Best photography competitions to enter in 2023

One of the best ways to challenge yourself photographically is to enter photography competitions. Luckily, there are dozens out there to choose from, no matter your genre, style or level.

Wading through the sheer number of awards available can be a little daunting, so we’ve chosen some highlights for the year ahead, with a selection of important photography competitions for your consideration.

You’ll find all the crucial information you need, including entry dates, where to enter your work and entry fees. We’ve also spoken to a number of judges and organisers to share with you some top tips to help your work stand out from the crowd. Some of the information was subject to change, so it’s always worth double-checking deadlines on individual competition websites to ensure you don’t miss out.

With cash, prizes and kudos up for grabs, there’s never been a better time to put your work forward for an award – how many will you enter?

  • Amateur Photographer of the Year
  • Landscape Photographer of the Year
  • Sony World Photography Awards
  • LensCulture Photography Awards
  • Anthology Photography Competition
  • Travel Photographer of the Year
  • Astronomy Photographer of the Year
  • Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year
  • Wildlife Photographer of the Year
  • Environmental Photographer of the Year
  • Taylor Wessing Photographic Prize
  • British Wildlife Photography Awards
  • Close Up Photographer of the Year
  • International Garden Photographer of the Year
  • EISA Maestro
  • Nature Photographer of the Year
  • SINWP Bird Photographer of the Year
  • iPhone Photography Awards
  • RPS International Photography Exhibition 164
  • British Photography Awards
  • Weather Photographer of the Year
  • Fine Art Photography Awards
  • World Sports Photography Awards
  • Historic Photographer of the Year
  • Minimalist Photography Awards
  • Underwater Photographer of the Year
  • What are the best photography competitions to enter in 2023?

    Amateur Photographer of the Year (APOY)

    Opens 2023 competition now open
    Closes November 2023
    Entry fee 1 free entry available per round, £8 for 1 image entry, bundles available. Free for Young APOY
    Prizes £11,000 worth of prizes, provided by MPB

    About – Of course we could only kick off the top list with our very own competition. Amateur Photographer of the Year – known as APOY – is a points-based competition, where photographers can take home prizes for each round, culminating in the overall winner being awarded the top prize at the end of the year. In 2022, that accolade went to Tommaso Carrara, who won no fewer than four rounds with a great set of images.

    But who will go the distance this year? This is a competition which will push you to try genres and subjects outside of your comfort zone, which can only be of benefit to your photography.

    Top Tip – Amateur Photographer editor Nigel Atherton says, ‘You get one free entry with every copy of AP, but don’t forget that you can buy additional entries from Photocrowd to increase your chances of winning. When it comes to choosing an image to submit, consider how it looks at smaller sizes – this is often the way judges will first come across your image and may make their initial judgement based upon it.’

    Landscape Photographer of the Year

    Opens TBC
    Closed 2023 competition now closed
    Entry fee £9.99 single image, £24.99 up to 8 images, £34.99 up to 20 images.
    Prizes Total fund worth £20,000, overall winner receives £10,000.

    About – The competition sees thousands of entries each edition, so you’ll have to work hard to stand out from the crowd – but winning the award can set you on a life-changing path. The winning entries will also be exhibited in a central London location.

    Top Tip – Founder and head judge of the awards, Charlie Waite, says, ‘Enter the competition with confidence and conviction that your photograph says what you wish it to say and will awaken something emotional in the viewer. Who knows, perhaps your chosen image(s) may have a bearing on your future as a photographer.’

    Landscape Photographer of the Year 2022 winner announced!

    Landscape photographer of the year overall 2022 winner William Davies - Brecon In Winter Location: Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales Canon EOS 5DSR, EF 70-200mm f/4L

    William Davies LPOTY 2022 Winner

    Sony World Photography Awards

    Opens Now open
    Closes Student competition closes 30 November 2023, Youth competition and Open competition closes 5 January 2024, Professional competition closes 12 January 2024
    Entry fee Free
    Prizes A total prize fund of $30,000 (USD) plus Sony digital imaging equipment, exhibition and more

    About – The Sony World Photography Awards spans four different photography competitions – one for professional photographers, another accessible to all, and Youth and Student competitions. All of the awards are free to enter, and there are lots of different categories to choose from. Each year, the winning entries are displayed in a major exhibition at London’s Somerset House.

    Top Tip – Exhibition curator and chair of the juries Mike Trow says, “What makes the Sony World Photography Awards so exciting is the range of subjects and global reach of the stories and images selected. My advice for entrants is to choose your categories carefully and believe in your story. Show the judges how you see the world, but try to avoid cliché. Photography techniques and styles are getting more adventurous and dynamic, so technical excellence is also necessary.’

