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© Matthias Hangst, Germany, Shortlist, Professional, Sport, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

Professional competition

Each year the Professional competition of the Sony World Photography Awards draws a huge variety of inspiring, engaging and emotional photography from around the world.

Photojournalism and hard-hitting news photography sit side-by-side with fine-art, still-life and commercial work, as well as awe-inspiring images of the natural world and our travels within it.

The Professional competition is judged on a body of work.  Photographers must submit a minimum of 5 and maximum of 10 images and all submissions must be accompanied by a series description.

At the pinnacle of the Professional competition is the title of Photographer of the Year, one of the most distinguished and highly regarded awards in photography. The winner is chosen each year by the Honorary Jury from among the first place winners of all the Professional categories.

In addition to the main prizes, all winning and shortlisted photographers will be included in a global press campaign, featured across the World Photography Organisation website and exhibited at Somerset House, London in Spring 2017. 

“Winning the Photographer of the Year in 2013 was a great recognition and it made my work reach out to a worldwide audience.” - Andrea Gjestvang, Photographer of the Year, 2013 Sony World Photography Awards



Closing date: January 10, 2017 - 11:59pm GMT


  • Photographer of the Year - $25,000 (USD) / Sony digital imaging equipment / Included in exhibition at Somerset House, London

  • Category winners - Flights & accommodation to awards ceremony in London / Sony digital imaging equipment / Publication in winners’ book / Included in exhibition at Somerset House, London

  • Shortlist - Digital exhibition at Somerset House, London 


The Professional competition is judged on a body of work. Photographers must submit a minimum of 5 and maximum of 10 images and all submissions must be accompanied by a series description.


The Sony World Photography Awards support Pro-Imaging in order to protect the image rights of photographers.


1.1 By entering the Competition, You agree and acknowledge that the World Photography Organisation is permitted to receive your registration data. All personal information will be used by the World Photography Organisation in accordance with its Privacy Policy.

1.2.1 The Competition is free to enter.

1.2.2 The Professional Competition is open to all Photographers entering a body of work.

1.3 All entrants must be over 18.

1.4 By entering the Competition You hereby accept these Competition Rules and the Terms and Conditions.

1.5 Entries must be submitted by 11.59:59pm (GMT) on Tuesday January 10, 2017.


2. To enter, you must upload your image via the following website:, following the on-screen instructions carefully.

2.1 Image Entry criteria:

Un-published work entered into the competition must have been taken between the dates of January 1st and December 31, 2016. Once unpublished work has been entered, it cannot be entered again as published work in the future year of the awards competition.

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 1st and December 31, 2016. Eligible publications include magazines, newspapers, on-line and print editorial, self-publishing websites, including personal sites as well as commissioned gallery exhibitions. Images included in past photographic competitions, advertisements, marketing material, blogs, social media and all other visible platforms prior to January 1, 2016 will be considered published and not permissible within this competition.

2.2  Images should be no smaller than 1MB and no larger than 5MB. Images should be either JPEG or TIFF files.

All images must be saved in the RGB colour model and EXIF data must be left in the image file.

All entrants must be able to supply a high resolution image suitable for printing in exhibitions should the image be required.


3.1 Entries will be judged by the World Photographic Academy (the “Academy”) between the January 11,2017 and the January 31, 2017.

3.2 A shortlist of up to ten photographers from each category will be selected and announced prior to the Awards Ceremony and the overall winners will be announced during the Ceremony in April 2017.

3.3 The three finalists in each category, the individual category winners and the Sony World Photography Awards 'Photographer of the Year' will be voted for by the Academy. The finalists will be notified by email. The winners will be announced at the Awards ceremony in London in April 2017.

3.3.1 The winner of each category will be notified by email and will receive return flights to London (economy class) and hotel accommodation for two consecutive nights including the Awards night in April 2017.

3.4 The decision of the Academy and the the World Photography Organisation is final and no negotiation will be entered into with respect to any such decision.

3.5 You may enter a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 10 images per category, and may enter as many categories as you wish, however you cannot enter the same series or images into more than one category. You may highlight a single “signature image” from each series.

3.5.1 Judging will be based on the portfolio of work entered for each category.


4.1 The World Photography Organisation reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to disqualify and remove any entry that does not comply with the following requirements, even after the entry is submitted on the Website. You warrant and represent, in respect of each entry submitted by you (“Entry”), as follows:

4.1.1 You are the sole owner and author of each Entry

4.1.2 You have the right to make Your entry available to the Competition

4.1.3 Each Entry does not contain personally identifiable information about you or any other person(s)

4.1.4 Each Entry does not contain any infringing, threatening, false, misleading, abusive, harassing, libellous,

defamatory, vulgar, obscene, scandalous, inflammatory, pornographic or profane content

4.1.5 Each Entry does not contain any material that could constitute or encourage conduct, which would be considered a criminal offence, give rise to civil liability, or otherwise violate any law

4.1.6 Each Entry does not infringe upon the copyrights, trademarks, contract rights, or any other intellectual property rights of any third person or entity, or violate any person’s rights of privacy or publicity, and Your Entry does not include: trademarks owned by third parties copyrighted materials owned by third parties (including movie dialogue or musical compositions) names, likenesses, voices or other characteristics identifying celebrities or other public figures, living or dead

4.1.7 Entries which contain any commercial content that promotes any product or service other than that of the World Photography Organisation.

