How many of  your photographs are awards worthy? You probably haven’t considered the possibility so here’s some food for thought. Photography contests are a great way to get exposure, showcase your talent and have a real shot at making a difference. Photographs are such a powerful medium that dozens of contests are held around the world for almost every category.

Yasmin Mund, winner of the International Photographer of the Year 2015 competition shares some insights about participating in photography contests. He mentions that when you’re just starting to establish yourself as a photographer, anything will help along the way, including these competitions. Photography competitions are a great way to put your work out there and get confirmation that your unique vision is appreciated. Having this affirmation and capturing an image that resonates with others is a gift to any artist.

You probably have so many images that haven’t made it to your portfolio but that are excellent and could be nominated for awards. One of the things you should be doing throughout the year is collecting those images that really speak to you and filing them away. Eventually, the time will come for the world to see them.

Scroll through and apply! You never know, perhaps you have what it takes to win.

1. 10th International Garden Photographer of the Year 2016


Deadline: 31 October 2016

Fees: Depending on category, from £5 (=$7.12) to £25 (=$36)

Prizes: Top prize for the International Garden Photographer of the year is £7,500 (about $10,677). The winning photograph will be featured in a book, get extensive press coverage and be in featured in exhibitions. For prizes for other categories, refer to the website.


Last year’s winner:


Richard Bloom – Tekapo Lupins

2. Monochrome Photography Awards 2016


Deadline: 20 November 2016

Fees: Professional – $20, Amateur – $15

Prizes: Professional: $2000, Amateur: $1000


Last year’s winner:


Luke Tscharke – Barossa Bolt

 3. Smithsonian Magazine Photo Competition 2016


Deadline: 30 November 2016

Fees: Free

Prizes: Grand Prize winner: $2500, Category winners: $500, Reader’s Choice winner: $500, Mobile Photography winner: $500, United EcoSkies Sustainable Travel Leadership Award: Two economy round-trip tickets for travel between United States, Caribbean, Mexico and Central America.


Last year’s winner:


“The Smithsonian photography competition is an internatioanl photo competition and a world-renowned institution that is held every year. After the judging period, I got a word that I was one of the finalists and finally my photo won. Shorty after the competition, I got a job offer from an agency.”

Albert Ivan Damanik

4. International Photographer of the Year 2016


Deadline: 11 December 2016

Fees: Professional – $20, Amateur – $15

Prizes: Professional Grand Prize: $2500, Amateur Grand Prize: $1500


Last year’s winner:


“Having the prizes under my belt gives me that confidence to say that in some way what I am doing is the right thing, or that it is some how working.”

“With good photography, there is always a story to be told, a concept to be understood or rejected or a message to be heard. What’s beautiful is that reason or foundation you see in your work may not be what others see, which is exactly what happened with my award winning image. At the time I had no idea what I had captured, and one month later I looked back and saw a scene of serenity, peace, beauty and love. But that’s not what everyone sees when they look at Rooftop Dreams.”

Yasmin Mund – Rooftop Dreams

5. The Guardian – Readers’ Travel Photography Competition 2016


Deadline: 31 December 2016

Fees: Free

Prizes: Monthly winners will have their picture displayed at the Kings Place gallery between December and January 2016. Overall winner will get a seven-night ‘Secret Fjords’ self-drive holiday in Iceland for two people with Discover the World Limited.


September winner:


Rukhsana Yates – Solitude

6. Sony World Photography Awards 2017


Deadline: 5 January 2017

Fees: Free

Prizes: Photographer of the Year: $25,000, Sony digital imaging equipment and the opportunity to be included in an exhibition at Somerset House, London. Open Competition winner: $5000. For other nominations and prizes, refer to the website.


Professional environment category winner:


Kevin Frayer

7. Fine Art Photography Awards


Deadline: 19 February 2017

Fees: Professional – $20, Amateur – $15

Prizes: $5000


Last year’s winner:


Jaime Travezan – Flora

8. National Geographic: Nature Photographer of the Year 2016


Deadline: 4 November 2017

Fees: $15 per entry

Prizes: Grand Prize: A 10-day trip for two to the Galápagos with National Geographic Expeditions. First place: $2500, second place: $750, third place $500 (for every category).


Excellent entries so far:


Mike Korostelev – Ocean Guest

You never know when your next big break is going to be. Instead of wondering if your photographs are excellent, apply to the contests and grab at the amazing opportunity.

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