How to win Instagram challenges

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“How to win Instagram challenges” By Matt Glastonbury, accomplished Mobile Photographer, providing great tutorials and App reviews. Matt is an independent blogger who acts as a Contributing Editor to Ink361. (Add Matt on Google Plus) I touched on some of this in last week’s article about HOW TO GET FOLLOWERS ON INSTAGRAM Today, I’d like to touch on the things I consider when entering into challenges, and the things I look for when I’m selecting winners. As I mentioned last week, entering into challenges can be really rewarding. The best thing, is you often widen your own skill-set, and learn how to do things, and focus in ways, that you normally wouldn’t. I once had a very wise person ask me to do something I would not normally do, or try something you don’t normally like, with the aim of expanding your own abilities, and learning appreciation for more experience. I can see how that applies to entering creative challenges because you often find yourself doing things you would never normally do, and shooting subjects you would normally pass-up. I always remember the golden rule: winning is great, but the real winners are those who have learned something new and excelled themselves. I find that a good positive attitude is essential for having fun, and growing personally. That in-turn creates a winning attitude! All of the below images, here, have won some kind of award, and I followed these guidelines to get them across the line.

So what I do when I’m entering a creative challenge: I ask myself, how am I going to stand out from the crowd? The first thing I do is look at the terms and conditions first to see what specifics their may be outlined that most people haven’t read.. that text is insight and range of clues for getting something in theme with what they’re looking for. Take advantage of that! Next, I head over to the hashtag that’s associated with the challenge and have a look at what everyone else is doing. Often, people pretty much follow each other, so I avoid that and try to do my own thing, which makes you stand out. Most people haven’t read the T&C, so following them, is a recipe for disappointment. Choosing your photos wisely: Try to imagine what challenge operators are look for when choosing a photo. Think to yourself, if there’s 10,000 entries, how will they find me? When I choose my challenge winners I look through every photo quickly, and choose ten that catch my eye. I do that again, then see any differences in my own opinion. If I’m on a desktop, I’ll use the browser to click the hashtag, and scan them, or on the phone I’ll use the IG app, and take screen shots of my favorites. Here’s what I looking for: Composition and layout, originality and something different, clarity and smoothness in tone, evocative emotion and feeling, a sense of intrigue and story, interest and creativity, technical ability (not over or under exposed – in focus where it’s meant to be, an inspiring picture, & of-course, whether or not the entrants were able to follow the theme and any rules. SO MANY people don’t follow the rules, and miss out. It can sometimes be 50% of entries and that’s another reason why you should never just follow what everyone else is doing. Try to ask yourself what would make someone stop searching through the small thumbnails and click on your photo for a closer look? When you are choosing from thousands of photos, the thumbnails are really small.. so unfortunately submitting photos with tiny detail may get skimmed over. I’m not saying the judges are right, I’m just saying, on Instagram, your small detail in a small part of the image that you think may answer the theme of the contest, may not actually get seen. So, choosing images that have interesting features even when viewed as a thumbnail, could potentially get you looked at. Get your priorities right: 1: The thumbnail and initial post is meant to get you noticed. To do that, try the above suggestions. 2: Once opened for a closer look, the objective is then to impress and answer all the T&C to get on the short-list. 3: Getting short-listed is then meant to put you in a position where you get chosen, and to do that you’ll need to have good composition, originality, clarity, emotion, story, creativity, inspirational, technical ability, & of-course, whether or not you were able to follow the theme. Multiple entries: I usually enter several different times. I try to do some posts where I accomplish what the T&C say exactly, then I usually do something that loosely fits what they said they wanted, but with more artistic license. Concluding.. When posting I usually post my entries to Twitter at the same time. This not only lets them see my entry by IG, but they also get a Twitter notification when I enter. That’s got to make you stand out a little right? They might re-tweet your entry, and others may like in on other social platforms which could get the judges thinking. So, I’d love to know anything you do to get noticed and stand out from the crowd.. If you’ve got some tips, let me know


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