Head On Photo Awards 2021 - $70K in cash and prizes

Head On Photo Awards Portrait, Landscape, student

Head On Photo Awards

Entries for 2021 now closed

Explore past finalists

Image: Elena Anosova

Finalists & winners for 2021

Finalists' images will be screened and winners announced during the launch of Head On Photo Festival 2021 on Friday 5 November in Sydney.

Exhibitions of the finalists' work will open on 6 November 2021.

Stay in touch

About Head On Photo Awards

We have been helping photographers to create, exhibit and inspire since 2004. Since then, we have awarded over $770,000 in cash and prizes to photographers all over the world.

The Head On Photo Awards represent a global selection of the best work from emerging and established photographers across three categories:

Portrait | Landscape | Student

The Head On Portrait and Landscape Awards are open INTERNATIONALLY to professional, emerging and enthusiast photographers from classical to contemporary styles, and the Head On Student Award is open to Australia’s young photographers (school years K-12).

Selection process

Work is judged anonymously; no identifying details of the photographer will be visible to the judges to ensure that the photographer's celebrity and/or the subject of the image does not affect the selection process.

Judging panel

The judging panel is comprised of leaders in the Australian and international photography communities. It represents all aspects of the photography world, including curators, picture editors, photographers, educators and other industry leaders.


Head On Photo Festival launch event
Image credit: John Swainston

Prizes and exposure

Over 2000 people attended the launch of Head On Photo Festival 2019. In 2020, the awards ceremony and Festival launch were live-streamed around the world and finalists shared $70,000 prize pool including $30,500 in cash.

The Head On Photo Awards exhibitions receive large visitation across key Festival venues and have toured nationally and internationally.

In 2020, in collaboration with the Royal College of Music, London, students took inspiration from selected images of the Portrait Award to compose original pieces. Both music and images were showcased in a concert in London.

The Head On Landscape Award 2020 toured to photo festivals in Pingyao and Guizhou, China that attract hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.



Printed Finalists' exhibitions

Curators walkthrough the Head On Portrait Award 2019 Photo: Stephen Godfrey

The Head On team curates, designs and produces the Head On Photo Awards Finalists’ exhibitions and Head On covers all associated costs (once you've entered your image, we do the rest).

The exhibitions are presented in key Festival venues; in 2019 the Festival Hub attracted over 12,000 visits. In 2020 in response to Covid-19 lockdown, Head On presented the entire Head On Photo Awards exhibitions online as part of Head On(line), the world's first photo festival delivered entirely online. Our audience numbered over 80,000 worldwide.

In 2021, Head On heads to Sydney's breathtaking Bondi Beach where we will showcase exhibitions along the waterfront and premiere Head On Photo Park*; a brand-new concept, bringing together exhibitions, artist talks, live music and workshops. Tours and school excursions are welcome! We will also present the exhibitions and events online.

*subject to public health orders.

Stay in touch

Head On Photo Awards catalogue


Each year we produce a limited edition, printed catalogue of the Finalists’ work. The high-quality hardback book contains a full page for each photograph and is available for purchase at key Festival venues or in our online store.

Tips for entering Photo Contests

Pick me! Get into photo awards

Having difficulty choosing the right images to enter into photo awards? Join us when Head On Photo Festival Creative Director, Moshe Rosenzveig OAM, shares his tips and expertise for entering photo competitions and answers your burning questions.

International Head On Photo Awards Categories

Portrait Award

Head On Portrait Award 2020 International runner upPhoto credit: Jouk Oosterhof

The image must feature or reflect the essence of a person or group of people and must be photographed by the Applicant. Group portraits, self-portraits and collages are accepted.

Landscape Award

Head On Landscape Award 2020 WinnerPhoto credit: Marcia Macmillan

Our approach to ‘landscape’ is very broad and encompasses ‘large vista’ images of the natural environment (land or sea), urban or industrial settings. It may include people, but these should be ‘incidental’ rather than the main subject matter.

2020 Head On Photo Awards announcement of winners