The twins' gymnastics dream

Yuan Peng - Winner of the Professional Sport Category 2017
Copyright: © Yuan Peng, China, 1st Place, Professional, Sport, 2017 Sony World Photography Awards

The 11th Sony World Photography Awards has opened for entries for the 2018 contest and brings two new categories for professionals that organizers hope will bring out ‘originality, experimentation and imagination’. The $30,000 prize pot has been augmented this year with a new series of grants that aim to allow winning photographers to undertake projects during the next year. Grants of $7000 will be given to an unspecified number of category winners from the professional competition, while all the shortlisted entrants from the Student Focus category will receive $3500 for a project.

In the professional competition the Conceptual and Daily Life categories from 2017 are replaced with the new Creative and Discovery themes, while the Youth section takes the theme ‘Your Environment.’

The Open competition maintains the ten categories from last year, and is the place for those entering single images rather than series and projects.

All category and many shortlisted photographers win Sony digital camera equipment, while the professional winner also takes home a cash prize of $25,000 and the Open winner gets $5000.

Students need to get their entries in before 4th December 2017, while the Open and Youth competitions close for entries on 4th January 2018. The Professional contest closes on the 11th January 2018, with the awards ceremony being held in April 2018. The free-to-enter competition culminates in an exhibition in London and a book of winning and shortlisted images.For more information see the Sony World Photography Awards website.

New Categories:

Professional - Creative
Judges are looking to reward originality, experimentation and imagination. This category actively encourages the creative use of the medium of photography in all its forms - from photograms, to cutting-edge photographic techniques. Subject matter can be varied and may include abstract and conceptual ideas, but a creative concept and thematic link between the images is key.

Professional - Discovery
Purposely not defined by subject matter or photography type, the judges are looking for stunning bodies of work that clearly show the artist's passion for photography. They want to uncover work that would otherwise be unseen. The category embraces all uses of photography and a narrative may or may not be present in the work. However, it is vital that the vision of the photographer is clearly understood by the judges.

Youth - Your environment
The judges want to view the world as seen through the eyes of young photographers. In one single image show the judges your environment. The brief should be understood in its widest sense. “Your environment” could be a photograph sharing your culture or religious celebration, highlighting of an issue close to home, a special family moment or a beautiful landscape of your surroundings.

Press release

Sony World Photography Awards launches 2018 edition with new categories and grant opportunity

  • A global platform giving visibility to photographers worldwide
  • 'Creative’ and ‘Discovery’ categories introduced to challenge photographers
  • New grant opportunity available to winning photographers

“Being named Photographer of the Year has given me more exposure than I could ever have imagined.” Frederik Buyckx, Sony World Photography Awards winner 2017

June 1, 2017: The 2018 Sony World Photography Awards, one of the world’s leading photography competitions, are now open for entries. Submissions are free at

The 11th edition of the Awards is marked by the introduction of two challenging new categories in the Professional competition, ‘Creative’ and ‘Discovery’, and an important new opportunity for award-winners to secure a grant to fund future photographic projects.

Created by the World Photography Organisation, the Sony World Photography Awards are an authoritative voice in the industry and the world’s biggest photography competition. Celebrating the finest contemporary photography from the past year, the Awards give vast exposure, visibility and opportunity to photographers worldwide on an annual basis.

Commenting on the Awards’ impact, 2017 Sony World Photography Awards winner Frederik Buyckx said: “Being named Photographer of the Year has given me more exposure than I could ever have imagined. It has opened lots of new doors but, just as an importantly, the award has also encouraged me to keep on working on my personal projects.”

Changing medium of photography prompts new Professional categories

In recognition of the changing use of photography, two new categories have been added to the 2018 Awards’ Professional competition.

The new ‘Creative’ and ‘Discovery’ categories are both designed to embrace photographers working at the cutting-edge of the medium. Judges will specifically look to reward originality, experimentation and imagination in these categories and hope to discover what that would otherwise be unseen by the Awards. Artistic interpretation, integrity and technical ability are the key factors for judges across all categories of the Awards.

The Sony World Photography Awards comprise of four competitions:
* Professional – 10 categories judged upon a body of work (5-10 images)
* Open – best single images across 10 categories
* Youth - young photographers aged 12-19 responding to a brief with a single image
* Student Focus – for those studying photography

For the full list of competition categories and descriptions please go to

New Sony Grant to fund photographic projects

In demonstration of the Awards’ commitment to create opportunities for its photographers, a new grant programme those participating in the Professional and Student Focus competitions has been introduced this year.

From the winners of the 2018 Professional categories, Sony will award multiple grants of $7,000 to selected photographers to pursue photographic projects of their choice.

In addition, shortlisted photographers from the Student Focus competition will each be given $3,500 (USD) to work together on a new photographic commission set by Sony and the World Photography Organisation.

The Sony Grant programme has been formalised for the 2018 Awards following a successful pilot with three 2016 Sony World Photography Awards Professional category winners: Amélie Labourdette, Maroesjka Lavigne and Nikola Linares. The inaugural Sony grants supported diverse projects including the documentation of young bullfighters in Spain (Linares), landscapes of Iceland and Namibia (Lavigne) and the impact of man on the Tunisian desert (Labourdette).

For more details about the recipients of the 2017 Sony Grant recipients please see Notes to Editors below. Images from the series are available at

Prizes: Worldwide exposure, exhibitions and digital imaging equipment

All category winners of the Professional, Open, Youth and Student Focus competitions will receive digital imaging equipment from Sony.

In addition, cash prizes of $25,000 (USD) will be presented to the Photographer of the Year and $5,000 (USD) to the overall Open competition winner.

All category winners plus many of the shortlisted Awards photographers will be exhibited at the annual Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition in London and then toured internationally. The images will also be published in the annual Awards winners’ book and all shortlisted and winning photographers are given global exposure via dedicated marketing and press campaigns.

2018 Key dates
December 4, 2017 – Student Focus closes
January 4, 2018 – Open & Youth competitions close
January 1, 2018 – Professional competitions close
February 27, 2018 –Shortlist announced
March 27, 2018 – Open and National Awards winners revealed
April 19, 2018 – Photographer of the Year & Professional category winners announced