20+ Best Photography Contests of 2018

Amrish Mudgal on May 08, 2019

Participating in photography contests is a great way for photographers to get recognition and benchmark their work against peers from around the world. Whether you are a professional photographer, a student or an amateur hobbyist, photography contests provide the perfect platform to hone your skills and evolve your expression.

2018 brings a wide range of photography contests that are sure to inspire photographers around the world, regardless of age or skill level. Beyond the broad international photo contests, there are many niche photography contests ranging from undersea exploration to monochromatic themes to smartphone-centric snap fests; you will undoubtedly find something that speaks to your interests and creative viewpoint. While many of these are free to enter, some photography awards and contests can have entry fees

Tip: Be wary of little-known contests asking for significant entry fees. Always study the history of the photo contest and the coverage it received in the past years.

While participation can be its own reward, many photography competitions also offer substantial prizes in cash or kind, over and above the exposure that you gain if you were to win one of them. 

With so many photography contests happening, choosing the ones worth your time and effort can be difficult. We have rounded up the best photography contests from across the world based on popularity, participation criteria, and prizes.

Here’s our list of the best photography contests that you should participate in.

1. Istanbul Photo Awards 2018

Courageous photojournalism is the key to this world-famous photography contest. There are ten categories, including news, sports, and nature & environment.
Entry Fee: Free
Prize: $10,000 for Photo of the Year; $3,000 Young Photographer Award for entrant under 28 years old

Submission last date: January 31, 2018

Photo of the Year, Istanbul Photo Awards 2017 - Frederic Lafargue, France

2. RHS Photographic Competition 2018

Are you obsessed with taking snapshots of your garden? Enter this flower-photo-friendly contest, which includes categories for 11-17-year-olds and even kids under 11 years old. 
Entry Fee: Free
Prize: 5,000 GDP (approximately $6,345)
Submission last date: January 31, 2018

3. All About Photo Awards 2018

With no pre-defined theme, this contest offers freedom to submit your favorite photos, and there are cash prizes for the first five winners and a showcase in San Francisco for winners 6-26. 
Entry Fee: $30 for three photos; $5 for every additional entry
Prize: $10,000 and press coverage in various photography magazines
Submission last date: January 31, 2018

First Place winner 2017, All About Photo Photographer of the Year - Marco Gualazzini, Italy

4. 1x Photo Awards 2017

Of the photography contests, 2018 provides, only this one features a judge who has photographed Ingmar Bergman and ABBA. Categories range from Macro to Creative Edit.
Entry Fee: $19/entry
Prize: $10,000
Submission last date: January 31, 2018

5. BredaPhoto 2018

“To Infinity and Beyond” is this year’s theme for the BredaPhoto International Photo Festival, which occurs from September 5 to October 21, 2018, in Breda, the Netherlands.
Entry Fee: Free
Prize: your photo on display at the most prominent photography festival in the Netherlands
Submission last date: February 1, 2018

6. ZEISS Photography Award 2018

Judges of the third annual ZEISS Photography Award are looking for a series of 5-10 photographs that capture the concept “Seeing Beyond--Untold Stories.” Winners will be invited to London in April to participate in the Sony World Photography Awards exhibition opening. 
Entry Fee: Free
Prize: ZEISS lenses of your choice (worth 12,000 euros) and 3,000 euros to cover travel expenses
Submission last date: February 6, 2018

7. CAP Prize for Contemporary African Photography 2018

Submissions must consist of a sequence 10-25 photos taken in an African country or of the African diaspora.
Entry Fee: Free
Prize: International exposure at major global exhibitions; invitation to the Image Afrique Festival, where the winners will be awarded
Submission last date: February 7, 2018

8. 9th Simorgh International Festival

Students from universities around the world are invited to submit photography on the subject of maintaining and improving health: physical, spiritual, mental, or social. Besides the cash prize, the winner receives a festival trophy and honorary diploma.
Entry Fee: Free
Prize: $1,500
Submission last date: February 20, 2018

9. Olympus Global Open Photo Contest 2017-18

With inspirational categories like "Getting Outside" and "Connections to Cherish," this contest makes for an interesting exercise in selecting your entries to match their themes.
Entry Fee: Free
Prize: Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II camera, M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm F2.8 PRO, and 1,000,000 Japanese Yen
Submission last date: February 26, 2018

10. The Andrei Stenin International Press Photo Contest

Open to young photojournalists ages 18-33, this photo contest honors the memory of Andrei Stenin, a photojournalist who died while on an assignment.
Entry Fee: Free
Prize: 700,000 rubles (equal to $12,383)
Submission last date: February 28, 2018

11. BigPicture Natural World Photography Competition 2018

Former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly is among the renowned judges of this nature-themed competition.
Entry Fee: $25 for up to 10 single images; $10 for one photo series
Prize: $5,000
Submission last date: March 1, 2018

