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Digital Photography Tips, Tutorials and Resources
Digital Photography Tips, Tutorials and Resources
by Keren Dinkin on Nov 2, 2021
Think your photography skills could use more exposure? Why not enter a photo contest?
These contests are well known, give out cash prizes, and are easy to enter regardless of your skill level. No matter what your artistic style is, there’s a photo contest out there for you.
We’ve listed contests you can join, their entry fees, submission deadlines, and more in this article.
Even better, some of these contests are free to enter! All you have to do is submit the photo you want to use.
Let’s get started.
Here are some of the most popular photography contests for beginners and experienced professionals:
The Chromatic Awards are open to color photography submissions from professional and amateur photographers. There are three awards for each category.
Winners will be announced on 19 December 2021. The top three winners and honorable mentions will be featured in the Chromatic Awards Annual Book. Winners will also receive downloadable badges and certificates of achievement.
This is a contest for black and white photos. Monovision has two categories: Black and White Photo of the Year and Black and White Series of the Year. The first category is for single submissions, while the series category accepts up to eight photos that share a familiar concept. All winners and honorable mentions receive downloadable badges and certificates of achievement.
Entry is open to all photographers — professional and amateur. Winners will be announced on 24 July 2022.
The iPhone photo contest is open to photos taken using an iPhone or iPad, including those that used iPhone add-on lenses. If you decide to join, be ready to show the original image. Submissions that can’t be verified as taken from either of these devices are subject to disqualification.
The winning submissions will be featured on the iPhone Photography Awards (IPPAWARDS) online gallery and other published material. Winners also receive a certificate from IPPAWARDS.
You can submit as many photos as you want, and the winners will be announced 12 to 14 weeks after the deadline for final submissions.
Check out winning entries from past years and get more information about the contest from their official website.
If your interest is photographing subjects under a microscope, this contest is for you!
The competition is open to all photographers 18 years old and older with access to a light microscope. Entrants can submit up to three photomicrographic digital images.
Nikon awards the top 20 winners with cash prizes between $200 to $3,000. Titles like the Image of Distinction and honorable mentions are also up for grabs. Honorable mentions receive a cash prize of $100 each, whereas the Image of Distinction receives a Nikon item or gift card worth $35.
Winners are also featured on covers of prestigious scientific and industrial journals, while the top 20 submissions are exhibited at museums and science centers across the United States and Canada.
Photo contests allow budding photographers to learn from and collaborate with experienced artists. If you win, there are cash prizes and equipment to be had, as well as valuable exposure through photography exhibitions and online platforms. Professionally, you can gain more recognition and set benchmarks for the industry.
Contests can also help you develop your skills and think more critically about your work’s style, theme, and composition.
Whether you’re a novice photographer or a professional with many years of experience, knowledge about the best photography competitions around will help you gauge what it takes to gain more professional recognition and the standards for outstanding photographs.
Here are the most prestigious competitions you should know about:
The RHS Photographic Competition is one of the best nature photography contests for all levels and age groups. It has categories like:
The selection of winners is done by age group. The first three winners in the under 18 and under 11 categories receive Wex vouchers worth £50 to £150 while the first two places in the adult category receive £150 to £250 in cash. The best in the adult and portfolio category receive a £500 cash prize and an RHS gift membership.
The ND Awards are open to all photographers above 18 years of age. Other prizes include a monthly and weekly feature on the cover page of ND Magazine, a showcase at the winner’s gallery, and more. The announcement of winners takes place on 21 November 2021.
The New Cosmos of Photography competition is an annual Canon photo contest that was launched in 1991. It endeavors to discover, nurture, and support new photographers. There are seven Excellence Award winners.
Honorable mention winners get:
Excellence Award winners and honorable mentions are also featured in the New Cosmos of Photography Magazine, while the overall winner gets their work showcased on their official website.
Winners are announced end-July on their website.
