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Sony World Photography Professional Competition 2016

Deadline: Deadline: Always Open12-Jan-2016
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AwardTitle of “Sony World Photography Awards Photographer of The Year", Cash Prize of $25,000
EligibilityAll entrants must be over 18 yrs
Scholarship provider contact details

World Photography Organisation

World Photography Awards Limited

9 Manchester Square





Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7886 3087

What is Sony World Photography Professional Competition 2016?

Entry Start:01/06/2015

Entry Close:12/01/2016

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

The Professional competition rewards excellence across a broad spectrum of photography styles and each year offers undeniable global exposure and recognition to not only its winners, but also its shortlisted photographers.


New for 2016, the 14 Professional categories are now divided into two distinct groups: Documentary and Art.  

Documentary photography

Documentary photography is representational with the aim of conveying information, in contrast to Art photography, which is usually subjective to the artist.  
Documentary photography should in some way chronicle significant events or everyday life. The photographer attempts to produce truthful, objective, and often candid photography of a particular subject, most often pictures of people.  Whilst Documentary photography is often journalistic in nature, it also can be represent in highly stylised and artistic ways.

Art photography 

Art photography refers to a wide range of photography, which goes beyond the act of recording realistic renditions of the subject and aims to produce a more personal interpretation by the artist/photographer.  Modern art photography is often very innovative and may be concerned more with elements such as form, design or concepts than with recording an event. A fine art photograph may be a complex, staged event and the final image may be highly manipulated.

Who can apply for this scholarship ?

All entrants must be over 18 yrs

How can you apply ?

Application can be done online only.

Terms and Conditions


  • Step 1 - Your images will go through critical selection rounds conducted by the official 2016 Honorary Judging Committee, made up of members of the World Photography Academy. 
  • Step 2 - A shortlist of photographers in each of the 14 categories will be selected and announced prior to the Gala Ceremony. This will include details of the 3 finalists in each category.
  • Step 3 - For the final stage of judging, one single photographer will be chosen by the Honorary Judging Committee from the 14 category winners. This photographer will be announced and awarded at the Sony World Photography Awards gala ceremony in April 2016 as the L’Iris d’Or / Sony World Photography Awards Photographer of the Year winner.
  • Step 4 - All 45 category finalists will be showcased as part of the official 2016 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition in London, published in the winners book and announced to the worldwide press. These finalists will also be part of international Sony World Photography Awards winners exhibitions, have the opportunity to be represented by the World Photography Collection, showcased on the World Photography Organisation website and much more.
  • Prizes

    Winner of  the “L’iris d’Or” will receive:

  • Title of “Sony World Photography Awards Photographer of The Year"
  • $25,000
  • Membership to the “World Photography Academy”
  • Exhibition showcase of entire winning series at the Sony World Photography Awards 2016 exhibition and winners book
  • International exposure on the WPO website
  • Global media coverage
  • Flights to London, 2 nights accommodation in a hotel and VIP tickets to attend the Sony World Photography Awards gala ceremony, April 2016
  • Digital SLR camera equipment from Sony
  • Winners of each individual category will receive:

  • Recipient of the title “Sony World Photography Awards Professional category name Winner"
  • Flights to London, 2 nights accommodation in a hotel and VIP tickets to attend the Sony World Photography Awards gala ceremony, April 2016
  • Winning images showcased in the London exhibition and the winners book
  • International exposure in the winners galleries on the WPO website
  • Global media coverage
  • Digital SLR camera equipment from Sony
  • Finalists of each individual category will receive:

  • Images showcased as part of the official Sony World Photography Awards 2016 exhibition in London 
  • Images published in the winners book 
  • Announced to international press
  • International exposure in the winners galleries on the WPO website
  • The Sony World Photography Awards support Pro-Imaging in order to protect the image rights of photographers.

    1.1 By entering the Competition, You agree and acknowledge that WPO is permitted to receive your registration data. All personal information will be used by WPO in accordance with its Privacy Policy.