12. iPhone Photography Awards 2018

Compete for the IPPA Photographer of the Year Award in 18 categories. Photographers must use an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch.
Entry Fee: $3.50 for one image
Prize: A Gold Bar from the most recognizable private gold mint in the world
Submission last date: March 1, 2018

iPhone Photography Awards 2017, Grand Prize Winner, Photographer of the Year - Sebastiano Tomada, Brooklyn, New York - Shot on iPhone 6s

13. Camera USA 2018: National Photography Exhibition and Award

This contest calls for photographs taken in the USA by American photographers. The winners' artwork will be displayed in an exhibit in Naples, Florida from June 4 to August 3, 2018.
Entry Fee: $28/entry
Prize: $5000 and a trip to Naples, Florida
Submission last date: March 5, 2018

14. 4th International Travel Photography Competition

This photography contest, which only accepts 1,000 applicants, is zooming in on "The Human World"--the human aspects of travel photography. Entrants can submit three photos.
Entry Fee: $24/entry
Prize: Winners get to choose between a Nikon D850, Sony a7rIII, Canon 5D Mark IV or $3000
Submission last date: March 11, 2018

Gunarto Gunawan - Winner of “New Eyes”, the third international travel photography competition organised by 1000for1.com

15. International Student Art Contest – Science without Borders Challenge 2018

In honor of the International Year of the Reef(IYOR), this contest calls for visuals that express “Why Coral Reefs Matter.”
Entry Fee: Free
Prize: $500
Submission last date: April 23, 2018

16. Nikon Small World Competition 2018

Snag the top prize in this contest with photomicrograph--a photo taken through a light microscope. Even the 11th-20th place winners are awarded $200.
Entry Fee: Free
Prize: $3,000 and a trip to Nikon’s Headquarters in Japan
Submission last date: April 30, 2018

17. MonoVisions Photography Awards 2018

Leading photography magazine MonoVisions will award creative expression in the black and white medium.
Entry Fee: $25 for a single photo; $30 for a series
Prize: $2,000 for the top single; $3,00 for the top series
Submission last date: May 13, 2018

18.  The Production Paradise Spotlight Awards for Photographic Excellence 2018

The Production Paradise Spotlight Awards for Photographic Excellence 2018 is a photography competition with a unique focus for advertising talent. The Spotlight Awards give the opportunity to talented photographers more than 50 of some of the most influential creative decision-makers around the globe acting as the judges. 

Photographers may submit imagery in 13 professional categories that include Advertising, Beauty, fashion etc. There are also two special categories: Shot on Mobile (Capturing an Authentic Moment) and Student (Every Picture Tells a Story). Each category will have a single winner and all 50+ judges will choose a Grand Prize winner from the professional category winners. 

Entry Fee: 35 euros for professional photographers and 10 euros for students & emerging talents.
Prize: There are over $60,000 worth of prizes, throughout 15 categories, with a chance for one photographer to win over $18,000 in prizes, including $5000 cash.
Submission period: From April 10th to July 17th, 2018.

19. Oyster Diving's 2017-18 Underwater Photo Competition

The UK's premier scuba diving and travel center invites contestants from around the world to submit underwater photography. They allow one image per person per week.
Entry Fee: Free
Prize: Two week scuba diving holiday in the Red Sea. Wow!
Submission last date: June 1, 2018

20. The Sony World Photography Awards

The Sony World Photography Awards is one of the most prominent photography contest in the world. With several categories for professional, amateur and student photographers, these awards showcase the best of photography world every year, with the spotlight helping many winners to go on and become successful photographers
Entry Fee: Free
Prize: Up to $30,000 (USD) prize fund. Worldwide exposure for all winning, shortlisted and commended photographers. 
Submission last date: The 2018 Sony World Photography Awards are closed. The entries for The 2019 Awards will start on June 1, 2018.

© Will Burrard-Lucas, UK, 1st Place, Professional, Natural World, 2017 Sony World Photography Awards

21. Monochrome Awards 2018

Of all the photography contests 2018 has to offer, this is the most prestigious black-and-white photography only competition.
Entry Fee: $20/entry for professionals; $15/entry for amateurs
Prize: $2,000 for professional winner; $1,000 for amateur
Submission last date: July 8, 2018

22. PhotogrVphy Grant 2018

Submit a series of photos that share a common thread and form a comprehensive project. PhotogrVphy Magazine will award the most inspirational initiative. 
Entry Fee: Free
Prize: $1000
Submission last date: August 31, 2018

23. Chromatic Photography Awards

There are 20 categories of color photography in this international contest, which is open to both amateur and professional photographers. Chromatic awards gold, silver, and bronze medals for each level in each category.
Entry Fee: $20/entry for professionals; $15/entry for amateurs
Prize: $2,000 for professionals; $1,000 for amateurs
Submission last date: November 4, 2018

A photo contest entry could be just what you need to get your creative wheels turning in 2018. These photography contests encourage innovation and aim to elevate new talent in the world of photography. So get your viewfinder ready and go capture that award-winning shot.


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