The Wedding and Portrait Photographers International’s (WPPI) Annual Print, Album, and Filmmaking competition occur during the trade show in Las Vegas, Nevada. It aims to motivate and educate portrait and wedding photographers who are committed to their craft.
The contest takes place in two stages: The contestants receive personal feedback from the judges and collect points. These points help them achieve the distinct title of Honors of Excellence. The last stage involves live judging at WPPI’s annual conference.
The contest runs in a cycle from the second half of the current year to the first half of the following year.
Suppose you’re serious about photography and have put in a lot of time and effort into perfecting your craft. In that case, it’s only natural to seek validation from the most prestigious award-giving bodies in the industry.
While you won’t find a lack of photography awards, some have more credibility and provide more distinction than others. These awards are well-respected the world over by photographers of different skill levels and even industry leaders.
Here are the awards to keep an eye on:
The Monochrome Photography competition honors black and white photography and has a category for amateurs and professionals. The winner for the professional category is awarded the distinction of being Photographer of the Year, while the amateur category winner is recognized with the Discovery of the Year Award.
The three first-place winners and a few honorable mentions also receive:
Winners will be announced on 9 January 2022, and you can submit as many images as you like.
The Sony World Photography Awards is among the most prestigious photography contests for beginners. Hosting the contest each year is the World Photography Organization. Though they have several competitions aimed at different photographers, their youth and student categories are aimed at beginners.
The contest runs monthly from June to December and yearly. Every month, up to ten entries are picked. The top ten from each month then compete in the annual competition. Photographers can submit up to three images per month.
This is a good opportunity for teen photographers looking for a free photo contest.
Students can enter five to ten images for each theme. However, only enrolled students currently taking up a full-time photography course from 18 to 30 years old can apply.
The Sony World Photography Awards is one of the best free photo contests.
If you’re interested in press photography, then the World Press Photography Awards is one you should shortlist. There are two categories of awards you can apply for: Photo of the Year and Photo Story of the Year.
The World Press Photography Awards are well-known across the world and provide winners with significant exposure. The one drawback is the contest is only open to professional photographers.
Team entries of two or more are eligible too, but all members need to be professional photographers. The number of photos and timeline of eligibility are different based on the category.
You can check their list of guidelines on the World Press Photo website.
The National Geographic Photo Contest is the ultimate and probably most prestigious photography contest, and it isn’t hard to see why. Since their first photo competition in 2006, National Geographic has gathered some of the most stunning photos in the nature and travel categories.
They were the first brand to reach a hundred million followers on Instagram, which they use to receive entries. In the first few hours after opening their contest on Instagram, they had already received over 25,000 entries.
Undoubtedly, knowing about and entering photo competitions can provide aspiring and professional photographers with oodles of validation. If you win, you can also get some tasty prizes and priceless exposure for your work.
While the road to award-winning photos can be long and arduous, here are some online resources and communities that you can use to help you on your way:
Curious about what goes on when judges look over photo submissions? Then you’ll want to visit the Professional Photographers of America’s website, where they provide live streams of the judging that happens in photography competitions.
ViewBug is an excellent resource for joining a community of like-minded people. This San Diego-based platform brings together photographers from all over the world.
With ViewBug, you can find photo contests to join, photography tools for many applications, and opportunities for improving your craft.
Want more practice before joining a photo competition? Consider Photography Scavenger Hunt, a community of photography enthusiasts who come together for scavenger hunts.
Participants get a list of words that they must creatively capture in any style they choose. You can use any type of camera gear for the hunt, and a panel of four judges declares the winner.
Regardless of your level of experience, you’re missing out if you haven’t been giving photography contests any thought. They are wonderful and priceless opportunities to know what’s going on in the field of photography while allowing you to engage with other photographers.
A good start would be to look at past winners for inspiration, visit the groups’ websites that host these competitions, and look at the resources we’ve recommended. Whether you win or lose, these photo competitions can help you get better at your craft.
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