10 December 2020

December's Photography Awards and Opportunities

10 December 2020 - Written by Simon Hall

2020 may be winding down to its conclusion but the photography award season is just getting started, with the acclaimed World Press Photo Contests, Aperture Portfolio Prize, and our own Intersection Vol.1 all currently open for entries. Learn how they can support the development of your work and career.

Intersection Vol.1 / Deadline: 15 December / No entry fee

© Fonderia 20.9. Shot of the exhibition space.

Intersection Vol.1 – a PHmuseum Exhibition Prize is a new initiative that aims to cultivate new connections between photographers and artistic institutions. In this first edition, PHmuseum has partnered with Fonderia 20.9, a photographic gallery based in Verona, Italy, to grant one photographer a solo show that will open in June 2021.

To participate, photographers are invited to submit one or more projects centred around a specific theme, narrative, or concept. PHmuseum and Fonderia 20.9 are together looking for works that challenge the medium and show solidity in their approach and concept. A jury comprised of Argentinian photographer Mariela Sancari, the Fonderia 20.9 curatorial team (Chiara Bandino and Francesco Biasi), PHmuseum Director Giuseppe Oliverio, and PHmuseum Curator Rocco Venezia will choose the winning project. Fonderia 20.9 will provide a budget of €1,000 that should cover exhibition costs and travel, while accommodation and food will be provided during the stay in Verona. Application is free and the deadline is 15 December. Judging will then take place between December and January with the winner set to be announced in February. Apply now at

World Press Photo Contest / Deadline: 12 January / No entry fee

© Lee-Ann Olwage. 2020 World Press Photo Contest, Portraits, Singles, 2nd Prize

The annual World Press Photo Contest rewards photographers for the best single exposure pictures that have contributed significantly to visual journalism over the past 12 months. The World Press Photo Foundation emphasises that whether entered as singles or stories, all the pictures will be judged solely in terms of their accurate, fair, and visually compelling insights into our world today.

Photographers are invited to submit work into eight different categories, namely Contemporary Issues, Environment, General News, Long-Term Projects, Nature, Portraits, Sports, and Spot News. The judging process this year will be chaired by NayanTara Gurung Kakshapati, the Co-Founder and Director of both and Photo Kathmandu. “Being asked to join the 2021 World Press Photo Contest jury as chair feels like an invitation to take a seat at the table, to join vital conversations on the politics of creating visibility for human and non-human conditions and defining moments that the world needs to pay attention to, deliberate on, and remember”, NayanTara says. She will be joined by six other jury members whose backgrounds and expertise cover the different categories, and together they will make their selection based upon a combination of news values, journalistic standards, the photographer's creativity and visual skills, and the edit of the submitted material.

The winners of the World Press Photo of the Year and the World Press Photo Story of the Year awards will each receive €5,000, while all winning photographers will be invited to a small online festival that will feature presentations, lectures, and networking opportunities. The collection of prize-winning photographs will further be assembled into a worldwide year-long travelling exhibition. The deadline to submit entries is 12 January, 12.00 midday CET. To learn more and apply, go to

World Press Photo Digital Storytelling Contest / Deadline: 12 January / No entry fee

© The New York Times. Still from I Have a Message for You. 2018 Digital Storytelling Contest, Long Form, 2nd prize

The World Press Photo Foundation launched its Multimedia Contest in 2011, renamed the Digital Storytelling Contest in 2016, as a way to draw attention to the diversity of formats made possible by digital platforms and the constant developments in documentary film and interactive storytelling. The competition is open to digital storytellers, visual journalists, producers, and entry coordinators with submissions that include the work of a professional visual journalist.

The jury this year – chaired by Muyi Xiao, the Video Producer of The New York Times Visual Investigations team – will award productions based on three defined categories: Interactive (a visual story or project in a form other than video that 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 help put a spotlight on relevant issues facing society today, the WPPh Foundation will grant two headline prizes, namely the World Press Photo Interactive of the Year and the World Press Photo Online Video of the Year, both of which carry a monetary award of €5,000. Three nominees in each of the three aforementioned categories will be a granted a publication in World Press Photo’s online collection, a personal profile on World Press Photo's website, invitation to a small online festival filled with networking opportunities, and much more. The contest closes for entries on 12 January, 12 midday CET. Further information can be found at

All About Photo Awards / Deadline: 31 January / Entry fee: US$30+

© Lori Hawkins. 2020 All About Photo Awards Particular Merit Mention

Driven by a goal to inform, educate, and inspire in all things related to photography, All About Photo has launched the sixth edition of the All About Photo Awards, calling photographers from around the world to submit work for the chance to win a host of monetary prizes and exposure opportunities.

