How to Win a Photo Contest

– Posted in: Garden Photography
Spring tulips at Chanticleer Garden

Spring tulips at Chanticleer Garden

We are extending the deadline for the Picture This – Spring Photo Contest until June 8.  Let’s see more spring photos ! – while it is still spring.  Show us what is happening in your garden and lets’s share the season.

While we certainly encourage you to visit the sites of the garden bloggers who entered the contest and see their spring gardens around the country, we are adjusting the rules so that you don’t have to have a blog to enter.  Just one photo?  Share it in the contest.   Rules below.

The best way to win a photo contest begins with … entering the contest. And the best way to get a good photo is, to get your camera and go out and take some pictures.  No good photo is taken while reading about it….

PhotoBotanic Garden Photography Workbook, Think Like A Camera eBook Cover

PhotoBotanic Garden Photography Workbook 2

Once you have your camera and you are out in the garden, you may want to have some techniques to work on, so here are some tips – summaries of the six main lessons from Think Like a Cameramy second e-book of garden photography;  which is also the first prize for the contest. Second Place winner will receive a month’s free membership to The PhotoBotanic Garden Photography Workshop.

Each chapter of the book is its own lesson, a tip on composition.  If  you are looking for an excuse to go take some new pictures, pick one of these techniques – and think spring.

1 – Framing A Composition:

Framing a Composition, from "Think Like A Camera". PhotoBotanic Garden Photography Workshop.

Framing a Composition, from “Think Like A Camera”.

Here, the balustrade of the formal gardens at Filoli frame the view into the bed of tulips. Whether you have a big megapixel SLR camera or just a smart phone, your pictures will improve as soon as you think about what the camera is seeing—versus what you are seeing. Use the camera frame to fill your photograph with only those elements that tell your story.

2 – Focal Points.

Red pagoda framed by yellow fall foliage of Ginkgo tree in Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California.

Focal Points, from “Think Like A Camera”.

The red pagoda draws the eye into the photo and commands you to look at it.  Every photo should have a focal point, a spot within the frame where your story is told. The rule of thirds helps place those “sweet spots.”

3 – Leading Lines:

Leading Lines, from "Think Like A Camera". PhotoBotanic Garden Photography Workshop.

Leading Lines, from “Think Like A Camera”.

Pathways give every photographer a ready made technique to create a composition that pulls the eye into a photo.  Finding lines in the garden will establish balance and draw the eye into and around your photograph. Even curves and triangles offer lines that give a composition movement.

4 – Point of View :

Point of View, from "Think Like A Camera". PhotoBotanic Garden Photography Workshop.

Point of View, from “Think Like A Camera”.

Standing from behind these trees I am consciously trying to evoke looking into a meadow clearing from the woods.  The exact point of view— from one part of the garden into another, or slightly to one side of your subject, or perhaps down low—is critical to an interesting point of view.

5 – Space and Shape:

Space and Shape, from "Think Like A Camera". PhotoBotanic Garden Photography Workshop.

Space and Shape, from “Think Like A Camera”.

The elements of this mixed border fit together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.  The camera sees in flat two dimensions, so the shapes and spaces created within the four edges of the frame need to be balanced.

6 – Details and Vignettes

Details and Vignettes, from "Think Like A Camera". PhotoBotanic Garden Photography Workshop.

Details and Vignettes, from “Think Like A Camera”.

These frosty leaves fell into a loose pattern on the cold grass, a moment in time.  Looking for these vignettes and filling the entire frame with it, is a great technique that helps you distill overall impressions into a distinct capture — those details we really see.

Any one of these techniques can be a theme for a full workshop.  Pick one and work with it, always keeping spring in mind. Then pick one for the contest.


1.  If you have an active blog we encourage linking so leave us TWO LINKS in a comment on this post– a direct link to the image, and a link to your blog post that includes that image so others can see your entire post (hopefully where you also say you are entering the Gardening Gone Wild ‘Picture This’ Photo Contest ).  Your links need to be correct in order for your photo to be entered into the contest. If need be, check out previous Picture This contests to see how others have done it.

2. If you only want to enter a photo you need to give us a PUBLIC LINK to your photo that you can put into a comment on this post.  To get a link, you can now add a photo to our Facebook GGW Picture This Photo Contest Fan Page once you “Like” it .  In a new comment, mention the Picture This Spring photo contest, include your name, and upload a photo.  Once the photo is posted, click on it to show full size. You can then right click and “Copy Image Address” or “Copy Image Location” for the link you need to enter the contest.

3. The long side of the image should be minimally be 960 pixels.  This is a new, larger size for the contest that improves viewing on high definition screens and is the size of a Facebook comment photo.

4. By entering the contest you are giving permission to Gardening Gone Wild to publish the photo, so we encourage you to add your name as a watermark on the photo and as metadata in the file.

5. The deadline for entries is 11:59 PM Eastern time on Monday, June 8,  2015.

Once all the entries as are judged, winners will be notified as a Reply to your entry and we will post a gallery of all photos.

Entries to our Best of 2014 in a flickr Album or as Facebook Album.  Do you have a preference ?

Have fun !

Saxon Holt
Saxon Holt is the owner of, a garden picture resource for photographs, on-line workshops, and garden photography stories. An award winning photojournalist and Fellow of The Garden Writers Association with more than 25 garden books, he lives and gardens in Northern California. PhotoBotanic - Garden Photography online at
Saxon Holt

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Sodding cambridge October 11, 2016, 8:15 pm

those are some amazing shots! the second one with the nice looking building as well as the one with the leading lines adds a great dimension. thanks for sharing the tips

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