22 Photography Contests with Prizes

There are various benefits that photography contests can offer you as a participant. It could be a cash prize, professional equipment, or a presentation of your work in an exhibition. I’ve compiled a list of the most popular photography competitions you can enter to get your art into the public eye. The competitions for professionals and amateurs alike, whether well-trained or not, invite you into an ideal space to demonstrate your skills and show off your work and progress.

1. Sony World Photography Awards

photography contests sony world photography awards

Photo by Kazi Arifuzzaman

When: Application deadline is from November to January, depending on the nomination.
Entry fee: FREE
Prize: $25,000

For more than ten years, Sony and the World Organization of Photography have held this competition in the “Professional,” “Open,” “Student” and “Youth” nominations. You can compete in different photography types from nature to architecture and ending with portrait, creative, or even historical photos.

Sony photography awards is one of the most prestigious photography competitions in the world. The best photos are selected to participate in the exhibition in Somerset House, London, and are published in the Sony World Photography Awards book.

2. Nikon Photo Contest

photography contests nikon

Photo by Amin Nazari

When: Annually from October to January.
Entry fee: FREE
Prize: Grand prize is about $5,000. Gold, Silver and Bronze winners will get high-quality equipment from the company, publication in the WEB gallery and on social pages of the photo contest, as well as exhibiting images at events.

This international photo competition gives professionals and amateurs an opportunity to express themselves and make their own contribution to the development of photography. Since the first competition in 1969, more than 410,000 photographers took part in Nikon Photo Contest, presenting 1,620,000 works. There are three categories for participants in which they can compete for prizes.

3. International Photography Award

photography contests ipa

Photo by Jodie Mann

When: Deadline in winter, yearly.
Entry fee: Between $15 and $60
Prize: $500-10000. The winners receive a travel allowance and accommodation to collect their awards in New York.

The International Photography Awards are annual photography competitions open to professionals, amateurs, and photography students from all over the world and are one of the most challenging and crucial photo contests in the contemporary world of photography.

Moreover, this photo contest is the general funding tool of the Lucie Foundation. In other words, it is a non-profit foundation to honor the masters of photography. Moreover, the works of all the contest’s winners will be published in a high resolution in the International Photography Awards book.

4. Tokyo International Foto Awards

photography contests tokyo international foto awards

Photo by Sujata Setia

When: Deadline in November, yearly.
Entry fee: $20 per single entry and $30 per series for professionals.
Prize: TIFA Photographer of the Year: USD $3,000 cash prize and TIFA trophy, New Talent of the Year: $2,000 cash prize and TIFA trophy

Launched in 2016, the Tokyo International Foto Awards aims to recognize, discover, honor, and connect professional photographers, young and aspiring photo artists, and photography students on a global scale. These photo competitions provide an exceptional opportunity for various artists to meet and network around the world, especially in the creative environment of Tokyo. Photo artists from around the world are invited to participate under the existing practice, which allows them to enter into various categories, including advertising, architecture, editorial, fine arts, nature, science, etc.

5. BJP International Photography Award

photography contests bjp international

Photo by Hajar Benjida

When: Deadline in November, yearly.
Entry fee: FREE
Prize: £5000. The solo exhibition of the winner’s works in a spectacular London gallery.

Travel and accommodation in London included. 4-page insert in the British Journal of Photography.

The BJP International Photography Award has been around for 15 years, discovering the best talent in the world and launching the careers of many high-profile contemporary photographers. One of the best photography contests, this event convenes a panel of industry leaders each year to honor and reward the winning photographs with a personal exhibition at TJ Boulting.

6. World Press Photo

photography contests world press photo

Photo by Matthew Abbott

When: Deadline in January, yearly.
Entry fee: FREE
Prize: €5,000 for each category

It is the most prestigious visual journalism award recognized worldwide. The exhibition moves from country to country every year, demonstrating the works of more than a hundred outstanding photo artists. Here you can participate in eight predetermined categories.

The goal of each one of these categories resides in finding the best visual journalist in a specific area, excluding faked and staged images. Then, three photographers who are experts in those fields pick up the best candidates. After that, the main jury determines the winners.

7. ND Awards

nd awardsphotography contests

Photo by Mauro De Bettio

When: Deadline in September, yearly.
Entry fee: $15-25
Prize: $2500 for winner of professional category and $1300 for winner of non- professional category.

This is one of the best photo contests with cash prizes. It is an ideal place for all professional and novice photographers, who work in a variety of genres, ranging from landscape to abstract and nude photos. There are six categories for professionals, and five categories for beginners. The results are judged by gallery owners, editors, and professional photographers.

