What best way to showcase your work than photo competitions? Successful photographers from around the world are discovered by submitting their work to photo contests
. Magazine editors, gallerists, curators, book publishers, festivals directors and photo agencies are always eager to discover new talents that are highlighted by major competitions.
So what are the best photography contests out there? We have put together this guide to the photography world's best photography contests to help you find the one that is best for you.
Deutsche Börse Photography Prize
The Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize is awarded annually to a living artist of any nationality who has made the most significant contribution, either through an exhibition or publication, to the photography in Europe in the previous year.
As one of the most prestigious prizes in the world of photography, it highlights significant trends of contemporary photography and showcases the works of artists shaping today's international photography scene.
The Prize was set up in 1996 by The Photographers' Gallery in London. Deutsche Börse had been a sponsor of the 30,000 Pound Sterling award from 2005 on. Since its establishment in 2015, the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation has taken its place as partner of the Photographers' Gallery and continues to present the award under its new title Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize.
Candidates of the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize are nominated by the Academy, a group of more than 100 international photography experts. A new international jury of experts is assembled each year to select four photographers for the finalists' exhibition. In a second meeting, the jury chooses the winner from this group of finalists. The award ceremony is held at the Photographers' Gallery in London.
Curated by the Photographers' Gallery London.
Prize: 30,000 Pound Sterling ($39,000)
World Press Photo Contest
Winner 2017 Dana Lixenberg, Wilteysha, 1993 © Dana Lixenberg, Courtesy of the artist and Grimm, Amsterdam
The annual photo contest rewards photographers for the best single exposure pictures contributing to the past year of visual journalism.
Whether entered as singles or stories, these pictures are judged in terms of their accurate, fair, and visually compelling insights about our world.
The contest is organized into categories, and judged by a jury comprising leading photojournalism professionals. The membership of the jury changes every year, and is led by a chair and supported by two secretaries who implement the rigorous judging procedures. The jury, chair, and secretaries are independent of the World Press Photo Foundation. The staff, board, and partners of the World Press Photo Foundation cannot direct the jury's decisions.
Prize: The prize-winning photographs are assembled into an exhibition that travels to 45 countries and is seen by more than 4 million people each year. The winning pictures are also published in the yearbook, which is available in multiple languages
Foam Paul Huf Award
World Press Photo of the Year 2017 © Ronaldo Schemidt
The Foam Paul Huf Award is an internationally acclaimed photography prize, initiated by Foam, for photographers under the age of 35 from across the world.
Since 2007, Foam has awarded this prize to support and offer a platform to up-and-coming artists. In the years after receiving the award, the winners have made an international breakthrough, demonstrating that winning this title had a positive impact on their careers.
Prize: 20.000 Euros ($24,000) and an exhibition at Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam
Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize
Winner 2017 © Romain Mader
The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize is the leading international competition, open to all, which celebrates and promotes the very best in contemporary portrait photography from around the world.
Showcasing talented young photographers, gifted amateurs and established professionals, the competition, showcases a diverse range of images and tells the often fascinating stories behind the creation of the works, from formal commissioned portraits to more spontaneous and intimate moments capturing friends and family.
The selected images, many of which will be on display for the first time, explore both traditional and contemporary approaches to the photographic portrait whilst capturing a range of characters, moods and locations.
Prizes: Exhibition of fifty-seven works features all of the prestigious prize winners including the winner of the 15,000 Pound Sterling ($19,000) first prize.
Winner 2017, Amadou Sumaila 2016 © César Dezfuli
The Prix Pictet (Pictet prize) is an international award in photography and sustainability. It was founded in 2008 by the Geneva-based private Banque Pictet. The mandate of the award is to use the power of photography to communicate messages about sustainability to a global audience. Its goal is to uncover photography of the highest order, applied to current social and environmental challenges. The prize is judged by an independent jury and carries a prize of CHF 100,000. There is also a Commission, in which a nominated photographer is invited to document a sustainability project.
Entry to the Prix Pictet is by nomination
Prizes: CHF 100,000 ($103,000) + exhibitions worldwide
Sony World Photography Awards
© Richard Mosse winner of Prix Pictet Space
The Sony World Photography Awards is one of the most celebrated and diverse photography competitions in the world.
