Some Submission Advice from Lynn

10 things to think about as you prepare your submission:

  1. Spend some time on our website. Read our mission statement. Understand what we are looking for in a submission and gear yours accordingly. Don’t lie about what you will be doing, but think in terms of how your project fits into our organization’s mission.
  2. Look at the work we’ve previously funded.
  3. Read the directions completely. Not following them to the letter, or leaving out a piece of the application is a sure path to a turndown.
  4. If you are preparing to submit to more than one organization, be sure to personalize each one. We’ve received application forms for other grants and applications that used another organizations name instead of ours in the project proposal.
  5. Write clearly and concisely. A word of caution: not to scare anyone off but, our Board of Directors is filled with teachers and, while we won’t be pulling out the red pencils, we will be looking for project descriptions that are well written and easily understandable.
  6. Have someone proofread your writing. Twice.
  7. The portfolio is to be between 10 and 15 images. Make sure those images work well together, tell the story you want to tell and show us your photographic chops. You don’t have to have 15; if you want to send 10 or 11 fabulous images, do that instead of adding others as fill in. If you have already begun your project, send us a selection of those. If you haven’t begun, pick a project that you are proud of.
  8. Show your portfolio to someone you trust. Editing our own work is difficult at best, and at times, impossible. Don’t feel you have to take another’s advice but remember that we have no idea what it took to get that photograph. You have a very personal connection to your work. Sometimes a viewer without those ties can help you to see what works and what doesn’t.
  9. Don’t wait until the last minute to submit. If there is a problem with your application, we won’t be able to let you know about the issue if we receive it on May 31 at 11:59PM.
  10. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t receive an award. Ask for feedback and I will be honest with you. You can accept that advice in the spirit it’s offered in and move on to the next opportunity or not!


Remember, TheDPF exists because we want documentary photography and photographers to thrive. This is a difficult business but such a rewarding one. We want you to succeed.