Standard Photo Contest Rules and Regulations

Photo contests are great for interacting with consumers and fostering a sense of community around your brand. However, before you launch a contest of any kind, you’ll need to think about some photo contest rules and regulations.

Taking the time to set ground rules now will help you avoid legal issues in the future. If you’re having trouble getting started, we’ve given you a couple tips below, along with some standard photo contest rules and regulations.

Write a disclaimer

If you’re planning to use a social media platform to host your contest, you’ll need to include a clear disclaimer that says your company is running the contest and that the social media platform is in no way responsible for or affiliated with it. In addition to the disclaimer, you’ll need to follow the regulations of the platform you’re using to host the contest. Countries also have varying laws for contests, so make sure you do your research.

Using an independent photo contest software can give you additional flexibility and free you from cumbersome third-party social media restrictions or limitations.

Make a plan

Before you start writing the rules, take a second to plan out your contest. Ask yourself the following questions first, so you don’t waste time thinking of rules that aren’t applicable.

• What company is running the contest?
• Who is eligible to enter and can they enter multiple times?
• What prize will be offered?
• How do you intend to use the photos the entrants provide?
• When will the contest close?
• How and when will winners be notified?

The answers to these questions will help you determine the rules that will be unique to your contest. Being upfront with your entrants will let them know what to expect before, during, and after the contest. Keep in mind that contest guidelines that sound too vague could make people question your legitimacy and stop them from entering. The rules are there to protect both your company and the entrants.

Standard rules for photo contests

Below are some standard rules that you can tweak as needed depending on your unique photo contest: 

All photos must be original work, taken by the entrants. No third party may own or control any materials the photo contains, and the photo must not infringe upon the trademark, copyright, moral rights, intellectual rights, or rights of privacy of any entity or person.

  • The photo must be in its original state and cannot be altered in any way, including but not limited to removing, adding, reversing, or distorting subjects within the frame.
  • Violators will be removed from the contest, stripped of any prize(s), and banned from entering future contests.
  • Entries will not be accepted unless submitted via the official contest channel. Entries not submitted through the proper channel will be deleted.
  • Entries will be judged by the [Company]. All decisions are final. The Company reserves the right to disqualify any entry that is deemed inappropriate or does not conform to stated contest rules.
  • By entering the contest, entrants agree that photos submitted can be used by the [Company] for advertising purposes.
  • Submissions will not be accepted once the deadline lapses.
  • The prize must be collected by the winner and is nontransferable.
  • The winner will be contacted via the email address provided during entry. If no response is received after [three] business days, a new winner will be selected and the previous winner will forfeit all rights to the prize.
  • The contest is void where prohibited or restricted by law.
  • If you’re using entry forms like those offered by Submittable, you can include language at end of the form asking entrants to confirm that they have read the rules and regulations by clicking the submit button.

Looking for the perfect platform for your online photo contest?

See what Submittable has to offer in this short demo. 

Although these are just examples of photo contest rules and regulations, they provide a good starting place for creating your own. They can also provide a starting point for building out the rules of any kind of online contest. Tailor them to your needs and include them in a prominent way before people enter your contest. Writing rules may not be the most interesting part of your contest, but once you have them, you’ll be able to relax knowing they’re protecting you. 

Looking to launch your own photo contest? Submittable can help. Reach out anytime to learn more about our contest management software or request a free demo. 

Sarah Aswell
Sarah Aswell

Sarah Aswell is an editor and content strategist at Submittable. She’s also a writer and stand-up comedian who gets rejected via Submittable all the time. You can read her comedy criticism at Forbes, follow her on Twitter, or learn more about her creative work on her website.