Tips to succeed in free competitions

One of the best parts about working in creative industries is that we typically don’t have to pay for our materials. All you need is a good idea and you’re on your way to making it happen! But just because you won’t be paying anything doesn’t mean there isn’t any work involved. It’s all about knowing how to find competitions that are worth participating in and preparing yourself before submitting your project.


I’ll keep it short and sweet: the secret to free competitions is the same as the secret to getting paid for your work. Prepare, prepare, prepare. I can’t stress this enough. Knowing there’s a deadline coming up and having a few ideas in your back pocket will help you out in ways you can’t even imagine. For us, it was the difference between getting home at midnight and getting home in time for our 4 am wake-up call.


The first thing to do is to do some research about the free competitions itself. Where was it being held? When? What does their logo look like? Understanding who you’re working for, what they’re all about, and what they want will help you immensely when it comes time to create your work.


Next, start visiting websites for the competition’s website and other ideas. Find out what the logo is going to look like, what their brand looked like, even how tall were their buildings. By considering all this information when planning your work you will be able to incorporate it into the finished products and showcase your dedication and passion for them. Also taking photos of the locations that you’ll be shot in can help make your work look more realistic and stunning.


If you’re able to get your hands on a copy of the brief or any information about the theme for the competition, use it! Even if you know you won’t be using that information directly, it’s good to have in mind just in case. You should be able to see what our audience was looking for by having a look through their website.


You also want to keep watching for updates and new ideas that come out about the competition. Make sure to do this because having your work ready way before the deadline can help you to make edits and tweaks almost right away. It’s a good idea to have some kind of system where you can store those ideas in case they’re needed one day.


The next step is making sure your equipment is ready. The first thing to do is to lookup free lighting equipment for digital photography and make sure you have the kit all set up and ready to go in case of a photography competition.



The last thing to do is to start paying attention to the actual pieces of equipment that are used for the free competitions. Take a picture of each piece, write down where you will buy them if it comes down to a break-time purchase and which brand or model they are so that they’d be easy to recognize when you bought them.