Photography is an art, a hobby, and a career all rolled into one. While it seems easy to do, with everyone having access to flash photography using mobile devices, it’s a skill like any other. There are people who are better at it than others, and that means there’s a slight competitive element to it. And if there’s a competitive element, you can bet there are competitions to enter.
There’s a lot of potential benefits in joining and winning a photography awards contest. Apart from the prize money, there’s the prestige of the victory and the validation that comes with people recognizing your skills. For those who are still relatively new or unknown, it’s a way to start building a reputation.
So grab your Soonwell LED light panel, camera, lens, and tripod. Here are the best photography awards to go after for the remainder of 2019.
The International Photography Awards
With a submission deadline on July 24 and multiple prizes, the International Photography Awards is always a good choice. They’re one of the best-paying photography contests in the world, with 13 categories to choose from. It’s massive, open to professionals, amateurs, and hobbyists, and this year is the 17th annual competition.
If you win, your prize will vary based on the category. Prizes range from $500 to $10,000. Winners also get a travel allowance and accommodations for collecting their awards in New York City. You’ll also get your work published in the book the competition puts out each year.
The Taylor Wessing Photography Portrait Prize
The Taylor Wessing Photography Portrait Prize is the biggest international photography contest for portraits. As the name implies, it focuses on showcasing the very best in portrait-taking and has an established, respected reputation. Amateurs and professionals alike get to compete, with a jury selecting which images are the best.
This competition is also known for encouraging more artistic elements of composition. Mood, setting, expression, and character are encouraged to differ, to showcase individual style. All of the submissions get a spot in the National Portrait Gallery in London, as part of the exhibition. The top prize is an impressive $15,000.
The National Geographic Travel Photography Competition
National Geographic is one of the most respected institutions on the planet, and the annual National Geographic Travel Photography Competition is one of prestige. With a professional grand prize of a masterclass in Slovakia Lakes and Mountain Photography and lesser prizes like high-quality travel tripods, it’s worth a look.
NatGeo doesn’t offer cash prizes, but the opportunity to learn more in a masterclass in Central Europe is hard to beat. The second category, the portfolio competition, gets to go to France. Winners also get NatGeo on their resume, which brings a lot of credibility to any photographer’s reputation.
However, there are some strict rules. The image has to be taken within two years of the entry date. Editing also isn’t allowed, other than a few basic adjustments. The shot itself has to be as perfect as possible.
The Monochrome Photography Award
If black and white photography is more your style, then the Monochrome Photography Award is where you should take a chance. This competition accepts black and white, along with toned and sepia, entries. The goal is to encourage creativity and artistic expression with minimalistic tools, and there are cash prizes up for grabs for the winners.
The competition boasts 13 categories, covering areas like abstracts, portraits, and landscapes. Winners get an exhibition of their work, along with entries in the Monochrome Photography Awards Annual photobook. You’ll also be given a certificate to prove you’ve won, which can go a long way to establishing your credentials in the field.
The CEWE Photo Award
The CEWE Photo Award is a free-to-enter competition, open to anyone who wants to take a shot. There are ten categories, each with their own prizes. All entries are judged by a panel of industry experts, along with professional photographers. The focus is on the quality of each shot, along with adherence to the chosen category or theme. All prizes are in Euros.
This contest boasts separate competitions for amateurs and professionals. There’s also a slight entry fee. The Chromatic Awards are focused on color photography and stand out as one of the most prestigious and respected competitions of the type. There are cash prizes up for grabs, with entries judged by industry professionals, museum curators, agents, and others.
The Annual Photography Awards
The Annual Photography Awards are focused on photography as a medium of art, with a focus on helping up and coming artists get their turn in the limelight. The competition wants bold and innovative styles, something that challenges common artistic perceptions and there are no restrictions on aesthetics, interpretation, or creativity.
Participants get global recognition and cash prizes. Categories include abstracts, landscapes, architecture, portraiture, photojournalism, wildlife, and fine art. This is a competition that’s ideal for someone who wants to express themselves and their creativity through photo composition.
The Nikon Photo Contest
Famed camera manufacturer Nikon also hosts an annual competition for photographers. The competition has changed and updated standards since the advent of digital photography, and there’s always a push for competitors to help redefine the stories that photos and cameras can tell and the emotions they can evoke in audiences. The contest covers a number of categories, with great prizes, recognition, and exposure up for grabs for anyone who secures a victory.
The Sony World Photography Awards
Similar to the Nikon Photo Contest, Sony hosts the Sony World Photography Awards annually. This one aims to celebrate the artistry and work of photographers, with prizes, exposure, and recognition for the winners if they manage to win over the rest. The competition is divided between students, professionals, photographers 19 and below, and open competition for rewarding the world’s best single images.
Photography can be very rewarding, even more so if someone manages to win a competition and gain the recognition of their peers. Photography awards are proof that you have the talent and the skill required to compete among the world’s best, and that can do wonders for your reputation. Whether you’re in photography to make money or because it is your passion, a win in one of these awards can change your life.
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