Photo Contest Tips and Tricks

Entries to the photo contest have been coming in, and we are so excited to see the photos you have submitted!  The photo contest is many of the GlobalGiving staffs’ favorite time of year because it’s when we get to see the amazing work your organization is doing.

Last week, Katherine and Angela, hosted a photo contest informational webinar that also contained several tips on how to capture your work through a photograph.  You can find the slides here.  A huge thank you to everyone who attended the webinar!  Weren’t able to attend? Not a problem, you can find a recap below.

Important Dates:

Submit your photos by 11:59pm EDT on June 28.

Voting begins at noon EDT on July 15 (time in your city) and ends at noon EDT on July 31 (time in your city).

Submitting Your Photos:

Each organization may submit up to 3 photos.

They can be from the same project or multiple projects.

The photos must relate to the project.

Here is how to upload a photo to your project page:

Here is how to find your photo’s URL:

Here is where to submit your photos: 2013 Photo Form


–          Give Knowledge (education)

–          Give Relief (health, disaster recovery)

–          Give Support (microfinance, humanitarian assistance, children)

–          Give Hope (economic development, women & girls, human rights, democracy & government, sport)

–          Give Green (environment, animals, climate change, technology)

Your project’s primary theme automatically determines your photo’s category.

Voting Process:

–          Bud Force, an independent and accomplished professional photographer, will be selecting the finalists.

–          Finalists’ photos will then be uploaded onto GlobalGiving’s website for voting.  If you would like to see what last year’s contest landing page on GlobalGiving looked like, you can click here.

–          To vote, a person simply clicks on the photo and enters their email address.  They will receive an email asking them to confirm their vote. They must confirm their vote in order for it to count.

–          An individual can vote for multiple photos, but they may only vote once for a photo. Only unique individual votes will count.


The photo with the most unique votes will receive a $1,000 bonus for project use, will be featured on the GlobalGiving homepage for a full day, and highlighted in GlobalGiving’s social media outreach.

The runner-up from each category will be  featured on the GlobalGiving homepage for a full day, and highlighted in GlobalGiving’s social media outreach.

Angela Wu’s Photo Tips:


–          The best lighting is free!  Try to take your photos in natural sunlight (golden hours of early morning or late afternoon are best).

–          Light should come from behind the photographer

K.C Mahindra Education Trust



–          Focus: decide where you want your viewer’s eye to be drawn to, and then frame this subject of your photo to make it the immediate focus!  It should be easy for the viewer to identify the main subject of the image.


–          Blur the background: this can help with making your subject stand out and minimizing the clutter in your background.  The main subject should be clear and sharp.  You can create blur by changing the depth of field, which is controlled by a lens aperture.

Asia Injury Prevention Foundation

–          Rule of thirds: split the image up into thirds, both horizontally and vertically, and try to place your subject on one of these imaginary lines or intersections.  Move your subject away from the center and get a feel for how it can be balanced with everything else in the scene.


–          Leading lines: you can use lines to control the way people’s eyes move around the picture and find the main subject!  Take advantage of lines because they are everywhere—on the edge of a building, a winding road, a fence, etc.

Population Services International

–          Details, details, details: these can be powerful, and very unique to your project or region.  They can help tell your story.  Get creative!

Lifeline Energy

Manual Photography:


–          The amount of light received by film or sensor.


–          How large the eye of your lens opens up

–          A larger aperture means having a larger opening for light to pass through.

Shutter Speed

–          How long your camera’s shutter stays open when snapping a photo

–          The longer your shutter stays open, the more light it lets in.

–          Shutter speed affects the clarity of a photo. A longer shutter speed can blur a shot and create trails from movement. A shorter shutter speed can freeze action and capture the moment sharply.


–          Measurement of how sensitive your camera’s film or sensor is to light

–          The higher the ISO, the more sensitive it is  to light and vice versa

–          Using a higher ISO can help take brighter photos in low light situations, but the higher the ISO, the grainier the photo


Final Tips:

Befriend your subject, and tell a compelling story! Regardless of the person/animal/place, become familiar with the subject. Show the world what you want them to see.

Multiple shots/multiple angles! Don’t be afraid to move around and approach the subject from different perspectives.

Rules are made to be broken! Don’t feel that you’ve got to remember every one of these laws and apply them to each photo you take.  If you pay too much attention to strict formula, your photos will lose any kind of spontaneity!  What works for one photo won’t necessarily work for another.  Go with your instincts, and unleash your creativity!


Please e-mail Katrina Wertz at

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