Over the past year I have been asked twice to be a judge in a photography contest. I was one of many judges for Kevin Miyazaki's photo class at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD), and most recently for the Boston Globe's amateur contest on their RAW blog. See here & here.
Autumn Clark, winner of the MIAD contest in December.
I am usually on the other side of this relationship and it has been an eye opening experience, it will really change the way you approach contests when you go to enter one yourself. It takes time and even a judge with the best intentions gets tired of looking at images.
Wendy Kump, Winner of the Globe's contest.
The best take away from these experiences has been to put myself in the shoes of people looking at my work. Of Course they don't have 5 minutes to look at every single photo in every single gallery of my web site. Keep it simple. This fits nicely into my adopted moto, "less is more". I am not saying we should not spend time creating and editing, no, professionalism is a must! But bear in mind that you have less than a minute to impress anyone. Makes one think.