I continuously apply for photography open calls and festivals with my photography. You should make it into a habit that you do monthly or quarter yearly. Considering the similarity of the applications, writing your application once well will save you time when applying to the next one. Here is a list of great photography open calls and competitions to apply to.
There are certain rules when applying, such as having an artist bio or a project description.
It is equally important to apply for competitions and festivals similar to what you are making. Be sure to make the necessary research in order to know your work suits their needs.
Personally, I don’t feel strongly about paying any fees when applying to a specific open call – especially if they’re trying to support graduates or students. This for me is contradictory and reduces the impact of the whole submission. However, if you find a suitable platform or an open call to apply for, paying 5-10$ once or twice for your submission is alright. I have done it and it has resulted in publications and exhibitions.
Fotoroom has one of the most extensive list of open calls and competitions, which they update monthly. The new list is updated every 1st of the month. I like to check it right away in case there are open calls closing on the 2nd of the month. For the price of 10$ / year, you will be able to view the whole list of open calls. This is good and enables you to get a feel of the monthly / yearly submissions.
There are yearly circulating competitions and awards, so if you have already applied to them once, you can rely on them being open at the same time every year. Fotoroom divides the book awards, open calls and grants do it is relatively easy to see which ones you are eligible for.
Fast Forward is a UK based platform that provides you with residencies and jobs too. It is connected with the UCA / University for the Creative Arts. It is free to see the lists, but it requires a bit of background research to know which ones are suitable for you.
The platform is updated every time a new open call is available to apply for, so you should follow their updates. You can also find mentorships, portfolio reviews and other courses here. The only con is, that you have to be based in the UK for some of the submissions.
Picter is an great platform to follow for updates. You can easily see which open calls you’ve applied to and which ones still have a draft open. The platform reminds you of the application deadlines and helps you manage the whole application process from uploading the images to adding your information.
It also shows you which of the submissions require a fee and which ones are free of charge.
Picter itself is a free platform; you only need to make an account to be able to manage your application process. The platform does not divide grants or portfolio reviews, but displays everything simultaneously.