The publicity and opportunities afforded by photography competitions have shaped the careers of some of the biggest names working in this medium today. And even if you don’t win, entering awards offers an opportunity to have your work seen by some of the most influential figures in the industry. Below, we provide a list of the competitions you should be submitting to before the year is out.
2018 Sony World Photography Awards
The Sony World Photography Awards celebrates their 11th anniversary this year, marking over a decade-long partnership between Sony and the World Photography Organisation, who run the competition. As one of the leading photography competitions today, the awards have helped shape the careers of their winning, shortlisted and commended photographers bringing their work to a global audience.
The competition is free to enter and open to all photographers, with a total prize fund of $30,000 plus the latest Sony digital imaging equipment. Each spring, a selection of the winning, shortlisted and commended images, are featured in the Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition, at Somerset House.
There are four different competitions to enter, each with a number of different categories:
Enter Professional: 10 categories (Architecture, Contemporary Issues, Creative, Current Affairs & News, Landscape, Natural World & Wildlife, Portraiture, Discovery, Still Life and Sport) judged on a body of work – Deadline: January 11 2018
Enter Open: 10 categories (Architecture, Culture, Enhanced, Motion, Landscape & Nature, Portraiture, Still Life, Street Photography, Travel and Wildlife), rewarding the best single images – Deadline: January 4 2018
Enter Youth: for all photographers aged 12-19, a single image responding to one brief – Deadline: January 4, 2018
Student Focus: for those studying photography – Deadline: December 4, 2017
Smithsonian Magazine’s Photo Contest
Now in its 15th year, the Smithsonian Magazine’s Photo Contest attracts entries from over 200 countries worldwide, celebrating a diverse range of subject-matter and styles.
Photographers may enter a number of different categories, including: Natural World, Travel, People, The American Experience, Altered Images and Mobile. Each category winner and the winner of the Reader’s Choice award receive $500, and the Grand Prize winner is awarded $2,500.
The contest is free to enter and all photographers aged 18+ are encouraged to submit.
Deadline: November 30, 2017.
Magnum Foundation Social Justice Fellowship
Produced in partnership with the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism, the Magnum Foundation’s Social Justice Fellowship was realised to support photographers pursuing projects that challenge injustice, champion social equality and advance human rights through photography. Based in New York City, those invited onto the program receive mentored project development and a space for both interdisciplinary experimentation and cross-cultural, critical discourse. Fellows work on projects in their home communities with support from Magnum Foundation’s mentors.
Magnum Foundation cover the cost of travel and accommodation for the sessions in New York City, which take place over the course of six months. Fellows also receive a modest stipend to support the production of their projects.
The Fellowship is open to: early-career documentary photographers, artists and photojournalists; activists who use photography in their change-making practice; journalists who would like to deepen their engagement with photography; and scholars who incorporate images and image-making in their research and scholarship. Preference is given to those who have not had previous opportunity to do a formal course of study in photography at the university level and entrants from minority groups.
Deadline: November 30, 2017
Getty Image’s Creative Bursary
The Getty Image’s Creative Bursary is dedicated to supporting creative photographic talent by funding projects and productions for new commercial content. At a time when there are limited budgets for extensive creative art-directed shoots, the Bursary is designed to support emerging photographers to realise their ideas and establish themselves in the industry.
Three grants will be awarded at totals of $5K, $3K and $2K respectively to the best creative commercial project pitches from photographers. Once completed, the project created for the grant will be promoted by Getty Images and, if desired by the photographer, licensed to their customers who will receive all resulting royalties. The selected photographers will also have the opportunity to join Getty Images as contributors.
The bursary is open to any creative photographer under the age of 30, or for those who have been shooting for less than three years.
Deadline: November 30, 2018
Perugia Social Photo Fest
The Perugia Social Photo Fest is an annual event celebrating social and therapeutic photography. Focused on a different theme each year, the associated photography competition champions work that facilitates communication, analysis, or reflection.
The theme of this year’s edition is ‘The Skin I Live’ and both individual photographers and collectives are invited to submit 10 to 20 images that interrogate this topic in some way. The selected photographers will be exhibited at the Perugia Social Photo Fest 2018 and also receive a Fujifilm X-T20.