The Sony World Photography Awards has four competitions:
Professional Recognising outstanding bodies of work
Open Rewarding the world's best single images
Youth Best single images by photographers aged 12-19
Student For photography students worldwide
Prizes : A total prize fund of $30,000 (USD) plus the latest Sony digital imaging equipment is shared between winning photographers + Exhibition at Somerset House in London UK
BJP International Photography Award
Winner 2018 Ex-voto by Alys Tomlinson
For the past fourteen years, British Journal of Photography has invited talented photographers from all over the world to enter our International Photography Awards.
Prizes : 5,000 Pound Sterling ($6,500) exhibition grant, Solo show at the leading London gallery, TJ Boulting, All-expenses paid trip to London, VIP access to and promotion at Photo London, one of the biggest events in the photography calendar, In-person portfolio review and reprint, Exclusive coverage in British Journal of Photography
Vevey International Photography Award
Winner 2017 © Daniel Castro Garcia
Grand Prix Images Vevey is a creation-support grant for photography projects. The award, worth some CHF 40,000 ($41,000), enables one artist to develop an original project over a year that will be presented at the next Festival Images Vevey in September 2018. The competition represents unique support for contemporary creation, with complete freedom of choice over subject and genre.
Prizes : Vevey International Photography Award is one of the biggest and oldest prize in Europe : CHF 40,000.- ($41,000).
Istanbul Photo Award
Grand Prix Images Vevey 2017/2018 winner © Peter Puklus
Istanbul Photo Awards is an international news photography contest organized by Anadolu Agency. The contest aims to contribute to the sphere of news photography and offers a perspective shaped by the region's unique position at the center of diverse cultures. The awards reward endeavors of courageous and talented photojournalists from around the world on merit. Although it is only the fourth edition of the contest, Istanbul Photo Awards has become one of the most widely known news photography contests in the world.
The contest has ten categories. Besides the first two years' categories; news single, news story, single sports and story sports; there were single nature & environment, story nature & environment, single portrait and story portrait categories in the third year and now the categories have been extended to 10 with the single daily life and story daily life.
Prizes : A total of $10,000 award is given to the winner of the Photo of the Year, which is the Single News 1st prize winner. In the contest, an additional $3,000 Young Photographer award is given to a winner under the age of 28. Winners of all categories will be given $8,000 for the first prize, $5,000 for the second and $3,000 for the third.
ING Unseen Talent Award
Photo of the Year 2018 NEWS 1st PRIZE © Damir Sagolj/Reuters
The ING Unseen Talent Award encourages emerging artists to explore the boundaries of contemporary photography and helps them kick-start their career. It introduces the finalists to extensive networks, providing support from experts and opportunities to exchange ideas with photography professionals.
Prizes : Production fund of 10,000 Euros ($11,600)
The Alfred Fried Photography Award
ING Unseen Talent Award 2017 © Andrea Grützner
Photography captures the sentiment of a moment, reflecting the actual world in a picture. The Alfred Fried Photography Award aims to present human efforts to live together in peace and the quest for beauty and goodness in our lives. The award goes to those photographs that best express the idea that our future lies in peaceful coexistence.
Prizes : The winner will receive 10.000 Euros ($11,600), the Special Award of the Jury 1.000 Euros ($1,600) The winning image will be on display for one year at the Austrian Parliament and will be included in the permanent art collection of the Austrian Parliament.
Leica Oskar Barnack Award
Alfred Fried Photography Award 2017 © Jonathan Bachman
The Oskar Barnack Award, presented almost continuously since 1979, recognizes photography expressing the relationship between man and the environment.
The award is given to professional photographers whose unerring powers of observation capture and express the relationship between man and the environment in the most graphic form in a sequence of a minimum of 10 up to a maximum of 12 images.
A Newcomer Award, for photographers aged 25 and below, was added in 2009; a Public Award, with submissions via i-shot-it.com, in 2014.
