When “youth” and “camera” are uttered, the word “selfie” is usually not far off. After all, smartphones make snapping a selfie easier than ever these days. However, National Geographic created a photo contest which proved that high school students can use their cameras to take meaningful pictures as well. In February, it announced the winners of the competition, writing:
Today National Geographic announced the winners of its 2014 Student Photo Contest. We asked high school students to submit a photograph and caption that conveys a sense of exploration and adventure, and over 2,000 entries flooded in!
The images and descriptions we received tell a rich story of exploration through the eyes and lenses of high school students across the country. And the subjects spanned the globe—as close as the backyard, and as far-flung as Botswana and Thailand.
Our panel of judges, made up of National Geographic’s top photographers and photo editors, had the challenging task of evaluating the top entries and selecting the winning image and the two runners-up.
Photographer Ann Basu submitted the Grand Prize-winning shot, Rites. Our judges called the image “powerful” and were impressed by Ann’s ability to capture her uncle’s incense smoke in the light of a nearby window.
Contests like this are often called “user-generated contests.” As the phrase suggests, these competitions rely on works submitted by users, and the entries are judged based on criteria like aesthetic merit (like the example above) or popularity (the number of likes and shares on social media platforms).
User-generated contests provide many benefits over those that rely solely on luck (as with giveaways). To begin with, it’s a great way to populate a website with content—instead of creating photos or videos yourself, the users can do it for you. Such contests also allow for greater interaction between companies/brands and people. Lastly, studies show that 51% of Americans trust user-generated content more than any other source of information.
When entries are provided by users—especially when a contest is worldwide in scope—managing and judging submissions can become very challenging. Thankfully, companies like Skild specialize in creating a customized online contest platform for clients, which encompasses website design, contest software development, implementation and real-time monitoring.
The youth today are fortunate to live in a world where cameras easily fit in the palm of their hands. On the other hand, companies who want to hold user-generated photo contests are lucky to have a ready-made contest platform available to them that makes winner selection easier.
(Source: Announcing the 2014 NG Student Photo Contest Winners, NationalGeographic.com, February 7, 2014)