The 2018 Sony World Photography Awards, one of the world’s leading photography competitions, are now accepting entries for its 11th edition, marked by the introduction of two challenging new categories in the Professional competition, ‘Creative’ and ‘Discovery’, and an important new opportunity for award-winners to secure a grant to fund future photographic projects.

Created by the World Photography Organisation, the Sony World Photography Awards are an authoritative voice in the industry.  Celebrating the finest contemporary photography from the past year, the awards give vast exposure, visibility and opportunity to photographers worldwide.

Commenting on the Awards’ impact, 2017 Sony World Photography Awards winner Frederik Buyckx said that being named Photographer of the Year has given him more exposure than he could ever imagine. He said that the award has opened new doors for him and, just as important, has also encouraged him to keep working on personal projects.

Changing medium of photography prompts new Professional categories

In recognition of the changing use of photography, two new categories have been added to the 2018 Awards Professional competition.

The new ‘Creative’ and ‘Discovery’ categories are both designed to embrace photographers working at the cutting-edge of the medium.  Judges will specifically look to reward originality, experimentation and imagination in these categories and hope to discover what that would otherwise be unseen by the Awards.  Artistic interpretation, integrity and technical ability are the key factors for judges across all categories of the Awards.

The Sony World Photography Awards comprise of four competitions:

Professional – 10 categories judged upon a body of work (5-10 images)
Open – best single images across 10 categories
Youth – young photographers aged 12-19 responding to a brief with a single image
Student Focus – for those studying photography

For the full list of competition categories and descriptions please check this link.

New Sony Grant to fund photographic projects

In demonstration of the Awards’ commitment to create opportunities for its photographers, a new grant programme those participating in the Professional and Student Focus competitions has been introduced this year.

From the winners of the 2018 Professional categories, Sony will award multiple grants of $7,000 to selected photographers to pursue photographic projects of their choice.

In addition, shortlisted photographers from the Student Focus competition will each be given $3,500 (USD) to work together on a new photographic commission set by Sony and the World Photography Organisation.

The Sony Grant programme has been formalised for the 2018 Awards following a successful pilot with three 2016 Sony World Photography Awards Professional category winners: Amélie Labourdette, Maroesjka Lavigne and Nikola Linares.  The inaugural Sony grants supported diverse projects including the documentation of young bullfighters in Spain (Linares), landscapes of Iceland and Namibia (Lavigne) and the impact of man on the Tunisian desert (Labourdette). Images from the series are available at press.worldphoto.org.

Prizes: Worldwide exposure, exhibitions and digital imaging equipment

All category winners of the Professional, Open, Youth and Student Focus competitions will receive digital imaging equipment from Sony.

In addition, cash prizes of $25,000 (USD) will be presented to the Photographer of the Year and $5,000 (USD) to the overall Open competition winner.

All category winners plus many of the shortlisted Awards photographers will be exhibited at the annual Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition in London and then toured internationally.  The images will also be published in the annual Awards winners’ book and all shortlisted and winning photographers are given global exposure via dedicated marketing and press campaigns.

Key Dates

4 Dec 2017 – Student Focus closes
4 Jan 2018 – Open & Youth competitions close
1 Jan 2018 – Professional competitions close
27 Feb 2018 – Shortlist announced
27 March 2018 – Open and National Awards winners revealed
19 April 2018 – Photographer of the Year and Professional category winners announced

Submissions are free through their website