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What's new in the Sony World Photography Awards 2021?

3 years ago

© Pablo Albarenga, Uruguay, Winner, Latin America Professional Award, 2020 Sony World Photography Awards

Every year, thousands of photographers submit their very best work to the Sony World Photography Awards. Each of our four competitions – Professional, Open, Student and Youth – are free to enter, so photographers of all ages and abilities can be a part of the global voice for photography. Successful photographers go on to enjoy gallery representation, book publishing deals and worldwide exposure. Always wanting to shake things up and bring you more opportunities and creative challenges, we've made a few changes to this year's Awards. Take a read of what's new for the 2021 competitions...



New category!

  • Recognising photographers might wish to share a selection that encapsulates their photographic practice, we've introduced the Portfolio category into the Professional competition. Photographers can enter five to 10 images taken in the past year. The images do not need to be related to each other in terms of narrative, subject matter or style.

Architecture now includes Design! 

  • The Architecture category has been expanded for this year with entrants now able to submit their best design-related photographs. The Architecture category has also been expanded to Architecture and Design. Entrants can now submit their images through their Instagram account.



Drum roll please! There are two new categories for the 2021 Open competition: Object and Lifestyle. Rewarding striking standalone images, Open is the perfect competition for those focused on creating graphic, colourful, strong single photographs. Oh! And, just like the Professional competition, entrants can submit images to the Open competition via their Instagram accounts. 

Lifestyle category 

  • For the Lifestyle category, we're looking for images entered that tell the story of a person. Scenes can be directed or candid, but try and ensure there is a natural feel to the image. Editorial, fashion, family and event photography can be entered into this category, so good luck! 

Object category 

  • Images entered into the Object category should depict inanimate subject matter. A group or an arrangement of objects devoid of human presence would be ideal here, so the perfect category to enter while travel restrictions are still in place. Commercial and advertising style images can be entered but they must show the photographer’s creativity and imagination.



There are no changes to the Student competition - as usual, they'll be two new briefs for entrants to be challenged by. Read the first brief here!



For this year's youth competition we've got six brand new themes to inspire you! From Composition and Design to Natural World & Wildlife to Street Life, we're announcing all the themes now, so you can take time to prepare your photographs. Take a read of the first theme by clicking the Youth link below.