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Head On Photo Festival exhibits diverse and engaging, high-quality work across still photography, multi-media and video art. We welcome submissions from individual artists, curators, groups and exhibition spaces/galleries, Australian and international. Work can be recent or not – are you sitting on a treasure trove of past images?

We believe all photo-artists need a fair chance to show their work, therefore, all the proposals received by Head On are selected without the artists’ names or pedigrees. This ensures that all photographs selected by Head On are chosen on merit alone.

After the selection panel reviews the submissions, we will invite successful applicants to exhibit during Head On Photo Festival.

Our 2023 Festival will be a mix of online and in-person exhibitions and events across Sydney, Australia from mid-November till early December.

Festival submissions for 2023 now open
Deadline – 11:59pm Sunday 19 March


Login and submit

Submission fee: AUD$20 (approximately US$15/€12, non-refundable) per submission. *Premium account holders receive discounts

Terms and conditions

Chris Round, Jo Brunenberg, David Schalliol


Head On Photo Festival is a leading international photography festival. Our outstanding reputation stems from our guiding principle; that every photo artist deserves a fair chance to show their work. This philosophy has allowed us to show diverse quality work that breaks the mould and exhibit all genres of photography by artists at aevery career stage.

This year’s Festival will be a hybrid of online and in-person exhibitions and events. We preempt any changes in health and travel advice with tried and tested strategies in place to ensure that all exhibitions will have not only viability but also visibility. We can and will pivot our Festival program online if required. In 2020, we were the first photo festival in the world to go entirely online: 13,000 people participated in our online workshops and talks, and over 80,000 visited our website and online exhibitions.

Head On Photo Festival is a great opportunity to gain valuable experience in the process of preparing and exhibiting your work, meeting other artists and creative professionals, and being part of an internationally recognized event.

  • Inclusion in an internationally recognised festival that puts the spotlight on photography, attracting extensive publicity through a variety of promotional channels
  • Access to Head On’s infrastructure built over 16 years
  • Dedicated webpage for each exhibition on (also available post-festival)
  • Inclusion in a widely-distributed printed Festival catalogue
  • Access to premium service providers at discounted fees
  • Invitation to join Head On Photo Festival exhibitors on-line community
  • Head On help desk
  • Featured/Head On Curated exhibitors gain additional benefits.
Bondi Beach installation 2022

Welcome to our brand new submissions system which gives you better access to create, save your progress and edit your submission.


You will first need to either login or register for a new account. If you have forgotten your password you can reset it here.

You can get to the submission form either from the submission tab on your My account page or via this link.

The submission form has 4 sections to fill out. On each section you will have the option to Save draft or to move to the previous or next section. We recommend that you save draft regularly to avoid losing any work.


Go to your My account page after logging in and click on the Submissions tab. Here you will see all you active submissions you have made to Head On Foundation.

You will be able to edit your submission as many times as you want until the deadline. You will see the status is either set to draft which means you still need to pay the submission fee or submitted if you have paid the submission fee.


  • 10 resized images from the series – 1200px on the longest edge (JPG format, less than 500Kb, sRGB). You may provide a title, caption and year taken for each photo (optional)
  • Project description max 1000 characters
  • Artist/group bio, max 1000 characters
  • Read the Terms and Conditions
Paper Tigers opening, Delmar gallery 2022

Head On Photo Festival believes all photo artists need a fair chance to show their work. This is why all exhibition submissions are selected without the artists’ names, so the proposals stand on their merit alone.

  • All submissions will be reviewed
  • Blind selection will be performed by a selection panel of industry professionals
  • The selection panel has access only to the ‘title’, ‘description’ and images
  • The selection panel will decide if the exhibition fits into the program
  • All applicants will be notified of the panel’s decision by email (please check your junk/spam/trash/clutter folders regularly)

Key questions the selection panel asks:

  • Is each image individually strong?
  • Is the submission cohesive?
  • Is there a new or unique approach to the subject matter?
  • Does the photographer show an in-depth understanding of their genre and demonstrate a deep connection with their subject(s)?
Paddington Reservoir Gardens install 2022

Head On Photo Festival prides itself on showcasing a diverse selection of work that speaks to the breadth of stories that photography can tell.

  • Works completed recently (within the last 5 years) are preferable, although we accept works made at any time.
  • Works previously exhibited/published elsewhere are accepted (however, if accepted into Head On Photo Festival the work must not be exhibited elsewhere in Sydney between 1 Sep 2023 and 1 Jan 2024.
  • Collaborative works/group shows are accepted
  • There is no specified size or limit on the number of images for your proposed exhibition. The selection panel does consider the size/quantity of the work in relation to available exhibition spaces
  • We accept any genre of photography, including multi-media and video
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Open call

Festival submissions for Head On Photo Festival 2023 are open. Head On Photo Festival is an inclusive arts festival for all experience and skill levels.

© Tim Smith (detail)