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The Best Photography Contests and Prizes in 2018

Do you dream of fame and glory? Whether you’re a professional photojournalist or an emerging photographer, these contests and prizes should be on your radar.

You’ve been working hard on your portfolio, curating the work that best shows off your artistic style and goals. Now that it’s all coming together, you’ve started considering sending your best photographs out to some of those contests and competitions you’ve heard so much about—but there are so many to choose from. How do you keep track? How do you determine which one is right for you? And how do you deal with all those entry fees?

We’ve got you covered. We put together this guide to the photography world’s best contests, competitions, and calls for entries to make finding your next creative breakthrough just a little bit easier. You’ll be excited to know that there are deadlines coming up soon if you’re chomping at the bit, and plenty further out in 2018 if you need some time to finish getting your portfolio together. And if fees are getting you down, there are even a few contests throughout the year that are free to enter.

Sharing your work with the world is an important part of the creative process. Thanks to some of these renowned international competitions, you can win awards and accolades, earn prestige and opportunity, and yes, you could even wind up with a hefty cash prize in your pocket. You never know… so get submitting!

Here are the best photography contests and prizes in 2018:

Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize

Deadline: March 7, 2018
Prize: AUD$50,000 for winner, AUD$1,000 for 30 finalists, as well as prizes of AUD$5,000 for secondary school students
Entry fee: AUD$25

Entering its 11th year, this contest by the Moran Arts Foundation aims to celebrate Australia and its people, with a focus on photography that highlights “ the diversity, multiculturalism and uniqueness of life, no matter where you live in Australia.” As such, the Moran Prize is only open to Australian citizens. It offers a tremendous amount of grand prize money and features a number of smaller payouts for finalists and student submissions, including prize money to support arts development at students’ schools.

Should you enter?

If you’re Australian, this could be a career-changer. Note that images entered must have been taken in Australia—but you can still enter the contest if you’re an Aussie living abroad.

Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year

Deadline: March 9, 2018
Prize: £10,000 for overall winner of Adult Competition, £1,500 for winner of Young Competition
Entry fee: None

This is a noteworthy competition for astrophotography, and it’s been gaining notoriety as time goes on. Lots of category cash prizes are available, and an exhibition at England’s Royal Observatory Greenwich awaits the winner. For anyone who loves astronomy, the winner galleries are a treat to scroll through.

Should you enter?

Only stargazers need apply.

International Photography Award

Deadline: March 15, 2018
Prize: Between $2,500 and $10,000 in different categories, as well as book publication and exhibition participation
Entry fee: $35 per image for professionals, $25 per image for non-professionals, and $15 per image for students

The International Photography Award does a lot to promote their winners. They publish winning photographers in the IPA Annual Book of Photography, and also organize a touring exhibition that goes all over the world. Throw in a large cash prize and a good variety of categories for photographers of all levels, and you’ve got a great contest.

Should you enter?

Yes. It’s well worth the price of entry for photographers at any stage of their career.

Foam Talent Call

Deadline: March 18, 2018
Prize: Publication in Foam Magazine, featured in the Foam Talent Exhibition
Entry fee: €35

The Foam Talent Call is one of the most prestigious international open calls for photographers between the ages of 18 and 35. Over the past decade, the Talent Call has helped launch the careers of numerous talents around the world by giving their work the exposure and recognition it deserves. The Foam Museum, and its publication Foam Magazine, is an Amsterdam-based institution focused entirely on photography.

Should you enter?

Yes, if you’re within the age range. This is a great opportunity for emerging photographers. Winners will also have the opportunity for their work to be added to the prestigious Art Collection Deutsche Börse, which offers another way to get your photography in front of an international audience.

