2. Creative Interpretation of Themes
Often a photography contest will be based around a specific theme. For the amateur photographer it's great to keep an eye out for local area photo contests. Competing locally often means there's plenty of time to capture that perfect shot without having to travel from home. It also means that professional photographers are less likely to enter, especially in photography competitions that are run by newspapers and local companies.
No matter what the theme, whether it be a single descriptive word such as "love", "smiles", "family" or a complete brief on exactly the type of photo required, be sure to think outside the square. Think about the theme and then think about different aspects of the topic. Love could include a number of interpretations, often children and family, so think about including animals, a heart drawn in the sand at sunset, or a heartbreak scene.
A small warning, while it's important to creatively interpret photo contest themes, be sure to stick to the theme, something too way out with no artistic reference to what the judges would expect could lose the competition even if it is the best photo of the day.