Sony World Photography Awards

Pedro Jarque, Spain, Entry, Open, Nature & Wildlife, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

© Pedro Jarque, Spain, Entry, Open, Nature & Wildlife, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

The 2016 Sony World Photography Awards are now open for entries.

Enter the world’s largest and one of the most respected photography awards for free today.

Click below to enter and find out more about our competitions:

 Be inspired and see the winning and shortlisted images from the 2015 Sony World Photography Awards in our galleries here.


Sony World Photography Awards

About the Awards:

The Sony World Photography Awards is the world’s biggest photography competition and its aim is simple: to recognise and reward the best contemporary photography in the world.

The awards have brought untold reward and recognition to those involved and each year offers an incredible $30,000 (USD) in cash prizes plus the latest Sony digital imaging equipment.

Free to enter, photographers of all abilities are invited to submit either their best single shots or series of work.  The images are judged by the World Photography Organisation and a specially selected jury from the World Photographic Academy which is made up on the photographic industry’s most esteemed individuals.  

The awards offer an unparalleled opportunity for exposure for photographers at all stages of their career and are known worldwide by industry leaders.

The annual awards gala and ceremony takes place in London, welcoming an international attendance of industry leaders to celebrate the recognition of the best in contemporary photography and each year also pays tribute to one of our masters with the Outstanding Contribution to Photography Award. Supporting the celebration is an exhibition of the winners and shortlist, comprising of hundreds of photographs expertly curated inside the historic London landmark, Somerset House.

The Competitions: 

The Sony World Photography Awards has five competitions:

  • Professional - 14 categories, judged on a series of images, aimed at serious photographers
  • Open - 10 categories, judged on a single image, open to all
  • Youth - 3 categories, for photographers aged 12-19
  • Student Focus - for those studying photography
  • National Award - finding the best single image taken by a local photographer in over 50 countries

The awards offer categories across all genres of photojournalism, fine art and commercial photography.  The 2015 edition attracted over 173,000 entries from 171 countries. View winners galleries here.  In addition to cash prizes for the overall Professional and Open Photographers of the Year, category winners also receive the latest digital imaging equipment from Sony.

Exposure and Benefits:

Exposure is given to not only the winning but also the shortlisted photographers.  

Recognised photographers can receive:

  • Exhibition at Somerset House, London
  • Potential to be included in international exhibitions
  • Inclusion in the Sony World Photography Awards book
  • Potential to work with Sony on a variety of digital imaging projects

The World Photography Organisation has a thriving online presence and engages with photography enthusiast and professionals worldwide via its:

  • Website
  • Blog
  • Twitter
  • Facebook

Photographers connected to the awards are used across all these platforms throughout the year – from offering top tips on shooting in low light on Instagram, to a showcase interview seen by millions on the WPO website or tweets about a photographer’s latest show on Twitter.

The annual PR campaign for the awards permeates all types of media and generates huge interest not only in the awards’ winners, but for those on the shortlist too. Coverage can be seen everywhere from the world’s highest circulation newspapers and most read websites to spreads in luxury magazines and key photographic trade titles. There is worldwide media interest not only in the awards’ winners, but those on the shortlist too and bespoke PR campaigns are created for nearly all those involved.

In 2015 over 740,660 articles worldwide were published about the awards and its photographers. English language articles were read by 950,814,837 people.


Success Stories:

The awards have the power to change the lives of those who enter them. Here are a few of the stories from those:

Andrea Gjestvang


© Andrea Gjestvang, Norway, 1st Place, People, Professional Competition 2013

Although already an established photographer in Norway, winning the 2013 L’Iris d’Or, Photographer of the Year title, propelled Andrea Gjestvang onto the global stage.

Her stunning series of portraits of the children and youths who survived the July 2011 massacre on the island of Utøya, outside Oslo, “One Day in History”, were published around the world and, despite being a mum to a very young baby at the time of the win, has barely stopped working since.

Andrea says: “Winning the L'Iris d'Or/ Photographer of the Year 2013 was a great recognition and it made my work reach out to a worldwide audience. Both editors, collectors, potential collaborators in the business, but most important the normal readers that were moved and engaged by the images. It opened up new opportunities for me, and was a huge motivation to continue following the stories that I believe in.”

Peter Franck

One of the awards’ most prolific winners, German photographer Peter Franck has won professional categories in both 2010 and 2012 and received placements in 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2015. His unique style explores the border between painting and photography and has captured the imagination of the awards’ judges over the last eight years.

He comments: “The multiple wins at the awards has made, with certainty, me better known in the photographic and artistic circles. Plus it has helped with future projects to refer to past exhibitions around the world which my images have been shown in.The selection of the jury members and the entire organisation of the competition is very convincing. The exhibition which accompanied the awards is a great thing and the public relations for the competition also has a very big role.“

Natalia Weirnik


© Natalia-Wiernik, Poland, Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts, Krakow, 

Natalia was a student at the Faculty of Graphic Arts, Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow when she entered the Student Focus competition in 2013. An aspiring photographer with a strong artistic style, her series of work caught the judges’ attention and she was named the 2013 Student Photographer of the Year.

Since winning, Natalia has had her work shown in many of the world’s leading photography magazines and has delivered masterclass on behalf of Sony.

Daniel Duart


© Daniel Duart, Spain, 2nd Place, Travel, Professional Competition 2013

Spanish photographer Daniel Duart won 2nd prize in the Professional Travel category of the 2013 Sony World Photography Awards.

Since then, Daniel has worked with Sony Europe to promote the Sony RX1 camera, travelled around Latin America with Sony delivering workshops and masterclasses on travel photography.

Speaking about his involvement with the awards Daniel says: “"Being part of the SWPA made my work visible in half Latin America, they helped me spread the word (or the images) all around the world and I was even on TV!"


Entry to the awards:

Entry to all the awards’ competitions is free. Submit your best photographs to the competition here