#FotoRoomOPEN

Deadline: March 30, 2018, with more contests throughout the year
Prize: Various. The current contest offers a $1,000 grand prize and three Format Pro plans for category winners
Entry fee: Membership to FotoRoom: €10 amateur, €20 pro

Anything goes in this competition co-sponsored and funded by Format and photography platform FotoRoom. Photographers can submit their work in any subject matter, style, or approach, but you do have to be a FotoRoom member to enter. On top of the overall winner’s cash prize, the grand prize winner and two other photographers will receive a free year of the Format Pro plan. The competition will be juried by FlakPhoto’s Andy Adams. This competition deadline is coming up in March, but FotoRoom runs contests every few months with different creative sponsors. As soon as Format x #FotoRoomOPEN wraps, they’ll be announcing the next contest in the series. So check back in for entry details.

Should you enter?

Definitely! With an entry fee that equates to membership, you get all the benefits of FotoRoom for a year, plus the opportunity to win cash prizes and a year of Format Pro.

PX3 Prix de la Photographie Paris

Deadline: March 31, 2018
Prize: $5,000 for professionals, $2,000 for non-professionals and students
Entry fee: Between $30 and $50 for professional photographers, and between $20 and $40 for non-professionals

With six broad photography categories, there’s something for everybody at this Parisian competition. Though pictures are not exhibited after the initial winners’ exhibition, they are circulated in PX3’s Annual. Previous winners have definitely received increased attention in the European market.

Should you enter?

Yes, if you’re based in Europe. The contest is well-regarded, but not positioned to truly bolster careers in North America.

Moscow Foto Awards

Deadline: March 31, 2018
Prize: $3,000 for Photographer of the Year, $2,000 for New Talent of the Year, $100 for first place category winners
Entry fee: Between $20-30 for professionals, $15-20 for non-professionals, $10-15 for students

The Moscow Foto Awards aim to recognize and acknowledge talented international photographers while introducing them to the Russian creative community. The contest is open to photographers from anywhere in the world. Winners have their work featured in a Best of Show exhibition that starts in Moscow before traveling internationally.

Should you enter?

With a sliding scale for professionals, non-professionals, and students, fees are reasonable and there are plenty of chances to win both recognition and monetary prizes.

iPhone Photography Awards

Deadline: March 31, 2018
Prize: IPPA Photographer of the Year Award, gold bars (first place in each category), and palladium bars (second and third place in each category)
Entry fee: Begins at $3.50 for one image, goes up to $57.50 for 25 images

Best file this one under “just for kicks.” There’s no cash prize other than those gold and palladium bars, nor is there any distribution or exhibition of entries. With that said, there aren’t many rules either. Photos must be taken on an iPhone or an iPad, but clip-on lenses and mobile image processing apps are fair game. That said, the entry fee is nominal, and if you win you can always add it to your resume.

Should you enter?

Do it for fun, not for your career.

Independent Photographer Competition Awards

Deadline: March 31, 2018, with new contests monthly
Prize: $1,000 first prize, $500 second prize
Entry fee: $20 for one image, $30 for four images, $40 for six images

This month’s Independent Photographer contest theme is Color, which is sure to be broadly interpreted since the contest is open to photographers from all over the world. The Independent Photographer highlights a new theme monthly, so there are frequent opportunities to submit your work. Winners are featured in an annual exhibition in Berlin and an annual photo book in addition to cash prizes.

Should you enter?

Yes, if your work speaks to the theme. And if your work doesn’t fit this month’s category, check back for next month’s theme to see if there’s a better fit.

Shoot the Frame

Deadline: March 31, 2018, with new contests monthly
Prize: Different prizes each month, always including publication on Shoot the Frame’s website
Entry fee: Starting at $10 for one image, and up to $19 for seven images

Shoot the Frame is an emerging platform featuring monthly photography contests. Photographers can submit to portrait, landscape, and wildlife categories, and will win prizes from Shoot the Frame’s sponsors as well as the chance to be featured on their platform.

Should you enter?

If you’re looking for a quick and simple contest to motivate you, this could be it. Monthly contests can help you stay on top of your game by reminding you to shoot and submit new work.

