The following is me being a sore loser:
I entered a photography contest about a month ago for a $2,000 prize and I lost. Cool, fine. Photography is very subjective and everyone has different tastes. Today I got an email from the prize office that the two winning photographers had their three pieces up for public viewing (if you're on campus at UC Berkeley, go to Wurster Hall and check out the board outside of the Ramona Cafe to see them). I figured I'd go check them out to see what the judges might have been looking for or how I could have been better. It turns out that I must have been mistaken about it being a photography contest because the second winning contestant basically just did a graphic design project with photos they presumably took. One of them was basically just a collage, and another had these glowing lines added in Photoshop or something. If I had know that we were allowed to basically just do a painting on top of the photos and create a collage of our best images, maybe things would have been different.
My second mistake was nudes. The winning photographers both had nudes and I didn't because I forgot that the art world is mad about nudes.