Photo Contest Ideas for Any Brand – Collect UGC Like a Pro

Kamila Palka
Kamila Palka
Photo contest ideas might be hard to come up with. This is why we share with you the most popular and captivating ideas for running online photo competitions. Take a look to discover our favorite ideas and learn to collect UGC like a real pro!

Photo contests have been around for quite some time, way long before the appearance of the Internet and social media. Before the arrival of smartphones, customers participated in photo competitions organized by their favorite brands or magazines via post. However, the number of participants was never as high as in the digital era. Luckily, with digitalization arrived simplicity – at least for some things! Did you know that 85% of all photos are now taken with mobile phones? Nowadays, popular brands can easily organize online contests with the help of interactive and intuitive photo contest apps, while online users can enter their shots for a chance to win attractive prizes, in just a few clicks. 

Voting Contest

In this blog post, we take a look at the most popular photo contest ideas and we also explain what marketing objectives you can achieve with a simple picture competition. Let’s take a look! 

Photo contest for customers: thank your clients for choosing your brand

Branded photo contests are especially popular with brands looking to promote their products because having happy customers post about your brand online is a marketer’s dream come true! So imagine you want to advertise your newly launched product or a bestseller that’s been around for some time. The ideal scenario would be to collect hundreds and hundreds of user-generated content images showing your product in action.

example of a branded photo contest for product promotion

Let’s start with an example of a fictional product promotion photo contest. Customers of a fictional potato chips company share pictures showing how they like to have their crisps: on a sandwich, with a sandwich, their favorite flavor on its own, etc. The picture with the most votes would win a year’s supply of potato chips.

But don’t just take our word for it. Give this Halloween Photo Contest DEMO a try to get a feel of the customer experience and see how easy it is to vote and/or submit an entry.

What’s in it for the brand? Besides quality UGC, the organizing brand also collects new contact details for their database. And by resharing the UGC on their social media channels, they get to boost brand authenticity and customer trust, as user-generated content serves as social proof for potential buyers.

Publishing a company calendar is a yearly tradition for many brands around the globe. Branded calendars not only boost visibility but also lead to increased customer engagement and loyalty because more often than not, the customers are the authors of the pictures published in company calendars. However, asking customers to email over their entries can generate some headaches for the organizers, especially if there are many participants – it’s a hard job to ensure that you haven’t missed out on any participating email. Luckily, there is now an easier way to collect calendar contest entries.

Take a look at how Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway turned their photo contest idea into reality. Users participated in their photo competition by filling out a short registration form and uploading an image that they wanted to participate with.

photo contest idea for any brand: company calendar

The organizers invited their audience to share their best shots for a chance to win a $300 Amazon gift card. Apart from the possibility of winning a gift card, contestants had a chance to have their pictures printed in the 2022 calendar, exactly as the participants of Good Boy Bakery’s calendar contest.

photo contest ideas for any brand, example from good boy bakery

Good Boy Bakery also looked for photo contest ideas – and they opted for the same solution. We believe we don’t have to explain how popular pet photo contests are! Proud pet owners love to share snapshots of their puppies and kittens! Let’s just imagine how proud they’d be to see their favorite animal in a calendar. In this case, the organizers invited the public to vote for their favorite pictures.

Looking for photo contest ideas? Use a photo contest app that comes with a voting system. The Easypromos application has anti-fraud controls that detect any malpractice or manipulation with votes. 

Are you thinking about running a calendar photo contest? Discover how a small photography studio ran an online calendar contest.

Photo contest ideas for paying customers

Acquiring new customers is much more expensive than retaining existing clients. This is why fostering customer relationships and rewarding paying consumers is always a clever thing to do. It’s sometimes worth going beyond discount offers and loyalty programs. 

One way to do this is by organizing customer-exclusive contests, and photo contests happen to be a great idea. Why not invite paying clients or visitors to share their pictures for a chance to win freebies, product bundles, special discounts, or free updates on their accommodations? So if you’re looking for fun photo contest ideas for customers, take a look at the following example from Devonshire Hotels and Restaurants.

photo contest ideas: examples from devonshire hotels and restaurants

The hospitality group looked for a way to thank their clients. They also wanted to reinforce their existing relationships with customers. To do so, the brand launched a photo contest for anyone that had previously stayed in one of Devonshire’s locations. Interested participants shared their favorite moments of their stay for a chance to win a luxury getaway at one of the brand’s hotels or inns. 

Still not sure if online photo contests are a good idea to reward and retain existing customers? Here’s another example from a popular Golf & Country Club, Las Colinas. Just like in the previous example, the organizers looked for the best shots presenting their customers have a quality experience on their premises. The entry with the most votes won a dinner for two at the club’s restaurant. 

photo contest ideas for hospitality

Tourism and travel: Run a photo competition to promote a location

The Spanish Institute of Tourism looked for a way to promote Spain as a holiday destination to their Scandinavian audience. However, it was aimed only at the users that had previously visited the Mediterranean coast.

photo contest organized by The Spanish Institute of Tourism

Another photo contest was launched by the E3 Camping Association. As a way to promote their brand and attract more visibility to their camping sites, the organizers raffled cash prizes and free memberships. The winners were chosen by a public vote. This is a great photo contest idea for anyone looking to further expose their brand and boost visibility.

ideas for promoting your brand with photo competitions

Ideas for attracting brand ambassadors: run photo contests

We’ve all witnessed our friends being advocates for their favorite brands. Chances are you’re a brand ambassador without even realizing it. Have you ever shared a picture of your new shoes on social media? Ever tagged an airline while going on holiday? You’re a brand ambassador too. Online users love to show off their new gadgets or show their favorite hotels. You can take advantage of how easy it is to snap a picture and invite your customers to promote your brand to their friends.

Your contest participants may share their entries with their friends in an attempt to obtain more votes, which will result in your contest – and brand – being seen by even more people. Here’s a great example of how photo contests can help in growing brand awareness and visibility on social media. 

photo contests for product promotion

Peli Products shared their photo contest on their social media channels, as they were looking for creative photographers with a passion for adventure. If you’re looking to reach a wide audience, make sure you disseminate your promotion on as many channels as possible – and social media is always a great place to start. Your photo contest might be seen by someone interested in participating, or by someone who knows someone interested in participating, and so on… Do you see how far it can go? 

Peli Products gave away $1000 in their products – that was a fantastic way to promote their brand and best-selling items. Wondering how to promote your products even further? Organize a contest where users must upload pictures with your products in the shot, or challenge them to decorate their pictures with frames and stickers with your logos or other elements that showcase your brand. Wondering how that’d work? For example, a hotel could invite its guests to share pictures accompanied by frames with the hotel’s logo. Apart from extra visibility, you will also attract new customers tempted by a chance to win. 

Do you have photo contest ideas that you’d like to share with us? Or maybe a question that hasn’t been answered in this blog post? Chat with us!

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