Life Framer

Deadline: March 31, 2018, with new contests monthly
Prize: Various cash prizes, exhibition in New York, Tokyo, London, and Rome, publication in Life Framer’s annual
Entry fee: Starting at $20 for one image, up to $40 for six images

Life Framer runs monthly photography competitions judged by industry professionals and themed around various different topics. This month, they’re calling for entries in the theme of Urban Life. Upcoming themes for April and May are Youthhood and Faces of Life. Winners get the chance to have their work shown in international exhibitions.

Should you enter?

It’s worth a shot, given that Life Framer’s changing monthly calls offer lots of different chances to find a contest with a theme that suits you.

The Young Ones ADC

Deadline: March 2018
Prize: An ADC Cube
Entry fee: $45

The Art Directors Club (ADC Global) and The One Club merged last year, but there are still plenty of awards opportunities for emerging artists through their Young Guns competitions. The Young Ones ADC lets students compete for a chance to win an ADC Cube award in the same categories that industry professionals have been competing in at the Annual Awards for almost a century. And there are tons of photography categories open for entries this year, including fashion, food, landscape, photojournalism, and many more.

Should you enter?

If you’re a student currently enrolled in a graduate or undergraduate college program, definitely. Induction into the Young Ones can be a pivotal opportunity for emerging talent, for the exposure and prestige as much as for the networking opportunities.

Leica Oskar Barnack Award

Deadline: April 5, 2018
Prize: €2,500 for finalists, €10,000 for the newcomer prize, and €25,000 for the grand prize, as well as Leica M camera and lens worth €10,000
Entry fee: None

Named after the inventor of Leica, this award was established in 1979 on the 100th anniversary of Oskar Barnack’s birth. The award is judged by an international panel looking for work that’s creative and groundbreaking. Submissions must be series of images that highlight the relationship between nature and society.

Should you enter?

Yes. You can submit virtually anything you want, and the prizes are major. Plus there’s no entry fee, so what do you have to lose? For those under 25, the Newcomer Prize is a great opportunity.

Neutral Density Photography Awards

Deadline: April 29, 2018
Prize: $2,500 and $500 for professionals, $1,300 and $300 for non-professionals
Entry fee: $20 professional, $15 amateur

Now in their fifth cycle, the Neutral Density Awards give away a total of $7,500 in prize winnings each year. Professionals and amateurs compete in their own categories, and winners are published in ND Magazine, among other editorial perks. The professional photographers on the ND jury are balanced by other photo industry pros, like gallery owners, publishers, and editors.

Should I enter?

Yes. This competition is just off the beaten path enough to give your most striking photography work a real chance to shine.

Kuala Lumpur International Photo Awards

Deadline: April 30, 2018
Prize: $5,000
Entry fee: Beginning at $15 per image, and up to $75 for a series of images

A rare portraiture-only competition, with a focus on images that tell a story, the Kuala Lumpur International Photo Awards attracts top-tier talent thanks to its substantial cash prize and low entry fee. However, exposure begins and ends with a single exhibition in Kuala Lumpur.

Should I enter?

Yes, if you specialize in portrait photography. This is one of the only contests where the judging is geared solely towards portraiture, so it’s a good opportunity for photographers focused in that area.

Nikon Small World Photomicrography Contest

Deadline: April 30, 2018
Prize: $3,000 for the first prize winner, $2,000 second prize, $1,000 first prize, and more
Entry fee: None

If you happen to be into light microscope photography, you’re probably already aware of this contest, as it’s the only legitimate one in the field. Winning entries tour various museums and science centers in North America, and Nikon provides a nice package of gear as well.

Should I enter?

If photomicrography is your game, by all means yes. And there’s also a Small World Video Contest!

