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Find the right competition for you

The Sony World Photography Awards has four competitions:

  • Professional - Recognising outstanding bodies of work​ (closes January 11, 2019 - 1300 GMT)

  • Open - Rewarding the world’s best single images ​(closes January 4, 2019 - 1300 GMT)

  • Youth - Best single images by photographers aged 12-19 (closes January 4, 2019 - 1300 GMT)

  • Student - For photography students worldwide (closes November 30, 2018 - 1300 GMT)

Please note: You can only enter one of the following competitions: Professional, Open or Youth.






The world’s most diverse photography competition

The Sony World Photography Awards is one of the most celebrated and diverse photography competitions in the world. Now in its 12th year, our goal is to showcase the best contemporary photography worldwide. 

The Awards are free to enter and open to all levels of photographer, from emerging 12-19-year-olds, enthusiastic hobbyists, and students, to established professionals. There is a competition and a category for everyone, from Architecture, Documentary, Landscape, Portraiture, Sports, Street Photography, Wildlife, Travel, Culture, and more.

All images are judged by leading industry experts, who come together each year in London to decide the best images. A total prize fund of $30,000 (USD) plus the latest Sony digital imaging equipment is shared between winning photographers.

With the power to kick-start and shape careers, photographers are provided with an unprecedented stage to showcase their work, powered by a series of tailored global press and media campaigns. Previous winners and shortlisted photographers have gone on to be represented by renowned galleries and institutions, and their work has been featured in major publications around the world.

Equally, each year we recognise one of the world’s most influential photographers through the Outstanding Contribution to Photography award; previous recipients have included Martin Parr, William Eggleston and Candida Höfer.

Sony’s commitment  
The objective of the Sony World Photography Awards is to establish a platform for the continuous development of photographic culture. The Awards do this by recognizing great contributions to photography in the past through the Outstanding Contribution to Photography prize as well as finding new talents of the future and providing them with the opportunity to be promoted and exhibited around the world. This is achieved through the Awards programme and by integrating a Student and Youth competition as well as Student and Professional Sony Grants. The latter further prove Sony’s commitment to photographic culture by extending their relationship with individual winners beyond the Awards themselves and helping develop their careers. The Grants of 7,000 USD and 3,500 USD each is awarded to 4 professional and 3 student recipients respectively so they can continue developing their projects.  

The Exhibition
Each Spring, the hugely popular Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition, featuring the spectacular winning, shortlisted and commended images, is curated at the famous London landmark, Somerset House. Attracting around 30,000 visitors each year, featuring over 600 images and taking up both East and West wings of this magnificent building, the exhibition is a must-see event in London’s cultural calendar.


Exposure & Benefits

Why should you enter?

Global exposure is given not only to the overall winners, but also to the shortlisted photographers in each category.

Successful photographers can receive:

  • Exhibition at Somerset House, London
  • Potential to be included in international exhibitions
  • Inclusion in the annual Sony World Photography Awards book
  • Potential to work with Sony and other partners on a variety of projects

The World Photography Organisation has a thriving online presence and engages with photography enthusiasts and professionals worldwide via its:

  • Website & blog - Up to 250k unique visitors per month  

  • Social platforms - Facebook: +390k | Twitter: +82k | Instagram: +43K

  • International partnerships - 14+ international partners - See all our partners

  • Offline events - Including meetups, portfolio reviews and exclusive talks

The Awards’ photographers are showcased across these platforms throughout the year – from a featured week on Instagram, to a showcase interview seen by millions, or the photographer’s latest show/news announced via our social channels.

The annual press campaign for the Awards generates huge interest not only in the winners, but for those on the shortlist too. Coverage can be seen everywhere from the world’s highest circulation newspapers and most read websites to spreads in luxury magazines and key photographic trade titles.


Success Stories

The awards have the power to change the lives of those who enter...


Edgar Martins 

“As a direct result of being part of the Sony World Photography Awards, my work was acquired by several private and public collections.”

Portuguese photographer, Edgar Martins, is a multiple-award winner in the Sony World Photography Awards, having had success in the 2009 and 2018 editions of the competition. He grew up in Macau (China), where he published his first novel. Then, in 1996 he moved to the UK, completing his BA in Photography and Social Sciences at the University of the Arts. He says of his involvement in the Awards: “The media response to the awards was overwhelming, with extensive press and TV coverage all over the world. Apart from providing my work a huge international platform it has also brought my images to the consciousness of collectors, curators, galleries and museums.” 


Andrea Gjestvang

Although already an established photographer in Norway, winning the 2013 L’Iris d’Or, Photographer of the Year title, propelled Andrea Gjestvang onto the global stage.

Her stunning series of portraits of the children and youths who survived the July 2011 massacre on the island of Utøya, outside Oslo, “One Day in History”, were published around the world and, despite being a mum to a very young baby at the time of the win, has barely stopped working since.

Andrea says: “Winning the L'Iris d'Or/ Photographer of the Year 2013 was a great recognition and it made my work reach out to a worldwide audience. Both editors, collectors, potential collaborators in the business, but most important the normal readers that were moved and engaged by the images. It opened up new opportunities for me, and was a huge motivation to continue following the stories that I believe in.”



Natalia Weirnik

Natalia was a student at the Faculty of Graphic Arts, Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow when she entered the Student Focus competition in 2013. An aspiring photographer with a strong artistic style, her series of work caught the judges’ attention and she was named the 2013 Student Photographer of the Year.

Since winning, Natalia has had her work shown in many of the world’s leading photography magazines and has delivered masterclass on behalf of Sony.




Daniel Duart

Spanish photographer Daniel Duart won 2nd prize in the Professional Travel category of the 2013 Sony World Photography Awards.

Since then, Daniel has worked with Sony Europe to promote the Sony RX1 camera, travelled around Latin America with Sony delivering workshops and masterclasses on travel photography.

Speaking about his involvement with the awards Daniel says: “"Being part of the SWPA made my work visible in half Latin America, they helped me spread the word (or the images) all around the world and I was even on TV!"

2019 Sony World Photography Awards - Competitions