Sony World Photography Awards: Overview & Winners

Today, we are going to talk about the Sony World Photography Awards, a globally recognized competition established in 2007 by the World Photography Organization.

Unfortunately, the 2024 edition of the Sony World Photography Awards is now closed. Stay informed by viewing the announcement timeline on the site, and subscribe to their newsletter to get the latest updates straight to your inbox.

What Is Sony World Photography Awards Competition?

The World Photography Organization organizes various programs and competitions to provide photographers with valuable opportunities for showcasing their talent and sparking discussions about their work.

The Sony World Photography Awards stands as the flagship program of the World Photography Organization. Since its inception in 2007, it has become one of the largest and most esteemed photography contests globally. This event honors both established and up-and-coming photographers, drawing in tens of thousands of attendees each year to its exhibitions held in different parts of the world.

The World Photography Organization, under the umbrella of Creo, leads the charge in delivering initiatives and programs covering photography, film, and contemporary art sectors.

Every year, this competition features an impressive collection of nearly 300K pictures from about 185 different nations. This figure speaks volumes.

Below, we'll describe some winners from past years and share comments from the authors about their celebrated masterpieces.

Sony World Photography Awards Categories

There are four main photo categories – Professional, Open, Youth and Student.

Professional Category Winners

The first is the Professional contest. It includes 10 subcategories of various photo shooting styles, including the usage of post production services. The main feature is that photographers present not a single picture, but a whole collection.

Only photographers whose primary profession is photography participate here. As a result, the skill level of the competitors is incredibly high.

The competition embraces uncompromising photojournalism, alongside artistic and deeply commercial photography, including spectacular images of the changeable world of nature and travel. During the competition, experts evaluate a series of works. Photographers must submit a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 10 pictures, each accompanied by a detailed professional description.

Open Category Winners

Next up is the Open category, which consists of 10 subcategories. However, the juries select only one photo from each subcategory. Interestingly, this category isn't exclusive to professional photographers. It's worth noting that entries submitted to the prestigious Open Competition are automatically included in the National Competition as well.

Thus, photographers can participate in both categories concurrently. Just check whether your country is on the list of participants before submitting.

Youth Category Winners

There is also the Youth category. Youth contest has been organized for all photographers at the age of 12-19 years. Here one image is estimated on a given topic and that is the main difference. Each year the topic is changed in order not to be repeated.

This category is not subdivided, because the number of participants is considerably lower. Still, Sony photography contest highly appreciates this category due to its creativity and desire to break all known stereotypes.

This category provides an opportunity for a new generation of young, but not less talented photographers. The mentioned competition effectively helps young photographers to grow and to move to the higher stage of their careers. Every year judges want to see an excellent composition, solid creativity, and a clear idea in photography.

Student Category Winners

Categorizing to the last, but not the least popular, I can place Student Focus. This is suitable for those who have already made up their minds to connect life with the photography art but are only on the way of studying.

The Student Focus competition is truly amazing and very popular direction of the World Sony Photography Award among student shooters. Definitely, it can be taken part in by any student studying by day at the Department of Photography from any corner of the world.

Meanwhile, all the registered universities always receive a unique and specific assignment, which specifies the terms for student participation, plus requires submission of one photo from each. A shortlist of 10 is thereafter drawn, who proceeds to receive the second and last assignment, the outcome of which determines everything.

Most Featured Photos for Sony Photography Awards 2024

If you are going to partake in this prestigious photography challenge in the future, I highly recommend checking out the works of award-winning photographers from the Sony World Photography Awards 2023 and previous years. You can grasp their tricks, get inspired, and get some handy photography tips for beginners from them.

1. Mitul Kajaria (2024)

sony world photography awards mitul kajaria

One of the noteworthy winners is Mitul Kajaria from India. His winning photograph, titled "Child Sleeping at a Construction Site," beautifully captures a touching moment of everyday life, showing a young child peacefully asleep amidst the hustle and bustle of a construction site.

2. Tran Tuan Viet (2024)

sony world photography awards tran tuan viet

The photo showcases the Bodhisattva statue atop Ba Den Mountain in the southern province of Tay Ninh. The photographer took it at dawn in October 2023.

Tuan Viet's photograph outshone a staggering 415K images submitted by over 74,000 photographers from 206 countries and territories worldwide. It proudly became the sole Vietnamese entry to make it onto the list of winners.

3. Jair Fernando Coll Rubiano (2024)

sony world photography awards jair fernando coll rubiano

Jair Fernando Coll Rubiano, a Colombian photographer, secured the second position. He took a portrait of Melany Márquez, a 9-year-old, who poses as the ‘Star of Bethlehem’ on the main street of Quinamayó. Quinamayó, an Afro-Colombian community, uniquely celebrates Christmas in February, 40 days after the usual date.

4. Vladimir Karamazov (2024)

sony world photography awards vladimir karamazov

The photograph by Bulgarian artist Vladimir Karamazov depicts a person standing at a border, faced with the need to leave behind one life and embark on the search for another.

5. Tijana Morača (2023)

sony world photography awards tijana morača

Tijana Morača is renowned for her expertise in picture manipulation, creative headshot editing, and portrait retouching. Hailing from Serbia, she serves as a representative and recipient of the Shortlist, Regional Awards at the Sony World Photography Awards 2024.

6. Bibek Kunwar (2024)

sony world photography awards bibek kunwar

Bibek Kunwar, an emerging photographer, won the prestigious Sony World Photography Award 2024 with his captivating photograph of a cheerful girl resting in the middle of a felt ball in Kapan. Kunwar, aged 22, captured this moment while filing how the company produced such felt balls.

7. Mohammad Mirza (2024)

sony world photography awards mohammad mirza

A photographer from Kuwait got the victory with a striking image of birds set against a blizzard backdrop. Opting to strip away colors, he transformed the picture into monochrome, injecting drama and emotion into his work.

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8. Adali Schell (2022)

sony world photography awards adali schell

Portraiture images bring out the myriad faces that shape our world. Adali Schell's "The First Car" is brilliant in its capacity to fill with nostalgia the very illustration of LA teenagers in the moment of owning that iconic emblem of American adolescence - really, the first car. A truly amazing image.

9. Tine Poppe (2023)

sony world photography awards tine poppe

In her "Gilded Lilies: Portraits of Cut Flowers" series, Tine Poppe explores the beauty and tragedy of cutting flowers, often left unnoticed. She does this with great skill in her images of bouquets, making them against the all-too-familiar scenery of landscapes now devastated by climate change. Setting actual plant life against those landscapes, the person is practically in another, somehow spiritual, kind of universe altogether.

10. Makaziwe Radebe (2024)

sony world photography awards makaziwe radebe

Makaziwe Radebe's series is devoted to her hometown, Soweto. The photographer shows the essence of the "familiar faces and streets" that have influenced her journey through life. Radebe directs her lens towards the close-knit community she grew up in, acknowledging their role in shaping her character during her formative years.

Photographers Who Became Famous after Winning the Contest

The Sony World Photography Awards offer a fantastic opportunity for young artists to make their mark and establish a successful career. Here's a compelling example of how the competition propelled two relatively unknown artists into the spotlight, transforming them into famous photographers after their victories.

Maroesjka Lavigne's piece "Land of Nothingness" took the top spot in the Landscape category back in 2012. The award marked the beginning of her successful career in fine art photography.

sony world photography awards maroesjka lavigne example

Here's another case in point. Frederik Buyckx got the highly sought-after Photographer of the Year award in 2017 with his series "Whiteout." After that, he achieved global recognition.

sony world photography awards frederik buyckx example

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