Prix Virginia International Photography Prize for Women

Deadline: May 7, 2018
Prize: €10,000, an exhibition in Paris, and a print publication
Entry fee: None

The Prix Virginia has been awarded every other year since 2012, and is open to all living professional women photographers, regardless of age or nationality. It does exclude photojournalists and advertising photography, and photos that have been previously exhibited in France are ineligible. In addition to the cash prize, the winner will receive an exhibition at Espace Oppidum in Paris, and her work will be featured in the French publication M, le magazine du Monde, as well as in an exclusive winners book.

Should I enter?

Yes! This is a special opportunity for female photographers to gain recognition and exposure—not to mention the considerable cash prize, and no entry fee.

On the Move International Award

Deadline: May 27, 2018
Prize: €5,000
Entry fee: €10

The theme of this year’s On the Move International Award is Happiness, but photographers are encouraged to imagine expressions of true happiness beyond just smiling faces. In addition to the cash prize, the contest winner will feature in Cortona On The Move’s 2019 exhibition. This contest is sponsored by the Chianti Winegrower’s Consortium. It isn’t a career-builder necessarily, but there’s a substantial prize, and it’s a fun creative challenge.

Should you enter?

It’s an excuse to go to Tuscany. What could be bad about that?

British Journal of Photography Breakthrough Awards

Deadline: To be announced in May 2018
Prize: Exhibition in London and publication in British Journal of Photography
Entry fee: £10 for a single image, £30 for one series entry, £40 for two series entries

The British Journal of Photography Breakthrough Awards are open to current BA and MA students, as well as to anyone who has graduated with a BA or an MA within five years. Winners have their work showcased at the BJP-produced Breakthrough Awards showcase in east London, and also published in BJP’s print magazine and online platform. Since the award is geared towards emerging photographers and new talents, winners also receive a portfolio review session and portfolio reprint, networking and industry opportunity benefits, and the opportunity to sell their prints through the BJP website.

Should I enter?

If you can swing the entry fee, definitely! The exposure, prestige, and support offered to winners are sure to help any emerging photographer get a leg up.

Annual Contemporary Photography Competition

Deadline: June 1, 2018
Prize: $5,000
Entry fee: $30 for up to 10 images

This annual contest run by the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center is open to all kinds of photographic artists, with submissions accepted in “photography, digital imaging, film/video, and lens-based installation work.” Two winners will each receive a $5,000 prize, and will also feature in their own concurrent solo exhibitions in spring 2019. This year’s juror is Lucy Gallun, Assistant Curator in the Department of Photography at The Museum of Modern Art in New York. The Philadelphia Photo Arts Center also runs an artist residency program with a deadline in April 2018.

Should you enter?

If you’re in the United States, yes. The cash prize is considerable, and if you’re a US-based photographer, exhibiting at this nonprofit arts center could help you gain local and critical exposure.

British Wildlife Photography Awards

Deadline: June 8, 2018
Prize: £5,000 and Canon camera gear
Entry fee: £10-£40 depending on number of entries, with free entry for young photographers

The British Wildlife Photography Awards aim to celebrate UK-based photographic artists and highlight the diversity of the Britain’s natural flora and fauna. The annual awards have been running since 2009, and categories have grown to include: animal portraits, animal behavior, coast and marine, hidden Britain, British seasons, and more. Winners have their work featured in a national touring exhibition and a print book.

Should you enter?

If you live in the United Kingdom, yes. Entry fees are modest compared to potential winnings, and you’re helping raise awareness about British biodiversity while also supporting your own photography.

Monochrome Awards

Deadline: July 8, 2018
Prize: $2,000 for overall winner for professional, $1,000 for overall winner of amateur, as well as publication in print and online
Entry fee: $25 for a professional single entry, $20 for an amateur single entry

The Monochrome Awards seek to acknowledge the best monochrome photography from around the world, at any experience level and in any style. In addition to cash prizes, winners have their work published in the annual Monochrome Photography Awards book. The contest has categories for a wide range of black and white photography, from photojournalism to architectural and conceptual photography.

Should you enter?

Definitely. The competition is open to all experience levels, so there’s not much to lose and plenty to gain.

