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The Best Photography Contests in 2023 (Updated)

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Photography contests are a great way to put your images out into the world. By entering these competitions, you can share your photos with a wider audience. And perhaps you get some feedback from professionals or fellow photographers.

You might not win any money. But posting your images on the competition’s website has a lot of benefits. Try our Effortless Editing With Lightroom course to ensure your photos look their best. We provide step-by-step edits for magazine-quality images.

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Looking for inspiration for photography contests? Check out our Video Course on Effortless Editing with Lightroom. Learn how to bring out the full potential of your photos and speed up your editing process.

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20 Best Photography Contests to Enter in 2023

We have chosen the 20 best contests to enter each year. We hope you are inspired and have fun with them!

1. iPhone Photography Awards

  • Deadline: March 31, 2023
  • Grand Prize: iPad Air
  • 1st Place Prize: 1 gold bar and Apple Watch Series 3
  • 2nd Place Prize: 1 platinum bar and Apple Watch Series 3
  • 3rd Place Prize: 1 platinum bar and Apple Watch Series 3

This is the world’s first and most respected iPhone photo contest.

The IPP Awards are the Oscars of the mobile photography world. They have launched the careers of many iPhone photographers globally.

This year will be the 16th award since the contest’s start. Last year, they received thousands of entries from more than 140 countries.

There are 18 categories to join, including architecture, portrait, abstract, and travel.

The rules of this photo contest are simple. Every image must be taken from an iPhone or iPad and submitted no larger than 1000 px (pixels).

Check out our Urban Smartphone Mininamilist e-book to perfect your phone camera images.

A screenshot from the iPhone Photography Awards website

2. ND Awards

  • Early Deadline: April 23, 2023 (cheaper fee)
  • Final Deadline: September 17, 2023
  • Professional Grand Prize: $3,500, magazine feature, press, and publication
  • Non-Professional Grand Prize: $2,400, magazine feature, press, and publication
  • 6 Professional Category Winners: $500, magazine feature, press, and publication
  • 5 Non-Professional Category Winners: $400, magazine feature, press, and publication

The Neutral Density (ND) awards aim to promote photography. They do this by presenting photographers to audiences all over the globe.

This award is a melting pot of some of the world’s most outstanding imagery. And it could be yours. The winning image receives recognition, prestige, and publicity.

This photo contest is the perfect place for professional photographers. It allows them to compete across six main categories. These include fine art, nature, and architecture.

For amateur photo submissions, there are five categories. Both competitions go through a respected jury. It consists of acclaimed gallery owners, publishers, editors, and photographers.

These awards have been around since 2014. The ND magazine and its community brought this photo contest to fruition.
A screenshot from the ND Awards photography contest website

3. International Photography Awards

  • Early Bird Deadline: February 13, 2023 (cheaper fee)
  • New Deeper Perspective Photography Award Deadline: June 5, 2023 
  • International Photographer of the Year Prize: $10,000, trophy, exhibition, and publication
  • Discovery of the Year Prize: $5,000, trophy, exhibition, and publication
  • 11 Professional Category Winners: $1,200, exhibition, and publication
  • 11 Non-Professional Category Winners: $600, exhibition, and publication
  • Four 1st Place Prizes (Deeper Perspective Photography Award): $2,000 each

The International Photography Awards are one of the highest-paying photo contests around. It is also the only place you can land a Lucie.

There are 11 categories to choose from for professional and non-professional photographers alike. On top of this, there is also a Deeper Perspective Photography Award for photo essays and videos.

This year will see the 20th annual photo contest. The winners receive a travel allowance and accommodation to collect their awards in New York.

This photo contest is the primary funding mechanism for the Lucie Foundation. This is a non-profit, charitable foundation to honor the masters of photography.

ND Entry fees range from $20 to $65 for single or multiple images. All winning images are published in a high-quality International Photography Awards book.

A screenshot from the International Photography Awards website

4. Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize

  • Deadline: TBA for 2023
  • Professional Grand Prize: $2,500 and exhibition
  • Non-Professional Grand Prize: $1,300 and exhibition
  • 6 Professional Category Winners: $500 and exhibition
  • 6 Non-Professional Category Winners: $300 and exhibition

The Taylor Wessing Photography Portrait Prize is the leading international photo contest. As the name suggests, it focuses on portraiture.

This prize promotes and celebrates the very best in contemporary portrait photography. It does so through its established reputation.

Talented professionals, amateurs, and emerging artists can submit their work. The jury selects the best images—many of which are being shown for the first time.

They touch on ideas and concepts surrounding portraits. But they also explore other themes. A range of moods, settings, characters, and expressions are present.

