July 17 2023

Prize money check: These photo competitions are most worthwhile for professionals and amateurs alike

Skylum analyses a total of 53 international amateur and professional photography competitions in terms of prize money, categories, and opportunities for participation

In April this year, the World Press Photo Foundation committee announced the 24 winners of what is probably the world's most famous photo competition. In this competition, professional photojournalists make a significant contribution to political and cultural discourse with their pictures. In many other international competitions, amateurs are also allowed to submit their contributions to (political) issues. Skylum, a leading manufacturer of AI-based image editing software such as Luminar Neo, compared 53 photo competitions from the years 2022 and 2023 regarding the prize money to be won, the category, and the opportunities for amateur and professional photographers to participate.

Here the perfect snapshot is especially highly rewarded

Whether professional or amateur, some competitions are open to all photographers, regardless of whether they take photos for fun or professionally. In the Allard Photography Competition, it is not only possible for anyone interested to apply, but it is also profitable: the winners of the main prize, The Allard Prize for International Integrity, can take home 69,000 euros - the top value in the comparison. The prize is awarded every two years and honors works that deal with the issues of the fight against corruption and the defense of human rights. The renowned Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize honors the best works of contemporary portrait photography, the prize money for the first place here is around 17,400 euros. In 2022, London's National Portrait Gallery chose Frenchwoman Clémentine Schneidermann as the winner for her series of pictures Laundry Day, in which she portrays her neighbor in the garden.

The publishing house Edition Lammerhuber presents the Global Peace Photo Award annually with prize money of 10,000 euros. This year's jury, which will award the prize in the Austrian Parliament, includes Waris Dirie. The author of the bestseller Desert Flower and former UN Special Envoy campaigns against female genital mutilation.

Prize money check: These photo competitions are most worthwhile for professionals and amateurs alike

French award ceremony lures professional photographers with the highest prize money

To duly reward a photographer's career, Parisian gallery owner Viviane Esders has created the Prix Viviane Esders of the same name. Around 60,000 euros are up for grabs for the winner of the main prize. However, there are two important requirements: Participants must be over 60 years old and from Europe to be able to submit their work. The Leica Oskar Barnack Award has been presented annually since 1980. The prize is endowed with 40,000 euros and camera equipment worth 10,000 euros. Last year, the Iranian photographer Kiana Hayeri won the prize. Her work showed images of everyday life in Afghanistan since the withdrawal of Western troops in 2021. The prize money for the Sony World Photography Award is also lavish: The overall winner can win around 22,840 euros, and his or her pictures will also be exhibited at the London award ceremony the following year.

Prize money check: These photo competitions are most worthwhile for professionals and amateurs alike(2)

These are the amateur competitions with the most to win

In contrast to the professionals, the prize money in the amateur sector is lower. The International Photography Award provides amateur photographers with the highest prize money, with a grand prize of 5,480 euros. The prize, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, is awarded to the year's new discovery. Not only for professionals but also in amateur photography, the Sony World Photography Award awards one of the highest-endowed prizes. In the open competition, anyone can apply to ultimately bear the title of Open Photographer of the Year and go home with around 4,570 euros in prize money. The perfect snapshot in the Discovery of the Year category at the ND Awards is worth around 2,190 euros and is a monthly feature on the cover of ND Magazine.

Prize money check: These photo competitions are most worthwhile for professionals and amateurs alike(3)

From Zero to Hero: As our research shows, photo competitions offer not only professionals but often also amateurs the opportunity to measure their skills and improve. Even less experienced people can take photos that have a special expressiveness, depth, well-thought-out structure, and composition. At Skylum, we want to encourage photographers of all levels to bring their individual photographic vision to life with our Luminar Neo software, never giving up searching for and ultimately capturing the perfect snapshot. The road can sometimes be rocky, but it's worth sticking with it. That's why we encourage exchange with our community and with each other. On the other hand, we also organize photo competitions within our community, as recently on Instagram. This gives professionals and amateurs alike the necessary motivation and knowledge for personal development, says Ivan Kutanin, CEO of Skylum, about the study.

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Prize money check: These photo competitions are most worthwhile for professionals and amateurs alike(4)

Anastasia Sliusarenko

Head of PR&Communications

Written by

Team Skylum


Our team of passionate photography enthusiasts at Skylum has been committed to assisting you in discovering the world through your lens for over a decade. We're dedicated to providing photographers like you with easy-to-use tools and valuable resources to help you capture your vision and produce beautiful photos. Our articles are filled with friendly tips, industry insights, and inspiring stories from other creative individuals in photography. Together, we can help you grow your photography skills to new heights. Join us on this exciting journey of exploration, creativity, and growth.

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