Photography Competitions

15 INCREDIBLE Contests to Enter

Photography competitions are a brilliant way to showcase your skills over a range of different genres. 

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a beginner or professional, photography competitions should be seen as fun, but not something to get demotivated over if you don’t do as well as you think.

Remember before we get our list started that photography is subjective. Photography competitions will be assessed by one or multiple judges who may see different strengths and weaknesses in photos that you may not. Competitions are inadvertently a great showcase of inspiring shots that should hopefully keep you motivated to do something different next time.

We’ve scoured the internet and put together a list of fantastic regular photography competitions that anyone can enter regardless of skill and experience.

15 AMAZING Online Photography Competitions

Photography Competitions

1. Bird Photographer of the Year

Bird Photographer of the Year is a global photography competition: it is a celebration of avian beauty and diversity, and a tribute to the flexibility and quality of today’s modern digital imaging systems. 

Bird Photographer of the Year is a competition that will appeal to a wide range of people. Whether you are a hardened pro, a keen amateur with the latest kit, or simply a hobbyist with a camera phone or small compact camera – you can all enter.

This photography competition is open to anyone, anywhere. There are eight categories to enter and additional special awards, offering plenty of chances to win. 

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Photography Competitions

2. Astronomer Photographer of the Year

Astronomy Photographer of the Year is the largest international photography competition of its kind. Every year we showcase the best space photography from a global community of astrophotographers.

The photography competition is open to all. An expert panel of judges will then select the best images from each category and together decide on the winning images.

These winning and shortlisted photos then go on display at the National Maritime Museum in the UK in our dedicated photography gallery space. In this photography competition, you’ll be allowed to submit a total of 10 images to be considered. There will be a £10 fee per entrant. 

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Photography Competitions

3. Sony Photography Awards

The World Photography Organisation was established in 2007 and is the host for the annual Sony World Photography Awards.

With separate public, professional and youth photography competitions (and further individual genre-based contests within these main categories) there are many opportunities to get your work noticed in the annual Sony World Photography competition. 

This competition is free to enter and open to anyone submitting single images taken in the correct calendar year. There are 10 diverse categories to enter and prizes for winners as well as up to 15 runner up positions.

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Photography Competitions

4. Nikon Photo Contest

The Nikon Photo Contest International has been held by Nikon since 1969 to provide an opportunity for professional and amateur photographers around the world to engage with one another.

The Nikon photography competition does structure its contests with a theme that you need to adhere to with your entries to be in with a chance to win.

The contest is open to all, professional and amateur, regardless of age, gender, or nationality. Even though the contest is hosted by camera manufacturer Nikon you can enter photographs that have been taken on any camera – Canon, Sony or an iPhone!

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Photography Competitions
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5. Mobile Photography Awards

The Mobile Photo Awards is the longest-running international photography competition open exclusively to photographs shot & edited on all mobile phones and tablets. 

The Mobile Photography Awards has 20 photo categories including a Photo Essay with its own prize of $500. Every image entered may be placed in up to two categories. All category winners receive MPA prize packs and are included on the exclusive MPA Exhibit Tour, with further opportunities for fine art sales.

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Photography Competitions

6. IPPA Awards

The IPPA photography competition is an iPhone/iPad only contest – no Android devices allowed. 

It is open to anyone anywhere in the world, but the photos that are entered should not be published previously anywhere, though entries also posted on personal accounts (Facebook, Instagram etc.) are eligible. 

They ask that your entry should not be altered in any desktop image processing program such as Photoshop – but it’s OK to use any IOS apps – they really want to keep the heart of the photography competition all about showcasing how good iPhone and iPad photography is.

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Photography Competitions

7. Taylor Wessing Portrait Award

The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize continues to inspire photographers throughout the world. For many years, working together with the National Portrait Gallery in the UK, they have helped to create a platform that showcases the best in photographic talent.

There are two stages to the photography competition. Firstly your images (6 maximum) are submitted digitally and those who are lucky enough to reach stage 2 must submit those images in print (along with a written bio and model release forms) for further consideration.

The rules for the Taylor Wessing Portrait Award does not state that only UK residents can apply for the photography competition.

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8. Monochrome Awards

The Monochrome Awards is primarily aimed at people for whom photography is a passion and a way of life. It is a platform where professionals and amateurs can enter their shots.

There are over 12 categories allowing entrants to hone their images to a specific area of black and white photography. 

With separate categories for pros and amateurs, you won’t have to compete with photographers who may have access to more kit. And what’s even better, there is no limit as to how many pictures you can enter into this photography competition. There is an entry fee charged per image which is around $20 in the amateur category. 

