classic photography genres are timeless, and subjects vary so widely that inclusion in a competition is almost standard for some. However, you can make the category more specific, to set a challenge or encourage club members to step outside of their usual practices. For example, you can classify portrait photography as "natural light," "night," "candid" or "at work." And you can categorise food photography as "for sale," "being eaten" or "still life." Stretch the boundaries or use precise themes.

Photography Club Competition Ideas
Wildlife, portrait or food photography. (Giant turtle eating image by Yaroslav Tatarintsev from


Competitions traditionally have black-and-white or colour categories, or you can specify a colour. Create a class of red, blue, green or yellow, and add to it by stating a subject. Use "red dress," for example, or "black tie," to denote photographs of a formal event. "Green" photographs are those that denote leaves, vegetables, moss or ferns, and encourage creativity in the use of form and light. A "blue" category can include photographs of a blue object or reflections in glass or water.

Photography Club Competition Ideas
An image of blue bottles and liquid. (blue glass-objects and blue drink image by Maria Brzostowska from

Contrast and Mood

While photographers use contrast to add depth of shadows and light, contrast can also define categories of youth and age, or "new" and "decayed." Contrasting shapes can make striking images. Colour contrast, a sunlit tree against a stormy sky, or a red umbrella in the rain also provides themes for a competition, all of which you can specify as categories for your competition. Mood can define a photo of sadness or a particular blend of light and shadow. Additional categories include close-ups of laughing people, which can be joyous or somewhat sinister, depending on light and angle.

Photography Club Competition Ideas
Laughing faces. (mere et fille image by Christophe Fouquin from

Patterns, Textures and Geometry

For more abstract photographs, use architectural and natural features to photograph angles and shapes. You can specify a category for square, round or diagonal shapes. Photographs can feature a human figure placed in one corner, or the photographer may practice the "rule of thirds." Make this category precise or vague, or you can specify subjects. For example, a category can specify "Garden Gate" and allow for a person or an animal in the picture. Or, make the category a specific shape such as "round," and entries can include apples, for example, which of course involve round shapes.

Photography Club Competition Ideas
Diagonal ... and round. (Der Berliner Fernsehturm image by DosEfes from

Living Things

The field is wide open in the class of "living things." Candid photographs of people in the street, close-up shots of insects, family members sleeping after a big holiday meal -- all of these comprise categories for entries in your competition. Take a vote in your club to decide which categories to include. Although typically photographers do not like to work with animals or children, your club members can achieve facial close-ups that display a lack of self-consciousness when photographing members of their own family, for example. You can also include some posed shots, indoor or outdoor, and action shots to provide additional challenges for your club members.

Photography Club Competition Ideas
Side-lit child's face. (cul de poule ! image by christophe denis from


Photography means "writing with light," and all photographers know the importance of light. Your competition can include classifications for "directional light," "flat light," "flashlight," "candlelight," "reflected light," or using "light as the subject." Holiday lights can present a challenge to capture in an image, and long exposures at night can create interesting images of car lights. If your club members want to use filter lenses, create a category to include it.

Timing of the Announcement

If your club members can agree on a list of competition categories for a year, they can have a chance to prepare their entries in advance. In addition your members may enjoy taking turns in posing a rapid challenge, with only a few days to capture an image. These can be linked to a seasonal or a local event and be tied into some aspect of photography that has been discussed at a recent meeting.

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