4.1.8 Entries containing screen credits

4.1.9 No animals were harmed or manipulated in the making of the image

4.2 You agree to fully indemnify the World Photography Organisation in respect of all royalties, fees and any other monies owing to any person by reason of Your breaching any of the foregoing.

4.3 You confirm that each person depicted in the Entry has granted permission to be portrayed as shown. Any costumes, props or other materials used must be rented or borrowed with the permission of the owner, and all other relevant permissions must have been obtained.


6. the World Photography Organisation may run an online rating process whereby members of the public may vote for a favourite photograph. If there is sufficient evidence (in the World Photography Organisation’s sole discretion) to suggest malpractice and manipulation of the rating process, then the World Photography Organisation has the right to remove the relevant Entry or Entries and, if necessary, award the prize to a different contestant. the World Photography Organisation’s decisions are final.


7.1 The World Photography Organisation recognises You, the author of the image, retain full ownership of the copyright in each Entry.

7.2 All entrants understand that any image submitted to the competition may be used by the World Photography Organisation, and its Event Partners, for marketing and promotional purposes of You the author and the event only, for a maximum of three years after the awards ceremony in April 2017. You hereby grant the World Photography Organisation a non-exclusive, irrevocable licence in each Entry throughout the world for three years in all media for any use connected to the promotion of You the author and the SWPA event and/or competition, including, but not limited too:

(a) judging the Competition

(b) displaying the winning entries and runners up at public exhibitions promoting the World Photography Organisation and organised by the World Photography Organisation

(c) inclusion within the Website, a World Photography Awards book, magazine or similar

(d) inclusion within any materials promoting of the Competition and / or any exhibition organised by the World Photography Organisation, in the promotion of the the World Photography Organisation

(e) inclusion on Competition- and exhibition-related products to be sold by the the World Photography Organisation or any third party following the individual agreement by the author

(f) sub-licencing the Entries to the press for reproduction in connection with the Competition and any exhibition

(g) allowing viewers of the Website to view images on a computer screen, PDA or mobile telephone and store such pages in electronic form on disk or on a PDA or mobile telephone (but not on any server or other storage device connected to a network) for their personal, non-commercial use only. Please also refer to clause 9.

7.3 All entrants understand that the image information, including image name and description, may be shared with Event partners and media as per clause 7.1, 7.2 and 8. For the avoidance of doubt the “image information” does not include any personal information of You the author.


8. Any photograph used by the World Photography Organisation shall carry a credit line. Any failure to provide such credit line shall not be deemed to be a breach, as long as the World Photography Organisation uses its reasonable endeavours to rectify such failure within a reasonable period from the date of notice of such failure.


9 You acknowledge that it is your responsibility for protecting any Entry against image misuse by any third party, for example, but not limited to the insertion of a watermark. the World Photography Organisation and its Event Partners assume no responsibility and are not liable for any image misuse.


10. the World Photography Organisation assumes no responsibility for any incorrect, inaccurate or incomplete information, whether caused by website users or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilised in the Competition, and the World Photography Organisation assumes no responsibility for technical, hardware or software failure of any kind, for lost network connections, garbled computer transmissions, other problems or technical malfunctions with regard to the Competition. the World Photography Organisation assumes no responsibility for any error, omission, corruption, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation or transmission, communications line failure, theft or destruction or unauthorized access to or alteration of Entries. the World Photography Organisation is not responsible for any problems or technical malfunction of any telephone network or lines, computer on-line systems, servers, computer equipment, software, failure of any e-mail addressed to the World Photography Organisation on account of technical problems, human error or traffic congestion on the internet or any website, or any combination thereof, including any injury or damage to Your or any other person's computer related to or resulting from participation or downloading any materials in the Competition. If for any reason a contestant’s entry cannot be viewed or is not capable of running as planned, including infection by computer viruses, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud or technical failures, the World Photography Organisation assumes no responsibility.


11. In no event will the World Photography Organisation, its parents, affiliates, subsidiaries and related companies, Event Partners, its advertising or promotion agencies, or its officers, directors, employees, shareholders, representatives or agents be responsible or liable for any damages or losses of any kind, including direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, special or punitive damages arising out of any contestant’s access to and use of the Website. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, everything on the Website is provided "as is", without warranty of any kind, either express or implied, including but not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for purpose or use or non-infringement.


12. You agree to participate in related publicity and to the use of Your name and likeness for the purposes of advertising, promotion and publicity without additional compensation.


13. All entrants must be able to supply a high resolution image suitable for printing in media and an exhibition should the image be required.


14. There are no cash alternatives available for prize winners.


15. Winners will be announced online.


Promoter: World Photography Awards Limited, 9 Manchester Square, London.

2017 Categories