The Best Photography Grants in 2017

Want funding for a new project? These are the photography grants you should apply to this year.

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When you’re a freelance photographer, grants are an incredible opportunity to create the kind of work you care about and get paid for it. Offered by charities, arts organizations, and institutions, grants tend to offer financial support in the range of a thousand or few thousand dollars, but some run into the tens of thousands, ideal for photographers with ambitious projects in mind.

Applying for grants might seem like an intimidating process, but it’s often as simple as outlining the project you have planned and what it’ll cost to complete it. The real work can be finding a grant that’s the right fit for you. That’s why we’ve rounded up some of the best grants for photographers in 2017. These grants are targeted at every kind of photographer, from photojournalists to fine art photographers, from established pros to students and emerging photographers.

For more ways to get paid for your work, take a look at:
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By Katie Orlinsky, 2016 recipient

Getty Images Editorial Grant

By: Getty Images
Deadline: Apply between April 1 and May 15, 2017.
Entry Fee: None.
Amount: One of five $10,000 grants. If you choose, you can also receive editorial support and guidance from Getty Images as you work on your project.

Who can apply: This grant is aimed at established photojournalists looking to create an editorial project. Evaluation will be based on how well industry judges believe the applicant can execute the proposed documentary project. Photographers must be at least 18 years old and working as a professional photojournalist.


By RaMell Ross, 2016 recipient

Individual Photographer’s Fellowship

By: Aaron Siskind Foundation
Deadline: TBA, application period will begin in June 2017.
Entry Fee: $20
Amount: Up to $10,000 grant.

Who can apply: US citizens over age 21 who are artists working in photography or photo-based artwork. Applicants must not currently be in school. Any kind of still photography is eligible, regardless of subject matter.


By Hannah Reyes, Young Explorer grantee

Young Explorers Grant

By: National Geographic
Deadline: Ongoing, the National Geographic committee meets four times a year to review applications. They recommend submitting yours six to eight months before your fieldwork is scheduled to begin.
Entry Fee: None
Amount: Up to $5,000

Who can apply: Photographers aged 18 to 25, from anywhere in the world. It’s recommended that you submit a record of prior experience. Photographers will want to apply under the exploration category.


By Ekaterina Anchevskaya, 2016 recipient

Getty Images Emerging Talent Award

By: Getty Images
Deadline: Apply between April 1 and May 15, 2017.
Entry Fee: None.
Amount: This grant comes in the form of a one-year mentorship from Getty Images Reportage editors, as well as promotion of your work on Getty Images social media channels and a portfolio featured on their website. It’s not cash, but it is an outstanding career opportunity sure to advance the work of any young photographer.

Who can apply: Photographers under 30 who are starting out in their career. Photographers cannot be represented by an agency, and if entrants have published widely or earned numerous awards, they may be considered too established to qualify.


By Nathaniel Brunt, 2016 recipient

Alexia Student Grant

By: Alexia Foundation
Deadline: February 14, 2017
Entry Fee: None.

Amount: Varies depending on if the applicant is graduate or undergraduate. The first place prize for undergraduate entrants is tuition for one semester at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, which is worth about $21,000. This prize also comes with a $1,000 cash grant and $500 awarded to the student’s school.

For graduate students, up to $15,000 is awarded towards grad-level classes at Syracuse, as well as the same grant amounts. There are runner-up prizes awarded too, which consist of smaller cash amounts.

Who can apply: Full-time graduate or undergraduate students who have less than a year of professional photography experience.


By Elena Asanova, 2016 winner

Project Launch

Deadline: March 3, 2017.
Entry Fee: $45 for members, $55 for non-members.
Amount: $5,000, an exhibition in Santa Fe, and other perks, like complimentary participation in the Review Santa Fe Photo Festival. Three runners-up will receive $3,000 as well as other photographic opportunities.

Who can apply: Photographers working on a finished or almost completed documentary project or fine art photo series, who are interested in taking part in a photo exhibition in Santa Fe if they are awarded the grant.


By Justyna Mielnikiewicz, 2016 recipient

W. Eugene Smith Grant

By: W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund
Deadline: Not yet announced, last year’s deadline was May 31.
Entry Fee: $50
Amount: A $35,000 grant is awarded to the winner, intended to go towards creation of a documentary photo project in the tradition of W. Eugene Smith, the renowned American photojournalist. There are also $5,000 grants for runners-up.

Who can apply: Any photographers worldwide, as long as they are working to create a documentary-focused project in a humanistic style.


By Patryk Karbowski, 2016 recipient

PhotogrVphy Grant

By: PhotogrVphy
Deadline: August 31, 2017.
Entry Fee: None.
Amount: One grant recipient will be awarded $1,000. Runners-up will be recognized online and with Certificates of Achievement.

Who can apply: Any photographers over age 18, from anywhere in the world. Work must fit into one of the following categories: Architecture, Conceptual, Nature, Photojournalism, and Culture.


By Morgan Levy, 2016 recipient

Lucie Foundation Scholarship

By: Lucie Foundation
Deadline: TBA, it will be in Spring 2017.
Entry Fee: None.
Amount: One $2,500 scholarship awarded to a photographer working in an open theme, and two $1,000 scholarships to photographers working in fine art and documentary photography/photojournalism.

Who can apply: This grant is open to any emerging photographers worldwide, as long as their work fits into one of the areas described.


By Dustin Thomas Chambers, 2016 recipient

The Documentary Project Fund

By: The Documentary Project Fund
Deadline: February 15, 2017.
Entry Fee: None.
Amount: $5,000 for an established photographer, and $3,500 for an emerging talent.

Who can apply: Both emerging and established photographers can apply for this grant under those two categories. Photographers must propose a documentary work, to be completed in the year after the grant is awarded.


By Annie Flanagan, 2016 recipient

Emerging Photographer Fund

By: Burn Magazine
Deadline: Not yet announced. Last year’s deadline was May 2.
Entry Fee: None.
Amount: $10,000. For photographers under 25 years old, there’s a chance to get a grant in the Young Emerging Photographer category. A partnership with Fuji, this grant is $5,000, and also comes with a camera valued at over $1,000. There are four cameras available to runners-up too.

Who can apply: Any photographers worldwide. The focus is on emerging photographers who are just getting started in their careers.


By Megan E. Doherty, 2016 winner

Project Development

Deadline: March 3, 2017.
Entry Fee: $45 for members, $55 for non-members.
Amount: $5,000, an exhibition in Santa Fe, and other perks, like complimentary participation in the Review Santa Fe Photo Festival.

Who can apply: Photographers with a work in progress, which must fall under the category of fine art photography, photojournalism, or documentary photography. The grant recipient will receive funding and support to help them finalize the project.


By Anna Filipova, 2016 finalist

Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Documentary Photography Grant

By: Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation
Deadline: March 31, 2017.
Entry Fee: None.
Amount: $5,000 towards a documentary project to be completed in the year after the grant is awarded.

Who can apply: Documentary photographers worldwide. Proposal must be for a non-fiction photographic project in the tradition of foundation president, photojournalist Manuel Rivera-Ortiz. Photographers should focus on such themes as “health, poverty, oppression, war, famine, religious/political persecution and similar topics.” Individuals and groups of photographers can both apply, and the grant is open to professional and emerging photographers.

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