View Full Version : Photo Contest

11-19-2009, 09:16 PM
I have for the last 10 months or so been working on a project that involves Rte 100 in Vermont. It's a rather large undertaking I am told, but one of the subsets of the endeavor is to have a photo contest sponsored by 100 local businesses, each contributing $100.00 US dollars to provide a grand prize of 10K to take the winning photo along Route 100 here in VT. I won't publish the website address out of deference for what you have built here but I would absolutely love to hear some thoughts from all of you. This past fall many photographers were here and I did canvas quite a number of them with an overwhelmingly positive response. Ditto from the business owners as well. I will have no trouble at all getting the 100 to take part in the event. Next up is to really get a broad spectrum of advice from photographers who live and breathe their art and who also know the value of community and what can be accomplished. I think I've structured a unique and genuine event that will "focus" on revitalizing the cultural influences of art (in which I include photography), history, writing and music and the role they play for a more stable future and I'm insistent that we have some fun in the process.

I'll admit to being very excited about the project but at the same time I want to proceed carefully and not rush the process. It's more important to do it right and I'd love to fill in the details of what I have planned so far.

I'd love to hear your "perspective" on what could help guarantee a successful event.


11-19-2009, 11:35 PM
Well since you asked for it I will give you my opinion, just remember it is your fault you asked. First I would never take all the prize money and just have a grand prize. I would maybe have a $7500 grand prize winner and then break up the other $2000 for second and $500 for third, I think the more prizes the more interest, if you have large prize you might miss out on a lot of participants because they will think to themselves well for that money some pro will win so why bother or something along that attitude.

I would then also canvas the stores for some prizes, like say a coffee shop you might get a pound of good coffee, see what you get then make a few prize baskets for 4th and 5th place or to add to the top three. I would also try and come up with a few prizes or some minor money amount to get kids involved, seems people like to do activities with their children, I just beat mine and lock them in their room but thats just me, but it would add a family element to the contest and for what your trying to do it would be worth it I think.

Well anyway just a few ideas, hope it works out for you, seem to have out a lot of time and effort into it.

11-20-2009, 07:28 AM
There is nothing in your reply that isn't very sensible advice in my mind. Thank you for taking some time to respond.

In the US this road is viewed as one of the top ten scenic drives and a large part of the economy is tourism. I thought that if the inns, restaurants and other businesses displayed a "pic stop" sign stating participation and provided a wall or space to showcase the work of the photographers (and included a discount or freebie) the artist could then in effect get some good exposure (all puns intended always) and possibly sell his or her work. My website will also provide an area where the same thing could be accomplished. Originally the site included a forum but I took it off after I saw the example of what I consider the pinnacle of photography forums that is right here. My project simply must convey the feel of what you have achieved here and it really hinges on community involvement ( a feat increasingly harder to do) but it's not just my project that I'm so concerned about in regards to the importance of community in todays world. (Part of this really should go under Michaelaw's "I believe..." post but I get the sense that you all see "the big picture" (that's what I tink I'll call the event.) and I'll stop weirding out now.

I just have to try to do everything I can to secure a more stable future for my two kids (who at 8 and 13 are getting to be the age where I feel like doing exactly what you do) with yours,:party:. I am now building a segment for the kids to showcase their art and schoolwork but it all takes time and I got this pesky day job that precludes that I do this full time.

Last year it was my plan to walk the 220 miles and snap away and podcast from the road
but logistically it was not doable. Next year, if I can pop enough condroitin between now and then I'll revisit this see if I can do it.

I would love to help and do my part to help build this community too but I don't want to assume anything and I would rather, instead, ask permission to link to this forum at a time when people feel as comfortable with me and what I'm doing as I feel in coming to this forum.

Please, still consider offering critiques or ideas however because I'm very thick skinned (either that or not too smart) and I want this event to become a very detailed well thought out new tradition that may well be greater than the sum of it's parts.

Best regards,

11-20-2009, 07:37 AM
I think AcadieLibre had some great ideas and combined with yours I think it sounds awesome. His ideas of getting kids involved and chunking up the prize money are "spot on" IMO!

I also like your idea of mini gallery stops along the route.

11-20-2009, 08:08 AM
great ideas so far. Another thought I had is that some of the businesses might want to offer a small token prize for the best picture (not the top placing ones) of their business.

