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How to Run a WordPress Photo Contest With a Plugin

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One of the ways to create brand awareness is by offering prizes to customers. Luckily WordPress provides you with an easy way to do that by running a contest. With just a simple plugin, you can set up a contest in your WordPress site.

Creating competitions and contests is also the quickest way for any brand looking to increase popularity or create a buzz.

In this tutorial, we will cover how to create a photography contest using the Photo Contest plugin available at CodeCanyon. By the end of the tutorial, we should have a photography contest where:

  • contestants can register and submit up to three photos per person
  • contestants can share photos via various social media sites or get a shareable link after uploading their photos
  • others users can register and vote only once per photo

By the end of the tutorial, we should have something like this:

The finished contestThe finished contestThe finished contest

Advantages of Contests

Before we dive in further, let's get to understand why it's a good idea to run a contest in the first place.

Increase in Web Traffic

Running a contest on your site is a great way to increase user engagement and hence drive traffic to your site. Then you can entice potential customers by offering incentives if they purchase anything.

Increase in Sales

A contest will bring new visitors to your website who are not familiar with your business. Contests can also be an effective way of increasing sales, especially if people have to purchase a product or service to enter the contest.

Gain More Subscribers

If your entry point is via registration, you will be able to grow your email list even faster. You can also entice visitors with rewards if they subscribe to your newsletter.

What Makes Photo Contest the Best Contest Plugin?

Photo Contest is a fantastic plugin that lets you run any contest centered around photography. It enables you to run a photo contest where the audience chooses the winners based on the photo with the highest number of votes.

It also lets you:

  • control the voting process based on user roles
  • limit the number of images uploaded by contestants
  • integrate with Disqus comments


Photo Contest has several layers of fraud protection, ensuring that the voting process is free from bots, automatic scripts, and hackers. 

Easy to Translate

The Photo Contest gallery comes with the ability to translate into several languages, including French, Spanish, and German.

100% Responsive

The gallery is fully responsive on all mobile devices as well as on most operating systems.

Powerful Admin

The Photo Contest plugin also features a powerful admin area where you have full control of who can vote, as well as the vote count.

Integration With BuddyPress

Another advantage of the Photo Contest plugin is that you can integrate with BuddyPress with just a few steps.

Social Share

The plugin lets users share their photos via most of the popular social platforms, which could result in viral campaigns.

Planning Your Contest

What Is the Objective of the Contest?

It's good to have a clear objective to obtain the required results. A precise aim of the contest could be to:

  • increase brand awareness
  • build a following
  • increase sales
  • grow your email list
  • boost your brand
  • create buzz, especially for new products.

This contest aims to get people to post a creative photo, share it with their friends, and have them vote for the best photo. The photo with the highest votes will then become the winner at the end of the competition.

Rules and Prizes

The success of any contest will largely depend on choosing the best prizes. The prize needs to be relevant to your target audience. It should also be unique and valuable. The award need not be expensive as long as it makes it worthwhile to participate in the contest.

Examples of contest prizes that can be used by any brand include:

  • gift vouchers
  • cash prizes
  • free products or service

The next thing will be to create the contest rules. The purpose of the contest should act as a guide when making the rules. Some of the universal rules include:

  • Who is eligible to enter the contest?
  • When does the competition start and end?
  • For how long will the contest run?
  • How and how often should people enter the contest?
  • How will the winners be chosen?
  • What actions could cause disqualification?

Create a Contest With the Photo Contest Plugin

To start, download the Photo Contest plugin from CodeCanyon. You will get a link to download the files. Alternatively, you can find them in the download section of your account with your other purchased items.

Once you've downloaded the WordPress files, log in to your WordPress site, go to Plugins > Add New, and upload the zip file you got from CodeCanyon. After uploading, click Install Now, wait a few seconds, and then click Activate. You can now start using the plugin.

After activation, the plugin should appear as a sidebar menu option in the admin area of your WordPress site. 

Configurations for the Contest

The first thing is to configure the general settings. Go to Photo Contest > General Settings and choose how you want the contest to work in terms of voting, notifications, and layout.

General settings for the photo contest General settings for the photo contest General settings for the photo contest
  • Voting Settings: lets you decide how and who gets to vote once the contest goes live.
  • Email and Notifications: configure what kind of notifications will be sent to the users and the admin and how often.
  • Menu: design how the layout will look.
  • Integrations: use a third party for login and registration by merely using a shortcode. You can also integrate with BuddyPress.

Create a New Contest

You can create a new contest in one of two ways:

  • With the WordPress editor: create a new page and add a photo contest block (in the Gutenberg editor) or shortcode depending on your WordPress editor.
  • From the admin menu: navigate to Photo Contest > Contests > Create a New Contest.

Create a New Contest From the Admin Menu

In our case, we will use the contest section to create a new contest. Go to Photo Contest > Contests > Create a New Contest

Create a new photo contestCreate a new photo contestCreate a new photo contest

Fill out all the parameters for your contest, as shown above. The above contest will use the settings we configured in the previous section. Once you create a contest, it will appear in the list of contests as shown below.

Contests listContests listContests list

Design the Layout and Create Rules and Prizes

Once you create a contest, go to Contests > Edit where you'll want to do the following:

  • choose a layout
  • edit the user settings 
  • select the voting criteria
  • manage the rules, prizes, and registration fields
Designing the contestDesigning the contestDesigning the contest

The contest is now complete, and users can upload their photos!

Uploading a photo to a contestUploading a photo to a contestUploading a photo to a contest

Share the Contest

To get more people to participate, promote your contest to a broader audience. There are several ways to do that, such as:

  • posting on social media
  • sending via newsletter to subscribers
  • display as a banner on multiple pages on your website
  • use other offline media

You can even ask the participants to share with their friends and families in exchange for a small prize.

It's important to share the contest before it even starts—this will give people enough time to prepare their entries and share with friends and families.

Winners and Results

You should now be in a position to determine if the contest performed as it was intended to. If the results are excellent, you might consider running contests regularly on your site. However, if it is the first contest, the results will help you improve on your future contests.

Remember, once you have a winner, be sure to let everyone know!


A successful contest will also depend on how people feel about your brand after the contest has come to an end. Here are things to keep in mind:

  • Ensure you let everyone know once you select a winner.
  • Have a clear objective for the contest.
  • Create simple and clear rules.
  • Have a unique and relevant prize.
  • Make it easy for people to enter the contest.

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