All submissions turn into an exhibition. It features 59 images from the winners, including the $15,000 first prize winner.

It is usually shown at the National Portrait Gallery in London. But the 2023 Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize exhibition for 2022 winners is at the Scottish National Portrait gallery. It runs from June 17 to September 10.

A screenshot from the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize website

5. Communication Arts Photography Competition

  • Deadline: March 3, 2023
  • 9 Categories
  • Category Winners: Personalized award of excellence and award certificate

Most photography contests come with cash prizes. The communication arts photo competition stands out as being one that doesn’t. But don’t let that put you off. It is still a revered photo contest.

To be eligible, your images need to be captured or first published between March 2022 and March 2023. Contest fees range from $20 to $180.

A distinguished jury of designers, art directors, and photographers chose the winning images.

Apart from winning a personalized award of excellence, your image is distributed worldwide. This takes place in the Communication Arts Photography Annual, in both digital and print.

If you are looking for one of the most coveted awards in the photo industry, you have found it. Submit today!

A screenshot from the Communication Arts photography competition website

6. Moscow International Foto Awards

  • Deadline: TBA for 2023
  • MIFA Photographer of the Year: $3,000 cash prize and MIFA trophy
  • New Talent of the Year: $2,000 cash prize and MIFA trophy
  • Nine 1st Place Category Winners: $100 cash prize each

This photo award aims to discover and recognize talented photographers worldwide.

There are nine categories, each of them consisting of several subcategories. The entry fee varies according to skill (Professional and Emerging). There is a discount for students.

There is also a chance to submit a photo portfolio. Here the contestants can enter up to twenty images. These are both individual images or a photo series in either category. The entry fee for a portfolio is $50.

The submitted photos must be in JPEG format and a minimum of 1000 px wide or high. The size shouldn’t be bigger than 4 MB per image.

Winners receive more than cash prizes from this contest. They also get significant international publicity.

A screenshot from the Moscow International Foto Awards website

7. Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition

  • Deadline: April 30, 2023
  • 1st Prize: $3,000
  • 2nd Prize: $2,000
  • 3rd Prize: $1,000
  • 4th Prize: $800
  • 5th Prize: $600
  • 6th Prize: $400
  • 7-10th Prizes: $300
  • 11-20th Prizes: $200
  • Honorable Mentions: $100

The Nikon Small World photo contest gives you the largest chance of winning a cash prize. You can be 1st or 20th, and you’ll still win money. There is also a video contest (Small World In Motion Video Competition).

This photo competition is all about photomicrography. This is the discipline of photographing through a light microscope.

As a long-standing camera manufacturer, Nikon has been running this competition since 1975. That’s longer than I’ve been taking photos, let alone being alive.

Anyone can enter, and they do in droves. They receive submissions from almost every continent on the planet. There are no restrictions. And you don’t have to use Nikon cameras or microscopes.

Each participant can upload three images. If you don’t feel like entering, even if it is free, check out the previous winners. The images are stunning, and it might just get you in the mood to apply.

Our Macro Magic course can help you take those first few steps to discover the hidden beauty around us.

A screenshot from the Nikon's Small World photo contest website

8. Monochrome Photography Award

  • Early bird Deadline: July 2, 2023 (cheaper fee)
  • Deadline: November 12, 2023
  • 13 Categories
  • Professional Section Prize: $2,000, certificate, and exhibition
  • Non-Professional Grand Prize: $1,000, certificate, and exhibition
  • 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Category Winners: Certificate and exhibition

Are black-and-white photos your thing? Then this is the photo competition for you. There are 13 categories to enter, including landscape, fashion, and abstract photos.

If you are in the top three of any of them, you get a certificate alongside an exhibition of your work. All winners and honorable mentions also get in the Monochrome Photography Awards Annual Book.

Each image costs $22 for professionals and $17 for amateurs before the early bird deadline. After that, the submission price jumps by $5.

The only rule is that the image must be black and white—film or digital. Toned images like selenium or sepia are also accepted. So start getting creative. This is your time to shine.

A screenshot from the Monochorme Awards photo contest website

9. Sony World Photography Award

  • Deadline: January 13, 2023 (Professional) and January 6, 2023 (Open, Youth), TBA (Student)
  • 20 Categories (over both photo and video competitions)
  • Professional Photographer of the Year: $25,000, Sony digital imaging equipment, exhibition, and more
  • Open Photographer of the Year Prize: $5,000, Sony digital imaging equipment, exhibition, and more

The Sony World Photography Award has four simultaneous photo contests. They are Professional, Open, Youth, and Student. Each one has a different prize of cash and Sony imaging equipment.

Who wouldn’t enjoy $25,000 or $5000 and camera gear? That’s a lot to help you continue to take stunning shots.

