Dec 2010, Megashots is running the double category contest for Animals and Reds. Its exciting to be part of contests which are run using complicated algorithms with a chance to win at different levels of the contest. I have been trying to understand these contests ever since i started participating (cant help, my engineer my mind starts working involuntary). Here is my take on some key points to keep in mind,
1. The quality of your image in comparison to others (its relative in the end) is measured by a) the speed at which your image moves up across levels 2) the daily position & points which you can see on contest home page
2. Its a good idea to judge where you stand overall against the competition e.g. if you feel that your image is good enough for level 1 only and not level 2 or 3, it is best to note blindly move it up but let it remain at level 1. This would increase the chance of winning against a not so strong competition
3. Megashots has also started another prize for random 20 ranked image at all levels. I am no big fan of this but understand the idea to make it attractive for all to participate rather than few pro photographers from winning all at stake
4. Once you commit the level, there is very little you can do but monitor the progress and hope for best.
5. While the algorithm sounds like decent enough, there is a sense that an image which looks great in thumbnail is likely to get a better chance of getting clicked and ranked well. But then there is no harm since a good image should pop out irrespective of the size. Remember Ken Rockwell comments, composition and colors matter, the details and clarity is usually achieved by the Digital cameras of the day.
Having said all the above, one needs to be a good photographer and a good image has chance of winning. I havent won any as yet which is only fair considering the great pool of photographers we have on Megashots. But i hope above would be of some guidance