The best photography competitions to enter

Tue 1 Dec 2020

This post was updated on 16 June 2020. 

By Anna-Maria Pfab, MA Photography Lecturer at Falmouth Flexible. 

You've been working hard on your portfolio, editing and sequencing the work to best show off your visual identity and ambitions. What’s next? Sharing your work with the world is an important part of the creative process, but it can be difficult to know the best way to get your work in front of the eyes of professionals.  

Entering competitions is a fantastic way of doing so – but, how do you determine which one is right for you? 

Below is a guide to the world’s best photography competitions to make these decisions a little easier for you. Thanks to these renowned international contests, you can not only win awards and prizes but also prestige and opportunity – so get submitting! 

1. LensCulture Street Photography Awards 

Deadline: 24 June 2020 

Prize: Between $1000 and $5000 

Entry fee: Single image is free, 5 single images cost $50 ($10 for each additional photograph) and $60 for a series. 

Apart from winning cash prizes, the winning photographers for this award will also be exhibited in Paris, alongside Paris Photo 2020. 

Who should enter? If you are creatively capturing the weird and wonderful moments of life as they unfold around you then this award is for you. 

Want to realise the potential of your ideas, without taking a break from your career? Falmouth Flexible's part-time, online master's degree is for you:

MA Photography course details


2. PND Photo Annual  

Deadline: 22 June 2020 

Prize: Between $1,000 and $2,000 

Entry fee: $50 for a single entry, $65 for a series and $25 for students 

Photo District News' annual competition accepts submissions in 10 categories including student work, photojournalism and fine art. The winners' images are featured in a print publication as well as on the PND website, whose readership includes many photo editors and art buyers.  

Who should enter? There is a category for everyone and this competition is an excellent way to get exposed to industry professionals - so get entering!  


3. Sony World Photography Awards  

Deadline: Submissions open on 1 July 2020 for the 2021 awards 

Prize: £5,000  

Entry fee: None 

The Sony World Photography Awards is one of the most highly regarded photography competitions in the world. The winners and finalists have their work exhibited in a show at Somerset House in London and featured in a travelling exhibition that goes to numerous venues around the globe.   

Who should enter? There are four different categories: Professionals, Open, Youth and Student. So whether you're an amateur photographer, a student or a professional photographer, this competition is definitely worth considering. 

Check out the Sony World Photography Awards Facebook and Instagram feeds for inspiration. 


4. International Photography Awards 

Deadline: 31 July 2020 

Prize: Between $5,000 and $10,000 for different categories 

Entry fee: Professionals: Single Image $35, Series (2-9 images): $60; Non-professionals: Single image: $25, Series (2-9 images): $50; Students: Single Image $15, Series $30 

From the IPA website: 

The International Photography Awards conducts an annual photography competition for professional, non-professional and student photographers on a global level, creating one of the most ambitious and comprehensive competitions in the photography world today. The IPA recognises photography's leading talents who are creating, shaping and defining the world of photography today. 

The IPA promotes the work of their winners heavily. Further to this, they publish the winning photographs in the IPA Annual Book of Photography, and also organises a touring exhibition.  

Who should enter? The competition is worth entering whatever stage of your photography career you're at.  

Check out the IPA Facebook feed for inspiration. 


5. World Press Photo 

Deadline: Accepting entries from January 2021 

Prize: €10,000 

Entry Fee: None 

This is arguably the most prestigious photojournalism contest in the world. The winners' work will be in a show touring 45 countries, and the accompanying catalogue is internationally distributed.  

Who should enter?  If you are a documentary photographer or photojournalist you should definitely have a look at this contest.  

Check out the World Press Photo Facebook and Instagram for inspiration.  


6. Wildlife Photographer of the Year  

Deadline: TBC - keep checking their website and social channels for more information  

Prize: £10,000 for WildLife Photographer of the Year and a range of prizes between £1,000 and £2,500 for other categories.  

Entry fee: £30 

This competition is hosted by the National History Museum in London and is probably the world's most prestigious nature photography contest. There are 17 categories covering all manner of flora and fauna. The exhibition of the winning photographs tours to 60 countries.  

Who should enter? If you have an interest in nature photography then this is the competition for you! 

Check out the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Facebook and Instagram feeds for inspiration. 


7. D&AD Next Photographer Award 

Deadline: TBC 

The D&AD Next Photographer Award sets to unearth the best new talent in photography and promote them in the industry. The winner's work is showcased at D&AD Festival, in front of an audience of creative influencers, and in the iconic D&AD Annual. And of course, the winner gets global exposure from D&AD and media partners.  

Who should enter? If you've been working in the industry for fewer than three years, this award is for you. There's no age limit but you must be out of full-time education. Also you must not have an established career in a different role within the creative industry, for example as an established art director who has recently taken up photography. 

Join talented photography practitioners from around the world on Falmouth Flexible's part-time, online course:

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