The competition costs $15 to enter and encourages submissions from all photographers practising social and, or therapeutic photography.
Deadline: November 30, 2017
Month of Photography – Los Angeles
Created in partnership with the Lucie Foundation, The MOPLA festival is a multi-tiered collaborative initiative, realised to advance dynamic programming and designed to engage and stimulate the photography community of Los Angeles. The associated MOPLA Photographers Open Call celebrates the work of emerging and established photographers worldwide.
Photographers can submit to three different competitions to be featured in the fair. Successful entrants to the ‘Month of Photography Los Angeles Group Show’ will be featured in an exhibition presented during MOPLA’s 10th Anniversary Edition. Photographers can enter the ‘Host Space Exhibitions’ with a thematic body of work for the opportunity to be exhibited in one of the fair’s ‘host spaces’. Photographers can also submit to the photo book category, for the opportunity to be featured in the Official MOPLA Exhibition of the photobook.
Entrance to each category is $20 and MOPLA encourage submissions from photographers of all levels.
Deadline: November 30, 2017
International Photography Award 2018
Organised by British Journal of Photography, the International Photography Award is a celebration of the best of contemporary photographic talent and has been instrumental in launching the careers of some of the most respected photographers today.
The winner of this year’s award will receive: a solo show of their selected work at the leading London gallery, TJ Boulting, and a £5000 exhibition grant; an all-expenses paid trip to London, with VIP access to and promotion at Photo London, one of the biggest events in the photography calendar; an in-person portfolio review and reprint; and exclusive coverage in British Journal of Photography.
The competition is open to all photographers and entrants are invited to submit up to 20 images from a single body of work on any subject for £49, or two photographic series for £59.
Deadline: December 12, 2017
International Women Photographer’s Award
The International Women’s Photographer’s Award presents a unique opportunity for female photographers all over the world to be recognized and rewarded for their talent. Judged by an internationally sourced panel of photography professionals and experts, from thousands of submissions, 10 women are selected as finalists and one for the grand prize of laureate.
The laureate of this year’s Award will receive a solo show at La Galeries in Dubai. Both the laureate and 10 finalists will be featured in a year long Group Show, traveling through international cities in the Middle East, India & Europe, and in an online catalogue, as well as winning a canon camera.
The competition is free and open to all female photographers aged 18+, who are invited to submit a cohesive series of 12 photographs on any subject-matter, or in response to the theme ‘Visible-Invisible’.
Deadline: December 15, 2017
FotoEvidence Book Award 2018
Organised in partnership with World Press Photo, the annual FotoEvidence Book Award celebrates the work of a documentary photographer whose project demonstrates courage and commitment in addressing a violation of human rights, a significant injustice or an assault on human dignity.
The selected project will be published as part of the FotoEvidence books series, which focus on the long-form projects of documentary photographers working in the humanistic tradition. The grand prize winner and two other selected finalists will be exhibited during the World Press Photo Exhibition 2018 in Amsterdam in conjunction with the launch of the book. The publication of the winner’s work will also be shown at the World Press Photo exhibition in over 100 cities worldwide, and be exhibited at the 2018 FotoEvidence Book Award exhibit at the Bronx Documentary Center in New York.
The award is open to professional and amateur photographers, as well as photography collectives. There is an entry fee of $50 and photographers are required to submit up to 15 images from a single project.
Deadline: December 15, 2017
2018 ZEISS Photography Award
Organized jointly by ZEISS and the World Photography Organisation, the ZEISS Photography Award is now in it’s third year. The competition centres on encouraging photographers to creatively interpret a given theme.
The winner and up to ten shortlistees will receive a range of prizes, including ZEISS lenses and 3,000 euros to cover travel costs for a photography project. The work of the winner and shortlistees will be presented at the Sony World Photography Awards exhibition at Somerset House. The winner will also be invited to the ZEISS headquarters in Germany, and have the opportunity to collaborate with ZEISS and the World Photography Organisation.
The theme of this year’s competition is ‘Seeing Beyond – Untold Stories’ and photographers are invited to present a series of 5 to 10 images that are bound together by a strong narrative, which relates to this topic. Entrance is free and all forms of photography are welcome.
Deadline: February 6, 2018