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9. LensCulture Street Photography Competition

The LensCulture Street Photography Awards are always scouring the globe for new takes and fresh perspectives. You might be shooting the hustle and bustle of city life or its empty byways, in remote locales or around the block, on film or in pixels. No matter your tools or your location, we invite you to show us your streets.

If you want to just upload a single photo then there is no entry fee to this photography competition! It’s around $35-$45 for 5 entries or more.

And plus as a unique bonus, you can pay for a professional written review of your submission for an additional $15. 

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10. Istanbul Photo Awards

One of the biggest perks of this photography competition is that it’s totally free to enter.  Currently, there are 6 photography categories you can enter into involving both single photos and photo series (consisting of 10 images).

The jury is made by 9 photographers, who are involved in either career- photojournalists or news editors – so they really know their stuff!.

The winners of the Istanbul Photo Awards are published in a photo book and exhibitions in several cities of the world, including Istanbul (obviously), New York, and Tokyo. 

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11. BigPicture Natural World Photography Awards

This nature-based photography competition focuses on the natural diversity of the world and is aiming to showcase the much-needed attention on protecting our environment.

The photography competition accepts nature, wildlife and conservation images taken anywhere in the world. This can include abstract pictures of nature, such as photos from under a microscope. Marine life, natural landscapes or wild animals are all allowed along with humanity mixed in nature and bird photography too.

The entry fee for this photography competition is $25 for up to 10 single image submissions in any category. $15 for each 4–6 image ‘Photo Story’ submission.

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Photography Competitions

12. Aperture Portfolio Prize

This photography competition is looking for new photographers who deserve recognition in contemporary work.

The Aperture Portfolio Prize is open exclusively to Aperture magazine print subscribers so it’s a little different from other photography competitions on this list. Subscription to their magazine is currently around $75 per year for which you receive 4 issues of the magazine.

When it comes time to enter you will also need to submit a CV, a bio, and a statement about your shots. Their website states that when examining entries, Aperture’s editors and curatorial staff will consider the following criteria:

  • Is the work new, i.e., created in the past five years?
  • Is a theme or topic carried throughout the portfolio in a fully resolved, consistent manner?
  • Is each of the images individually strong?
  • What technical and presentation choices has the photographer made, and are they appropriate – for the work? For example, is there a clear reason for the work being in black and white versus a digitally enhanced palette?
  • Does the body of work take an innovative or unique approach to the subject matter?

Whether you are an amateur or a professional doesn’t matter.

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Photography Competitions

13. International Landscape Photographer of the Year

The ILPOTY ask their entrants ‘should landscape photography highlight the global challenges that lie ahead if we don’t change our ways, or is it an opportunity to create a landscape of the imagination, perhaps a better place to be?’

With over 3,000 entries this photography competition is a great contest for environmentally-minded shooters to show the plight of their communities through an image.

Again there is an entry fee for each image submitted, but you are not restricted on the image requirements in this photography competition. It can be SOOC (straight out of camera) or heavily edited – that’s up to you.

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Photography Competitions

14. Life Framer Competitions

The Life Framer photography competition is a little different from the other annual awards. It’s actually 12 monthly competitions – each judged by an industry leader with a wealth of experience and expertise.

There is a new category/theme announced every month, such as nightlife, world travellers, or the animal kingdom. Each of the categories is judged individually by industry leader photographers such as Bruce Gilden and Samantha Clark.

Entering one image costs you around $20, however, you can enter up to 10 images if you upgrade to Life Framers premium membership. But the benefit to this is that signing up allows you to receive detailed feedback on your photos – so even if you don’t win you get something valuable out of it. 

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Photography Competitions

15. iPhotography Weekend Challenge

Of course, we weren’t going to let this list pass without mentioning our own photography competition. And what’s better, our competition is weekly! With our Weekend Challenge, issued every Friday, the rules are simple…

Take the concept, theme or word, mix it up with your imagination and upload the fully baked results to the gallery by 9 am on Monday morning (UK time).

A lot of the same rules apply for winning the Weekend Challenge so don’t dismiss them if you want to go for the big prize, but there are a few extra hints we can give you. You will need to be an iPhotography course member in order to enter photos. It’s totally free to enter an image and you can upload up to 4 per day (8 if you’re a PLUS member).

If you have your own photography page on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram then let us know, it means if you win, we can tag you in our social media announcements so you can share it with friends and family (and make them jealous!)

We may not be able to give you a cash prize but every winner of our Weekend Challenge photography competition picks up a showcase on the iPhotography dashboard as well as a social media post to our 15,000+ combined followers.

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iPhotography Weekend Challenge examples 2021

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