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Photo contests offer a really great opportunity to promote your career, showcase your work, receive recognition from both peers and the general public, and acquire new clients. 

So once again, we have compiled a list of some of the best competitions to enter this year – many are past entry date but we suggest you note them in your calendar for another year. This can be a great investment in your career as a photographer. These photo competitions cater to 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 to win some fantastic prizes.

International entries (listed alphabetically)

AAP Magazine #18: Black & White

The contest is open to any B&W photography interpretation, from photojournalism, street photography, artistic photography, portrait, nudes, landscapes, nature, wildlife, urban, architecture, fashion, fine art, or documentary photography. 

Winners will receive $1,00 in cash awards, extensive press coverage, and global recognition. Entries close on 8 June 2021.

Foam Talent Call 2021

Foam in Amsterdam directs its Foam Talent call at photographers aged from 18 to 40. It’s an international search for talent from artists who have developed their voice and have something to say.

The winner receives a portfolio in Foam’s Talent Issue in February 2022, exhibition across Foam’s various touchpoints, and compensation of €700 as a selected artist in the full programme. Submit work for the Foam Talent Call until 2 June 2021.

Global Billboard / Featureshoot

This one is a new one from the Featureshoot stable. Not exactly a photo competition, the Global Billboard Project connects “the worldwide public with the work of talented photographers. For each edition of the project, photographers will be selected to exhibit their work on the bustling streets of metropolises around the world”. If you’d love to have your photo featured on a billboard in a major city in the world, this one is for you.  

The winning photographer will have their photo displayed for four weeks during June-July 2021 on 9th Avenue in New York, where it will be seen by upwards of hundreds of thousands of people.  Submit up to 5 images until 7 June 2021.

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.

Head On Photo Festival believes that all artists are entitled to receive equal opportunities regardless of their pedigree. Photographs submitted to the Awards are judged without names attached to them, allowing 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. Entries open until 31 May 2021.

Kuala Lumpur International Photoawards

KLPA is the only prominent photography contest based in Southeast Asia. The photo awards have two categories: Open and Themed. Closed for 2021.

LensCulture Competitions

LensCulture run contests every two months. They believe photo competitions are one of the best ways for their editorial team to discover both new talents from around the world and new work from established photographers. Portrait Awards – January – February | Street Photography Awards – March – April | Art Photography Awards – May – June | Emerging Talent Awards – July – August | Black & White Photography Awards – September – October | Exposure Awards – November – December.

There’s something for all genres of photography and no limits on age or location. Winners are given international visibility through the global reach of their magazine and social media platforms. See individual competitions for deadline dates.

Mobile Photography Awards

For the mobile photographers amongst us, there are the annual Mobile Photography Awards, now in their 10th year.  Founded to recognise and celebrate the talent and imagery of the mobile photo and art communities, the Awards have multiple categories including a Photo Essay with its own US$500 prize.

The Grand Prize Winner receives US$3,000 and all category winners receive prize packs and are included in an MPA exhibit tour, with further opportunities for fine art sales.  Entries open until 11 December 2021.

Photo Review 37th Annual International Photography Competition

Juried by an internationally known artist and photographer, this year’s Photo Review competition is open internationally.

Prize winners are exhibited at Philadelphia’s noted Woodmere Art Museum, and accepted entries reproduced in The Photo Review journal and website, plus there are heaps of other smaller prizes. Open until 31 May 2021.

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize

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

The winning photographer receives £15,000. Open until 8 June 2021.

The Aperture Portfolio Prize

The Aperture Portfolio Prize aims to identify trends in contemporary photography and highlight artists whose work deserves greater recognition. It is open exclusively to Aperture magazine print subscribers. Closed for 2021.

Urban Photo Awards

This international photography competition, now in its 12th edition, is a platform for photographers to gain recognition through a tour of exhibits and the Trieste Photo Days international photo festival. Registration is open for single photos, projects and portfolios, and books. 

Winners share in a €32,000 prize pool. Open until 13 June 2021.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Wildlife Photographer of the Year is an internationally renowned competition that recognises, rewards, and celebrates the work of talented photographers, from amateurs to professionals. Closed for 2021.

World Press Photo Contest

The annual World Press Photo Contest recognises and celebrates visual journalism produced over the last year. Closed for 2021.

1854 Awards – BJP International Photography Award | Female in Focus

1854, publishers of the British Journal of Photography and award-winning digital company, offer the BJP International Photography Award and Female in Focus, amongst others.

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 in a renowned London gallery with a £5,000 production grant, as well as a supplement in the British Journal of Photography and more. Female in Focus is an international award to discover, promote and reward exceptional women and non-binary photographers. Winners get exhibited in a group show. 

You have to be an 1854 Access Member to enter these, but entry is then free. The call-out for Female in Focus is open until 17 June 2021, and the BJP International Photography Award until 19 August 2021.

For Australian residents only (listed alphabetically)

Australian Life

Recently closed, the Australian Life photo contest has been run by the City of Sydney 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 

Entries are open until 30 June 2021. 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

National Photographic Portrait Prize

Closed for 2021. The National Photographic Portrait Prize is run by and exhibited in Canberra’s National Portrait Gallery. 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. This year’s edition of the prize incorporates a year like no other: 2020. Accordingly, the title has changed – Living Memory – to acknowledge “the period’s seismic events”.  The winner receives $30,000 cash and a prize pack.

Olive Cotton Award for Photographic Portraiture 

Already closed for this year, 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.


We wish you all the best of luck with your entries!








Head On Foundation (est. 2008) is a non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting photographers' work at all career stages. We encourage excellence and innovation, make photography accessible to all, and raise awareness of important issues through the medium. The Foundation's main activities are Head On Photo Festival and Head On Awards (Portrait, Landscape, and Student photographic prizes) and an annual program of collaborative projects. Head On Foundation is a bridge between Australian and international photography markets. The festival has toured in the US, China, India, Europe, and New Zealand, introducing the global arts community to the wealth of photographic talent Australia possesses.

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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