The prize pool this year totals US$10,000, with the Grand Prize coming with a US$5,000 cash award. All winners will have their work showcased during Daylighted's digital travelling exhibition worldwide, displayed in the All About Photo Winners Gallery, and featured in the printed issue of AAP Magazine’s special edition dedicated to the competition. Submissions will be judged by an international panel that includes Denis Dailleux (Photographer, Agency VU'), Claudine Doury (Photographer, Agency VU'), Stefano De Luigi (Photographer, VII Agency), Stephan Vanfleteren (Art Director, Hannibal Books), Ann Jastrab (Executive Director, Center for Photographic Art, Carmel), Hiroshi Watanabe (Photographer), Keith Cullen (Founder, Setanta Books), and Sandrine Hermand-Grisel (Founder and Editor, All About Photo).

The competition is open to all genres and all types of photography, from digital to analog to alternative processes and beyond. The cost of entry is US$30 for the first three images and then US$5 for each additional image thereafter. The final deadline is 31 January. To learn more about the judges and the various prizes on offer, go to

Aperture Portfolio Prize / Deadline: 9 January / No entry fee

© Mark McKnight. 2019 Aperture Portfolio Prize winner

The Aperture Portfolio Prize is an international competition founded upon the aim of identifying trends in contemporary photography and highlighting artists whose work deserves greater recognition. The jury – comprised of Aperture’s experienced editorial and curatorial staff – will be specifically looking for bodies of work that have yet to be seen in major publications or exhibition venues. The judging panel this year includes Lesley A. Martin (Creative Director), Michael Famighetti (Editor of Aperture magazine), Denise Wolff (Senior Editor of Books), Brendan Embser (Senior Managing Editor of Aperture magazine), Samantha Marlow (Associate Editor of Books), Cassidy Paul (Digital Editor), Nicole Acheampong (Assistant Editor of Aperture magazine), and Lanah Swindle (Editorial Assistant of the Book Program).

The first prize winner will have their work published in Aperture magazine and will receive a US$3,000 cash prize and solo exhibition in New York. The winner and up to four runners up will each have their own feature on and may also be presented the opportunity to participate in the Aperture Foundation limited-edition print program. All the finalists will receive a virtual portfolio review session with an Aperture Editor that will offer artists the opportunity to receive thoughtful and constructive feedback on their work. The submission deadline is 9 January. Visit for additional information.

Getty Images #ShowUs Grant / Deadline: 14 January / No entry fee

© Getty Images / Dahyembi Joi

In partnership with Dove and Girlgaze, Getty Images has launched the latest #ShowUs Grant that seeks to promote diversity within creative commercial photography and videography, elevating the work and the voices of women, female-identifying, and non-binary photographers. The #ShowUs Grant will offer two US$5,000 Grants and mentorship to artists who are using their talents to create inclusive visual stories on the theme ‘Women Relationships’. Dr Rebecca Swift, Global Head of Creative Insights at Getty Images, says: “Beyond our mission to break visual clichés, Project #ShowUs has been about giving women, female-identifying and non-binary individuals a voice to self-represent. That mission is as urgent as ever, so we are proud to offer a new #ShowUs Grant to support emerging artists in creating inclusive visual stories which drive a more diverse and representative visual landscape.”

The winners will be selected based on their ability to execute a compelling commercial visual narrative based on still images or video. The jury will consider the calibre of the portfolio, the project’s merit, the artist’s professional ability, how the submitted projects represent women from across the globe, and how the project will help to change representation in the media and advertising. Submissions will be judged by a panel featuring Firdaous El Honsali (Global Communications Director, Dove), Ronan Mckenzie (Photographer, Artist, Founder HOME by Ronan Mckenzie), and Julie Ruiz (Award-winning creative & design director at VICE and member of the Girlgaze Network Creative Community). Applications will be accepted until Thursday, 14 January at 11:59 p.m. EST. Entrants can apply online at



The Trolleycrackers Advent Calender / Deadline: 23 December / No entry fee

Firecracker and Trolley Books have teamed up to present a new portrait competition designed to provide some relief from this challenging year. “Covid. Covid covid covid. Is anyone else sick of this annoying five letter word?”, writes Fiona Rogers, the Founder of Firecracker. “Well Firecracker and Trolley are”, she continues. “So, we’re replacing it with an altogether more fun five letter word: PRIZE.” The Trolleycrackers Advent Calendar contest is thus offering a £500 prize to a female, non-binary, or queer photographer. To apply, photographers must simply upload a portrait to Instagram tagging Firecracker and using the hashtag #trolleycrackers. Hannah Watson, the Founder and Director of Trolley Books and TJ Boulting, will select the winner and also highlight some favourite submissions every day throughout December.


