I was thrilled at the idea of running my first Photo Contest in partnership with Starwood Preferred Guests and overall, it’s been a lot of fun. Most of all, I was surprised to get so many entries, with some really amazing shots.Photo Contest is now closed… And the winner is…After 10 days of intense posting, tweeting, sharing on Facebook and other social networks, I’m happy to announce that the winner is… Jeff Titelius, editor of the beautiful Eurotavelogue, with a lovely photo of Edam (the Netherlands) I’m glad it was Jeff to win. Not only because he is a great travel writer, with a strong passion about Europe and Art conveyed through his words and lovely photos, but because Jeff did a terrific job on social media and in terms of relationships. He personally thanked every single voter, gave his appreciation to other pictures, shared his entry asking for votes in the kindest way, interpreting at its best the spirit of the contest: a social moment to share a little piece of the beauty surrounding us. Apparently, Jeff is going to use his 10,000 Starwood Preferred Guest Points for a stay at If Schloss Fuschl Resort & Spa, Fuschlsee-Salzburg, in Austria! Great choice, Jeff. Austria waits for you!My personal top 3 favorite photosIf I had to pick up a winner, it wouldn’t have been an easy decision with so many good entries. All in all, I’d say that my top 3 favorite shots are: Sunrise in Veniceby Christian del Rosario ©AttreoStudio – All rights reserved Winter Paradise on a Bavarian Lakeby Laurel Robbins – All rights reserved Big Horn Sheepby Matthew Makowski – All rights reserved Finally… Lessons learned…Running the Photo Contest was not only fun and the opportunity to get in touch with new people, it was also a good way to learn a few lessons.Although I did my best to figure out the most effective mechanics, there are a few things which I found out only once the contest was launched. One of these was how to offer a better display for all pictures, without forcing people to scroll down for a long time, which I find quite annoying. I thought that featuring the entries on a dedicated Pinterest board could be a nice idea, and so I did. I also decided to upload the photos on Flickr to be sure the page would be loading quick enough. A few people got a bit confused and I realized that this is something I should have considered from the beginning and properly explained. For sure, next time I’ll ask everyone to send entries only by html code, that will make things easier and safer for everyone. Anyway, I added disclaimers everywhere about the property of every single photo.Running a contest is fun and brings a good amount of traffic, but it’s hard work. Despite I had clearly asked in the ‘How to enter’ paragraph to give me any links to Facebook, Twitter or whatever social profile, most people just sent the pictures and I had to ask them if they wished me to add some more information. Next time, I won’t do that anymore. Lots of extra work, and there were a few even complaining and then asking to change the links they had provided.Sadly, I found out that one person has been cheating and tried to win the contest through votes scattering deep shades on their legitimacy (at least, part of them). This was probably the biggest lesson learned, as I was not expecting this kind of attitude. A contest should be fun, and a game played upon fairness. I’ll have to remember what happened and find a way, next time I’ll launch a competition, to discourage and avoid as much of possible trouble-makers.Thank you to all the people who have shared their best shots, involved friends and family and played with us. If you’re curious to see all entries, have a look at the Photo Contest Board on Pinterest. 14 Responses Clare Appleyard June 25, 2012 I’m sad I didn’t get to entering a photo in time, but judging by some of the shots, I might not have had a hope of winning Great shots all and congratulations to Jeff – looks like he’ll be enjoying his prize! It’s exceptionally disturbing though that a travel blogger felt the need to cheat – what’s *that* all about? Crazy *shakes head* Clare Appleyard recently posted..Madame Zingara’s: The best night out in Johannesburg Reply Ayngelina June 22, 2012 Great photo Jeff although all of them were fantastic.So sad that someone was cheating… Ayngelina recently posted..Food Friday: Maui Onion Festival Reply Simon June 25, 2012 Yes, it was a really sad seeing someone cheating. But as I wrote, it was also an opportunity to learn. Glad you liked the photos. Many gorgeous ones. Reply Kathryn June 20, 2012 It’s been really interesting following the competition and I’d like to thank you for all your hard work. The quality of the photos entered is superb. I really couldn’t pick a favourite. Well done in dealing with the problems you faced too. Lastly congratulations to Jeff who is one of the nicest travel blogging tweeters out there! Kathryn Kathryn recently posted..The beautiful costume of a Kathakali dancer Reply Jeff Titelius June 20, 2012 Thank you so much Kathryn for your kind words. Yours was a magical photo too!! Reply Andrea June 19, 2012 Jeff is a deserving winner for sure. Congrats Jeff! I knew I had no chance with you in the competition. Andrea recently posted..Road Trip: Amsterdam to Maastricht Reply Jeff Titelius June 20, 2012 Andrea, I sure hope someday I get to meet you face to face. You are so kind my friend…however, your photo of the Forum is Brilliant!! Reply Rosemarie June 19, 2012 Congratulations Jeff! Well deserved! I love every shot on your website and it makes me want to visit Europe more and more each day! Rosemarie recently posted..Postcard: Bali Reply Jeff Titelius June 20, 2012 Thank you so much Rose!! I can’t tell you how much I love you for all the support you give me each and every day!! Reply Jennifer June 19, 2012 Congratulations, Jeff! Jeff is truly one of nicest people I have met online and I look forward to the day I can finally meet him in person.Terrific job Simon! What an awesome contest and way to grow your readership. Thank you for not only sharing your own wonderful photos with us, but for also bringing all these beautiful shots into one lovely Pinterest board! Reply Jeff Titelius June 20, 2012 Thank you my friend! Your words mean a lot to me…but you’re one of the nicest people I know as well. Reply Jenna June 19, 2012 Jeff is one of the nicest people I have met online and I agree that he promoted himself and the contest in the best way. There were so many great photos of stunning locations. Reply Jeff Titelius June 20, 2012 Jenna, I thought for sure you were going to take the lead…you had a lot of votes for you..and I for one, love your photo too! My Renaissance BFF forever…we will meet one day for sure! Reply Jeff Titelius June 19, 2012 Wow!! I am so excited…but I totally agree with your selection of the top 3 photos…especially that Bavarian Lake…quite stunning. There were so many beautiful shots in the collection…and lots of inspiration for me!!! Thank you for the opportunity to enter and of course, my Sheraton points!!! ; ) XOXO to you Simon!! Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.Name* Email* WebsiteComment Powered by sweet Captcha Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.