Do you want to run a photo contest in WordPress?
Photo contests challenge users to submit a photo. They’re a fun way to get more engagement and attract lots of new visitors to your website.
In this article, we’ll show you how to easily create a photo contest in WordPress.
If you don’t like the video or need more instructions, then continue reading.
Step 1. Install and Activate RafflePress
The easiest way to create a photo contest in WordPress is by using RafflePress. It’s the best WordPress giveaway plugin and lets you create all kinds of contests using a simple drag and drop editor.
It allows visitors to enter your contest by following you on social media, joining your mailing list, submitting an image, and more.
The first thing you need to do is install and activate the RafflePress plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.
Note: There is a free version of RafflePress that makes it easy to run giveaways and competitions no matter what your budget. However, in this guide we’ll be using the premium version since it lets participants submit an image.
Upon activation, you’ll see the RafflePress welcome screen in the WordPress dashboard. You can now go ahead and enter your license key.
You’ll find this information in your account on the RafflePress website. Once you’ve done that, go ahead and click the ‘Verify Key’ button.
Now, you’re ready to create a photo contest in WordPress.
Step 2. Create Your First Contest
To create a new competition, go to RafflePress » Add New.
On the next screen, you’ll need to give your photo contest a name.
You can use anything you want, but it’s a good idea to choose a name that helps you identify the contest in the WordPress dashboard.
Next, choose the template that you want to use. RafflePress has ready-made templates for specific goals such as running a social media contest to grow your site or using a Facebook giveaway to boost engagement.
You can select the template that best suits your goals, but for this guide we’ll be using the Classic Giveaway template as it lets us create a contest from scratch.
Simply hover your mouse over the Classic Giveaway template and then click on the ‘Use this Template’ button when it appears.
This opens the template in RafflePress’ drag and drop builder.
To start, you need to set the prize for your photo contest. Simply click to select the headline area, which shows ‘My Awesome Prize’ by default.
You can now go ahead and type a title into the ‘Name’ field. You’ll typically want to talk about your prize, but you can use any title you want.
Once you’ve done that, type in a description, which will appear below the headline. For example, you may want to add some more information about your photo contest, such as why visitors will want the prize, how much it’s worth, and why you’re running the photo contest.
It’s also a good idea to add a photo of the prize, so people can see what’s on offer just by glancing at the giveaway.
To do this, simply click on ‘Select Image’ and then either choose an image from the WordPress media library or upload a new file from your computer.
Next, you need to choose the start and end date for the photo contest. If you plan to run lots of giveaways, then this feature lets you schedule them in advance. It also guarantees that the photo contest will start and end on time, no matter how busy you get.
Where ever possible, it’s a good idea to leave enough time before the start date so you can promote the giveaway properly. This helps you build a sense of excitement and anticipation before the contest goes live.
To schedule the photo contest, simply enter a date and time into the ‘Giveaway starts…’ and ‘Giveaway ends…’ sections.
When you’ve finished making changes to this section, click on the ‘Done Editing’ button.
Now, let’s add some actions. Giveaway actions are the ways that users can participate in the contest, such as sharing a post on social media or subscribing to your podcast. RafflePress comes with lots of different actions that you can add to your photo contest.
To see all the actions you can add, simply click on the ‘Actions’ tab in the left-hand menu.
Since we’re creating a photo contest, you’ll want to add the ‘Submit an image’ action.
Simply click to add the action to your contest.
RafflePress will now show the action settings in the ‘Ways to Enter’ section.
You can now configure the action using the settings in the left-hand menu. For the ‘Submit an Image’ action you’ll want to describe how users can enter the competition, for example you might ask them to submit their best vacation photo or an image of their pet.
You can type this information into the ‘Briefly describe box…’
Each action also has some basic settings. You can type in a title and select how many entries participants will get for performing this action.
You can also make an entry mandatory and even allow users to submit daily entries.
Once you’ve filled in these settings, you can click on the ‘Add Actions’ tab and add more entry methods to your competition.
