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Photo competitions are a great opportunity to promote your career, showcase your work, receive great recognition by peers and the general public and acquire new clients. 

We have compiled a list of some of the best competitions to enter that are a great investment in your career as a photographer. These photo competitions cater for a range of interests and levels, from established professionals to enthusiasts and emerging photographers. Some are open only to Australian residents others internationally.

See the list below to get your work noticed and have the chance at winning some fantastic prizes.


Open Internationally (listed alphabetically)

BJP International Photography Award

The British Journal of Photography aims to award and promote a body of work that has a distinct narrative, and feature images from a compelling project on any topic.

The winning photographer receives a solo show at TJ Boulting Gallery in London, UK as well as a supplement in British Journal of Photography and other prizes.

Head On Photo Awards

The Head On Photo Awards is one of the world’s leading photo competitions. The awards are divided into Portrait, Landscape and Student categories and winners receive major cash and product prizes as well as an exhibition in Head On Photo Festival and huge media coverage.

The awards are based on the belief that all artists are entitled to receive equal opportunities regardless of their pedigree. Photographs are judged without names attached to the images, allowing for the work to be selected on merit alone.

Winners are awarded from a $70,000 prize pool. Each first prize winner in Portrait and Landscape categories receive over $20,000 in prizes, including $15,000 cash.

Kuala Lumpur International Photoawards

KLPA is the only prominent photography contest based in Southeast Asia. The photo awards have two categories: Open and Themed.

Every category has a cash prize of $3,000USD

LensCulture Emerging Talent Awards

LensCulture Emerging Talent Awards offer an opportunity for new and exciting voices in photography to gain exposure and recognition for their work. The awards are for early-career photographers who demonstrate great promise. There are no limits on age, location, or genre.

The 25 outstanding emerging photographers feature in an exhibition in Galerie Joseph during Paris Photo 2019, and eight jurors-pick receive $2,000USD in cash each. 

PDN Photo Annual

Photo District News (PDN) is the award-winning monthly magazine for professional photographers and has been covering the professional photographic industry for over two decades. The PDN Photo Annual provides entrants with exposure in the industry, with more than 500,000 readers and followers.

The Photographer of the Year receives a $5,000USD prize and a one-page profile in PDN.

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize

The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, held at the National Portrait Gallery, London, celebrates and promotes contemporary portrait photography from around the world.  The prize showcases talented young photographers, gifted amateurs and established professionals.

The winning photograph receives £15,000 prize.

World Press Photo Contest

The annual World Press Photo Contest recognises and celebrates visual journalism produced over the last year. The contest rewards photographers for the best single and series in different categories. World Press judges images in terms of their accurate, fair, and visually compelling insights about our world.

Awards are given for both World Press Photo of the Year and World Press Photo Story of the Year. Both winners are awarded 10,000 euros as well as return airfare and hotel accommodation for travel to Amsterdam for the World Press Photo Exhibition.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Whether you shoot in the remote wilderness, an urban environment or on your doorstep, Wildlife Photographer of the Year is open to everyone. For more than 50 years, Wildlife Photographer of the Year has championed ethical wildlife photography while pushing the boundaries of artistic freedom, narrative excellence and technical skill.

The Wildlife Photographer of the year receives £10,000, trophy and a personalised certificate


Open to Australian residents (listed alphabetically)

Australian Life

The Australian Life photo contest is run by the City of Sydney and has been running for more than 15 years. Australian Life is looking for engaging and intriguing photos that depict Australia beyond the icons. Photographers may capture any aspect of Australia – everyday occurrences, fleeting moments, unusual places, comical characters, celebrations or rituals, natural or artificial environments.

The grand prize is $10,000, and finalists receive $500.

Bowness Photography Prize

The Bowness Photography Prize is run by the Monash Gallery of Art (Wheelers Hill, VIC). The prize is open, with no thematic restrictions and past finalists have included both established and emerging photographers, art and commercial photographers.

First place is a $30,000 acquisitive prize

Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize

The Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize (MCPP) is a national competition that awards and promotes Australian contemporary photography. The Moran Arts Foundation invites photographers to tell a story of how they experience living in Australia – places, people and lifestyle that make our lovable country quintessentially Australian. 

The Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize is currently on hold as they reformat the prize. Check back with them in late 2020 for more information.

National Portrait Prize

The National Photographic Portrait Prize is run by and exhibited in the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra. It is selected from a national field of entries and reflects the distinctive vision of Australia’s aspiring and professional portrait photographers and the unique nature of their subjects.

The winning portrait receives a $50,000 prize package.

Olive Cotton Award for Photographic Portraiture

The Olive Cotton Award for photographic portraiture is a biennial national award for excellence in photographic portraiture dedicated to the memory of photographer Olive Cotton. The winning work is acquired for the Tweed Regional Gallery’s Collection.

Overall prize of $20,000


Good luck with your entries!


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Head On Photo Awards 2024

Entries to the Head On Photo Awards 2024 open in May/June.

Image detail: Gary Ramage