Prizes: The winner of the main category Leica Oskar Barnack Award receives a cash prize of 25,000 Euros ($29,000) and in addition a Leica M camera and a lens worth 10,000 Euros. The winner in the category Leica Oskar Barnack Award Newcomer receives a cash prize of 10,000 Euros ($11,600) and a Leica M camera and lens worth 10,000 Euros. In addition to these two categories, ten finalists will be awarded each with a cash prize of 2,500 Euro for their series.
All About Photo Awards
Winner 2018 © Max Pinckers
All About Photo Awards were created so that the known or less known photographers can express all their talent and let the whole world discover their most beautiful images. All About Photo thrives to feature the best projects and gives photographers visibility on an international level. Our renowned jurors endorse talent and creativity.
Prizes : $10,000, Portfolios published on All About Photo, Digital exhibitions in the US through the digital screens of Daylighted and publication in partner magazines. Online Exhibition at Winners Gallery
Black and White Spider Awards
Winner 2018 © Tariq Zaidi
Black and White Spider Awards is open to professional and amateur photographers shooting in all forms of black and white photography, using traditional or digital methods. We encourage classic styles, new creative ideas and photographers who are driven by their artistic eye and a desire to excel in this classic art form.Prizes: Winner Medal, Online Exhibition at Winners Gallery, Publication in The Journal, Showcased in Winners Movie, Certificate of Achievement
Prix HSBC pour la Photographie
Photography has been part of the cultural policy of HSBC France for many years. Today, it is mainly expressed through the HSBC Prize for Photography, created in 1995, under the auspices of the Fondation de France. For 23 years, the HSBC Prize for Photography has been supporting 2 talented professional photographers every year, helping them to promote and enhance their work.
Prizes: Publish two monographs + exhibition.
W. Eugene Smith Grant
The W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography is presented annually to a photographer whose past work and proposed project, as judged by a panel of experts, follows the tradition of W. Eugene Smith's concerned photography and dedicated compassion exhibited during his 45-year career as a photographic essayist.
The W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography was established in 1978 following the death of Gene Smith, the legendary American photo essayist. It is today the most prestigious honor in documentary photography. Every year it recognizes a photographer who has demonstrated an exemplary commitment to documenting the human condition in the spirit of Smith's concerned photography and dedicated compassion.
Prizes: $35,000 grant to photographers who display emotional, humanistic approach to storytelling
Red Bull Illumine
© Mark Peterson, 2018 W. Eugene Smith Grant Recipient. From the series The Past is Never Dead.
Red Bull Illume is the world's greatest international photography contest dedicated to adventure and action sports.
Prizes: All finalist images travel across the world as part of the Red Bull Illume Exhibit Tour and a unique nighttime outdoor photo exhibition.
The EPSON International Pano Awards
The EPSON International Pano Awards is dedicated to the craft and art of panoramic photography. Advances in digital photography and editing software have resulted in an ever-increasing rise in the popularity of image stitching, especially in the panoramic format. VR 'immersive' photography also continues to excite and develop at a rapid pace, and panoramic film photography remains alive and well. The EPSON International Pano Awards showcases the work of panoramic photographers worldwide and is the largest competition for panoramic photography.
Prizes: EPSON equipment and US$20,000 in cash
The Royal Photographic Society Awards (RPS)
The Society's Awards are made annually to individuals who have made significant contributions to the art and science of photography and across all areas of imaging. The Society has given Awards since 1878 when the Progress Medal was first introduced. They are presented annually and cover eighteen categories from photographers through to those working as photographic scientists, curators and educators both nationally and internationally.
EyeEm Photography Awards
The EyeEm Photography Awards is the world's largest photography competition for discovering new talents.
Prizes:The Photographer of the Year will receive a trip to Berlin for Berlin Photo Week, a Sony Alpha camera, a one-year subscription to Format, a feature in Format Magazine, and mentorship throughout the year by senior photo editors. All winners and finalists will get featured, exhibited and published on a global scale.
Nikon Small World
Nikon's Small World is regarded as the leading forum for showcasing the beauty and complexity of life as seen through the light microscope. The Photomicrography Competition is open to anyone with an interest in microscopy and photography. The video competition, entitled Small World In Motion encompasses any movie or digital time-lapse photography taken through the microscope.