Hariban Award

Deadline: July 14, 2018
Prize: An all-expenses paid trip to Kyoto to collaborate with traditional Japanese Benrido masters
Entry fee: 5,000 Japanese Yen

This year will be the fifth anniversary of Benrido Collotype Atelier’s Hariban Award, a prize acknowledging outstanding monochromatic photographs. The competition’s emphasis on traditional Japanese printing techniques means that the winner will receive an all-expenses paid trip to Kyoto, where photographer and print master will work together to produce a collotype portfolio to be exhibited at the Kyotographie International Photography Festival.

Should you enter?

If you work in monochrome, absolutely. This contest is a unique opportunity to get exposure to the craftsmanship side of the photography world.

Travel Photographer of the Year

Deadline: October 1, 2018
Prize: Between £250 and £4,000, Fujifilm professional cameras and lenses, Hurtigruten voyages, Royal Photographic Society memberships
Entry fee: Between £8 and £15 depending on the category

This is the only travel photography contest that rivals National Geographic’s competition. Now in its 15th year, Travel Photographer of the Year has categories that cover a wide range of subjects and for 2018 includes a special eight-image showcase portfolio category, so there’s an opportunity to play to your strengths. The contest’s exhibitions in London, now opposite the iconic Tower of London, are heavily attended and the exhibition is starting to tour internationally.

Should you enter?

Absolutely. The entry fee is low and the upside is huge.

The International Color Awards

Deadline: October 2018
Prize: $1,500 for Photographer of the Year, Outstanding Achievement
Entry fee: $35 for professional single image entry, $30 for amateur single image entry

The 12th annual International Color Awards recognizes outstanding talent in the field of color photography. Second and third place winners also receive monetary cash prizes, and both Photographer of the Year winners and individual category winners benefit from participating in the competition’s Winners Gallery Exhibition.

Should you enter?

Probably. This is one of the few awards that drills down into a genre of photography instead of a particular subject matter, and there are lots of ways to win and place in the competition.

Gomma Grant

Deadline: October 2018
Prize: Between €100 and €1,000
Entry fee: €10 early bird, €25 for final deadline

A relatively new award, the Gomma Grant was created in 2014 to support emerging and established photographers. “Consistency, personality, and courage” are the qualities the Gomma judges are looking for; the contest is open to entrants who create any kind of photographic work. Expect a high-caliber panel of judges, including photo editors from publications like The Guardian and British Journal of Photography.

Should you enter?

Since this grant is open to anyone working in a photographic medium, it’s definitely worth a shot.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Deadline: December 2018
Prize: £10,000 for Wildlife Photographer of the Year, a range of prizes between £1,000 and £2,500 for other categories
Entry fee: £30

Hosted by the National History Museum of London, this could be the world’s most prestigious nature photography contest. There are seventeen categories, covering all manner of flora and fauna. The cash prize is huge, with smaller cash prizes available in specific categories, and the exhibition of winning selections tours through 60 countries. Plus, there’s a youth category open to those under seventeen years of age.

Should you enter?

Absolutely. If you have an interest in nature photography, this is the contest to beat.

Tokyo International Photography Competition

Deadline: TBA
Prize: Participation in a traveling exhibition, print publication
Entry fee: $40 per set of six images

The Tokyo International Photography Festival seeks to even the playing field for photographers who don’t necessarily have the language skills or cultural resources to apply to some of the more well-known photo competitions. It’s open to photographers from around the world, and is judged by an equally international jury of renowned photographers. There is a theme to the competition each year—the 2017 theme was “Borders”—so check in for the 2018 theme when contest details become available later this year.

Should you enter?

If the annual theme is relevant to your work and the entry fee doesn’t sway you, yes. The international traveling exhibition is a unique opportunity for increased exposure, but there’s no cash prize.

