In theory, photography contests are formal ways of becoming better in photography. In practice, photography contests happen to be sketchy sometimes. Luckily for you, we've done some research and determined these contests are certainly photography-related. Thus, great opportunities for gaining experience in anyone's photographic journey.
With no further delay, here are the best photography contests in 2023:
1. Monochrome Photography Awards
Are you passionate about monochromatic photography and are willing to become better known about what's considered high-quality black-and-white photography? Then this contest is your place to be.
This platform serves professionals and amateurs who submit their shots. Expect an overwhelming, ambitious and creative community of photographers worldwide competing by your side though. Besides the USD 3k award, this contest is viewed as an excellent opportunity for showcasing one's work to a broad audience across the globe!
Category-wise, these are the ones:
- Fashion / Beauty
- Fine Art
Visit the website here for more info on the 2023 awards!
2.Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize
When it comes to prestige, the Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize fits the shoe. This prize aims to award and celebrate the best in contemporary portraiture. Last year's winners received £15,000, £3,000 and £2,000 from first to third, and if you are willing to participate, the National Portrait Gallery calls for entries on a yearly basis. Check out their site for more information.
3. ND Awards
As in Neutral Density, the “ND awards” is another of the big names in the contemporary photographic realm. It has plenty of categories for you to pick from, like fine art and nudes, which aren’t too common for public photo contests.
Something interesting about the ND philosophy is that there's no limit on the number of individual images or image series anyone may submit. Also, the professional section winner receives the title “ND Photographer Of The Year”.
4. International Landscape Photographer Of The Year
Landscape is by far one of the most popular genres among photographic contests anywhere in the world. The International Photographer of the Year (oh my, what a title!) is selected by a young and committed board founded 6 years ago. Each participant is allowed to submit up to 4 images. The jury rates the images between 1 and 100, picks the top 101 images and moves to the second round afterwards.
5. Amateur Photographer Of The Year
If are just starting in photography, then this contest is perfect for you! The Amateur Photographer magazine invites non-professional photographers from around the world to enter its annual competition for the chance to win monthly prizes, exposure in the magazine, and the title of “Amateur Photographer of the Year 2023”.
Now, both the word “amateur” and “professional” triggers some negativity among certain photographers. Our rule is simple, if you are making >50% of your income with photography, then you are a pro, otherwise, you are an amateur. And there's nothing wrong with that!
The contest is held by Photocrowd and even have a young APOY competition for 13-21-year-olds!
6. F-Stop Magazine
F-Stop feels like a big one, the contest is backed by an online photography magazine featuring contemporary work from emerging and established photographers alike. The contest is organised so one must submit up to 12 photographs from a single body of work along with an artist statement. Something to take into account is that this contest doesn't grant cash awards, and revolves around the idea of helping younger photographers gain exposure.
7. Life Framer Photography Prize
Yes, we've mentioned “contemporary photography” quite a few times in this post, but what's contemporary anyway? Well, it all started with Diane Arbus and Cindy Sherman, to great photographers who shocked the world like no one before. Contemporary photography is the broad cultural pastiche we find in nowadays artistic landscape.
So, as you've already guessed by now, Life Frame is another famous platform focused on this genre. If you are interested in this world, there's one fundamental thing you need to consider. Whether artistic or documentary, every project should come with a clear artist statement backing up the concept one is willing to develop through the means of photographic expression.
More information about the current competition can be found on their website.
8. Lens Culture Street Photography Awards
If the Lens Culture name doesn't ring a bell to you, maybe Magnum will. The agency founded by the mythic figures of Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa on its education initiatives through LensCulture. Magnum is the agency and Lens Culture a web service dedicated to contemporary photography, both artistic and documentary. More information about their current competition can be found here.
9. Annual Photography Awards
What about getting some generous cash prizes and trophies for a change huh? The Annual Photography Awards offer the material experience of an award ceremony and are one of the most acclaimed competitions ever. The Grand Prize winner gets USD 2500 and five category winners with USD 500 each. Pick from architecture, fine art, nature, people, and special. More information is in the following link.
A Few Photo Contest Tips
Get Some Feedback On Your Photos First
We all fall in love with our photographs, and recognising such subjectivity ain't that obvious sometimes. Asking others for constructive criticism is a healthy practice science can teach us about. Don't limit yourself to asking only your photographer friends or acquaintances. Ask writers, painters, graphic designers and even programmers about what your images are telling them. And if you still find the struggle of asking others, then you should try our friendly safe space, the Light Stalking Shark Tank; don't worry about the name, we don't bite. Any place capable of making you improve is a great start.
Check The Prizes
Some of us work better when there's a tangible motivation in front of the road. Checking out the prizes can give you the needed inspiration for you to craft that unique photo capable of taking your name to the big leagues.
Read The Terms
Sadly but true, some photography contests are sketchy and you should keep away from them as much as possible. But how can we spot a fraudulent contest? Well, read the Terms and Conditions (that thing we always lie about reading and agreeing). Here, one should get a clear understanding of what will happen with our images once they get submitted to the contest. If that isn't clear, then you should consider avoiding the run.
Nevertheless, sometimes things feel legit right? Therefore, I suggest feeding some AI with the ToS and asking it clearly about what will happen with your images' rights once they are uploaded to their site. Usually, entry fee-free competitions tend to be dubious, but even paid competitions must be checked carefully!
How To Win A Photography Competition
Well, there's no secret sauce to that, but the experience will build up and eventually will take you further in your photographic journey for sure. Keep it going, and your work will eventually grab the attention of the perfect eyes. And if you want a fast track, one of the best strategies we could think of is analysing photos and statements from previous years. Build a strong visual language, and learn how to read images so you can write winning stories with your photographs!