11-20-2009, 10:00 AM
Something else to consider media exposure, free preferably. I am not familiar with the local press down there but if you could figure out a way to start the contest with an event that would draw the local media to report on it. Small community papers are more likely to give an event promoting the area a shot at front page coverage. Something like a charity art show that consists of just local artisans who would be willing to donate some art and the fact it is for charity the media would be more willing to cover the start of the contest. This is just a rough idea but there are other ideas you or others may come up with. And pick a children's charity if possible just people are more sympathetic to them. Anyway just another idea to think on.

11-20-2009, 10:22 AM
Wow - Thanks AL, Bambi and Casil403 for your help. In a world increasingly concerned with energy shortages and prices I can't help but find so much encouragement when I can just pull in here and "fill up" substituting collaboration and community for currency. They say that time=money but I think that's not quite so true. I'd rather go along in life picking up little chips of validation for my thoughts and ideas and then sit down with others and comparing notes just as children would do with their treasure during Halloween or at Christmas time here in the states. There is more value in that I think.

In short my plan is to "opensource" this road and have it slip into the role of the old Route 66 of days gone by through the sharing of knowledge and ideas, culture and history, and just plain having fun doing it. Some say it's too big but I maintain that it's not. It, like anything else is just made up of smaller parts that are, hopefully, planned out to the extent that all the aspects of the plan stand on their own merit and also in unison with the other elements as well. It's no different than anything else we do in our professional lives and the relativity is astounding.

To your point of the distribution of the prize money. I concur but I don't want to lessen the grand prize amount as much as I want to include instead a lesser amount for sponsorship to round out the total prize money. The 100/100/100 theme I'd like to keep intact and 10K is just such a nice number. But I think there can be no doubt that what you all agree on should be the benchmark to be set and I wholehearted agree with is that kids participation in an event that has as the underwritting goal of shoring up those very kids economic and cultural future ( the two are inseparable in my view). This is easily done because in fact attracting 100 businesses will prove too restrictive and not allow enough involvement for those wishing to play a role. Many will feel left out.

I have for an example: a landscaper, an electrician and an alternative energy company as well as others who will not derive the same amount of reward for their sponsorship but they view the event as something more than that. This is not a time for that type of thinking anyway - the - "what's in it for me" attitude going forward is deprecated and ensures failure. Darwinism rears it head quickly in small town America and that is what propagated my project in the first place with the first step to provide inspiration and a sense of hopefulness to those that need some.

I mean, crap man, I'm just bubbling over here most of the time and I want to share it with others for reasons I'd like to tell you about one day soon.

I'm late for work, good thing I'm the boss or I'd fire me.

Please keep it up if you can and really try to pick away at it too. There has to be something negative here somewhere I just don't see it right now and it's making me nervous.


11-20-2009, 10:43 AM
The negatives would be the initial startup...ie, the organization, getting a firm commitment from suppliers, getting help from other people (volunteers) and the amount of time needed to get this thing off the ground. And unfortunatley, some people do have the attitude of "what's in it for me?" of which you will have to contend with, try not to take personally or make judgements.
It might not also be successful the first couple of time you start it as well until it gets out by WOM which might deter some of your suppliers. Might take a couple of years to get off the ground/be successful. You also have to figure out exactly what kind of people you want to attract to enter the contest locals/tourists/ professional/amateur photographers/families and if you have a specific group in mind, how are you going to weed out the others who enter? Do you have categories or are you just going to have one big contest...and if so who is going to judge and what is the judging criteria? How do people submit their photos...probably would mean a website start up unless you could go in with one ogf the local organizationsd and use theoir website.
What kind of exposure and how are you going to get it out? Via local newspapers/ magazines, tourist centers local businesses?
Anyhow i could go on but school starts in 10 minutes and I think you get my drift. :it's a great idea but there are lots of time and organizational commitments involved and that would be a drawback for sure!

11-20-2009, 11:33 AM
Also since you are doing this you may want to incorporate this as a not for profit business. Makes it legit and heaven forbid something goes wrong and your not incorporated they come after you and sue. Talk to a legal professional from your state to make sure your ass is covered legally. And since it is a contest you may need to follow certain state/federal laws so look into that also. Also you will need firm rules for this contest and you can just put that on the entry forms but you will know what you have to do once you look into contest laws in your state. Also if you are holding the money put it in escrow. Just look into all the legalities of it period is pretty much what I am saying. You would also be smart to have a panel of judges to pick the winners since you are running it, it could look bad if the winner was someone you know and you are on the judging panel. Also maybe a couple co-chairs to help run it,