    Innovative migrant self-portraits win Sony World Photography 2022 Awards

    Lens Culture Photography Awards

    Opens no awards currently open
    Closes Closed
    Entry fee Free (1 photo), $35 (5+ single photos), $45 (a series of max. 10 photos), 30% off for students
    Prizes Winners get $10,000, have their work exhibited in New York and more.

    About – Lens Culture has many competitions throughout the year, ranging from genres like art photography and black and white photography to street photography and it even has its Emerging Talent Awards for new photographers who don’t have an international profile yet. Notably, for all these competitions, there is also an option to get feedback for your work.

    Top Tip – Lens Culture advises to be persistent, “Many successful photographers enter the same work in several competitions before they finally win. This is an effective strategy to have your work seen by many different jurors and build your career. Persistence is the key to getting your work seen by influential experts worldwide – it only takes one person to make a positive impact on your creative journey!”

    Anthology Photography Competition

    Opens 2023 competition now open
    Closes30 November 2023
    Entry fee €18
    Prizes €500, editorial coverage in a future issue of Anthology Magazine, and a one-year subscription to Anthology

    About- This competition accepts everything from your usual suspects (street, wildlife, still life) to technically manipulated images like abstract, panoramic, stitched and composite. Images must interpret a theme, which this year is ‘The World We Live In’.

    Top Tip- It is worth keeping in mind that submissions are judged on quality, creativity, originality, and visual/emotional impact and the website adds that creative interpretation of the brief can gain you extra merit. It also advises entrants to ‘refer to Anthology or purchase a copy before submitting your work, so that you can see the type of material we publish.’

    Travel Photographer of the Year

    Opens Now open
    Closes 1 October 2023
    Entry fee £10-£50, Free for young photographers under 18
    Prizes £1,000 plus Fujifilm X100V camera and more.

    About – This competition has several categories to choose from, and with travel being such a broad subject, you may find you already have something ready to enter.

    Top Tip – The founder of Travel POTY, Chris Coe, says, ‘Enter your best not your favourite image, stick to the category brief/theme (don’t try to persuade yourself that just because you like the shot it really does fit the theme!) and ask someone else’s opinion about your image choice – it’s surprising what fresh eyes can see. Also, think about entering the category you feel is the hardest, as this may well have the least entries!’

    TPOTY 2021 winner Fortunato Gallo's image of a beach at South Uist, Outer Hebrides, Scotland

    TPOTY 2021 winner Fortunato Gallo’s image of a beach at South Uist, Outer Hebrides, Scotland

    Astronomy Photographer of the Year

    Opens TBC
    Closes 2023 competition now closed
    Entry fee £10 per entrant, Young Competition exempt
    Prizes £10,000, plus category prizes and Young Competition

    About – This competition showcases the world’s best space photography, which includes spectacular skyscapes, distant planets and galaxies. You can submit up to ten images across a number of categories.

    Top Tip – Dr Melanie Vandenbrouck, a judge for the competition, says, ‘Be yourself, but also try something new. My experience is that pictures that emulate other astrophotographers’ images often don’t feel very natural. But trying to push your own limits and imagination can create powerful results. This competition is about beauty as much as it is about the astronomical objects captured or the technical skill deployed.’

    Rare photograph announced as Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2022 winner

    Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year

    Opens  2024 competition now open
    Closes 24th February 2024 midnight GMT
    Entry fee £35 for 5 images, £7 for additional entries, free for under 18s.
    Prizes £5,000 for the overall winner, various prizes for category winners.

    About – Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year has consistently attracted the very best photographic talent since its inception almost ten years ago. Last year, photographers from 77 countries entered over 9,000 individual images. With lots of categories to choose from, there should be something which matches your specific portfolio – don’t make the mistake of thinking that the judges are only looking for highly stylised food advertising shots.

    Top Tip – Judge Yasia Williams, Art Director at Octopus Publishing, says, ‘I look for originality – I want to see something I’ve never seen before, or a familiar image but seeing it photographed from a new and exciting perspective. The wow factor – an image that instantly makes you want to know more about it and continue to look at it. Feeling – a picture that stirs emotion.’

    Candy Floss seller portrait wins Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year 2023!

