For many photographers having their work acknowledged and celebrated in photography competitions is a good challenge they'll set out to achieve. As well as the obvious benefits of the prizes that are on offer, the actual process of entering a competition, so thinking about your images, collating ideas and refining your practice, will always be useful.
- It’s important to really think about the competition you are entering. Be especially cautious of entering competitions that charge you.
- Remember to always look at who is judging the competition. Do your research and see what type of work they're interested in, does your practice fit?
- Check the terms and conditions to see what their policy is on using your images and finally make sure you find out where the prize money comes from. If it's from people's submissions fees will the competition give you the exposure you're looking for?
- It's really key that you don't get put off if you don't get shortlisted the first time you enter a competition. While putting together your submission is a time-consuming task, it will also feed into your overall practice and help you refine your vision. Try and set yourself a goal of entering at least five competitions per year, and be really proud of each entry.
To get the ball rolling we've picked out nine photography competitions we feel are worthwhile you entering.
APERTURE PORTFOLIO PRIZE
The Aperture Portfolio Prize is open to anyone who is a print subscriber or online member of Aperture. The award seeks to “identify trends in contemporary photography and highlight artists whose work deserves greater recognition.“
INSIGHT INVESTMENT ASTRONOMY PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR
Hosted by the Royal Museums Greenwich, the Astronomy Photography of the Year competition awards great images of the sky and space in eight categories. Entry is free.
ISTANBUL PHOTO AWARDS
Now in it's sixth year, the Istanbul Photo Awards is organised by the longstanding prestigious global new agency Anadolu Agency. The 2021 applications open in November.
KUALA LUMPUR INTERNATIONAL PHOTO AWARDS
Open to photographers of all levels, the Kuala Lumpur International Photo Awards focuses on contemporary portrait photography and has partnered with photo festivals around the world to exhibit the winning images. An artist designs the trophy each year, making that first prize even more special and unique.
RED BULL ILLUME
The contest was previously held every three years, but due to “globally growing interest in photography,“ Red Bull is moving to a biennial format starting in
2019. A permanent exhibition of mountain sports photography drawn from previous editions of the competition is on show at the new LUMEN Museum atop Mount Kronoplatz-Plan de Corones in the South Tyrolean Alps.
SONY WORLD PHOTOGRAPHY AWARDS
Free to enter with the overall winner receiving £25,000 and a range of Sony camera kit, our Professional, Open, Student and Youth competitions welcome a range of styles, subject matter and stories. Images can be taken on any device.
TAYLOR WESSING PORTRAIT PRIZE
In 2008, the UK's National Portrait Gallery in the UK collaborated with the international law firm Taylor Wessing to launch the international contest which accepts submissions from amateurs and professionals alike. The association with the Gallery has certainly helped boost the contest’s credibility, and the four-month-long exhibition at the prestigious gallery promises exposure for all photographers with works on show.
WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR
The longest-running photography competition completely dedicated to the beauty and diversity of our natural world. Whether you shoot in the remote wilderness, an urban environment or on your doorstep, Wildlife Photographer of the Year is open to everyone.
WORLD PRESS PHOTO
The World Press Photo of the Year award honors the photographer whose visual creativity and skills made a picture that captures or represents an event or issue of great journalistic importance in that year. The winners of these four headline awards will receive €10,000 each. This means all contest winners will share in prizes totaling more than €130,000 in value. Entry is free.