From time to time I take a picture that I think is pretty amazing and that others will possibly love as well. So it will get me thinking about photography contests. It is also one thing I love about stock photography—seeing my pictures out there in use associated with great brands.

Several years ago I went to Maui on a trip that Bonnie Caton ran for Breakfast Stock Club members. It was amazing! Bonnie hired several models and local Hawaiian talent that included hula dancers and fire dancers—all for us attendees to capture amazing pictures with stock sales in mind.

I uploaded my favorites and once they started selling there was one picture that stood out to me and I thought, “I should look for a contest to enter this in.” Here is the picture:

photo contests 1

I decided to Google “photo contest,” “photo contest Hawaii” and then “photo contest islands.” There were quite a few that came up and a few that stood out. Islands Magazine had a great contest prize, a luxury cruise for two including airfare to the Tahitian Islands, and their usage rules were reasonable. (When entering a contest, be sure to check the usage rules. This will let you know what the company that is running the contest can do with your image once you submit it.)

I submitted my picture and pretty quickly forgot about it. About five months later I got an email letting me know I was a semi-finalist. I was thrilled and nervous. A few weeks later they emailed asking if I had the RAW image. Another few weeks later, photo director Lori Barbely called me with the great news: I was the grand prize winner!

One year later, I found myself on a small luxury cruise ship touring the Tahitian Islands in beautiful French Polynesia. The compact ship could get into small inlets and ports that would keep larger cruise ships at a distance.

Seeing as my room and board were covered, I decided to spend my money on excursions. The views were breathtaking and, of course, I had my camera with me.

photo contests 2

The highlights of the trip were wave running around Bora Bora, four-wheeling around the Islands of Mo’orea, and diving with sharks and whales while visiting Taha’a. Below is a picture of a shark I took with my GoPro.

photo contests 3

All this from taking the time to Google some contests, submitting a photo, then forgetting about it.

A good idea before you submit your photo is to look at the past winners. It may help you decide between a few choices you may have. Remember, you can’t win a contest if you never enter it!

[Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can fund your travels and make an extra income with photography, travel writing, blogging, and more in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel. Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Three Fun Ways To Get Paid To TravelA Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]

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