    Pappu Jaiswal, a candy floss seller in Mumbai, India, on the streets near to Versova Beach

    The Candy Man. © Jon Enoch | Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year 2023

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Opens 16 October 2023
    Closes 2023 competition now closed
    Entry fee Entrants to the adult competition may enter up to 25 images for a £30 fee, which increases to £35 in the final week of the entry period. A waiver for the entry fee has been introduced for photographers entering the adult competition who live in 50 countries. Photographers 17 and under may enter up to 10 images for free.
    Prizes Winner receives £10,000, smaller cash prizes also available

    About – One of the most important and prestigious photography competitions of the calendar, Wildlife Photographer of the Year is organised by the Natural History Museum in London. For over 50 years, it has championed ethical wildlife photography, forming a major exhibition which takes place at the museum. Some of the biggest names in wildlife photography have placed in the competition – the positive impact it could have on your career can’t be understated.

    Top Tip – Chair of the Wildlife POTY jury Roz Kidman Cox advises, ‘Think urban. One category that has a relatively low number of entries is Urban Wildlife. Statistically, it gives you a much greater chance of being placed. And as the category encompasses any animal or plant in a human-dominated environment, that means nature on your doorstep. So no need to travel, and the opportunity to revisit a site or reshoot a vision.’

    Cactus bee close-up wins Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2022!

    Environmental Photographer of the Year

    Opens 2024 competition TBC
    Closes 2023 competition now closed
    Entry fee Free to enter
    Prizes £5,000 for EPOTY, Z Series Mirrorless camera and two NIKKOR Z lenses for Young EPOTY, £1,000 for each category

    About – The Environmental Photographer of the Year competition showcases the most inspirational environmental photography from around the world. The award celebrates humanity’s ability to survive and innovate and showcases thought-provoking images that call attention to our impact and inspire us to live sustainably. Open to professional and amateur photographers, includes and ‘Young’ category. Winners were announced in December 2022.

    Environmental Photographer of the Year 2022 winners announced!

    Taylor Wessing Photo Portrait Prize

    Opens 2024 competition TBC
    Closes Now closed
    Entry fee £21 per photograph
    Prize £15,000 cash prize for the winner

    About – Organised every year by the National Portrait Gallery, the Taylor Wessing Photographic Prize is probably the most prestigious portrait photography competition there is. If portrait photography is your thing, being validated by this competition can do wonders for your confidence and your career.

    Lockdown laundry portraits win prestigious Taylor Wessing portrait prize 2022

    British Wildlife Photography Awards

    Opens TBC
    Closes 2024 competition now closed
    Entry fee £10-£54 depending on how many images you want to submit
    Prizes Overall winner receives £5,000, other prizes available

    About – Established in 2009, the now decade-old British Wildlife Awards was launched to celebrate the diversity and wealth of Britain’s natural history. It’s a competition which encourages you to look to your own doorstep for stunning imagery of local flora and fauna, with each year having a special theme.

    Top Tip – Judge and former winner of the British Wildlife Photography Awards, photographer and conservationist Paul Colley, says, ‘Find a common subject close to home, experiment and accept initial failure as the price of ultimate success. Competition judges get excited by different images, by novelty and imagination. A common subject close to home allows you to try many new ideas quickly, which experimental photography demands. Novelty has possibilities constrained only by your imagination. Imagine the subject in a completely different way and then invest all your time working out how to do it. Most people give up after a few failed experiments. The imaginative souls who tough it out succeed.’

    Close Up Photographer of the Year

    Opens TBC
    Closes CUPOTY 5 now closed
    Entry fee £11-£44 depending on number of entries
    Prize £2,500 cash prize for the winner

    About – Close Up Photographer of the Year was founded by long-term AP contributor Tracy Calder and her husband Daniel. With a love for macro photography, they launched CUPOTY in 2018 to celebrate close-up, macro and micro photography, allowing it to take centre stage. The annual competition is open to anyone using any device, from a mobile phone to an electron microscope. The competition has a number of different categories.

    Top Tip – Founder of the awards Tracy Calder says, ‘Remove distractions – any blemish will appear magnified when shooting up close, so spend time removing specks of pollen, dust etc at the time of shooting if possible. Think about the background – last year entrants used everything from a velvet glove to a bank folder. The area behind your subject should never be an afterthought. Tell a story – beautiful close-up portraits of butterflies and plants are wonderful, but if you can show an element of behaviour then it will lift your image to another level.’

    PLANTS CUPOTY © Barry Webb Holly Parachute. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mk II, Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f/2.8 Macro, 1/10sec at f/4, ISO 200

    International Garden Photographer of the Year

    Opens Now open
    Closes Variety of categories closing between 30 March – 31 October
    Entry fee Free/£16 per category, up to 4-8 images, depending on category.
    Prize Cash prize for overall winner

    About – In 2022, IGPOTY returned for its 15th annual competition, with categories which include ‘The Beauty of Plants,’ ‘Abstract Views’, ‘Beautiful Gardens’ and more. There will also be four photo projects and special awards. The contest is supported by Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and is open to both amateurs and professionals.