    1.2.1 The Competition is free to enter.

    1.2.2 The Professional Competition is open to all Photographers entering a body of work.

    1.3 All entrants must be over 18.

    1.4 By entering the Competition You hereby accept these Competition Rules and the Terms and Conditions.

    1.5 Entries must be submitted by 11.59:59pm (GMT) on Tuesday 12th January 2016.

    2. To enter, you must upload your image via the following website: (the "Website"), following the on-screen instructions carefully.

    2.1 Image Entry criteria:

    Un-published work entered into the competition must have been taken between the dates of January 1st and December 31st 2015. Once unpublished work has been entered, it cannot be entered again as published work in the future year of the awards competition.

    Published work may have been taken at any point in history, but must have been commissioned or acquired or first published between the dates of January 1st and December 31st 2015. Eligible publications include magazines, newspapers, on-line and print editorial, self-publishing websites, including personal sites as well as commissioned gallery exhibitions. Images included in past photographic competitions, advertisements, marketing material, blogs, social media and all other visible platforms prior to January 1st 2015 will be considered published and not permissible within this competition.

    2.2  Images should be no smaller than 800KB and no larger than 5MB. Images should be either JPEG or TIFF files.

    All images must be saved in the RGB colour model and EXIF data must be left in the image file.

    All entrants must be able to supply a high resolution image suitable for printing in exhibitions should the image be required.

    3.1 Entries will be judged by the World Photographic Academy (the “Academy”) between the 9th January 2016 and the 31st January 2016.

    3.2 A shortlist of up to ten photographers from each category will be selected and announced prior to the Gala Ceremony and the overall winners will be announced during the Ceremony in April 2016.

    3.3 The three finalists in each category, the individual category winners and the overall winner of the L’Iris d’Or, Sony World Photography Awards, Professional Photographer of the Year will be voted for by the Academy. The finalists will be notified by email. The winners will be announced at the Awards ceremony in London in April 2016.

    3.3.1 The winner of each category will be notified by email and will receive return flights to London (economy class) and hotel accommodation for two consecutive nights including the Awards night in April 2016.

    3.4 The decision of the Academy and the WPO is final and no negotiation will be entered into with respect to any such decision.

    3.5 You may enter a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 10 images per category, and may enter as many categories as you wish, however you cannot enter the same series or images into more than one category. You may highlight a single “signature image” from each series.

    3.5.1 Judging will be based on the portfolio of work entered for each category.

    4.1 WPO reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to disqualify and remove any entry that does not comply with the following requirements, even after the entry is submitted on the Website. You warrant and represent, in respect of each entry submitted by you (“Entry”), as follows:

    4.1.1 You are the sole owner and author of each Entry

    4.1.2 You have the right to make Your entry available to the Competition

    4.1.3 Each Entry does not contain personally identifiable information about you or any other person(s)

    4.1.4 Each Entry does not contain any infringing, threatening, false, misleading, abusive, harassing, libellous, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, scandalous, inflammatory, pornographic or profane content

    4.1.5 Each Entry does not contain any material that could constitute or encourage conduct, which would be considered a criminal offence, give rise to civil liability, or otherwise violate any law

    4.1.6 Each Entry does not infringe upon the copyrights, trademarks, contract rights, or any other intellectual property rights of any third person or entity, or violate any person’s rights of privacy or publicity, and Your Entry does not include: trademarks owned by third parties copyrighted materials owned by third parties (including movie dialogue or musical compositions) names, likenesses, voices or other characteristics identifying celebrities or other public figures, living or dead

    4.1.7 Entries which contain any commercial content that promotes any product or service other than that of WPO.

    4.1.8 Entries containing screen credits

    4.1.9 No animals were harmed or manipulated in the making of the image

    4.2 You agree to fully indemnify WPO in respect of all royalties, fees and any other monies owing to any person by reason of Your breaching any of the foregoing.

    4.3 You confirm that each person depicted in the Entry has granted permission to be portrayed as shown. Any costumes, props or other materials used must be rented or borrowed with the permission of the owner, and all other relevant permissions must have been obtained.

