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2017 Sony World Photography Awards Now Open For Entries

The 2017 Sony World Photography Awards is now open and free for all photographers to enter into any of the following four competitions:
• Professional competition - judged on a body of work

• Open -  rewards the best single images
○ National Awards - entries submitted to the Open competition are automatically entered into the National Awards based on nationality (please check if your individual country is participating).

• Youth - for all photographers aged 12-19, a single image responding to the theme ‘Beauty’

• Student Focus - for those studying in a full time photography course, 1st challenge: 'Memories' 

The 2017 Categories


Professional Competition

The Professional competition is judged on a body of work. Photographers must submit a minimum of 5 and maximum of 10 images and all submissions must be accompanied by a series description.


Judges are looking to clearly see the creative vision of the artist in each of the categories. Aesthetic qualities to the work are primary. Images do not need to be sequential or narrative driven, but as a group they must form a coherent portfolio of work. Manipulation of images is allowed. Your creative vision should be clearly understood by the judges in your series description.

Architecture – the judges are looking for the ability to capture three-dimensional worlds into two-dimensional, whilst retaining the original qualities. Light, angle and scale are key factors but the subject matter can be wide-ranging.

Conceptual – the body of work in this category should be staged to represent an idea. Originality and creativity should have no boundaries and the concept should be preconceived and understood by the viewer.

Landscape – showing spaces within the world in all their varieties, from large scale aerials to microscopic views. Judges will focus on the aesthetic quality of the final images.

Natural World – judges are looking for artistic images of our natural, physical or material world. The category should be understood in its widest sense, from flora and fauna to wildlife.

Portraiture – the subject in the body of work is expressly aware that their portrait is being taken. The resulting images demonstrate a likeness to the subject and convey expression, emotion and / or personality.

Still Life – often a group or an arrangement of objects, Still Life typically depicts inanimate subject matters. The approach can be classic or innovative and bold. Judges will closely consider composition, lighting and framing when viewing the work.


Judges are looking to clearly see representational photography in each of these categories. Usually it would chronicle events or environments, champion causes or highlight social issues in the current world we live in. Your creative vision should be clearly understood by the judges in your series description.

Current Affairs & News – judges are looking for a body of work that documents a specific story of historical fact that has a news or current affairs agenda. The story could be of global or local concern. Image processing is allowed but it is the responsibility of the photographer to not manipulate or enhance the images in such a way that they distort or change the reality of the scene shot.

Daily Life – the work should provide a brief insight into a person, group of people, demographic, religion or culture. Normally, the insights are candid and document the daily interactions or action of the subjects being photographed.

Contemporary Issues – the judges are looking for a body of work that highlights and raise awareness of a social, global and / or economic issue relevant to the present day. Unlike Current Affairs & News, the photographer drives the narrative; the body of work is typically subjective.

Sport –the judges are looking for images that capture the intensity, emotions and action of the chosen sport subject. It could be professional or amateur, the focus could be on the sportsperson or the sport environment but a strong narrative must be present.

Open Competition

The Open competition rewards the best single images in the 10 categories below. Photographers should consider the category description when entering their work. Judges are looking for good composition, creativity and clear photographs.

Architecture – the photographing of buildings or structures that is both accurate, and aesthetically pleasing.

Culture – consider this category in the widest meaning of the word, this could include: art, sport, traditional customs, history, festivals, local events and / or celebrations.

Enhanced – a photograph which has been technically manipulated. This could include abstract, panoramic, stitched and composite images.

Motion – capturing movement within a single, still image.

Nature – your view of the physical world around us and all within it. This could include landscapes, mountains, glaciers, plants and more. Please note this category does not include wildlife imagery.

Wildlife – this category typically focuses on animals that are undomesticated and shot within their natural environment.
Portraits – images of people where the subject is aware of the photograph being taken and the expression and the emotion of the person is clear.

Still Life – typically depicting inanimate subject matter, often a group or an arrangement of objects devoid of human presence.

Street Photography – an image that records everyday life in a public space.

Travel – inspiring images from your travels around the world.

Youth Competition

For all photographers aged 12-19, a single image responding to one brief. Judges are looking for good composition, creativity and clear photographs.

Brief: Beauty 

The definition of ‘beauty’ is “the quality of being pleasing, especially to look at, or someone or something that gives great pleasure, especially when you look at it.”

In your photograph the judges are looking to see what you consider to be ‘beauty’. Take the word in its widest form – from environment to people, animals to still life.



The photo at the top of this post is by 2016 Sony World Photography Awards Open Winner Kei Nomiyama

See all the details about entering the 2017 Sony World Photography Awards at WorldPhoto.org.


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