So you’ve decided to enter the contest? Awesome! Here are some tips to guide you, from shooting and editing to posting a qualifying image on Instagram.

Our contest runs from May 15 – July 1 and if your photo or video was made in Toronto, the GTA or the Golden Horseshoe region you may qualify. Be sure to understand the rules and follow our suggestions and you’ll be in good shape.

We hope to inspire you to make something beautiful for our Toronto contest!

  • Inspiration for Contest
  • Disclaimer – COVID-19
  • Copyright and Credit
  • Contest Rules and Categories
  • Shooting Tips, Editing Ideas
  • Medium and Formats
  • Contest and IG Etiquette


Contest Inspiration and Background

The Create Community contest was conceived as part of the annual Tdot Shots photo contest series (established fall 2019). We had a panel of judges decide the best photos in 3 categories. The photo contest last year had nearly 3000 entries from hundreds of photographers around the GTA. We gave out the prizes to winners on the last photo walk meetup of the year.

Fast forward to spring of this year and we realized the current circumstances were really tough for our community and the idea sprung to launch the contest early. Motivating our community, innovating with new categories, and expanding our reach this year to more towns and cities outside of toronto is our mission.

Disclaimer – Covid-19

The crisis is dangerous to many. We have to be mindful that because asymptomatic (symptom free) people may carry the virus, we have a duty to act responsibly and follow health authority guidelines.

We require participants to follow the “stay home” ethos and shoot locally while you are doing a daily walk or taking care of essentials like food shopping. Do not undertake special trips outside of your neighbourhood to shoot new photos for this contest. We would love it if you shared photos from your archive or edited one of the GTA FFA images supplied by our friends.

Copyright and Credit

If you upload images or media to Instagram make sure you own the rights to them. If you enter the GTA FFA category please credit the original photographer by tagging them on the image and in the caption. Do not post or distribute the RAW files anywhere else. They are only for use during this contest.
Other sources: If you use stock imagery in your composites identify the source. If you use music in your video credit the musical artist or source.

Contest Rules and Categories

The essence of the rules are:
Submit A) your current or archival photos or b) edits from the FFA
Make sure your images are from within the GTA / Golden Horseshoe
Use contest hashtag #tdot_CC20
Follow host @tdot_shots and sponsor @prolabcanada
Post images to a public Instagram account

Please keep in mind what we wrote in the disclaimer – do not travel far from home to take new photos from this contest. Stay home / shoot local!

Our categories are: City & Town (general photography), Community (portraits and street), and GTA FFA (photo edits).

Many people will submit their best general cityscape and landscape images. Some will choose to edit one of the amazing images in our GTA FFA pool. The category we are most excited about is Community because, for the first time, we are encouraging you to submit photos of people. Whether street or environmental portrait (people at work, at home, at play), this category promises to broaden our scope and literally put a human face on the crisis in the GTA.

Street photography and portrait photography requires following some norms and sometimes breaking them. Respect people including your neighbours, friends and family. Where possible ask a stranger for permission before shooting them on the street. Do not post photos of your children and use our contest hashtag. Images of minors should only be posted on private accounts.

Shooting, Editing and Medium / Formats

Of course we covered lots about shooting carefully and safely in the rules section but we want to offer a couple bonus tips here.

When shooting consider capturing your neighbourhood. This qualifies you for two categories potentially – the general “City and Town” category and the “Community” category (if you have people in frame). It’s amazing to take a closer look at the place you live, the people you live with, and the objects around you. Speaking of which, aside from trying out street or portraiture, why not try some macro or close-up photography? This is an area many of us don’t explore often but can yield excellent results.

Also when editing, either your own photos or those from the GTA FFA pool, please keep “creativity” at top of mind. The contest is called “Create Community” for a reason. We want to see artistic and creative work. Make your images and media beautiful.

And on the topic of media. Please feel free to submit video in addition to still photos! A video could easily wow our judges and land you top prize in any of the 3 categories. If you have a short or long form video consider entering it either as a regular post of IG TV clip. For regular posts crop to portrait or square just like a photo – but if you want to display your video widescreen leave at 16×9 and post as IG TV.

Though we just covered medium and format a little above, let’s be clearer about formatting here. We generally feature 4×5 portrait images. This is what works best on Instagram. We also don’t repost images with white borders or watermarks. If you want to do well on Instagram and in our contest we suggest you consider these aspects of formatting your media.

Social Media and Instagram Etiquette

Be safe and respect your community and your cities and towns rules about social distancing and staying home. We will not know how you captured your current images but if we think for example, you may be violating social distancing principles we may not be able to consider your image. This is especially true for the Community category – be safe and keep your distance!

Final Words

Follow the system for posting and sharing your images with the right hashtag and you’re good. Please don’t send us your images by email or DM tag us in your stories if you are giving us a shout out or promoting this contest). Believe it or not some people tag their stories with invisible mention tags in order to get their image noticed by feature accounts. If your image is good we will notice it!

Questions? Please comment in the blog

If you have any questions about the contest feel free to ask in the forum or send an email or message to Tdot Shots.