30+ Best Photography Competitions to Elevate Your Craft (Part II)

International Photographer of the Year

IPOTY is an international competition open to professional and non-professional photographers, who are asked to submit to a wide range of categories and subcategories. Photographers are encouraged to apply to multiple categories and receive exposure through extensive media coverage.

When to enter: annually from mid-February to mid-December

Entry fee: from $20 per single image

Prize: Professional Grand Prize of $2,500, Amateur Grand Prize of $1,500

iPhone Photography Awards

The IPPA are awarded exclusively for images shot with an iPhone or iPad, with any postproduction limited to IOS apps. Photographers compete across 18 categories, including series of up to 3 images.

When to enter: entries accepted until March

Entry fee: from $3.50 per image

Prize: Grand Prize winner receives an iPad Pro and the top 3 winners receive an Apple Watch. The first place winner of each category receives a Gold Bar.

It’s Amazing Out There Weather Photo

Receiving over 50,000 submissions a year, The Weather Channel’s annual contest is a top contest for weather, nature, and adventure photographers. Open to photographers from the United States, the public is also allowed to vote for their favorite images, contributing to the judging process.

When to enter: annually from July to August

Entry fee: FREE

Prize: Grand Prize of $15,000, second prize of $5,000 and third prize of $2,500.

Mobile Photography Awards

Mobile and tablet photographers are encouraged to submit their best work across 18 categories to express the artistry and creativity of mobile photography. Top images are included in a traveling exhibition and are available for sale.

When to enter: annually from October to mid-December

Entry fee: from $15 per image

Prize: Grand Prize of $3,000


This black and white photography magazine holds an annual competition to celebrate the best of monochrome photography. Participants compete in two different sections, single photographs and series of up to 8 photographs.

When to enter: entries accepted through mid-May

Entry fee: from $20 per single image / $25 per series

Prize: $5,000 in cash prizes

Monochrome Photo Awards

This international black and white photography contest awards separate prizes to professional and amateur photographers for entries in 13 categories. From architecture and wildlife to fine art and photo manipulation, the awards challenge participants to show their creativity.

When to enter: entries accepted through November

Entry fee: $20 per entry (amateur) / $25 per entry (professional)

Prize: Overall professional winner $2,000 and overall amateur winner $1,000. Winners also featured in the Monochrome Photography Awards Annual Book.

National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

Ever dreamed of being published in National Geographic? Wildlife photographers compete in four categories for this honor, as well as cash prizes. The contest has four categories—Aerial, Underwater, Landscapes, and Wildlife.

When to enter: entries accepted until mid-November

Entry fee: $15 per entry

Prize: Grand prize of $7,500 and publication of photo in National Geographic. Category winners receive $2,500.

National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year

Share your best snaps of life around the world in the National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year contest. Three categories—Nature, People, and Cities—allow photographers to show how their travel imagery is revealing, transporting, and exciting.

When to enter: annually from April to June

Entry fee: $15 per entry

Prize: Grand prize wins a 10-day trip for two to the Galápagos Islands with National Geographic Expeditions. Category winners receive $2,500.

National Wildlife Photo Contest

For over 40 years, the National Wildlife Federation has run this prestigious competition celebrating the glory of nature. The seven categories include Baby Animals,Backyard Habitats, Mammals, and People in Nature.

When to enter: annually from January to March

Entry fee: $20 for 10 photos

Prize: Grand prize of $5,000. First place category winners receive $500, second place category winners receive $250.

Nikon Small World Contest

This contest, which has been going for over 40 years, recognizes photography taken through the light microscope. It’s a leading showcase for photomicrographers from a variety of science disciplines. While participants aren’t required to use Nikon equipment, as images must be taken using a light microscope.

When to enter: entries accepted until late-April

Entry fee: FREE

Prize: First prize $3,000. 2nd to 20th place winners receive cash prizes ranging from $200 to $2,000.

Red Bull Illume

Red Bull runs this international photography contest dedicated to action and adventure sports, which is also sponsored by Sony. The competition has been running every three years since 2007, with the next contest taking place in 2019. All finalist images participate in an international traveling exhibition.

When to enter: December 2018 to March 2019

Entry fee: FREE

Prize: The 2016 contest awarded €100,000 in consumer goods and photography equipment to the overall winner and category winners.

Siena International Photo Awards

This international photo contest receives over 50,000 images from amateur and professional photographers. Whether Sports in Action or Story-telling, the categories allow photographers to show the best in their portfolio. Winners are announced at an annual ceremony in Siena, Italy.

When to enter: annually from December to February

Entry fee: from €15 for 3 images (€10 if under 20 years old)

Prize: €1,500 for Photo of the Year, €500 for Storyboard Winner. Photo of the Year, Storyboard Winner, and Category Winners receive stays in Siena, Italy during award ceremony weekend.

Smithsonian Photo Contest

Smithsonian.com has run their international photo contest for 15 years, asking photographers to submit their best photographs across six categories, including one for Mobile photography. Photo entries will be judged based on creativity, quality, originality, responsiveness to the prompt, and overall impact.

When to enter: annually from end of March to end of November

Entry fee: FREE

Prize: $2,500 Grand Prize, $500 for Category Winners and Readers’ Choice award.

Sony World Photography Awards

For over a decade, Sony and the World Photography Organisation have run this competition, which unfolds in four sections—professional, open, youth, and student. Professional photographers are judged on a body of work, while the open competition awards single images. One of the world’s leading photo contests, the total prize fund is $30,000. All shortlisted photos participated in an exhibition at Somerset House in London and will be published in Sony World Photography Awards book.

When to enter: entry deadline between December and January depending on competition section

Entry fee: FREE

Prize: $25,000 Photographer of the Year, category winners receive trip to London for awards ceremony

Travel Photographer of the Year

Also known as TPOTY, this photographer founded contest celebrates travel photography. The international competition culminates in an exhibition in London, selected from the 9 competition categories. These include Earth & Climate, Food, and Tales of Adventure.

When to enter: entries accepted until the end of September

Entry fee: £8 for single images, £15 for portfolios; Youth competition is FREE

Prize: £4,000 and prize package for Overall Winner. Category and portfolios winners receive prize packages.

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