06 December 2018

December's Photography Grants and Awards

06 December 2018 - Written by Simon Hall

Some of the most prestigious awards in photography are open for entry this month, with the World Press Photo Contest, Magenta Foundation Flash Forward Competition, and Aperture Portfolio Prize all accepting submissions. Learn how they can help advance your work.

World Press Photo Contest / Deadline: 8 January / No entry fee

© Luca Locatelli, from the series Hunger Solutions for National Geographic. 2017 World Press Photo Contest Environment - Stories 2nd Prize winner

The annual World Press Photo Contest rewards photographers for the best images that have contributed significantly to visual journalism over the past 12 months. “Whether entered as singles or stories, these pictures are judged in terms of their accurate, fair, and visually compelling insights about our world” say the WPPh Foundation.

Photographers are invited to submit work into eight different categories, namely Contemporary Issues, General News, Long-Term Projects, Nature, Portraits, Sports, Spot News, and the Environment, which was newly introduced last year. The 2019 jury – soon to be announced – will be comprised of leading photojournalism professionals and they will be looking to judge entries based on a combination of news values, journalistic standards, the photographer's creativity and visual skills, and the edit of the submitted material.

All the contest winners will share a prize pot totalling more than €130,000 in value, with the winners of the World Press Photo of the Year and World Press Photo Story of the Year awards each receiving €10,000 as well as return airfare and hotel accommodation for travel to Amsterdam during the World Press Photo Festival in April 2019. The collection of prize-winning photographs will be assembled in a year-long travelling exhibition that takes in 45 countries and 100 cities. Entrants must register on the contest website by 3 January (12 midday CET), while the final submission deadline is 8 January (12 midday CET). To learn more and apply, go to

World Press Photo Digital Storytelling Contest / Deadline: 8 January / No entry fee

© Sheng Wen-Lo. The March of the Great White Bear. 2017 World Press Photo Digital Storytelling Contest Short Form 3rd Prize winner

The World Press Photo Foundation launched its Multimedia Contest in 2011, renamed the Digital Storytelling Contest in 2016, as a way to recognise the best forms of visual journalism enabled by the transformations of digital technologies and the changing media economy. The competition is open to digital image-makers, photojournalists, producers, and entry coordinators with submissions that include the work of a professional visual journalist.

The jury this year – yet to be announced – will award productions based on three defined categories: Interactive (a visual story or project in a form other than video, which through its design creates an immersive and/or innovative experience for the user); Long (a single linear narrative, or series of linear narratives, on a single topic, produced as a video for the web lasting no longer than 30 minutes); and Short (a single linear narrative, produced as a video for the web, lasting no longer than 10 minutes). All entries must include photography and/or film in combination with, but not limited to, animation, graphics, illustrations, sound or text.

To put a spotlight on the relevant issues facing society today, the WPPh Foundation will award a World Press Photo Interactive of the Year and a World Press Photo Online Video of the Year prize, both of which carry a cash prize of €10,000. Three nominees in each of the three categories will also be invited to the World Press Photo Festival in Amsterdam, with a representative from each production having their travel and lodging paid for by the WPPh Foundation. The contest website closes for entries on 8 January (12 midday CET). Further information can be found at

Magenta Foundation Flash Forward Competition / Deadline: 31 December / Entry fee: $25

© Nichole Sobkechi. 2018 winner

Open to emerging photographers 34 years-of-age or under, the Flash Forward book award aims to support and finance the work of image-makers using their practice to make our planet and world a better place. “We hope to start conversations that promote awareness, engagement, education and acceptance worldwide” say the Magenta Foundation. “We want to create an expansive visual language base and celebrate and showcase young talent in all forms.”

The main prizes this year are worth $50,000 and include the publishing and promotion of five artist catalogues, each relating to five topics of special interest, which are racial issues, climate and the environment, LGBTQ issues, female-identifying photographers, and indigenous photographers. The judging panel is once again comprised of a long list of leaders in the industry and currently features Lucy Pike (Content Lead, WeTransfer), Alessia Glaviano (Director of Photo Vogue), Michaela Peker (The Canvas Agency), Quentin Nardi (Chief Photo Editor, Smithsonian Magazine), Catherine Troiano (Curator, Photographs, V&A), Chloe Coleman (Photo Editor, The Washington Post), and PHmuseum CEO and Founder, Giuseppe Oliverio. Additional jurors are set to be announced in the coming weeks. All types of photography – documentary, photojournalism, fine art, digital, and mixed media – are eligible. The submission fee is US$25, and the final deadline is 15 January. More information can be found at

