Photo Contest Rules: Free Template and Beginner’s Guide


Photo contests are a great way for your brand to drive traffic to your site, get user-generated content, increase social media engagement and generate leads and contacts.

The problem is that creating rules and regulations for your photo contest can be a bit of a challenge. You want to ensure that your campaign doesn’t get removed by Facebook, your entrants are all opted in, and you’re not breaking the laws (yes, there are laws for how you can run a contest online).

And it’s not helped by Facebook and social media platforms changing their policies every few weeks.

In this guide, I’ll give you a walkthrough for everything you need to be sure your photo contest is in line with the most recent rules and regulations.

  • We’ll break down photo contest rules and regulations guidelines from Facebook
  • Give you best practices for photo contest rules
  • Provide you with a downloadable, fill-in-the-blank photo contest rules template

Disclaimer: This resource is, simply, an overview of the primary rules and guidelines for photo contests. This is not legal advice. Get your campaign checked by a legal professional if you want to be 100% sure you’re on the right side of the law.

Photo Contest Rules & Regulations

Here’s the key points from Facebook (if you don’t read any of the rest of this article, read this section)…

Where can I run my photo contest?

Your website, your Facebook Page Tab and your Facebook App Page.

You are not allowed to run a photo contest on your personal profile timeline. If you don’t have a Facebook Page you’ll have to create one or migrate your personal profile over.

What are Facebook’s requirements for my photo contest page?

  • Your page must have the official photo contest rules, or a link, somewhere visible and legible.
  • Your page must show, clearly, who is eligible to enter your photo contest (age, location, etc).
  • Your contest page (or your terms and conditions which can be linked) must break down what photos you are accepting and what you are not.
  • Your contest page must say clearly that your campaign is not being sponsored or associated with Facebook.

How am I allowed to ask people to enter my photo contest?

Alongside the submittal of a photo/content, here’s how you’re allowed to accept entries on Facebook:

  • Comment or Like a Post
  • Post on a Page’s Timeline
  • Send a direct message to a Page
  • Submit lead/contact information through a form
  • Vote on a photo or respond in a quiz

How am I not allowed to ask people to enter my photo contest?

Here’s how you’re not allowed to accept entries:

  • Share a Page
  • Ask people to tag themselves in a photo that they aren’t in (on Facebook)
  • Post on their own Timeline
  • Share on a friend’s Timeline
  • Require users to Like your Facebook Page (This is called Like-Gating. See below)

What is Like-Gating?**

Like-gating is a form of contest entry in which you require people to Like your Facebook Page in order to enter your contest.

It was a big thing a few years ago, and one of the leading ways that businesses could grow their Followers, but in 2014 it was banned by Facebook. Essentially, the social media giant wanted people to Like brands organically.

Luckily, there are still ways you can encourage people to Like your Page…

1. Create a Share Incentive Click Popup:

The chief word here is “incentive” – essentially you reward your photo contest entrants for Liking your page with more chances to win.

My recommendation is to add this incentive within a click popup so that contest entrants see it as soon as they click “Enter.” It can’t be the primary method of entry, but you can get some great numbers (and also ask people to share your contest) by giving bonus entries as a reward for an action.

Here’s an example of a Share Incentive click popup:

photo contest rules
2.Add a Like-Prompt Entry Overlay:

This is a popup which appears as soon as people arrive on your contest page, much like Like-gates did a few years ago. The difference, however, is that a Like-Prompt is optional. You’re not requiring visitors to Like your page, simply prompting them to do so.

People can skip it, making your contest within Facebook’s guidelines.

Here’s an example of the Like-prompt overlay:

photo contest rules
The easiest way to add either a Like-Prompt or a Share Incentive popup is by using a third-party Sweepstakes App, like Wishpond.

Photo Contest Guidelines for Promotions on Facebook

Let’s quickly go over exactly what Facebook says about promotions in its guidelines (last revised on March 30th, 2017):

photo contest rules
If that screenshot is too small, here’s what these guidelines say in layman’s terms…

  • If something goes wrong with your photo contest, you and your contest entrants cannot hold Facebook liable. Your entrants can’t hold Facebook accountable if your business runs a fraudulent campaign and you can’t hold them liable if they change something which makes your contest break (or be otherwise disrupted).
  • Photo contest rules must be clearly linked and accessible from the contest entry page. My recommendation is to download and fill out the template I’ve provided below, embed it on a page of your website, and then link from your contest page (as it’s quite a long bit of text).
  • You must specify who is eligible to enter. In many countries, for instance, it’s illegal to have minors enter a contest online. Also make sure you’re only getting entrants from your target market.
  • The internet is still part of the world. Your photo contest rules must consider the country and state/province you’re in. The internet isn’t international waters.
  • Photo contests must be hosted by a Page, and can’t be run by a personal profile (if you need to migrate, learn how here).
  • You must include, somewhere, the fact that your photo contest is not sponsored by or affiliated with Facebook in any way…

photo contest rules
Note on the photos people submit in your contest…

social media contest rules

“If you collect content […] directly from users, you will make it clear that you (and not Facebook) are collecting it, and you will provide notice about and obtain user consent for your use of the content and information that you collect.

First thing here is that you can’t pretend your brand is Facebook (not that you’d do that). But don’t mess around with it. Brand your contest and be sure everyone’s aware you are who you say you are.

Second thing is that you need to get people’s permission if you plan on featuring their submitted photos down the line. The easiest way is to add an opt-in button in your entry form or include a clause in your terms and conditions/regulations to that effect.

Photo Contest Rules Template

The template you can download below is based on the campaigns that we run for ourselves and fully-managed customers. Remember though, this is just a guide. The rules may be different if you’re outside of North America or with your state. Again, if you want to make sure you’re within the law, confirm with a legal professional.

This template is a guideline and framework. If you have any questions about completing it don’t hesitate to reach out in the comment section below.

Wrapping it Up

I hope this resource has provided you with a better understanding of photo contest rules and regulations. Honestly they’re pretty simple.

If you want to ask any questions whatsoever about contests or contest rules, don’t hesitate to shoot it to me in the comment section below.

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