You can add as many actions as you like. Giving visitors multiple ways to participate can get you more entries. There may also be some people who complete all the actions in order to give themselves the best possible chance of winning the prize. In this way, you can achieve multiple goals with a single giveaway.
However, it’s a good idea to prioritize actions based on your campaign goals. Since we want to create a photo contest, make sure you position the ‘Submit an Image’ action at the very top of the ‘Entry Methods’ list.
Simply hover over the action in the editor and then grab the dotted button that appears to the left of the action. Then, move the entry method using drag and drop.
When you’ve happy with how the giveaway is set up, don’t forget to click on ‘Save’ to store your changes.
Step 3. Design Your Photo Contest
Now that your giveaway is set up, you can change how your photo contest looks.
Simply switch to the ‘Design’ tab, and you will see options to change the background color, select a new button color, change the fonts, and more.
You can even customize the giveaway template using custom CSS.
RafflePress will show a live preview of the giveaway so you can see your changes in action. When you’re happy with how your photo contest looks, go ahead and click on ‘Save.’
Step 4. Configure Contest Settings
After fine-tuning how your competition looks, you can configure how your giveaway runs by selecting the ‘Settings’ tab.
Most of these settings are self-explanatory, but we’ll go through them one by one. First, we’ll review the general settings.
Here, you can set the basic options for your giveaway including showing the contest’s winners, the total number of entries, limiting signups based on IP address, and more.
Next, switch to the ‘Giveaway Rules’ tab and create the rules for joining the giveaway.
RafflePress comes with a Rules Generator that you can use to create rules for your campaign using a sample template. To get started, click on the ‘General Rules’ button.
This will open a form where you can enter information about the photo contest.
In most cases, you or your company will be the contest’s sponsor. This means you’ll need to type in your company name and business email address.
RafflePress will then use this information to create some basic rules for your photo contest.
Every area has its own rules about giveaways, so it’s a good idea to review these automatically generated rules and add any information that’s missing.
After that, switch to the ‘Email Verification’ tab. Here, you can turn email verification on and off using the ‘Contest must Confirm Their Email’ toggle.
If you’re using the contest to get more subscribers for your email newsletter or mailing list, then it’s a good idea to only accept entries from people who verify their email address.
If you want to add Google Analytics or other tracking codes like Facebook pixel, then switch to the ‘Success Tracking’ tab.
Here you can add those codes and track the people who visit your website.
When a user submits a photo, it’s not the end of the process. You may want to redirect the participant to a custom thank you page, your top-performing blog, or some other page.
To create a redirect, select the ‘Success Redirect’ tab and then click the ‘Enable Success Redirect’ toggle. You can then add the page to the ‘Redirect URL’ field.
You may want to let visitors join your giveaway using their Facebook account. This can get you more entries by making it easier to participate in your giveaway.
To add Facebook login to your contest, simply select the ‘Social Logins’ tab and then click to enable the ‘Allow logging…’ toggle.
After that, click on the ‘GDPR’ tab. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a European Union (EU) law that aims to give EU citizens more control over their personal data. If you break GDPR then you could get a fine or even jail time.
RafflePress can help you comply with GDPR by asking for consent before each visitor enters your giveaway. To add this checkbox, simply activate the ‘GDPR Consent’ toggle.
RafflePress has a default GDPR disclaimer that it will show to visitors, but you can change this if you want. To learn more, see our ultimate guide to WordPress and GDRP compliance.
Spam and fake entries can make it harder to achieve your goals. With that in mind, you may want to protect your photo giveaway with an invisible recaptcha.
Regular captchas typically ask visitors to complete a puzzle, which adds another step to the process. However, invisible recaptchas run in the background so you can block spam without adding friction to the visitor experience.
To add an invisible recaptcha to your giveaway, select the ‘Repatcha’ tab. Then, activate the ‘Enable Invisible Recaptcha’ toggle.
For more information, see our guide on how to how to add recaptcha to WordPress.
When you’re happy with how the photo contest is set up, click on the ‘Save’ button.
Step 5. Add Photo Contest Widget to Your Website
There are a few different ways to add the photo contest to your website.
