How To Become A Guru At GuruShots, The Photography Game

First blog post in a series about GuruShots 

I’ve been playing at Gurushots for more than a year now. Over time I’ve learn how to master the game and take advantage of it. First, let me explain what this game is all about. 

Gurushots is a community (not a social network per se) of photographers from all categories, from beginners to real experts and everything in between. You first start by creating a profile (here is mine) where you will upload a few of your most beautiful pictures. This is not Flickr ou 500px, you don’t need to upload a lot of pictures when you start. And you have to be selective. Once your profile is created, this is the challenges part that becomes the center stage of your interaction with Gurushots. Every day, new photography challenges are posted by expert photographers called “Guru Pros”. They select a subject, add a photo as an example of what he or she is looking for and ask photographers to submit their photos for others participating photographers to vote for best shots. A challenge lasts anywhere from just 24 hours to 10 days. The former are called speed challenges. In short challenges you can only submit one photo. For longer running challenges you can submit up to four pictures. Once you decided to participate in a challenge, the fun begins. 

A challenge with more than 17h before closing with 6.5 millions votes.

So you decided to be part of a challenge called “Abandoned”. You look into your profile for pictures that match the theme. If you don’t have enough of them, you can upload additional pictures at the time of entering a challenge. You can upload them from your computer or your mobile device. This is where you have to be selective. Why ? If you submit pictures out of theme, others may flag them as off challenge and you will be asked to change it. Also, don’t try to submit adult photos out for fun, they will also be flagged and removed. Once you submit your photos, this is when other photographers (participating in the challenge or not) will get to see them and vote for them. In theory. In fact, for others to see your submitted photos, they need exposure. And for this, you have to increase it by participating yourself by voting for others pictures. The more you vote, the more your photos get exposure and the more you increase the chances of getting votes. Exposure is not a guarantee of getting lots of votes, the photos needs to be right on the theme and… have some merit too!

If you want to push exposure up for your submitted photos, you can do it but there is a catch.

As time goes by, since you cannot stay in front of the screen for constant voting, exposure will slowly decrease. When you come back for a voting session, you may find the exposure level to be zero. Don’t panic. Just spend some time voting for pictures you like and you will get exposure back. Simple. But there is a trick. As a beginner you have a status of “Newbie”. As you progress in the game (it takes quite some time, depending of your skills at photography and at playing this game), you status will change because you earn points by participating in challenges. I’m currently at the highest level, I’m a Guru. For each level, your voting power increase. Newbie gets one point for every votes and Guru like me gets nine. So, for a newbie, maximizing exposure takes much more time in a voting session. Expect to spend quite some time at each challenge just to keep your participating photo exposure to others afloat. And you can participate in more than one challenges at a time. Do the math. 

Exposure whenentering a new challenge

In order to win a challenge, a lot of people has to vote for your pictures. It is pretty hard to achieve. But if you make it, it is rewarding in many ways. First, depending of the final score of the challenge, you may end up being in the top 100 photographers or in the top 10%, or 20% or 30%. By achieving these levels you eventually get to increase your status from Newbie to the next level. While in a challenge, depending on the amount of votes you get, you achieve a level, from Popular (50 votes), Skilled (200 votes), Premier (400 votes), Elite (800 votes), All Star (1300 votes). The higher you finish a challenge, the more you get rewarded with points added to your profile. Finishing in the All Star level quite often and you will eventually become a Guru. But it takes more than this. 

(picture of a final challenge status)

Whe a challenge closes, you get to see your score.

While a challenge is running, the Guru Pro who created it will have a look at the best pictures and pick a few of them. If your picture gets selected, you earn 50 votes just for this and you increase you achievements as it take five Guru picks to be come a Guru. As you can imagine, this is not an easy thing to do. Also, you may have selected a picture that you wish you could switch during the challenge. Good news, you can do it. When you start the game, you are given an amount of “switches” that you can use during a challenge. The bad new is, when you don’t have any “switches” left, in order to be able to replace a picture with another one, you’ll have to pay for it. And speaking of payment, this game is free in theory. But as you can see, it takes quite some time to play and be successful. If you don’t have time for voting, you can buy what is called “Fills”. These are used to push your exposure level to the max for a shot amount of time during a challenge. By doing so, you skip a voting session and get your photos the exposure they need to gather chances of being voted for. Once you don’t have any “Fills” left, you will be able to purchases them. 

During this challenge, I swapped two times to improve my score. 

So, now that you get a better understanding of the Gurushots game, just try it yourself. Follow thing registration link in order to register yourself. Spend some time with the game. In the near future I’ll post a “Tips, Tricks and cheat sheet” for Gurushots. Happy gaming! 

Disclaimer, I’m not paid by Gurushots for this article. 

Gathering votes in a challenge.Here, I’m at the Premier level.

