2016 Edition of the World’s Largest Photography Competition Opens for Entries

The 2016 Sony World Photography Awards, the world’s largest photography competition organised by the World Photography Organisation, are open for entries.

Free to enter at, photographers of all abilities are invited to submit work to any of the awards’ five competitions: Professional; Open; Youth; National Awards and Student Focus.  

Now in its ninth year, the awards are an authoritative voice in the photographic world. Each year they attract both emerging talent and established artists and presents the world’s best contemporary photography from the last 12 months. 

New for 2016, the 14 Professional categories are now divided into two distinct genres – Art and Documentary.  The change is to provide a clearer structure in which photographers can be recognised.  Both genres also include new category additions, with Art presenting the new Staged and Candid categories and Documentary now including Daily Life and Environment.

Also new this year, British Journal of Photography (BJP), the world’s longest running photography magazine, will partner with the World Photography Organisation and its Student Focus competition.  As part of this partnership, the winning Student Focus photographer will receive an online feature showcasing a body of work on BJP website and will also have the opportunity to take over the magazine’s Instagram feed.


The Sony World Photography Awards offer a range of benefits to those who enter.  Firstly, all submitted images are seen by juries made of up leading experts from across the photographic industry.  Beyond this, awarded shortlisted and winning photographers are given global exposure and recognition and have the opportunity to promote and sell their work via the World Photography Organisation.

The awards’ prizes include: the latest Sony digital imaging equipment; inclusion in the Sony World Photography Awards exhibition at Somerset House, London; inclusion in the 2016 awards’ book and $30,000 (USD) for the overall winners.

The 2015 Sony World Photography Awards attracted 173, 444 entries from 171 countries. The 2015 L’Iris d’Or / Professional Photographer of the Year title was awarded to Getty Images photographer John Moore.  The awards’ annual exhibition of the winning and shortlisted works returned to Somerset House, London and saw a record 33,394 visitors.

The Sony World Photography Awards shortlist will be announced on 23 February and overall winners on 21 April, with an exhibition at Somerset House, London running from 22 April – 8 May 2016.


Competition Categories

  • Professional – for serious photographers, 14 categories in two genres judged on a series of work
    • Art – Architecture, Conceptual, Landscape, Portraiture, Staged, Still Life, Candid
    • Documentary – Campaign, Current Affairs, Contemporary Issues, Daily Life, Environment, People, Sport
  • Open – open to all, 10 categories judged on a single shot
    • Architecture, Arts & Culture, Enhanced, Low Light, Nature & Wildlife, Panoramic, People, Smile, Split Second, Travel
  • Youth – for young photographers aged 12-19, three categories judged on a single image
    • Culture, Environment, Portraits
  • National Awards – looking for the best single shot by a local photographer from over 50 countries
  • Student Focus – for emerging photographic talent studying any degree level photography course
  • Student Focus – for emerging photographic talent studying any degree level photography course


Key Dates

  • 4 December 2015  Student Focus competition closes
  • 5 January 2016  Open, Youth, National Awards competitions close
  • 12 January 2016  Professional competition closes
  • 23 February 2016  Shortlist for Professional, Open, National Award and Youth competitions revealed
  • 1 March 2016  Student focus shortlist revealed
  • 15 March 2016  National Award winners revealed
  • 29 March 2016  Open and Youth winners revealed
  • 21 April 2016  L’Iris d’Or/Photographer of the Year plus Professional category winners and Open, Youth and Student Focus Photographers of the Year revealed at gala ceremony held in London
  • 22 April  8 May  2015 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition at Somerset House, London


Joanne Carter, creator of the world’s most popular mobile photography and art website—— TheAppWhisperer platform has been a pivotal cyberspace for mobile artists of all abilities to learn about, to explore, to celebrate and to share mobile artworks. Joanne’s compassion, inclusivity, and humility are hallmarks in all that she does, and is particularly evident in the platform she has built. In her words, “We all have the potential to remove ourselves from the centre of any circle and to expand a sphere of compassion outward; to include everyone interested in mobile art, ensuring every artist is within reach”, she has said. Promotion of mobile artists and the art form as a primary medium in today’s art world, has become her life’s focus. She has presented lectures bolstering mobile artists and their art from as far away as the Museum of Art in Seoul, South Korea to closer to her home in the UK at Focus on Imaging. Her experience as a jurist for mobile art competitions includes: Portugal, Canada, US, S Korea, UK and Italy. And her travels pioneering the breadth of mobile art includes key events in: Frankfurt, Naples, Amalfi Coast, Paris, Brazil, London. Pioneering the world’s first mobile art online gallery - has extended her reach even further, shipping from London, UK to clients in the US, Europe and The Far East to a global group of collectors looking for exclusive art to hang in their homes and offices. The online gallery specialises in prints for discerning collectors of unique, previously unseen signed limited edition art. Her journey towards becoming The App Whisperer, includes (but is not limited to) working for a paparazzi photo agency for several years and as a deputy editor for a photo print magazine. Her own freelance photographic journalistic work is also widely acclaimed. She has been published extensively both within the UK and the US in national and international titles. These include The Times, The Sunday Times, The Guardian, Popular Photography & Imaging, dpreview, NikonPro, Which? and more recently with the BBC as a Contributor, Columnist at Vogue Italia and Contributing Editor at LensCulture. Her professional photography has also been widely exhibited throughout Europe, including Italy, Portugal and the UK. She is currently writing several books, all related to mobile art and is always open to requests for new commissions for either writing or photography projects or a combination of both. Please contact her at: [email protected]