    Top Tip – James McGlinchey, Exhibitions Manager at IGPOTY says, ‘Introduced as a new category in 2019 was Plants and Planet. It gives climate change issues exposure, trees are planted for every entry and entrants can still scoop the prize money and all-important title. My other top tip would be to shoot original content – there are many competitions out there and to stand out, our judges want to see new, evocative content that excites the audience.’

    IGPOTY 16 winner revealed!

    EISA Maestro

    Opens TBC
    Closes 2023 competition closed
    Prize 1st prize €1500, 2nd prize €1000 and 3rd prize €750

    About – Organised by the Expert Imaging and Sound Association, of which Amateur Photographer is a part, the Maestro Photo Contest is open to both amateur and semi-professional photographers who create a portfolio of images.

    Top Tip – Andy Westlake, AP’s Technical Editor and judge at EISA Maestro says, ‘It’s a portfolio-based competition, so make sure you enter a set of images with a coherent vision and style that are directly relevant to the year’s theme.’

    See EISA Maestro 2023 entry details.

    Kim Ayres, EISA Maestro 2021 UK Winner

    Nature Photographer of the Year

    Opens TBC
    Closes 2023 competition now closed
    Entry fee from €17, free for 10-17 year olds
    Prizes Total cash prize €25,000, €3,000 for the winner

    About – Nature Photographer of the Year not only gives you the opportunity to win great prizes and earn some cachet, it’s also a chance to support nature conservation. The awards ceremony takes place at the yearly Nature Talks Photo Festival in the Netherlands, where the winning images are also exhibited.

    Top Tip – Former AP editor Keith Wilson, who chaired the Nature POTY jury between 2017-2019, says, ‘Try to avoid the most popular categories such as mammal and bird portraits. It takes something rare or exceptional to win these. By comparison, categories involving macro photography, so plants and fungi or invertebrates, are neglected, but the standard has improved immensely in recent years. Consider also black & white categories.’

    SINWP Bird Photographer of the Year in aid of RSPB

    Opens Now open
    Closes 31st October 2023
    Entry fee Minimum donation of £1
    Prizes Prize package worth over £1,145

    About – Another competition which not only gives you the opportunity to prove your mettle, but do some good, is SINWP Bird POTY. The 2020 competition raised over £2,000 for the RSPB – 100% of the donations from entry fees go to the charity.

    Top Tip – Colin Jones, from the Societies, says, ‘Finer technical details are pored over with particular emphasis on storytelling, pictorial quality, behaviour, sharpening, correct scaling use, subject movement control, noise and ISO selection, and the quality of portrayal of the species’ characteristics.’

    iPhone Photography Awards

    Opens TBC
    Closes Now closed
    Entry fee $5.50 – $75.50
    Prizes Top Prizes TBC, a Gold Bar, a Platinum bar

    About – Now in its 15th year, this competition is open to photographers worldwide – so long as their images are taken on an iPhone or an iPad. There are several categories, including Architecture, Animals, Floral, Landscape and more. Entering a competition like this is a good way to test the old theory that the best camera is the one that you have with you – leave your ‘real’ camera at home.

    Flying Boys by Dimpy Bhalotia won the iPhone Photography Awards in 2020. © Dimpy Bhalotia 2022

    Flying Boys by Dimpy Bhalotia won the iPhone Photography Awards in 2020. © Dimpy Bhalotia 2022

    RPS International Photography Exhibition 166

    Opens TBC
    Closes 165 exhibition open call now closed
    Entry fee  One free single image for all. From £18-£30
    Prize £4,000 for future projects

    About – Celebrating photography from across the globe, the annual RPS International Exhibition is selected from an open call. Alongside the opportunity to exhibit, £4,000 is awarded to support future photographic projects.

    British Photography Awards

    Opens TBC
    Closes 2023 competition now closed
    Entry fee £5 per image
    Prize Invitation to the prestigious award ceremony

    About – Aimed at celebrating the talent of all British and British-based photographers, the BPA works with a range of charities to operate a non-profit competition. Over 90% of the entry fee goes directly to a charity of your choosing, with ticket sales from the annual gala dinner also going towards good causes.

    Weather Photographer of the Year

    Opens TBC
    Closes 2023 competition now closed
    Entry fee Free
    Prizes £5,000 cash prize for the winner, £2,500 to the Mobile category winner, £750 to Young winner.

