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Nine fun facts and tips about the Sony World Photography Awards

By World Photography Organisation | 12 months 1 day ago

The Sony World Photography Awards has been one of the most popular photography competitions during its 14 year history. Attracting photographers from every corner of the globe to enter their best images from that past year, the Awards aims to celebrate a range of genres, styles and stories. 

Be it the Professional, Open, Student or Youth competition, whatever you choose to enter in the 2021 Awards, make sure you take a read of our fun facts and tips below. 

While the Open competition welcomes single images and the Professional competition series of five to 10 images, don’t forget a diptychs and triptychs are allowed. We’ve had some incredible two and three section work submitted over the years, just take a look at On Diversion by Emilia Cocking and Cryptic Venus by Nicoletta Cerasomma from the 2020 Professional competition. We believe the more imaginative and unique the work, the better. 

Be it a phone, a pinhole, a compact or large format camera, your images can be taken on any device. If you’re using a DSLR, we accept photographs from all camera types and brands.

As well as being free to enter you can enter as many categories as you wish. If you’re participating in the Professional competition, you can enter different photo projects into all 10 categories. Please note however, you can’t enter the same body of work into more than one category. If single images are more aligned with your practice, then you should participate in our Open competition. With your three image allowance you can enter each image into a different category. 

We’ve been working hard with Sony these past few years to ensure all different types of photographers have the same opportunities and exposure. One of our top priorities is celebrating international talent, which is why we initiated the Latin America Professional Award. The prize was open to all photographers from Latin American countries entering bodies of work (five to ten images) to the 2020 Professional competition. The inaugural winner was Pablo Albarenga for his work Seeds of Resistance. Pablo was also the 2020 Photographer of the Year. We also launched the Alpha Female Award with Sony US, a prize to recognise leading female photographers entering the Sony World Photography Awards Open competition. The 2020 winner was Lily Punshon-Dawson. 

All images seen by the judges must be clear of any copyright information, so make sure you don’t include any watermark or copyright information on your photograph. The photographers’ identity are not revealed at any point during the judging process as we try to make the Awards as fair as possible. You will always retain full ownership of each entry copyright, so there’s really no need to include a watermark. 

Keep in mind that if you enter the Open competition (single images) you cannot enter the Professional competition (series of five to 10 images). If you enter Youth (for 12 to 19 year olds), you cannot enter Professional or Open, but if you submit work to the Student competition, you can enter Professional.

We get lots of questions about what images are eligible for entry. For Professional, keep in mind:

Un-published work entered into the competition must have been taken between the dates of January 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020, or taken at any point in history but never published. Published work may have been taken at any point in history, but must have been commissioned or acquired or first published between the dates of January 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020. Once unpublished work has been entered, it cannot be entered again as published work in the future year of the Awards’ competition.

For Open: 
Images must have been taken between the dates of January 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020.

For Student: 
Images must have been taken between the dates of January 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020 and respond to the brief. Which can be found here. 

For Youth:
Images must have been taken between the dates of January 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020 and respond to that month’s theme. 

Before you submit your work double-check the spec, we ask for images to be no smaller than 1MB and no larger than 5MB. Images should be JPEG files. All images must be saved in the sRGB color model. 

We’re driven to support and enrich the photographic community on an international scale. As well as rewarding almost 50 photographers each year, the Sony World Photography Awards exhibition embarks on an annual global tour. The 2019 exhibition was displayed in London, Germany, Spain, Italy, France, Colombia, Korea, and Japan.