One of the other great things about this competition is the traveling exhibition. No matter which country I find myself in, I always notice the Sony World Photography Award image.

The submitted images need to be taken within a year of their entry. There is a minimum of 5 and a max of 10 images that you can send, so don’t be shy.

We love this competition because it is free to enter. That’s right, free. And you choose from many different categories.

A screenshot from the Sony World Photography Awards website

10. International Landscape Photographer of the Year

If you shoot landscapes, enter the International Landscape Photographer of the Year award. This is their sixth year, and it’s still going strong.

The limitations are set to four images per applicant. This is so the experience gained from the competition is easily accessible.

From all these submissions, the jury rates the images between 1 and 100. They choose the top 101 images and move to the second round of judging. First, they find the best images and search for the best landscape photographers.

There is the photographer of the year, a photo of the year, and five special subject awards. Each section goes through a rigorous selection process. Top winners are published and receive a copy of the awards book.

It costs $25 per image, meaning the max you can spend is $125. They also have to be captured within a year of their submission.

The best thing about this photo contest is that you are not restricted in photo manipulation. Just make sure you do it yourself.

Take our Epic Landscape Editing course to ensure your photo entries look stunning.

11. Life Framer Competitions

  • Deadline: End of each month
  • Prizes: $24,000 prize fund, shared between the monthly winners. Each month, the 1st and 2nd prize winners have their images exhibited and published.

Life Framer competitions are suitable for photographers from all photo niches.

Every month, there is a new photo category, such as nightlife, world travelers, or animal kingdom. Each of the categories is judged individually by industry leader photographers.

Entering one image costs you $20. But you can enter up to 10 images when you upgrade to premium membership.

The membership also allows you to receive detailed feedback on your photos. This can significantly help to improve your photography.

12. LensCulture Portrait Awards

  • Deadline: February 15, 2023
  • Series Award Winners 1st Place Prize: $3500
  • Series Award Winners 2nd Place Prize: $2000
  • Series Award Winners 3rd Place Prize: $1000
  • Single Image Award Winners 1st Place Prize: $2000
  • Single Image Award Winners 2nd Place Prize: $1000
  • Single Image Award Winners 3rd Place Prize: $500

Lens Culture’s mission is to discover talented photographers. They look for creative photographs from worldwide. You can submit one entry for free and more with various fees. Plus, enrolled students receive a 30% discount.

This photo contest is open to every type of portrait photography. That includes studio, candid, conceptual, or self-portraits. They appreciate every approach to portraiture. But it has to be executed in an imaginative and refined way.

The winners are offered professional visibility. They have their photos featured at international photo festivals and a permanent exhibition.

They also receive press coverage from magazines worldwide. These include The Telegraph, The Guardian, Washington Post, and The British Journal of Photography.

Read our Creative Portrait Concepts e-book to see how to take your portraits to another level. 

13. PHmuseum Photography Grant

  • Deadline: February 16, 2023
  • 1st Prize: $4,000 and exhibition and promotion
  • 2nd Prize: $2,000 and exhibition and promotion
  • 3rd Prize: $1,000 and exhibition and promotion
  • New Generation Prize: $2,000& and exhibition and promotion
  • Various exhibitions, residency, portfolio reviews, and promotion prizes

This competition focuses on the importance of visual storytelling. Photographers with both a classic approach and innovative projects are welcome to enter.

If you want to take part, you can enter one or more photo projects centered around a specific theme.

An independent jury reviews the submissions with various photo backgrounds.

The entry fee is $39. But you get an early bird discount ($30) if you apply before February 16th.

This contest is a great opportunity if you are outstanding in narrative photography. And who wouldn’t be happy about extra cash you can invest in your artwork?

PHmuseum website for photography contest

14. World Press Photography Awards

  • Deadline: January 11, 2023
  • 24 Regional Winners: €1,000, exhibition, promotion, and publication
  • 4 Global Prize Winners (picked from regional winners): €5,000, exhibition, promotion, and publication

This is the most famous and internationally recognized press photography award. Its exhibition travels from country to country every year. It showcases over 100 amazing photos.

There are eight categories that you can enter. Each of these aims to find the best visual journalist in a particular field. And it eliminates manipulated and staged photos.

Every category is judged by three photographers who specialize in each area. After this process, the general jury selects the winners.

World Press Photography Awards capture the reality of our world. This contest is for you if you are an exceptional press photographer and capture important contemporary topics.

15. Istanbul Photo Awards

  • Deadline: January 15, 2023
  • Prizes: from $1000 to $6000, depending on the category, exhibition, and publication

Anadolu Agency organizes this international news photo contest. The idea came from capturing Istanbul’s diverse culture from different perspectives. Over time, Istanbul Photo Awards became a widely known news photo contest.

