Helping photographers move forward creatively and professionally is at the core of what we do at LensCulture. Over the years, we have worked hard to develop resources, tools and opportunities to do just that.

To create this guide, we asked our network of photography industry professionals to offer their advice on photo competitions, portfolio reviews and marketing for photographers. We also collected all of the previous resources and words of wisdom we gathered in the past and put them into this master guide for emerging photographers.

This guide is chock-full of expert insight and lists of resources for you to use right now. We have also included fellow photographers’ stories for further inspiration! Before diving in, we should mention that our annual Emerging Talent Awards is now open for entry—a great opportunity to share your work, receive critical feedback and advance both creatively and professionally. Don’t miss out!

Below, you’ll find a taste of the exciting content in this guide. We hope you’ll encounter some new-to-you advice and come away inspired. Cheers and happy shooting!

—The team at LensCulture


Words of Wisdom from Competition Jurors

What separates a good photo from a great photo is a feeling somewhere between what I feel physically and what I would call an ‘aesthetic experience.’ It’s almost like the beginning of a love affair, you are just drawn to the image, you are lifted off your feet, you are moved. You just have to have it. You want to ask them to dance.

—Sarah Leen, Director of Photography, National Geographic


Advice from a Photography Marketing Expert

Follow some basic rules when making your art: conceptualize your project, conduct thorough research toward its production, and title the work consistently, as this will become a system for organizing and researching your work over time. Always make the images to the highest possible standards and research the best final print output and presentation (seek professional guidance if appropriate and necessary here). Consider the market for your work when applying the price point which each series will begin selling for.

—Mary Virginia Swanson, Educator, Author, and Entrepreneur


Also in the guide: our thoughts on how to preparing for a portfolio review; a list of the best photography competitions to enter, and advice on creating a standout submission; pointers on marketing your photography successfully; stories and tips from professional photographers, and more!