Unplanned Photos [Contest Announcement]

This is a photo from the unplanned photo shoot Dustin and Jim did last week.

This week Dustin and I are encouraging the entire Improve Photography Community to keep your cameras with you at all times.  Lately we've been feeling like we only go out and shoot photos when we have a full-on model shoot or major landscape photography trip planned, and we miss everyday unplanned opportunities to shoot.

This week in our camera duel, we spent a few minutes looking for an opportunity to make a great photo even at high-noon in a very dull location (check it out here).  Searching for unplanned photography opportunities helped us to make some great photos, and we're encouraging you to do the same thing this week.

Dustin and I are committed to keeping our cameras with us 100% of the time for the next seven days.  No cheating–not even while at work or church.  We decided that a cell phone camera doesn't count for this week–we're walking around with the big guns.

The contest: We're inviting you to keep your camera with you this week.  Stick it in your purse, keep it in your car…. do whatever you have to do.  A point-and-shoot counts, but a cell phone camera is cheating for this week because we want you to have something that reminds you to be looking for photographic opportunities.

The prize: Tamron is offering an 18-270mm lens (available for Canon, Nikon or Sony) as a prize for the winning photo.  Two runners up will win an online photo class from us!

The Tamron 18-270 is a perfect prize for this contest because it is a walk-around lens with a huge focal range that allows you to shoot wide or tight depending on what you want to shoot at the time.    If the winner is a full frame user, they can choose the 28-300 VC model A20. If they are a Sony NEX user, they can choose the 18-200 Di III model B011. And finally if they are a Pentax user, they can choose the 18-200mm model A14.

How to enter (free!): Either post your photo to your Google+ profile with hashtag #unplannedphoto or you can post your photo onto our Google+ community page no later than Monday, May 27, 2013 at midnight.  When you post your photo, include details such as your basic camera settings, the story of how you got the photo, etc.  That way we can all learn from each other.

Please note that if you post your photo on our Google+ community page, it may not appear immediately.  Google marks many posts as spam, but rest assured we will be able to see your photo and will mark it as visible ASAP.

What kind of photos can be entered into the contest? The theme for this contest is “Unplanned moments,” so your photo cannot be from a planned photo opportunity.  However, there is no restriction on what the subject of your photo must be.  You could shoot a building that catches your eye, your kids in the backyard, a bird you find on a fence post, etc.

How will the winner be chosen?  Dustin Olsen and Jim Harmer will select the winning photo and two runners up.  The criteria we will use to judge the photos are: (1) Are there technical issues with the photo that distract the viewer, (2) Does the photographer use lighting and composition in a way that makes the subject look its best, and (3) Is this from an unplanned photo opportunity, or was this shot planned?


  1. Only ONE photo entry per person.  Do not post more than one photo.
  2. Entries after Monday, May 27 at midnight will be disqualified.
  3. Any amount of post-processing is allowable.  We want to see your creative vision no matter how you made it.
  4. Your photo must be from an unplanned photo opportunity that you found by having your camera with you when the opportunity came.
  5. Okay, it's not a rule…. but be sure to follow Tamron on Facebook and thank them for offering the prize for the contest.

Important Fine Print: By entering this contest, you give Improve Photography LLC a limited license to post your photo on its website and on its social media profiles in articles or posts pertaining to this contest only.  Entrants must be 18 years or older to enter.  No purchase necessary to win.  By entering in this contest, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless Improve Photography LLC, Tamron USA, and their employeees, assigns, licensees, sublicensees, and owners.  Void where prohibited.

13 thoughts on “Unplanned Photos [Contest Announcement]”

  1. That’s too bad. I was hoping to enter this contest, but I don’t belong to Google+, and I don’t plan on joining any time in the near future! What a shame.

  2. @Jack – It’s free to join and if you have a google account (almost everyone does), you’re already set to go.

    It only takes a second for you, and it saves us HOURS AND HOURS of looking through entries.

  3. I just uploaded mine to Google+. Not sure about the Community Page. I can see it, but it doesn’t seem to be letting me “join.” Hope you can see the image. I’m pretty stoked about it.

  4. Ajithaa Edirimane

    I uploaded my photo last night but it does not appear in the community page. I wonder what happened?

  5. Jaminet Rivera

    I’ve made multiple attempts to join to no avail. What other options do I have to submit my photo?

  6. Ok, I just posted my 1st ever photo to the wall for this. I am a newbie so don’t ya’ll be too rough on me, but would love some tips!

  7. How is the winner announced? (did I miss that detail when I read through the announcement?)

  8. I tried for hours to get my photo to get into the contest but couldn’t get in. Now it’s 1203am and too late. I’m so dissappointed

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