Aperture Portfolio Prize / Deadline: 23 January / No entry fee

© Natalie Krick, from the series Natural Deceptions. 2017 winner

The Aperture Portfolio Prize is an international competition that aims to identify trends in contemporary photography and highlight artists whose work deserves greater recognition. The jury this year – comprised of Aperture’s editorial and curatorial staff – will be specifically looking for bodies of work that have yet to be seen in major publications or exhibition venues. Chris Boot, (Executive Director), Annette Booth (Director of Exhibitions Management), Charlotte Chudy (Editorial Assistant of Books), Brendan Embser (Managing Editor of Aperture Magazine), Michael Famighetti (Editor of Aperture Magazine), and Lesley A. Martin (Creative Director) are among the panel.

The first prize winner will be published in Aperture magazine, receive a $3,000 cash prize, and be granted an exhibition in New York. The winner and up to four runners up will also be featured in an online gallery on and may also be presented the opportunity to participate in the Aperture Foundation limited edition print program. The submission deadline is 23 January and there are no entry fees. Visit for more information.

Portrait of Humanity Exhibition / Deadline: 8 January / Entry fee: $15 - $35

© Kate Stanworth

Portrait of Humanity is a new global initiative by 1854 Media, publisher of the British Journal of Photography, in partnership with Magnum Photos. “[This competition] serves as a timely reminder, that despite our many differences, we are able to unite as a global community through the power of photography, to create one of the greatest collaborative photography exhibitions in history” write the organisers. “At its core, Portrait of Humanity will be a celebration of our shared values: Individuality, Community, and Unity.”

Photographers of any level and nationality are invited to submit work that showcases the world through their eyes; capturing the many faces of humanity, and documenting the universal expressions of life; laughter, courage, moments of reflection, journeys to work, first hellos, last goodbyes, and everything in between. A shortlist of 200 works will be published in a Portrait of Humanity book, and 50 winning images will be exhibited at various locations across the world. One overall winner will be granted a monetary endowment of $5,000 to help fund the creation of a project exploring their interpretation of humanity, while the second and third place winners will each receive $2,500. The deadline is 8 January and the costs of entry are: single image, $15; three images, $25; and 10 images, $35. To learn more, visit



Women Photograph WEC Grant / Deadline: 31 December / No entry fee

In partnership with the Women’s Equality Center (WEC), Women Photograph has launched a special open call for proposals from women, transgender, and non-binary photographers documenting reproductive health, rights, and justice in Argentina, El Salvador, Honduras, and the United States. Five grants each worth US$5,000 will be awarded.


Chico Hot Springs Portfolio Review and Charcoal Publishing Prize / Deadline: 10 December / Entry fee: $25 - $50

The Chico Hot Springs Portfolio Review is a retreat that takes places over six nights at Chico Hot Springs Resort in Montana, United States. 45 photographers will be selected by a jury to spend the week with fifteen artists, curators, and photobook publishers in an environment that fosters community and conversations through portfolio reviews, lectures, and panel discussions. The Charcoal Book Club will also grant one overall winner the opportunity to turn their submitted project into a photobook in 2020.


British Journal of Photography IPA / Deadline: 20 December / Entry fees: £30 - £45

Running for over a decade, the British Journal of Photography International Photography Award has long established itself as an important entry-point into the photographic community. The contest has been instrumental in launching the careers of some of the world’s most respected contemporary photographers, with winners and shortlistees gaining international industry exposure. The grand prize winner will be awarded a solo show in the renowned contemporary art gallery TJ Boulting, a £5,000 production endowment


Sony World Photography Awards / Deadlines: 4 January - 11 January / No entry fee

Free to enter and open to all photographers, the Sony World Photography Awards are an influential voice in the photographic industry, offering its winning, shortlisted, and commended photographers exposure to many of the leading names and institutions in the field. A total prize fund of US$30,000 plus the latest Sony digital imaging equipment will be shared between the winners.


Every month we curate a list of what is coming up in the world of photography awards. Aimed at early, mid-career, and professional photographers, this list offers details of the most exciting opportunities. To stay up to date, subscribe to our newsletter by registering your email address in the space at the bottom of this page.

Written by

Simon Hall

Reading time

10 minutes

Support PhMuseum Journalism

Since 2012 PhMuseum's articles have always been free and without ads. Every year we work to keep you informed and invite you to discover the work of hundreds of photographers. If you enjoy reading us, this can be a nice way to give back and support our independent organisation, granting us more means to increase the quality and number of contents. Thank you!