The big photo contests in the editorial world are the American Photography annual (here), SPD (here) and the PDN photography annual (here). I’ve mentioned in the past that the Critical Mass review/contest (here) put on by Photolucida is a good resource for finding talent and this year I’m happy to be reviewing work again. The last time I was a reviewer I discovered many, many photographers I’d never head of and it seems like the other reviewers do as well. Amy Stein, a former winner and current reviewer says “I can’t begin to tell you the number of gallerists, curators and editors I’ve met who’ve told me they first saw my work through Critical Mass.”
The call for entries is now but you should keep in mind like anything, these contests favor a certain style of photography and you should look through the past winners and finalists and if you think you’ve got something that might pique the judges interest, give it a shot. I’m going to try and find a few overlooked gems, that PE’s might be interested in and after all the reviewing is done, highlight them on the blog.