8. GuruShots

gurushots photography contests

Photo by Julien Rabbit

When: There is a new competition every day.
Entry fee: FREE
Prize: starting from titles on the platform and ending with cash prizes and equipment.

As soon as it comes to photo contests with a unique approach, GuruShots comes to the fore. Every day there are new photography challenges, and each participant decides how many of them to accept. Ideal for those who are looking for photography inspiration to start taking pictures.

Plus, the GuruShots website and app give you the opportunity to connect with other photographers from around the world. Besides the awards, you can also get inspiration and feedback from other artists to update your photography skills.

9. CAP Prize

photography contests cap prize

Photo by Amina Kadous

When: Deadline in February, yearly.
Entry fee: FREE
Prize: International exposure at major global exhibitions and networking opportunities.

The CAP Prize or the Contemporary African Photography Prize has been running since 2012. It focuses on the African continent and around. To enter the CAP Prize, you must take photos on the African continent or have some connection to the African diaspora outside.

A panel of international curators, publishers, editors, and artists will review 25 shortlisted works and pick up 5 to honor them with the prize. It is one of the photo contests that welcomes anyone, whatever their age or descent.

10. Life Framer Competitions

photography contests life framer competitions

Photo by Vladimir Karamazov

When: Monthly.
Entry fee: $20
Prize: $2,000 monthly prize, your image exhibited in three global exhibitions.

Life Farmer contests are ideal for photographers from all niches. Each month a new contest category is introduced to enter, such as nightlife, world travel, or animal kingdom. Branch leading photographers judge each category from the respective field.

To enter one photo, you must pay $20. Nonetheless, you can propose up to ten photos and lift your status up to premium membership. After that, you’ll also receive detailed feedback on your work. On the back of it, you can essentially upgrade your professional skills and refine your photography art.

11. Eugene Smith Grant

photography contests eugene smith grant

Photo by NIcolò Filippo Rosso

When: Deadline in May, yearly.
Entry fee: $50
Prize: $40,000 and an additional $5000 fellowship

This award is granted in honor of American photojournalist W. Eugene Smith, whose work on World War II and Minamata disease in Japan is one of the most important historical documents and a conceptual leap in documentary photography.

Professional photojournalists or documentary photographers whose previous work and actual projects are in the tradition and legacy of Eugene Grant, as judged by appointed experts, are eligible to enter this photo contest. In addition to sample photographs, a written proposal and description of the pictures presented are required to enter the award.

12. Nikon Small World

photography contests nikon small world

Photo by Grigorii Timin

When: Applications are usually accepted in April.
Entry fee: FREE
Prize: $3,000 Grand Prix. Winners from 2nd to 20th place get cash prizes in the amount from $2,000 to $200.

Evey year this photography contest traditionally attracts many fans of microphotography. Nikon Small World competition is considered to be the most fascinating and respected contest among micro-lovers.

Thanks to this genre of photography, we can get acquainted with the beauty, complexity, and perfection of nature in objects invisible to our eyes, which can be seen only with a microscope. Participants do not need to use Nikon equipment, or cameras for macro photography but images must be created with a light microscope.

13. International Landscape Photographer of the Year

photography contests international landscape photographer of the year

Photo by Aytek Cetin

When: Acceptance of applications is terminated in mid-November.
Entry fee: $25 for a photo, every fifth photo for free.
Prize: Grand Prize is 2000$, as well as the publication in the book; $1000 for the second place, and $500 for the 3d place and the publication in the photo book. The winners get a printed book with the best photos.

International landscape photo contests allow landscape photographers to show their skills every year. In addition, 101 best photos are published in the annual book, and the best photographers are awarded cash prizes for single images and for a series of four shots.

14. Monochrome Photography Award

photography contests monochrome

Photo by Renato Just

When: Applications are accepted annually until the end of November
Entry fee: $20 for the participation for an amateur; $25 for a professional.
Prize: The main winner in the professional competition gets $2000; amateur receives $1000. The works of the winners are published in the annual book.

This international black-and-white photo competition prepares individual prizes for amateur photographers and professionals, reviewing their works in 13 categories. Participants can show all their talent in a variety of genres, from architecture and wildlife to fine art and manipulations, shot on DSLRs, or vintage cameras.

15. Astronomy Photographer of the Year

photography contests insight astronomy photographer of the year

Photo by Shuchang Dong

When: Annually, from late February to early April.
Entry fee: up to 10 images for free.
Prize: About $13,000 for the main winner and almost $2000 for category winners. Cash prizes are awarded to category participants as well.

This is one of the world's largest photography contests for everyone who enjoys astrophotography and wants to present himself/herself to the whole world. The competition offers nine different categories for photographers.

