Photography Competitions for Graduates

Graduation time is coming up and many students feel lost in where to go/ what to do after years of studying. It can be very daunting finishing University and finding ways of promoting your work. One of the best ways to tackle this is through entering competitions. This can be a great way to promote your work and get it out to the public. Entering competitions can also be a good way to develop your writing skills when referring to your own work. Many competitions now a days are specifically aimed at younger photographers who are looking to promote themselves.

Here’s a list of just some of the exciting photography competitions that we found out there…

5 Under 30

© Daniel Blau Gallery

The Daniel Blau Gallery in London have a new competition aimed at Photographers under the age of 30. 5 Photographers will be chosen and exhibit there work during the summer. The competition is free to enter! Deadline May 25th.

New Sensations

© New Sensations

Saatchi New Sensations competition is open to artists who are graduating the year of applying for either a BA or MA course. This is a great competition for students graduating. A shortlist of 20 students will have the chance to showcase their work at London Frieze Art Fair in October.

To enter you must submit you current work from your final show exhibition. The shortlist will then be narrowed down and judges select 4 Graduates who get granted a bursary to fund new work, which will be presented in the exhibition. The four artists will also work with Channel 4 Film to make a short video about themselves and their work, which will be aired.

IdeasTap Photographic Award with Magnum Photos

© IdeasTap / Magnum

The IdeasTap Photographic Award is a great photography competition open to all IdeasTap members who are over the age of 16 and based in the UK. This year they are offering three winners £5,000 in prize money, £1,500 project funding, mentoring from Magnum photographers and the chance to work at Magnum’s offices in London or New York.

The IdeasTap Photographic Award now has three overall winners (one from each age group), but also offers opportunities to 18 shortlisted snappers (six from each age group). All 18 shortlisted applicants will receive a mentoring session with a Magnum Photographer, Blurb book vouchers and £150 to have their pictures printed. At the exhibition, nine finalists will be selected – three from each age group. The nine finalists will each receive £1,500 to shoot their dream project, create a multimedia Magnum in Motion project and will receive a second mentoring session. Finally, a winner will be picked from each age group. The overall winners of the Award will each receive £5,000 and the two younger winners will also get sought-after internships at Magnum – the 16-22 winner in London and the 23-30 winner with the international Magnum in Motion Team.

This year the the competition closes at 5pm on 31 May 2013.

Magenta Foundation Flash Forward

©, artist: Jeff Harris

The Magenta Foundation’s Flash Forward programme is an annual competition that showcases the work being created by the very best emerging photographers from Canada, the UK and the US. Every year, judges from each of the participating countries review the submitted work and identify those young people that they believe show great promise as professional fine art or documentary photographers.

From the competition a selection of photographers get to have their work included in the Flash Forward Group Show. This exhibition pays tribute to the diversity of the annual programme and its growing profile, offering evidence that the best emerging photographers are at the cutting edge of the direction that photography will take in the future years.

The Flash Forward 2013 Group exhibition is taking place at the Photofusion Gallery from 14 – 27 October. Applications for the 2014 competition will open late 2013/early 2014.

LPA Futures

© LPA Futures

The Lisa Pritchard Agency (LPA) hold a “LPA Futures” competition aimed at supporting emerging commercial photographers through a two-year programme. This competition is for those looking to kickstart their career, with the prize being representation by one of the UK’s leading photographers agents. A group of 5 photographers get selected by a panel of industry specialists. This year the prizes have also included £500 to put towards equipment, £250 vouchers for a bespoke portfolio made by Cathy Roberts/Delta Design, advertising space and a £250 voucher towards camera insurance.

So if you are graduating this year, be sure to look out for and apply to as many competitions as possible! Through this, even if you are not selected it’s a great way for people in the industry to see your work. Sometimes your work may not be what they are looking for, however this is still a good chance to showcase what your work is about.

Competitions also can be great for getting equipment! Not all competitions are aimed at exhibiting artist/photographers work, in some cases it can be sponsored by a company, which will provide prizes. After leaving University with a heavy debt this can be a good chance to win equipment you couldn’t afford! So keep looking on the internet, for local and international competitions!

Blog post by Lucy Goodwin, Intern