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San Diego County Fair: Contests & Competitive Exhibits

Exhibition of Photography

Location: East Grandstand, 2nd floor
More than 4,000 entered photos are judged by industry professionals, with about a third accepted for display in this exhibit. This is one of the largest competitive shows on the West Coast, offering more than $25,000 in prizes and awards.

During the Fair, visitors can vote for their favorite photo and view the 2014 "People's Choice" and "Coordinator's Award" photos. Free workshops are offered each weekend for photographers of all levels. Topics include photography tips for cell phones, pets and travel, among others. Scroll down for more details.

Special Attractions in the Exhibition of Photography

Attend a weekend workshop to learn from experts on topics such as how to take great cell phone shots to more advanced topics such as focus stacking and aerial drone photography and videography. Photo Workshop details [PDF document will open in a new window]

NEW Competition Categories: Cars and car culture, cell phone selfies, and non-print images. Non-print images will be shown as a slide show in the gallery.

Enter the Photo Shootout competition

Enter Online (link) Photo Shootout Contest Dates: Saturdays, June 13, 20, and 27. Participants have two hours to capture a photo with a special theme. Afterwards, all participants vote for their favorite photos, with prizes awarded to the top three photos. Pre-registration is required. The June 27 shootout is for cell phones only.

You may enter this competition by online registration only. Please download and read the Competition Information (below) prior to starting the registration process.

Entry deadlines for Photo Shootouts are May 29, June 5, and June 19, 2015. All entries must be submitted online by 11:59PM (PST) on those dates.

Competition information

Please note: The deadline for entering the Exhibition of Photography was April 17.
PDF documents open in a separate (or pop-up) window.

PDF documents open in a separate window General Information (Exhibition of Photography)
PDF documents open in a separate window General Information (Photo Shootouts)
PDF documents open in a separate window Photo Workshop
PDF documents open in a separate window Print and Presentation Specs
PDF documents open in a separate window Online Entry Instructions
PDF documents open in a separate window Local Rules
PDF documents open in a separate window State Rules

Helpful hints

Tips for Uploading Images
Tips on Mounting and Matting Images

Upload images

Upload Images Now (you will be redirected to the Showorks website)

Thank you to our 2015 Exhibition of Photography Donors

American Society of Media Photographers, San Diego
ArtWare Custom Picture Framing
Carlsbad Oceanside Art League
George's Camera
Jim Cline Photo Tours
Michael Seewald Galleries
Seewald Photo Workshops
Museum of Photographic Arts
Nelson Photo and Camera
Oceanside Photo and Telescope
Photo Darkroom, Inc.
PhotoArts Group
San Diego Museum of Art Artists Guild
Southern California Association of Camera Clubs
UCSD Extension Digital Arts Center
UCSD Extension Photography Program
Watts Digital Imaging


If you would like to receive reminders on deadlines and other entry information, please sign-up for the Del Mar Fairgrounds mailing list.


Please contact the Exhibits Office at 858-792-4207 or email Someone is available to assist you Monday-Friday from 9:00AM to 5:00PM

Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar, CA 92014

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