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Why You Should Always Pay Attention To Photography Contest Rules

The photographer who managed to win, and then lose the National Geographic photo contest in the blink of an eye.

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Harry Fisch

The image that won and lost Harry the competition. © Harry Fisch

When you enter a photography contest, how often do you read all the small print before doing so? The answer for most of us will be a resounding 'not very often'. But, these terms and conditions can mean the difference between your image being eligible to win and not being eligible. 

Unfortunately, photographer Harry Fisch found this out the hard way when he entered an image into the National Geographic photo contest in 2012. He's recently blogged about his experience, in the hope that it will encourage more photographers to read all the terms before submitting an image. 

An image of Harry's was chosen to win the 'Places' category of the competition and he was elated. All that remained to do was fill in a form claiming ownership of the rights to the image and licensing the rights for National Geographic, and to submit the original digital photo. 

To his horror, Harry found out the next day that his image had been disqualified after the judges had seen the original. The reason: he had photoshopped a piece of rubbish from the far right, along the edge of the frame. You might immediately think that this would make no difference to the image itself and that this decision was harsh given the circumstances, but it clearly stated in the terms and conditions of the competition that adding or removing anything from the image is not allowed. 

If Harry had cropped the bag out, or simply left it there, no issue would have arisen. It's a stark reminder that photography competition rules must be strictly adhered to and are there for a reason. Not reading them could mean disappointment. 

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ElSid 11 9 United Kingdom
2 Sep 2015 5:47PM
There's rules and there's petty minded stupidity. Harry didn't fall foul of the rules...Wink

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