Show your stuff

Photo contest for professionals, amateurs, youth accepting submissions through March 12

Celebrate and showcase the wonder of Illinois by entering your shot-in-Illinois photography in the 2016 Images of Illinois photography contest. To qualify, photos must have been taken on lands or in waters within Illinois state boundaries between Feb. 1, 2015, and March 12, 2016.

Contest entries are separated into four classes: Professional, Amateur, Youth 13-17 and Youth 12 and under. There are two categories within each class: People and Places/Things. While each photographer selects their own class and category, judges reserve the right to reclassify a submission as deemed fit. The fee for professional entry is $30, Amateur entry is $20, and Youth entry is $10. Any additional submissions are $10 per entry in the Professional and Amateur categories and $5 per entry in the Youth categories. All entry fees are non-refundable.

A $300 cash prize will be awarded to the owner of the photograph deemed “Best in Show,” which will be chosen out of all classes and categories. First, second and third place winners will be chosen within each class and category. All winners will receive a photo-quality print of their work, courtesy of PSC Digital, to take home at the end of the contest’s corresponding gallery show. Additionally, first-place professional winners will receive $100 cash, first-place amateur winners will receive $50 cash and first-place youth winners will receive gift certificates to local businesses including CherryBerry and Springfield Art Assocation. The winning photographs will be featured in the March 31 issue of Illinois Times and displayed March 31 through April 21 at the Prairie Art Alliance’s H.D. Smith Gallery in the Hoogland Center for the Arts. Additional contest submissions will also be on display as part of this exhibition. The opening reception for the gallery event will be Thursday, March 31, from 5:30-7:30 p.m., and will feature an awards presentation plus drinks and hors d’oeuvres.

All entries are to be submitted in digital format via, a web-based resource which enables organizations and administrators to easily and effectively manage artist applications and jury processing for creative contests and events. According to Prairie Art Alliance gallery director Corrin McWhirter, “We are hoping to reach a wider audience … especially in the Professional and Youth categories … and streamline the administrative process. In the past, participants had to submit fees, photos and entry forms all separately. We are excited to offer a one-stop shop this year.” In order to facilitate the submission process, phone and email support systems are in place via Call for Entry. For those who require additional assistance, a computer station will be set up at the H.D. Smith Gallery in the Hoogland Center for the Arts. The station will be open during regular gallery hours, which are Tuesday through Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Thursday through Saturday, 12 to 7 p.m.

All submissions must be in digital .jpg format and should be no larger than 5MB. All photographs must be high-resolution, with the longest side a minimum of 1920 pixels. Any photographs that contain a recognizable human must be submitted with a model release form, available online at Submission of nude or inappropriate images will result in disqualification. Judges reserve the right to decide if a photo is inappropriate. The entrant is understood to be the owner of all images submitted, and thus grants permission for the Prairie Art Alliance to show the photos in the H.D. Smith Gallery, publish in Illinois Times, and use in any promotional materials.

The registration deadline for the 2016 Images of Illinois photography contest is Saturday, March 12. For the full contest rules, visit To submit your entry, visit

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