    About – Organised by the Royal Meteorological Society (RMetS), the 2021 Weather POTY competition attracted more than 9,000 entries. It is judged by a diverse group of people including meteorologists, photographers and photo editors. It’s open to anybody, using any equipment and there’s also a Young category for under 18s. The judges look for images which capture the beauty, power, occasional absurdity and fragility in the face of human activity – it could include clouds, precipitation, frost or ice, fog, optical phenomena such as rainbows, lightning and tornadoes.

    Storm Eunice, Christopher Ison. 18 February 2022. Weather Photographer of the Year 2022. Canon EOS R5 and 300mm plus x1.4 converter

    Storm Eunice, Christopher Ison. 18 February 2022. Weather Photographer of the Year 2022. Canon EOS R5 and 300mm plus x1.4 converter

    Fine Art Photography Awards

    Opens 10th Edition now open
    Closes Early deadline 8 October 2023, final deadline 11 February 2024
    Entry fee Amateur – single entry 15 USD, series 20 USD. After 9 October 2022 20/25 USD. Professional – single entry 20 USD, series 25 USD. After 9 October 25/30USD. $10/category for additional categories.
    Prizes $5000 cash prizes

    About – Art is born out of passion. Fine Art photography is a perfect instrument, which allows a person to communicate with the world and share their vision. There are 20 categories to choose from including Abstract, Nature, Fashion and Travel. The competition is open to everyone, amateurs and professionals alike. Entries are welcome from any country in the world. Your work will be judged by an international panel of high-profile photographers.

    World Sports Photography Awards

    Opens TBC
    Closes 2023 competition now closed
    Entry fee Free. Enter up to three images from the last 12 months.
    Prizes Multiple prizes available from WSPA partners

    About – World Sport Photography Awards is created by a unique partnership between Twelfthman, the leading sports creative and design agency and Iconify, the awards agency behind innovative awards campaigns. Together the competition represents the best of sports and awards campaign design and thinking. This year’s competition is the third ever WSPA. The 2022 awards will celebrate the best sports photography of 2021 across 26 sports categories, plus the new dedicated category and campaign added to celebrate the work of amateur sports photographers.

    Lee Westwood golf shot wins World Sports Photography Awards 2023

    world sports photography awards 2023 winner golfer lee westwood takes shot on driving range surrounded by clouds

    DORAL, FLORIDA – OCTOBER 29: Team Captain Lee Westwood of Majesticks GC plays a shot on the driving range during the semifinals of the LIV Golf Invitational – Miami at Trump National Doral Miami on October 29, 2022 in Doral, Florida.

    Canon EOS R3 · f/4 · 1/3200s · 29mm · ISO400

    History Hit Historic Photographer of the Year

    Opens Now open
    Closes 15th October 2023
    Prize Overall winner £250, category winners win a cash prize of £50. The Historic England category winner will also receive up to £100 worth of books

    About – Historic Photographer of the Year is open to amateur and professional photographers over the age of 18 and resident in the UK.⁠ Whether it’s a ruined medieval fortress, a secluded religious sanctuary or an Iron Age earthwork, historic sites are among the most stunning and provocative places to photograph on Earth.⁠ The entries will be judged by a panel of five judges based on their originality, composition and technical proficiency alongside the story behind the image and its historical impact.

    Historic Photographer of the Year 2022 winners announced!

    Minimalist Photography Awards

    Opens TBC
    Closes 2023 competition now closed
    Entry fee From $10
    Prizes $2,000 cash prize for the overall winner, opportunity to exhibit

    About – Minimalist Photography Awards is a non profit association, powered by black & white Minimalism magazine. Minimalist Photography Awards 2023 competition is open for entries from both professional and amateur photographers shooting in all forms of Minimalist photography, using traditional or digital methods. Anyone over 18 years of age can enter.

    Underwater Photographer of the Year

    Opens TBC
    Closes 2023 competition now closed
    Entry fee From £15, free to enter Marine Conservation Photographer of the Year category.
    Prizes Variety of prizes including cash prizes up to £1000.

    About – Historically the UK has been home to some of the world’s most prestigious underwater photography competitions. Bernard Eaton kicked it off when he organised the first Brighton Underwater Film Festival in 1965. Since Wildlife Photographer of the Year and the British Wildlife Photography awards only cater for underwater wildlife photography, the dedicated Underwater Photographer of the Year competition was born. Th competition is open to all photographers.

    Underwater Photographer of the Year

    Be sure to enter APOY, and check the latest news for news and announcements on the latest competitions being run. 

    Featured image: Milan Radisics

    Want to see some great photographs, have a look at some of the best photography exhibitions to see!

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