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GuruShots and My Trip to Italy

by Ali Eren Olgun, on Mar 20, 2019 11:18:27 AM

My name is  Ali Eren Olgun and I’m a first year graphic design student. I want to tell you about a special photography platform and how one of my photos earned right to be showcased in a photography fair in Milan, Italy.

20526156_1441190035929041_2934983561182403384_n (1)GuruShots is a photography platform that has a website, and a mobile app which is how I first found out about it. With GuruShots, photographers open themed photography challenges and users submit their photos to compete for level-ups and even prizes. During the challenge other users anonymously vote for photos that are submitted. After the challenge ends, if you have reached a certain rank (Popular-Skilled-Premier-Elite-All Star) you get certain items or if the challenge creator has created a money award you get the money prize if you have reached the top rank. There are also exhibition challenges which is created by a sponsored - art/photo gallery or magazine. They give you a chance to be exhibited in galleries or printed in magazines however, those require a small application fee.


Two months ago, I entered one of them and the total sum of votes on my photos reached to the All-Star rank! Since I had paid the fee I met the criteria which lead to receiving an official email about two weeks ago stating that I my photo (they choose only 1 of the photos) will be shown digitally at the Milan Photo Fair. I was super happy because it is the first time I have earned a spot in an exhibition! The reason it will be shown in digital format is because I didn't win the challenge but I have reached the specified rank and met the criteria. However, winners get published in print and earn prize money.

GuruShots is fairly simple to use. First you create your account. Then you either directly import your photos from your device or you can connect your Instagram and import photos from there. There are rankings in the platform:

1) Newbie 4) Advanced 7) Champion
 2) Rookie 5) Veteran   8) Master     
3) Challenger 6) Expert  9) Guru (can open any challenge)



Your rankings and medals (if you reach 30% of the votes of the total participants) are connected to your status/level. Each level needs certain required medals and rankings. I have reached Champion so far and it took almost 2 years to get there. More skilled players can reach this status faster. Entering challenges is also easy. You choose the one you want to enter, you read the description (important, because irrelevant photos which don’t match the theme get disqualified), and you either choose a photo from your profile or you, again, import from your device/instagram. The photo you pick from your device automatically goes to your profile. If you delete the photo from your profile it is still shown on the challenge, and it will still receive votes and medals. You can still see it but it won’t be shown in your profile. Voting works with a vote-bar. It defines how exposed your photos are. The more photos you vote for the bar rises and it eventually reached to the max. It means you are exposed in the challenge. It slowly decreases over time so you need to vote again to increase your photos’ exposure.

There are 3 in-app items you can use:

Swap : If one of your photos do not get many votes you can use 1 swap to change it with another one.

Key: Key is used to unlock boost, and boost is a feature challengers use for 1 photo. Basically if boost is available (it is only available for a random 24 hours) you can use it on a photo and it becomes more exposed compared to others. If boost is locked, you can use 1 key to unlock it early. Also if a challenge is going to end in 24 hours, it gets locked and you need to use 1 key to unlock it.

Fill: It fills your vote-meter without making you vote for others.


Now, how do I use this app? At first, I used it for fun. But now, I am ambitious to get better at photography and reach the Guru status. During the last two years I got better at taking photos and it is all thanks to the practice I did for GuruShots challenges. Each day, I wake up, open the app, in 10 minutes or so I vote for people to raise my exposure (it takes long because I enter a lot of challenges). I sometimes take photos without making it related to themes and I only add them to my profile in case i might need them for a challenge in future. If you are also interested in photography, GuruShots is the perfect platform to use. I will be honest, it might be a bit addicting as sometimes I get notified by my phone or by my pc that my storage is running low. I often backup the photos.


Participating in Exhibition Challenges are the same as ordinary ones, with some exceptions. First of all, you will probably get a bit fewer votes than you usually do because competition is higher in these challenges. Secondly, if you don’t pay the small application fee for the challenge, your photos won’t be picked, even if they reach the ranking required for showcasing. The challenge I joined was the “Minimalism Challenge” and the photo I chose was a photo of a USB. I took it very close so it looks bigger than normal, and it is black and white on a white surface. I didn’t have my camera when I joined GuruShots so the earliest of my photos are from my mobile.


From the 21st to 23rd of March, I will be in Milan to see my photo in exhibition. Check back to see my photo report of the exhibition, and Milan itself. I’ll give some more insight into the app, my travels and maybe even see some of you in the next challenge. Cheers!

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