The Sony Alpha Awards return for 2022

The Sony Alpha Awards contest for Australian and New Zealand photographers is now accepting entries, with a prize pool of $54,000 worth of Sony camera gear up for grabs.

Now in its seventh year, the 2022 competition allows photographers to submit their work in twelve categories:

Astrophotography for photographs that highlight the night sky. Judges in this category are looking for images that demonstrate exceptional mastery of the important technical constraints of this field, as well as the aesthetic considerations of the Landscape category. Composite images that do not alter the explicit content of the image are permitted (i.e. exposure blending, color compositing, dark frame subtraction). Pure star field images may be submitted, but judging will be based on aesthetic and pictorial criteria.

City / Street covers any image that documents life in an urban center. People and places will be considered. Judges in this category look for images that provide insight into city life or reveal an unexpected or extraordinary aesthetic.

Compact camera applies to photos taken with Sony fixed-lens cameras. The compact camera category is themed “Distance” in 2022, which participants can interpret as they wish, in all genres. Judges in this category look for technical excellence, as well as imaginative interpretations of the theme.

Creative rewards originality, experimentation and imagination and is open to photographic composite images. Any number of photos can be used and edited together to form an image of a subject, object, environment, idea or concept. All elements used in the composite must be captured by the submitting photographer, and if the submission reaches the final round of judging, entrants will be required to submit the original layered file and/or contributing images. Judges in this category are looking for a clear concept, executed with sensitivity to the subject and a high level of technical skill.

Editorial images must be taken from a body of work, commissioned or not. The subject matter can range from commercial work to photo essay documenting current events, newsworthy events, etc. For an image that reaches the final stage of judging, the photographer will need to submit the entire work for context. Judges in this category are looking for clear storytelling, executed both in the individual image and, for finalists, sustained throughout the series.

Countryside covers photos of a place and/or thing, usually the natural world. Judges in this category are looking for unique and powerful framing, or new interpretations of familiar scenes. Photographic technical excellence is required, but final decisions in this category are made based on the photographer’s use of color, composition, and sensitive post-production to complete the scene presented. Composing photos in this category for technical purposes will not be penalized, but composites of significantly different times/places are grounds for disqualification. Photographs that may be taken into account in Astrophotography Where Seascape are unlikely to receive an award in this category.

Nature encompasses the natural living world. Animals, plants, fungi – if it’s alive, it counts. Judges in this category look for images that reveal something new or unexpected about the natural world around us. As a hotly contested category, technical considerations are often a factor in choosing the best contenders for Nature. Pets and animals in clearly artificial or captive environments are unlikely to be rewarded.

Portrait is dedicated to photos of a person who knows the photographer and participates in the creation of the photo. Judging in this category will reward photos that reveal more than the surface of the subject. Candid photography is not considered in this category.

Seascape highlights the sea. Judges in this category are looking for unique and powerful framing, or new interpretations of familiar scenes. Photographic technical excellence is required, but final decisions in this category are made based on the photographer’s use of color, composition, and sensitive post-production to complete the scene presented.

Sports is for photos of a sport practiced or related to the culture of a sport. Judges in this category are looking for footage that reveals a deep understanding of the sport being documented and that captures either cutting-edge action or something essential to the sport.

Marriage covers photography documenting a wedding. Judges in this category are looking for intelligent and intuitive photographs that demonstrate the photographer’s ability to read the environment of a wedding and focus on highlights, while respecting aesthetic considerations. Alternatively, pre-wedding work that goes below the surface and speaks to the photographed couple. Documentary work related to a wedding will also be considered.

Youth is only open to students between the ages of 11 and 18. Photos submitted must be inspired by the ‘Discover’ theme. Entrants can submit photos captured on any device, be it a camera, tablet or smartphone, and then upload them to Instagram using the hashtag #AlphaAwardsYouth22. This competition has a prize pool worth over $5,800, which includes a range of Sony Alpha camera equipment.

All open category entrants may submit up to five photos via the Alpha Awards Contest Page. Eligible images must be taken with Sony Alpha cameras (body and lens) or a Sony fixed-lens compact camera (Compact camera category only). Submissions will close on May 20, 2022.

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