First, establish yourself as a part of the community. Contribute, even on a minor level, to the community itself, and be somewhat involved with the day to day operations, and the people that make the community great. (Read: The goods, the bads and the uglys of daily life)
Second, reward the hard working citizens of the community that read your work, by featuring their images of daily life, on a weekly basis, on your website/blog. It’s a simple give and take, and it’s very effective.
Third, host an annual photo competition and don’t charge an arm and a leg for entry fees. This way, everyone is on even keel and you have a wide variety of professional, amateur and odd-ball works to choose from. Also, this shows that you’re not limiting the event to the top 10% of artists in that field.
Fourth, do not homogenize your product/event by inviting sponsors such as corporate, non-DC based, advertorial magazines. Most sponsors (and even most local magazines) are fine, and can help to spread the word, but corporate magazines (that exist to only sell advertising space) prey on the flavors of an “every-twenty-eight-days” basis, and need new content to sustain – thus, will leech onto your winners, and try to pawn off your hard work as their own. Except for a few, most don’t care about the art community here in Washington DC.
For this, I adore you DCist. You highlight local artists, and the arts and entertainment. You work with non-profit art galleries, dedicated to new and emerging artists You show “real” life in DC in your daily blogs, and you give back to the community by hosting the 3rd Annual DCist EXPOSED. Bravo and hurrah – Details and entry info HERE. IF you didn’t know, you have until Wednesday at midnight. So chop-chop local photogs. -kk