Smithsonian Photo Contest

Deadline: TBA
Prize: $2,500 grand prize, and $500 runners up prizes
Entry fee: None

The Smithsonian’s reputation might not be quite on the level of National Geographic amongst photographers, but it has similar mainstream recognition, which translates into major exposure. Categories for entry include: Natural World, Travel, People, The American Experience, Altered Images, and Mobile, a category specifically for photos taken on phones or tablets.

Should you enter?

Yes. There’s no entry fee, and the categories are diverse enough to accommodate most photographers.

National Geographic Photography Contests

Deadline: TBA
Prize: Prizes between $500 and $7,500, and the chance to be published in National Geographic
Entry fee: $15 per entry

National Geographic has a long and storied tradition of great photography, and this contest is one of the world’s most popular. They offer two major contests with a variety of prizes: Travel Photographer of the Year and Nature Photographer of the Year. For photographers focused on documenting the natural world, this is an important contest to consider.

Should you enter?

Yes, if you shoot travel or nature work. Previous winners have reported exponential increases in business.

Photography contests to bookmark for 2019:

These contests have unfortunately already closed their call for 2018 entries. But they’re still important opportunities to have on your radar as a photographer. Keep these photo competitions in the back of your mind as you work on your portfolio this year. For some of the more major contests, beginning to think about your submission well in advance could be a definite advantage.

PDN Photo Annual

Deadline: March 2019
Prize: Between $2,000 and $10,000, as well as publication in PDN
Entry fee: $45 for a single entry, $55 for a series, $25 for students

Photo District News’ contest accepts submissions in ten categories, including fine art, student work, and photojournalism. PDN circulates the winners’ photos in its print magazine and on its website, to a readership full of editors and buyers. This contest is one of the best ways to get industry exposure.

Should you enter?

Yes. Though prizes vary depending on category, being in PDN is a potentially career-making incentive.

GDT European Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Deadline: March 2019
Prize: €100 to 800 for category winners and runners up, €3,000 plus travel and accommodations at awards show for overall winner
Entry fee: €30, free for those entering the Young Photographers category

This nature photography contest has a creative focus. Categories include: Birds, Mammals, Other Animals, Plants and Fungi, Landscapes, The Underwater World, Man and Nature, and Nature’s Studio. If you’re into shooting wildlife photography, you likely have an image that fits one of those categories. It’s also a great option for young photographers, with separate awards for those under 14 years old and 15 to 17 years old.

Should you enter?

Yes, if you’re an avid wildlife photographer residing in Europe.

Feature Shoot Emerging Photography Awards

Deadline: February 2019
Prize: $500
Entry fee: $20

For emerging photographers, it can be tricky navigating competitions that promise career-making exposure. Feature Shoot is the real deal. The contest has established itself as a reliable venue for new talent breaking through to the next level in professional photography. The prize isn’t much money, but this helps keep some of the “big fish” out of the competition, which means emerging talent has a greater chance of being noticed.

Should you enter?

If you’re trying to turn your photography hobby into a career, this is one of the best ways to do it.

Sony World Photography Awards

Deadline: January 2019
Prize: $5,000
Entry fee: None

With a substantial cash prize and separate categories for pros, students, and youth, the Sony World Photography Awards is one of the most highly regarded photography contests around. Additionally, winners and finalists will have their work exhibited at London’s Somerset House and featured in a traveling exhibition that goes all over the world.

Should you enter?

Absolutely. This is an opportunity for photographers at all levels to gain world-class exposure.

Pictures of the Year International

Deadline: January 2019
Prize: $1,000
Entry fee: $50

Going strong for over 75 years, Pictures of the Year International (POYi) is one of oldest and most reputable photography competitions around. It gives out awards in a range of photojournalism and documentary photography-related categories. POYi is an internationally regarded contest, and winning photos are exhibited at a number of high profile venues, including the Newseum in Washington D.C.

Should you enter?

Yes. The prize money isn’t going to change your life, but the exposure just might. Plus, there are 22 different categories open for submission, which means that you can find your niche.

