If You Ran a Photo Contest on Flickr…

Green BearHow would you do it?

We’re planning on running one for a client, and we’re thinking of just hosting the thing in a Flickr group. Contestants will add photos to the group to enter the contest.

We were thinking that we’d enable the community to choose the finalists and then have our client pick the winner. I was thinking that we could select the five or ten finalists based on the number of times a photo had been ‘favourited’ (Flickr users can ‘favourite’ photos to give a photo a sort of thumbs-up, and to bookmark it on their Favourites page).

Do you see any flaws in that plan? Here’s one. Users will have to either take new photos, or upload old ones again, because existing Flickr photos may already have accrued some favourites. Do you think that’s a problem?

Flickr does track when people favourite a photo (here’s an example). However, that’s a lot of manual pain on our end in counting the number of favourites during the period of the contest. And it could be confusing for other users if a photo newly added to the group has, like, 15 favourites.

I thought I’d crowd-source this problem to see if anybody had another idea. I’ve also posted to the Flickr forum to see what they think over there.


  1. I’d have people send the photos in to a Flickr account via mail.

    That way they couldn’t remove or tweak the photos once they were submitted. And email is easier to figure out than Flickr groups.

    Technically, Flickr can’t be used by corporations, just individuals…


  2. I think it would depend on who gets to “favourite” things. If it’s anyone/everyone, fine. If it’s just people in the flickr group who can do it, then you might want to check that the favourites are all “valid”. Otherwise you might get a situation like the CBC facebook wishlist crazies from a while back (not as controversial, but not fair, either).

    You could just do what Stuff On My Cat does when they hold a contest. They show all the photos in the entry, and then at the bottom of the entry there’s a voting box where people pick the cat they think does the best job of being under things. So maybe the best thing is for people to email you the pics, and you pay some lackey to post them somewhere (flickr or your own page).

  3. Or you could do what a lot of Flickr groups do, and enable “voting” of some sort via the comments. Some even have a little graphic that people attach to their messages to indicate, say, a rating, or a pass-fail.

    In DeleteMe!, votes are accumulated using a simple structure: first person puts “Deleteme1” in their comment, second, “Deleteme2”, etc. And the photo is tagged according to the current Deleteme votes. People who like the photo comment with “Saveme”

    Photos that get 10 negative votes can be found here, and photos that get saved end up here.

  4. I’ve been doing something similar on my site for a week or two. I started a photo of the day (photooftheday.duanestorey.com) where people submit photos for consideration to a flickr group. Right now, I’m choosing which one makes the cut.

    In your case, maybe choose a few (like 5) people at the end to pick their five favourites. You can even have them talk about why they liked each one. Count each favourite by the committee as a +1, and the highest scoring photos win.

  5. Travis: I’ve emailed (and asked in the forum thread) about whether non-profit projects comprise ‘Commercial Use’ according to their community guidelines. I can find a ton of non-profit photo groups, so I’m guessing not.

    Er, I should have mentioned there that my client is a non-for-profit project.

    1. I have been trying to find the best way to do this as well. I am finding that there are alot of third party products that let you display the images in realy beautiful ways but I haven’t found one that incorparates the favorites or comments tabs very well yet. what I realy would like is a nice platform that would incorparate facebook voting. Then you would have easy voting through”likes” and the potential for the photos to be shared and promoted viraly (but it is sooooo ugly). I’m also looking at using tumbler because they have some beautiful templates for sharing photos but again, no voting. If you get any ideas, let me know.

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