News Photo Awards - Overcoming COVID / Deadline: 23 December / No entry fee

Organised by TASS News Agency, the News Photo Awards - Overcoming COVID seeks to preserve such a unique moment in world history and is devoted to those who witnessed these unparalleled, poignant, and at times heartbreaking episodes impacting people’s lives. A Grand Prize of US$10,000 and two smaller US$3,000 prizes for best single photo and best photo series will be awarded by a jury that includes Hasan Oymez (Visual News Editor in Chief, Anadolu Agency), Grigory Dukor (Head of Photo Information Division, TASS News Agency), Gwang-Hwan Do (Assistant Deputy Managing Editor, Yonhap News Agency), Martin Keene (Group Picture Editor, PA Media), Yuri Kozyrev (A NOOR Photo Agency Founder), and Stefania Iantaffi (Chief of Ansa deskpicture, Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata).


Join Women Photograph / Deadline: 30 December / No fee

Women Photograph is calling all independent women, transgender, or nonbinary photographers with more than five years of professional experience to apply for membership to the platform. An independent committee of photo editors and industry experts will select the new members in early 2021. “While we are open to many different applications of photography as a storytelling medium, please be aware that Women Photograph’s emphasis is on photojournalism and documentary photography”, write the founders. “As always, we will be looking to cultivate a diverse and inclusive community of visual journalists and will be particularly focused on photographers from underrepresented communities.”


Pictures of the Year Latam / Deadline: 2 January / No entry fee

The mission of Pictures of the Year Latam is to celebrate excellence in documentary photography and photojournalism in Latin America. Through this contest, POY proposes a visual reflection on the development of human rights in Ibero-America and looks to shed light on the remarkable realities of the past year. Photographers can enter their work into 14 different categories, some of the most important of which include Everyday Life Series (rewarding a collection of unposed images that reflect human experience, culture, or celebrate life); The Carolina Hidalgo Vivar Environmental Award (recognising a photo essay that expands our appreciation of nature and/or understanding of the damage humans are causing to the environment); and The Pandemic in Ibero-America (awarding a documentary work related to the new reality society has had to adapt due to the pandemic). There are also multimedia categories dedicated to films as well as websites, social media documentary projects, interactive experimental works and 360º videos.


Sony World Photography Awards / Deadline: 14 January / No entry fee

Free to enter and open to both established and emerging photographers, the Sony World Photography Awards are a global voice for visual storytelling and provide a vital insight into the trends of contemporary photography. In the Professional Award, an international jury will be looking for series that are technically advanced and offer a fresh perspective on what photography has the power to do today. Applicants can enter multiple works into the following categories: Architecture & Design, Creative, Documentary Projects, Environment, Landscape, Natural World & Wildlife, Portraiture, Still Life, Sport, and Portfolio. A total prize fund of US$25,000 plus exhibition opportunities and the latest Sony digital imaging equipment will be shared between the winners.


The Contemporary African Photography Prize / Deadline: 7 February / No entry fee

The Contemporary African Photography Prize is calling for photographers to submit work that engages with the African continent and its diaspora for the opportunity to win space in a series of large-scale outdoor exhibitions around the globe. An independent panel of international curators, publishers, and editors will review the work and select first a shortlist of 25 artists and then the awardees. The winners will be announced at Photo Basel International Art Fair in June 2021.


BarTur Photo Award / Deadline: 22 February / Entry fee: US$20

The BarTur Photo Award was established back in 2011 based on the goal of celebrating the immense power photography has on influencing the way that we understand and engage with the world around us. The contest this year will look to support visual storytellers whose work illuminates the three themes of Unity in Diversity, Climate Change, and Human Love. Winners across each category will receive a share of US$10,000 in cash awards and a whole host of other prizes including residency opportunities across four European cities, exhibitions in Copenhagen, Łódź, and Berlin (as part of Berlin Photo Week), portfolio reviews, and international press exposure.


Visit our awards page to get a complete view of the best photography opportunities that are currently open for entry.

Written by

Simon Hall

Reading time

15 minutes

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