One way of earning from your photography is by entering competitions, both through the prizes on offer and through the wider exposure that your photographs recieve. (Sorry about the pun!)
The very act of entering competitions also gives you good practice at working to a brief. Now that is already three good reasons for entering, but it is surprisiing how few entries some competitions get, so another reason is that to win it, you have to be in it!
Whilst some well know photographer's reputations are built almost entirely on their "award winning" status, they had to enter those competitions to get those awards! And, along the way, they learnt to read the rules. Most competitions (although not all) give a brief outline of what they are looking for, along with submission criteria and any other information relevent to that competition. If you read and understand those guidelines, you are halfway there. Huge numbers of entries to some of the more prestigious competitions are reject before they ever get in front of the main judging panels simply because the entries themselves do not comply with the rules!
So, here is an occasional round-up of the more prestigious competitions where the tag "award winning" has some meaning!
International Garden Photographer of the Year 2009. Deadline: 31st January 2009 Details
Nikon Photo Contest International 2008-2009 Deadline: November 30th 2008 Details
The 2008 International Aperture Awards Deadline: October 29th 2008 Details
International Wildbird Photographer Awards Deadline: November 30th 2008 Details
Sony World Photography Awards 2009 Deadline: December 31st 2008 Details
International Underwater Competition 2009 Deadline: January 15th 2009 Details
The Photo Award $10,000 1st Prize. Deadlie January 4th 2009 Details
Please be aware that some of these competitions do charge for entries!