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2021 Announcement Timeline

26 January - Student & Youth shortlists
9 February - National Awards recipients
25 February - Professional finalists & shortlist 
11 March - Outstanding Contribution to Photography
18 March - Open category winners & shortlist
23 March - Alpha Female Award winner & shortlist 
15 April - Overall winners - read more


Find the right competition for you – all are free to enter

The Sony World Photography Awards 2021 is now closed. The results will be announced later this year. Stay tuned with our latest news and announcements by signing up to our newsletter. The 2022 Awards will open in the summer of 2021.



The Sony World Photography Awards has four competitions:


Professional competition

Deadline for submissions: January 14, 2021 13:00 GMT

The Professional competition rewards and showcases the world’s most outstanding bodies of work.

Artists can enter multiple series of works to the following categories: Architecture & Design, Creative, Documentary Projects, Environment, Landscape, Natural World & Wildlife, Portraiture, Still Life, Sport, and Portfolio.




© Roberto Corinaldesi

Open competition

Deadline for submissions: January 7, 2021 13:00 GMT

The Open competition celebrates outstanding standalone images from across the world.

Photographers of all abilities can enter multiple single images to the following categories: Architecture, Culture, Creative, Motion, Landscape, Lifestyle, Natural World & Wildlife, Portraiture, Still Life, Object, Street Photography, and Travel.




© Kolton  Almany

Youth competition

Monthly competitions with a changing theme running from July 1 to December 31, 2020

The Youth competition aims to give more opportunities to young photographers aged 12-19. Judges are looking for fresh approaches to photography and images showing the vision of the young photographer.





© ioanna Sakellaraki

Student competition

Deadline for submissions: November 30, 2020 13:00 GMT

The Student competition rewards and showcases the work of the world’s most talented photography students.

Open to academic institutions worldwide, students are challenged to submit a series of five to ten images responding to a particular brief.




Exposure & Benefits

Why you should enter

The Awards are your chance to have your work recognised globally and has the power to change the careers of those who win and are shortlisted. 

The democratic approach of the Awards means all artists working across photography have equal opportunity to win and be seen by leading industry experts.

Every competition is free to enter and categories are designed to be open to all photographic genres and abilities.

Successful photographers can receive:

  • Inclusion in global and country-specific media and marketing campaigns
  • Potential to be included in international exhibitions
  • Inclusion in the Sony World Photography Awards book
  • Opportunity to apply for the Sony Grant to further personal photographic projects

The World Photography Organisation has a thriving online presence and creates dedicated campaigns to give global exposure to the Awards' successful photographers across its social media platforms, mailers and website.


The world’s leading awards for artists working in contemporary photography

Produced by the World Photography Organisation, the internationally acclaimed Sony World Photography Awards are one of the most important fixtures in the photographic calendar.

The Awards are a global voice for photography and provide a vital insight into contemporary work  today. For both established and emerging artists, the Awards offer extensive exposure.

Now in its 14th year, the Awards consist of four competitions: Professional (for photographers entering a body of work or portfolio), Open (for photographers entering a single image), Student (for academic institutions) and Youth (for 12-19 year-olds).

Always free to enter, there is a competition and a category for everyone – from Architecture, Documentary, Landscape, Portraiture, Sport, Street Photography, Wildlife, Travel, Culture and more. New categories for the 2021 Awards include Object and Lifestyle in the Open competition and Portfolio in the Professional competition. The Architecture category in the Professional competition has been expanded to Architecture and Design.

All images are judged by industry experts from across the world, who come together each year in London to reward standout works. A total prize fund of $60,000 (USD) plus the latest Sony digital imaging equipment is shared between the winning photographers. Note that Sony is not involved in the judging process of the Awards and the work is chosen by the assigned jurors for each year.

With the power to kickstart and shape careers, the Awards provide those working in photography a global stage to showcase their work. Previous winning and shortlisted photographers have gone on to be represented by renowned galleries and institutions worldwide, as well as their work being featured in major international publications.

In addition, the Awards recognise the world’s most influential artists working in the medium through the Outstanding Contribution to Photography award; previous recipients include Mary Ellen Mark, Elliott Erwitt, Martin Parr, William Eggleston, Candida Höfer, Nadav Kander and, most recently, Gerhard Steidl. 

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 program and by integrating a Student and Youth competitions 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 to develop the individuals’ careers. The Grants of $7,000 (USD) and $3,500 (USD) each is awarded to four professional and three student recipients respectively so they can continue developing their projects. 

Sony World Photography Awards exhibition tour

The exhibition tours globally to Europe, Asia and the Americas.  Click here to see our latest tour dates and locations.