World Press Photo

Deadline: January 2019
Prize: €10,000
Entry fee: None

World Press Photo’s contest is arguably the most prestigious photojournalism contest in the world. The exhibition of winners tours 45 countries, and the accompanying publication is internationally distributed. The cash prize and high level of competition puts this contest in the upper echelon.

Should you enter?

Yes. Few photography contests offer the same cash or exposure as World Press Photo, let alone both.

Istanbul Photo Awards

Deadline: January 2019
Prize: $8,000
Entry fee: None

Influential global news network Andalou Agency’s new photojournalism competition doesn’t have tremendous cachet yet, but the cash prize has attracted top tier talent. The winner exhibitions take place in Shanghai, Izmir, Ankara, and Antalya.

Should you enter:

Maybe. With no entry fee, there’s nothing to lose, but this competition doesn’t afford the same exposure as many other contests.

Alexia Foundation Professional Grant

Deadline: February 2019
Prize: $20,000
Entry fee: $50

Unlike other contests or prizes, the Alexia Foundation Grants will give you money to create work in the future. It gives you “the financial ability to produce substantial stories that drive change in the effort to make the world a better place.” The photographs you submit demonstrate your ability and the accompanying written proposal explains how you’ll use the funds.

Should you enter:

Yes. If you’re interested in social justice, think up a unique photography series proposal and hopefully Alexia Foundation will help you make it happen.

Alexia Foundation Student Grant

Deadline: March 2019
Prize: Between $500 and $1,000, as well as money towards tuition at Syracuse University
Entry fee: None

The Alexia Foundation Student Grants give student winners the chance to attend Syracuse University or a selection of professional workshops, as well as offering grant money to fund new photo projects. With a focus on work that deals with social issues, this grant requires a detailed project proposal. Applicants can include work in audio, video, or VR formats in addition to still photography.

Should you enter:

Yes, if you’re a student currently pursuing an undergraduate, graduate, or associate degree. This award offers a good chance to expand your education as well as your portfolio.

Prix Elysée

Deadline: March 2019
Prize: 80,000 Swiss Francs to complete a proposed project and publish an accompanying book
Entry fee: None

Photographers who have attained success in their early careers by exhibiting and publishing their works are eligible for the Prix Elysée. You’ll need a “reputed professional” to nominate you for the prize, but chances are if you’re at the career level that the Prix Elysée expects from its applicants, that won’t be a problem. Eight finalists receive 5,000 Swiss Francs toward original projects created for the competition, and each of those projects will round out final portfolio submissions in jury consideration.

Should you enter?

Maybe. For photographers who are already further along in their careers, the Prix Elysée is a great opportunity to make the transition to the next level—even towards a mid-career retrospective. This one’s definitely not for beginners.

Big Picture Natural World Photography Competition

Deadline: March 2019
Prize: $5,000 grand prize, $1,000 category prizes
Entry fee: $25 (up to 10 photos), $15 (photo essay category)

The California Academy of Sciences puts on this competition and also hosts the winner exhibition. This competition’s reputation is growing every year. It seeks to illustrate the rich diversity of life on Earth and inspire action to protect and conserve it through the power of imagery. Categories include: Art of Nature, Aquatic Life, Winged Life, Terrestrial Wildlife, Human/Nature, Photo Series: Time Capsule, and Landscapes, Waterscapes, and Flora. Big Picture’s chair is award-winning conservation photographer Suzi Eszterhas.

Should you enter?

Yes, it’s an obvious choice for nature photographers. Entry is open to photographers worldwide.

Good luck!

And there you have your top contests and competitions from the 2018 photography world, and a few for the future! No matter how niche your work may seem or what kind of photography you love to create, chances are there’s a contest coming up for you.

Our advice? Reach for the stars and push yourself to new horizons, but do so with a little self-awareness. If you’re at the very start of your career as a photographer, it may not be a smart move to apply to every competition with a steep entry fee. Be selective with these contests in the same way you’re selective with your work when you put together your photography portfolio.

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