Inge Morath Award
The Inge Morath Award was established by the members of Magnum Photos in tribute to their colleague, who was associated with Magnum for more than fifty years. Funded by the photographers, the Award is administered by the Inge Morath Estate in cooperation with the Magnum Foundation, New York. The annual Inge Morath Award is given to a woman photographer under thirty years of age, to assist in the completion of a long term documentary project. The winner and finalists are selected by the photographer members of Magnum Photos and a representative of the Morath Foundation at the Magnum annual meeting.
Prizes: each year, a $5,000 grant is given to a woman photographer under the age of 30 to support the completion of a long-term documentary project.
Hamdan International Photography Award (HIPA)
H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum established the prestigious ‘Hamdan International Photography Award’. This demonstrates the commitment of Dubai to encouraging and supporting art, culture and innovation. The Award appeals to all talented photographers across the globe, and also nurtures national talent, which will in turn attract international art and cultural attention. The Award highlights how Dubai is fast developing into one of the most artistically conscious and established cities in the world.
Prizes: The annual total prize money is $450,000 US Dollars is the largest monetary prize among photography awards.
PX3 Prix de la Photographie Paris
The Prix de la Photographie, Paris (P×3) strives to promote appreciation of photography, discover emerging talent, and introduce photographers from around the world to the artistic community of Paris. The Paris Photography Prize was founded in 2007, and has since become one of the most prestigious photography awards in Europe.
Prizes: PX3 Photographer of the Year $5,000 cash prize, PX3 Best New Talent (Non-Professionals and Students) $2,000 cash prize + Paris Exhibition + Book
Pulitzer Prize for Photography
© Sandra Herber, Best New Talent 2019
The Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography is one of the American Pulitzer Prizes annually awarded for journalism. From 2000 it has used the breaking news name but it is considered a continuation of the Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography, which was awarded from 1968 to 1999. Prior to 1968, a single Prize was awarded for photojournalism, the Pulitzer Prize for Photography, which was replaced in that year by Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography and Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography.
Prizes: Each winner receives a certificate and a US$15,000 cash award
Monochrome Photography Awards conducts an annual competition for professional and amateur photographers. Our mission is to celebrate monochrome visions and discover the most amazing photographers from around the world.
Prizes: The winners of the Professional and Amateur categories will receive the titles: Monochrome Photographer of the Year and Monochrome Discovery of the Year along with cash prizes. We are open to all points of view, all levels of expertise, and all ideas of black and white photography.
Lensculture Exposure Awards
Our largest awards of the year recognize and celebrate excellence in the visual language of photography. They showcase the world’s best contemporary photographers—including all genres of photography, and from diverse cultures on every continent.
Prizes: $22,000 in Grant Awards + London Gallery Exhibition
International Color Awards
International Color Awards is open to professional and amateur photographers shooting in all forms of color photography using traditional or digital methods. We encourage classic styles, new creative ideas and photographers who are driven by their artistic eye and a desire to excel in this classic art form.
Prizes: 1st Place Photographer of the Year, Outstanding Achievement $1,500 Prize Money, 2nd Place Photographer of the Year, Merit of Excellence $750 Prize Money, 3rd Place Photographer of the Year, Honor of Distinction $500 Prize Money
Gomma Photography Grant
Now in its fifth year, Gomma Photography Grant is a grant contest tailored to fund photographers, both emerging and established, working among various genre. Gomma Grant is structured so to award undetected photographers from around the world.
Gomma Grant has quickly obtained a reputation of being ethical and quality-focused, with an eye to spot fresh talents. Winners and shortlisted photographers of this Grant are continuously supported and published throughout the world thanks to the wide network that Gomma has been able to gain during all these years.
Gomma Grant is open to everyone. Any medium, black & white or colour, analogue or digital. What we are looking for is consistency, personality and courage.
Prizes: 1st Prize Winner:
€1000 cash prize. Gomma Photography Grant Winner Certificate
2nd Prize Winner:
€500 cash prize. Gomma Photography Grant Certificate
3rd Prize Winner:
€100 cash prize. Gomma Photography Grant Certificate.
© Evelyn-Bencicova Shortlisted Gomma Grant 2017