25 thoughts on “How To Become A Guru At GuruShots, The Photography Game

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  1. Emptiness challenge has ended.
    I watched it very closely, suddenly (last 13 min or so) a Guru appeared, Anja Heinrich with more than 100 votes more than the first (2700 something) then…she disappeared (swapped out?) then, in the last MINUTE she reappeared with a huge amount of votes (2873), 100 more than she had before.
    How is this possible NC? How is it possible that another user, Valeria Schmidt (https://gurushots.com/schv57/photos), won countless challenges with an impossible number of votes and, I’m sorry to say, crappy pictures (she has much better in her profile) such as this one https://gurushots.com/photo/sky-sea-horizon-86a636bfa6fd56c2072ddc4665e56b52

    Misteries to solve 🙂

      1. to swap two times hasn’t good results to me never, but I’ll try again.
        Otherwise I think the new reward system is more frustrating than ever

      2. Hi NC I do know the mechanism but what puzzles me is that what happened is this:
        1 – 15 minutes until the end, no trace of the winner (Anja) whatsoever, in any of the first 20 positions
        2 – suddenly Anja appears with an advantage of more than 100 votes over the first contender, she is first now in plain sight.
        3 – suddenly again she disappears (swapped out), her figure was at that time 2700 votes, I noticed it because I kept going back and forth from 40th position to 41th without any changes, and was watching this challenge very closely.
        4 – at the very end (last 4 or 3 minutes) Anja reappears, this time with ALREADY more than 2800 votes. I want to underline that between point 2 and 4 she was swapped out
        5 – She wins

        Now:
        a) how did she appear with such amount of votes in the first time without appearing among the first contenders?
        b) how did she appear a second time having gained more than 100 votes while being swapped out?

        I witnessed it with my eyes, I simply cannot explain it, it is the same thing that happened to me while I was first in the “Faceless” challenge.

        I am missing something.

      3. I gonna try some hard things to get to win maybe this probe that the system is made to invest and don’t to make great pictures:
        1 good quality themed photos (some top 100 and gurupicks in previous challenges)
        1 lots and basting voting
        2 as many swaps as I can afford
        3 fills with every swap
        if I dont win this challenge I gonna quit, is imposible to get to Guru.

  2. I’m stuck basically at the same point. I’ve been on GS for some time, ranked up to Master, got 14 Guru Picks (once I got 3 out of 4 in one single challenge) but I still find it extremely difficult to win a challenge and it feels like I’ll be stuck there forever, it’s tons of all-star and high ranking (so I reached 380k points) but no way I can beat this.

    It is kind of frustrating.

      1. Thanks a lot, could you give me some insight on the reply I’m about to write to the other user down?
        What do you think about that?

    1. I have the same problem being a Master. I am getting frustrated, too and close about to think if to quit, because I cannot go further. I reached uncountable tops 100, 10, 20, 30, gurus picks. The only to get to guru is to win a challenge, but no way. And now, the “reward” idea makes it even worse, because you always have to wait 12hrs to get rewarded and in many cases with cheap “fills”, which do not help much. I will not pay for fills, swaps and keys, because this is not the right way to win with a proud merit. Its like you would pay for your medal without putting your own hard work while first making your picture then voting, filling, etc… . A bad photographer pays for his pictures in form from fills, keys, swaps, because he has no other chance to get more votes. After all, it is the bad one, who has more chances for Guru. He pays. The honest photographer works hard with low chances to be on the top, because he does not pay.

      1. Hi Alex, hi NC, today I tried something and, with my surprise, it worked, in a strange and somewhat counterintuitive way.
        I participated in a single picture challenge, my pic was well on theme and I reached 4th until 3 hours remained to the end.
        And that’s what happens, with my meter maxed out my odds were decided, that was my score. In short the usual Gurus surpassed me and pictures that were there for a long time kept on getting voted while mine was inexplicably halted.
        I believe this scenario is quite common to Alex is it not?
        Except this time, instead of simply waiting for the gauge to go down and then vote to max it up again I simply CONTINUED voting…and guess what happened…I kept racing. I wasn’t crippled anymore as every other time but kept on competing, tens of votes at a time they were slowly but sturdy increasing as long as I kept on voting.
        I adopted a pattern of 20 votes and a submit and ade sure to be really fast.

        Guess what, I reached FIRST until 4 minutes to the end…then…a Russian Guru, out of nowhere skyrocketed first surpassing me by more than 100 votes (I was beating the second of 20 votes or so) and I ended SECOND, my best achievement so far.

        this is the link to the challenge, i posted a nice picture but nothing exceptional.

        https://gurushots.com/challenge/faceless/details

        Please note the delta between the first contender and me.

        Now, it beats me how this guy made it and I’m going to ask him plainly, but the point is “it is my FIRM opinion that one of the best kept secrets of GS is that YOU NEED TO KEEP VOTING no matter how max your gauge is.
        In the last few minutes GS takes the form of a horse race and the faster you are (voting) the better it is.
        I strongly believe that almost every Guru knows that and this answers, in a fairly convincing way, almost all of the doubts I had until now as I witnessed strange patterns take place. And while taking good pictures will always be the (starting) point I believe that without the proper transparency all the info we’ve been fed are BS and we’re not competing fairly.
        Being a data scientist I’m keen to data analysis and as more people do this so the whole of visualizations increases and the algorithm is there to compensate, it makes some numeric sense, only I didn’t expect THAT much.

      2. I tried to keep voting in the last few moments of a challenge and it didn’t help much…. at some point I wasn’t getting new votes.

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