How to Run a Photo Contest

Are you a blogger or website owner with a great idea for a photo contest? I’ve run several photo contests here on Hobbies on a Budget and they are always fun. Whether you are giving people a chance to show off their pets, flowers, Halloween costumes or best water picture – people love showing off their best photography.  The key is doing it the right way, not having to spend money and not being penalized from Facebook. Here’s my tips for how to run a photo contest for FREE.

How to Run a Photo Contest

  • Sign up for a free account at InLinkz.
  • Click on the big blue button  – InLinkz Link Tool
  • Click the button that says “Create Collection”
  • That will open a new screen called Collection Properties
  • Type  the name of your contest in the first block
  • Type what you want to appear on your blog above the photo entries.
  • Skip the Unique name field
  • Pick your start date.
  • You MUST choose to enable vote on photos NOW!  If you forget to check this box, you cannot add it later.  You would have to delete your collection and start over.
  • Voting must start later than your first date. (It is not possible to accept entries and have votes at the same time.)
  • Once voting starts, no one will be able to add any more photos.
  • Choose the linkz type.  For a photo contest, you will want the Thumb Linkz option. (with the free version, you can only have 1 of these at a time.)
  • Three columns will usually be chosen.  I like that look.
  • Skip the next options (just leave them however they are defaulted)
  • Choose 150 as your size of thumbnails. (The larger the number, the larger your pictures will be)
  • Skip the rest of the options
  • Click Submit!


  • Highlight the code in the first box.  There are other options for other situations, but usually the first box of code will work.
  • Go to your blog and paste the whole block in the html tab of your post.

Voting Options:

  • Click on Dashboard at the top of the page to go back to your original screen.
  • You will see your photo contest about halfway down the page.
  • Click on the words voting parameters.
  • You can choose how many votes each person can submit.  I like to use 3.  This gives the votes more options.
  • I leave the next 2 boxes checked.
  • After people have voted 3 times on their computer or device, they will be able to see how many votes each photo has received.
  • If you want to allow everyone to vote again, you can click on the big button that says New voting Round.  That will allow everyone to vote 3 more times.
  • Periodically, I will be allowed to vote again even though I haven’t clicked on that button.  (I have no idea why that happens.  It seems to be kind of random?  Maybe it’s when I clear out my cache files?  Not sure.)
  • After voting has ended, the photos will automatically sort by the number of votes, with winner showing at the top.

Why not just use Facebook and do a photo contest the easy way?

A friend of mine wanted to run a photo contest and asked my opinion. I told her the way I do it. She figured it would be easier to just use Facebook and let people click like. However, did you know that Facebook has a rule stating you can not use the action of clicking like to vote for a contest?

iii. You must not condition registration or entry upon the user taking any action using any Facebook features or functionality other than liking a Page, checking in to a Place, or connecting to your app. For example, you must not condition registration or entry upon the user liking a Wall post, or commenting or uploading a photo on a Wall.

That’s why I use the inlinkz option instead. I don’t want to lose my hard work by doing something that Facebook has specifically said is against their rules. I don’t personally know anyone who has had their page deleted because they did this, but I don’t want to take a chance.

Do you run photo contests? Got any tips to make them even more fun?

Got one running now? I’d love to hear so I can hop over and enter!

I am not affiliated with InLinkz in anyway.  I get no commission or referral credit if you sign up through my link.  It’s just the free option that works for me.

About Sharon Williams

Sharon Williams is a mom of 3 who loves to read, travel, take pictures, work in the flowers and spend time with family. When she's not blogging, she's probably out enjoying life so she'll have something fun to blog about tomorrow!


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