Monday, February 26, 2007Home

Calls for Entry—Buyer Beware, Part 2

For the last week, I have been going back and forth with a couple readers who are questioning the legitimacy of certain photography organizations, when it comes to Calls for Entry. The first thing one has to remember (and be aware of) is “buyer beware.” There are some entities that charge for entry into their competition. Of course, that is completely understandable. Whether or not you are in this business of photography to make money or not, it doesn’t do you (or anyone else, for that matter) any good to just throw your money into the air and hope it lands where it will do the most good.

I have been a professional writer for many years, and have had my submissions rejected for many years. My ego has been bruised enough. I don’t mind sending in money for submitting my work, photographically- or editorially-oriented. I don’t, however, like to throw my money into a pot that isn’t going to really do any good, for me or my work.

The bottom line is—do your homework. Ask questions. When you submit your work, you need to be sure that you are going to get your money’s worth, and that your photographs will get the attention (and respect!) they deserve.

Here are several guidelines to follow to make sure your work is received:

  1. Before you submit anything, begin a dialog with whomever it is you are intending to submit your work. Are they open and receptive? Do they welcome your inquiry? Do they answer your questions in a timely and professional manner? Do you feel comfortable talking with them?
  2. Check the address of the organization. Make sure there is either an email or contact phone number. That doesn’t mean you need to call them frequently, it just means they are legitimate and they put their information out there for everyone to see.
  3. Talk to your peers. Ask them if they have ever heard of (or submitted to) the organization. Just because there’s a .org at the end of their URL, it doesn’t mean they are a not-for-profit group.
  4. Contact past winners, which should be posted on the website of the group. A simple search should get you some results.
If you or anyone you know has had a negative experience with a call for entry, let us know.


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