    5. Intentionally Deleted.

    6. WPO may run an online rating process whereby members of the public may vote for a favourite photograph. If there is sufficient evidence (in WPO’s sole discretion) to suggest malpractice and manipulation of the rating process, then WPO has the right to remove the relevant Entry or Entries and, if necessary, award the prize to a different contestant. WPO’s decisions are final.

    7.1 WPO recognises You, the author of the image, retain full ownership of the copyright in each Entry.

    7.2 All entrants understand that any image submitted to the competition may be used by WPO, and its Event Partners, for marketing and promotional purposes of You the author and the event only, for a maximum of three years after the awards ceremony in April 2016. You hereby grant WPO a non-exclusive, irrevocable licence in each Entry throughout the world for three years in all media for any use connected to the promotion of You the author and the SWPA event and/or competition, including, but not limited too:
    (a) judging the Competition
    (b) displaying the winning entries and runners up at public exhibitions promoting WPO and organised by WPO
    (c) inclusion within the Website, a World Photography Awards book, magazine or similar
    (d) inclusion within any materials promoting of the Competition and / or any exhibition organised by WPO, in the promotion of the WPO
    (e) inclusion on Competition- and exhibition-related products to be sold by the WPO or any third party following the individual agreement by the author
    (f) sub-licencing the Entries to the press for reproduction in connection with the Competition and any exhibition
    (g) allowing viewers of the Website to view images on a computer screen, PDA or mobile telephone and store such pages in electronic form on disk or on a PDA or mobile telephone (but not on any server or other storage device connected to a network) for their personal, non-commercial use only. Please also refer to clause 9.

    7.3 All entrants understand that the image information, including image name and description, may be shared with Event partners and media as per clause 7.1, 7.2 and 8. For the avoidance of doubt the “image information” does not include any personal information of You the author.

    8. Any photograph used by WPO shall carry a credit line. Any failure to provide such credit line shall not be deemed to be a breach, as long as WPO uses its reasonable endeavours to rectify such failure within a reasonable period from the date of notice of such failure.

    9 You acknowledge that it is your responsibility for protecting any Entry against image misuse by any third party, for example, but not limited to the insertion of a watermark. WPO and its Event Partners assume no responsibility and are not liable for any image misuse.

    10. WPO assumes no responsibility for any incorrect, inaccurate or incomplete information, whether caused by website users or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilised in the Competition, and WPO assumes no responsibility for technical, hardware or software failure of any kind, for lost network connections, garbled computer transmissions, other problems or technical malfunctions with regard to the Competition. WPO assumes no responsibility for any error, omission, corruption, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation or transmission, communications line failure, theft or destruction or unauthorized access to or alteration of Entries. WPO is not responsible for any problems or technical malfunction of any telephone network or lines, computer on-line systems, servers, computer equipment, software, failure of any e-mail addressed to WPO on account of technical problems, human error or traffic congestion on the internet or any website, or any combination thereof, including any injury or damage to Your or any other person's computer related to or resulting from participation or downloading any materials in the Competition. If for any reason a contestant’s entry cannot be viewed or is not capable of running as planned, including infection by computer viruses, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud or technical failures, WPO assumes no responsibility.

    11. In no event will WPO, its parents, affiliates, subsidiaries and related companies, Event Partners, its advertising or promotion agencies, or its officers, directors, employees, shareholders, representatives or agents be responsible or liable for any damages or losses of any kind, including direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, special or punitive damages arising out of any contestant’s access to and use of the Website. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, everything on the Website is provided "as is", without warranty of any kind, either express or implied, including but not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for purpose or use or non-infringement. 

    12. You agree to participate in related publicity and to the use of Your name and likeness for the purposes of advertising, promotion and publicity without additional compensation.

    13. All entrants must be able to supply a high resolution image suitable for printing in media and an exhibition should the image be required.

    14. There are no cash alternatives available for prize winners.

    15. Winners will be announced online.

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