One of the biggest perks of this photo competition is that it’s free.

You can take part in six categories with single photos or a photo series (consisting of 10 images).

The jury comprises nine photographers involved in either photojournalism or news editing.

The winners’ works are published in a photobook and exhibitions in several cities worldwide. These include Istanbul, New York, and Tokyo. If you are a photojournalist, this contest is worth a try!

A screenshot of the Istanbul Photo Awards website, a photography contest

16. BigPicture Natural World Photography Awards

  • Deadline: March 1, 2023
  • The winner receives $5000 and is featured in the California Academy of Sciences annual exhibit.
  • Each category winner receives $1000

This natural photo award focuses on the world’s natural diversity. And it aims to inspire action to conserve it.

The contest accepts nature, wildlife, and conservation images from all around the world. They’re organized into seven categories.

This includes abstract expressions of nature, such as photos from under a microscope. Aquatic life, landscapes, wild animals, or even human interactions with nature are welcome.

You can enter up to 10 single images for $25 or six to eight images in the Photo Story category for $15. Entrants are limited to up to 10 photo submissions per email address.

Check out our Wonderful Wildlife e-book to capture those decisive moments in nature.

17. GuruShots Photography Contests

GuruShots is taking a unique approach when it comes to photography contests. There is a new photo challenge every day. It’s up to each individual how many challenges they would like to enter.

Some of the winning artworks are exhibited in galleries all around the world. An extra fee ($10) to enter the exhibition challenge lets you submit four images.

The GuruShots website and application also lets you connect with photographers worldwide. Apart from winning prizes, you can get exposure and feedback from other artists. This helps you become a better photographer.

The GuruShots Photography Contests website, a photography contest

18. Aperture Portfolio Prize

  • Deadline: January 8, 2023
  • 1st Prize: $3,000 cash prize, $1,000 gift card for camera gear, an exhibition in New York, feature, and possible publication
  • 4 Shortlisted Artists: Feature and possible publication
  • All 25 Finalists: 1:1 portfolio review

This contest is looking for new photography talents. It finds those who deserve recognition in contemporary photography.

After getting a magazine subscription, you must upload 10 to 15 photos you want to enter. What’s unique about this contest is that you must submit a CV, a photographer’s bio, and a statement about your photo work.

The jury looks at consistency, fresh ideas, and technical aspects. They want a unique approach to the subject. The theme is not further specified. It is up to each person how innovative they want to get with their photos.

19. MonoVisions Photography Awards

  • Early Deadline: January 22, 2023
  • Final Deadline: May 14, 2023
  • 12 Subcategories
  • Black and White Series of the Year: $3000 award
  • Black and White Photo of the Year: $2000 award

This photo contest is meant to discover the best black and white photographers. (Only monochromatic submissions are allowed.) You can enter photos taken with both digital and analog cameras.

Apart from the two main categories (single and series), there are 12 subcategories. These include photojournalism, architecture, and travel photography.

The entry fee for a series is $30, and $25 for a single image. If you apply before January 22nd, there is an early bird discount.

20. BJP International Photography Award

  • Deadline: TBA for 2023
  • 1st Prize Solo Show Winner: £5000 grant for a solo show, exhibition, publication, promotion, and membership
  • 2nd and 3rd Prize: Exhibition, publication, promotion, and membership
  • 20 Winning Images: Exhibition, promotion, and publication

This award is made to discover the best contemporary talents in photography. Over the last 15 years, it has launched the career of many newly discovered photographers.

This contest offers many opportunities for photographers. It has everything from exhibitions to press coverage and commissions.

The contest is free to enter after subscribing to the 1854 website and paying for digital or full access.

A panel of industry-leading photographers judges the competition. This ensures that the winners get recognition all around the world.

Screenshot from the BJP International Photography Award website, a photography contest

Conclusion: Best Photography Contests

We hope you enjoyed our collection of the best photo competitions of 2023. Entering photography contests is not only fun. It’s a way to test your photos in a competitive environment. It is also an excellent way to gain recognition and win cash prizes for your art.

So enter one yourself! Or, if you don’t want to enter one, check out the winners for inspiration to propel your own work! And if you want to improve your chances to win, master composition with our Intuitive Composition e-book! Or check out our Effortless Editing With Lightroom course to fine-tune your work.

Editing Efficiency
Effortless Editing with Lightroom
Effortless Editing with Lightroom
Looking for inspiration for photography contests? Check out our Video Course on Effortless Editing with Lightroom. Learn how to bring out the full potential of your photos and speed up your editing process.
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