The Sony World Photography Awards are officially accepting submissions for their 2019 competition. The prestigious annual event hosted by the the World Photography Organization offers cash prizes, global exposure, and the chance to be crowned “World Photographer of the Year.” In addition, winners are exhibited at London’s Somerset House. Given the stakes, it’s no surprise competition is fierce—last year alone, over 320,000 entries were received.

Luckily, there are plenty of prizes to go around, both for various skills levels and subject matter. Awards are broken down into four categories of expertise:





The first two compete for prizes in ten categories ranging from architecture to sport to still life, but differing in their submission requirements.

While the Professional category requires a “body of work” (or 5-10) images to be considered, Open is judged from a single image. Both are free and open to all to apply. In addition to an overall winner—as well as a winner for each category—10-15 photographers will also be shortlisted per category.

Youth and Students, meanwhile, abide by a different set of rules. The former must be between the ages of 12-19 to enter, and will submit a single image responding to the year’s “brief.” For 2019, this is fittingly “Diversity.” WPO’s website describes the subject as such:

To be understood in its widest sense, the image of diversity could concern people, culture or environment and could be of a local or global concern.

In addition to a winner, 10 photographers will be shortlisted.

Finally Students, in order to compete, must be enrolled in a full-time photography course with a registered institution. Judgments for this category are unique in that they are two-part, composed of a 1st Challenge of 3-5 images, which will whittle down the field to 10 students to compete in a more thorough 2nd challenge of 5-10 images. Each round has its own subject matter, and this year’s first round challenge (the 2nd is yet to be announced) is “(r)evolution.” The site says students’ images

should explore the evolution of the world we are living in. Subject matter can be wide-ranging in its scope, and could cover a variety of themes, including, but not limited to: digital, societal, environmental, artistic, physical, political or cultural revolution or evolution.

And most importantly…

Prizes include: 

-Digital imaging equipment from Sony for all Category winners

-$5,000 in cash for the Open Photographer of the Year

-$25,000 in cash for the Photographer of the Year

-Exhibition and international touring of winning and shortlisted images

-Publishing of winning images in the Awards’ book

Deadlines for submission: 

-Professional: January 11, 2019

-Open and Youth: January 4, 2019

-Student: November 30, 2018


Good Luck!