The representatives of NASA and the editor of BBC Sky at Night magazine choose the winners. Children under 15 years can participate in the category for young astrophotography fans.

16. National Geographic Traveller Photography Competition

photography contests national geographic traveller

Photo by Andro Loria

When: Annually from April to June.
Entry fee: from $10 to $35 for participation depending on the week of the deadline.
Prize: The main winner receives $7,500 and the publication of his/her photo on the official NatGeoTravel page on Instagram. Other 9 best photographers will get a cash award from $750 to $2500.

National Geographic organizes photography contests for beginners and professionals from any corner of the planet. This competition allows travelers to demonstrate their ability to catch the proper moment in three categories: "People," "Nature," and "Cities." Get inspired by National Geographic best photos without landscape retouching, and upload yours to take part in the competition.

17. Mobile Photography Awards

mobile photography contests

Photo by Liu KunKun

When: Annually, from October to mid-December.
Entry fee: from $15 per image.
Prize: $3000 Grand Prix.

Photographers who shoot with smartphones and tablets can send their best pictures to demonstrate the artistic and creative opportunities of smartphone photography.

Works are evaluated in 18 categories, the best of them participate in the traveling exhibition and are available for sale. According to the rules of the photo competition, it is allowed to use editing but only on your mobile device.

18. iPhone Photography Awards

iphone photography contests

Photo by Antonio Denti

When: Applications are accepted annually until March.
Entry fee: from $3.5 per image.
Prize: The 1st place winner of the 18 categories will receive the Gold Bar from the most recognizable private gold mine in the world. The silver and the bronze winners of the 18 categories will get a Palladium Bar from the most recognizable private gold mine in the world.

iPhone Photography Awards has been held since 2007. This is the first and largest mobile online photo contest in the world. Anyone can take part in it. To do this, simply upload a photo taken on an iPhone or iPad to the site.

Photographers can edit images using only free photo editing apps. The use of Photoshop and Lightroom is prohibited. Participants compete in 18 categories, including a series of up to 3 images.

19. Monovisions Photo Award

photography contests monovisions

Photo by George Tatakis

When: Deadline is in spring, yearly
Entry fee: $25, $30 for series
Prize: $2000. $3000 for series

When talking about black-and-white photography and photo artists who prefer to work with monochrome images, there are the Monovision Photography Awards. The organizer of these photography competitions is Monovisions Photography magazine, a leading professional journal for photographic art. They accept both digital and conventional film photography.

These picture contests judge work in 12 categories: abstract, architecture, conceptual, fine art, landscape, nature and wildlife, nude, people, photojournalism, portrait, street photography, and travel.

20. Chromatic Awards

photography contests chromatic

Photo by Felicia Simon

When: July-October, yearly
Entry fee: $15-25
Prize: $1000-2000

The Chromatic Photo Awards are about everything related to color and color photography. They promote, honor, and celebrate the best photographers in the world and recognize emerging talent in the field of photography. The organization awards prizes such as gold, silver, and bronze medals for each level in each category.

There are 20 categories such as abstraction, architecture, cityscape, concept photography, culture, environment, fashion and beauty, fine art, landscapes, nature, nude photography, people, photojournalism, photo manipulation, portrait, sports, still life, street, travel, wildlife, and animals.

21. Creative Photo Awards

photography contests creative photo awards

Photo by Andre Boto

When: Deadline is in spring, yearly
Entry fee: 1 photo – FREE, 3 images - € 20, each additional image € 10, series entry € 35
Prize: €500,000 worth of photography equipment

The Creative Photo Awards recognize, celebrate, and honor photographic artists whose work processes and techniques aim to create artistic products bringing a unique vision to the audience.

These photography competitions are a promoter of the photographic medium, experimenting with different techniques or creative approaches. The competition's concept includes both amateurs and professionals. All entries are judged by a panel of photographers, curators, artists, publishers, and editors.

22. Siena Drone Photo Awards

photography contests siena drone photo awards

Photo by Armand Sarlangue

When: Deadline is in June, yearly.
Entry fee: Single image is free to enter, 3 images (including the free one) are € 20, Each additional image € 10, Series entry fee is € 35, and videos are € 35.
Prize: €500,000 worth of photography equipment.

In this list, the Siena Drone Photo Awards occupies the place of one of the photo contests that are more niche-oriented, specifically targeting aerial photography and videography. Although the name of the contest is aimed at drone photography, all types of aerial photography are invited to participate, including those photographing from fixed-wing aircraft, balloons, unmanned aerial vehicles of all types, airships, hovercrafts, kites, parachutes, etc.

The contest accepts entries from professionals and amateurs and includes several categories of birds’ eye view photography, including urban, wildlife, wedding, abstract subjects, animals, people, and sports.

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