You can add it to any page or post using the RafflePress block. This is a great choice if you want to show the contest as part of a blog post or other page.
To start, simply create a new post or page in WordPress or edit an existing one. Then, click on the ‘+’ button and type in ‘RafflePress.’
After adding the block, open the dropdown and choose the giveaway you created earlier. The RafflePress block will now load a preview of your giveaway widget inside the WordPress content editor.
You can then either publish or update the page to make the contest live on your website.
You can also add the giveaway to any page, post, or widget-ready area using the shortcode. This is particularly useful if you want to show the contest in a sidebar widget so it appears across your website.
In the RafflePress giveaway editor, go ahead and click on the ‘Publish’ tab. From here, click on ‘WordPress Shortcode’ and RafflePress will show the shortcode you can use.
Simply copy the code and then add it to any page, post, or widget-ready area. For more information on how to place the shortcoode, please see our guide on how to add a shortcode in WordPress.
Another option is to create a standalone giveaway landing page that you can easily share on social media or add to your email newsletter.
In the RafflePress editor, select the ‘Publish’ tab. Then, choose ‘Giveaway Landing Page’ and select the ‘Click here…’ link.
In ‘Page Permalink,’ type in the URL where you want to publish the photo contest.
After that, just click on the ‘View’ button.
RafflePress will now publish your giveaway as a landing page.
Step 6. Publicize Your Photo Contest Giveaway
If your photo contest is going to be a success, then you’ll need to plan ahead. Wherever possible, it’s smart to start promoting a contest before publishing it, so you can create a sense of excitement and get a ton of entries as soon as you launch the giveaway.
You can start by sending an email newsletter to your subscribers and announcing the competition on your social media profiles. You can also promote the contest on relevant online communities and forums.
Another option is creating a floating bar with a link to the giveaway using a plugin such as OptinMonster. You can even create a sense of urgency by adding a countdown timer to the floating bar.
In this way, you can use FOMO on your WordPress site to get more entries.
You can also send web push notifications asking your subscribers to enter the competition, or refer any friends or family members who might want to take part in the photo contest.
Step 7. Announcing The Photo Contest Winners
Once your giveaway closes, you need to pick a lucky winner by going to RafflePress » Giveaways in your WordPress dashboard.
You can either pick a winner at random or choose your favorite photo.
To pick a winner at random, simply click on ‘Needs Winners.’
On the following page, RafflePress will show all the people who entered your giveaway along with the image they submitted.
Here, just type in the number of winners that you want to pick.
When you’re ready, go ahead and click on the ‘Choose Winners Now’ button. RafflePress will then show the winner highlighted at the top of the list. You can now send this person an email to let them know the good news.
Another option is to choose the person who submitted your favorite photo. To do this, simply hover over the competition but this time click on the ‘Image Entries’ link.
You’ll now see all the images submitted to the contest, so you can choose your favorite.
On this screen you’ll also see all the participant’s information including their email address, so you can send them a message letting them know how to claim their prize.
We hope this article helped you learn how to easily create a photo contest in WordPress. You may also want to see our expert pick of the best Instagram plugins and how to allow user registrations on your WordPress site.
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Adding public voting and private voting on this plugin will be a good thing as well
WPBeginner Support says
Thanks for sharing that recommendation!
Chris Hechler says
So, if I may ask, where is that a contest? Users simply enter a raffle by uploading images. Is there no page where all uploaded images can be seen? No vote that happens by other users?
Would be nice ot have these features to make it a real contest then
WPBeginner Support says
Those features are good for future options if you wanted a public vote contest and can certainly be looked into for future features.
This setup allows users to submit their artwork and allow you to review the entries before adding them to a page for votes to prevent spam entries or inappropriate content on your site
Is it possible to collect payment with stripe / paypal for each submission?
WPBeginner Support says
If you wanted you could add that as a requirement for your giveaway.
Is it possible to have the participants of the photo contest be the ones that vote for the winner?
WPBeginner Support says
Not at the moment with this plugin, that would require a different setup entirely from what this plugin attempts to do