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30+ Best Photography Competitions to Elevate Your Craft

free photography contest drone photography

bachirm, 1st prize winner Urban, 2017 International Drone Photography Contest. (Photo: bachirm)

Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year
The world’s biggest astrophotography competition draws photographers from across the globe, who compete across nine different categories. Amateur and professional photographers are encouraged to apply for the contest, which is judged by representatives of NASA and the editor of BBC Sky at Night Magazine. Children are encouraged to apply in the special youth competition for photographers under 15 years old.

When to enter: annually from the end of February to the beginning of April
Entry fee: FREE up to 10 images
Prize: £10,000 for overall winner and £1,500 for overall category winners. Cash prizes are also given to category runners-up.

International Drone Photography Contest
Love aerial photography and want to show off your drone shots? You may want to enter Dronestagram’s contest, which boats judges from National Geographic. Photographers are encouraged to submit images to three categories—Urban, Nature, and People—demonstrating their best artistic work with a drone.

When to enter: annually from May to June
Entry fee: FREE
Prize: Category winners receive a prize package that includes a DJI Spark drone and virtual reality headset. Prize packages also go to second and third place winners of each category.

International Landscape Photographer of the Year
Celebrate the art and craft of landscape photography with this contest, which is open to photographers around the world. The top 101 best landscape photographs are collected into an annual book and photographers are awarded for best single images, as well as portfolios of four photographs.

When to enter: entries close mid-November
Entry fee: $25 per photo, every fifth photograph is free
Prize: Grand prize of $2,000 and an Epson SureColor P800 printer, as well as inclusion in awards book. Second prize of $1,000 and third prize of $500, as well as photo book inclusion.

International Photo Awards
These prestigious awards cover a comprehensive range of photography and allow entries into separate Professional, Amateur, and Student competitions. From editorial and advertising to fine art and sports, this is one of the most wide-ranging contests, with over $22,000 in cash prizes annually.

When to enter: entries close late-August
Entry fee: $15-$35 per single image, $30-$60 per series depending on professional, amateur, or student status
Prize: International Photographer of the Year receives $10,000, Discovery of the Year Award $5,000, Deeper Perspective of the Year Awards $5,000, and Moving Images Photographer of the Year Award $2,500. All category finalist receive two tickets to the Lucie Awards Gala in New York City.

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

monovisions black and white photography contests

Melissa Amber & Ashley Nicole, Black & White Conceptual Series of the Year 2017, MonoVisions Photography Awards. (Photo: Melissa Amber & Ashley Nicole)

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

MonoVisions
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.

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