Awards | Head On Photo Festival


Image Credit: 
Marinka Masseus

Head On Photo Awards

Over $60,000 in cash and prizes
Entries close 3 Feb 2019

Enter Now

Enter your best work into the Head On Photo Awards 2019

Open Internationally 

$60,000 in cash and prizes

Finalists will be exhibited in Head On Photo Festival 2019 and beyond


Portrait | Landscape | Mobile

AUD$30 (USD$22)

Become a festival member and enter for AUD$25* (just over US$18) 

Student Prize*

Entry fee $1
*Australian K-12 students

2018 Portrait Prize Finalist Image Credit: Paul Mason

Head On Photo Awards 2018 Image Credit: Boy Surminski

About Head On Photo Awards

We have been helping photographers to Create, Exhibit and inspire since 2004.

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

Portrait | Landscape | Mobile | Student

Head On Photo Festival, one of the world’s most prestigious photo festivals is calling for photographers to submit work to the Head On Photo Awards 2019.

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

Our anonymous judging ensures each work is selected solely on its merit rather than the celebrity of the photographer.

Since 2004 we have awarded over $600,000 in cash and prizes to photographers all over the world.

All Finalists receive:

  • - A fully produced exhibition - all costs covered
  • - Promotion of winners and finalists
  • - Inclusion in the Head On Photo Awards catalogue (see the 2018 Photo Awards catalogue)
  • - Inclusion in an online gallery (post-festival)


  • - The exhibitions tour to major international festivals. Past festivals include Photoville (New York), Indian Photo Festival, Auckland Festival of Photography (NZ), and Pingyao International Photography Festival (China)
  • - Head On seeks further opportunities for retrospective exhibitions


  • - Three winners per category will win prizes from a total pool worth over $60,000 including $22,500 in cash
  • - The Landscape Prize has additional three prizes to promote New South Wales landscape; The awards are the NSW Landscape Prize, President's Prize, Speaker's Prize

The full 2019 prize list will be announced in early December.

We would like to thank all our prize partners over the years for their generous support of the photographic community.

2018 Landscape Prize Finalist​ Image Credit: Tom Putt


Prizes Supplied by FujiFilm

Fuji XH1 + Battery Grip + 16mm f1.4 lens

Fuji XT3 + 23mm f2 lens

X100 F Brown


Prizes Supplied by Sony

Sony A7iii with 28-70mm lens

Sony A 6300 + 15-50mm lens

Sony RX100 Mark 3


More Prizes Supplied by


Slection Process

Work is judged anonymously; no identifying details of the photographer will be visible to the judges to ensure that the celebrity of the photographer 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 and represents all aspects of the photography world including curators, picture editors, photographers, educators and other industry leaders.

The judging panel for the 2019 Head On Photo Awards will be announced in the coming weeks.

Past judges include Isobel Crombie, Deputy Director, National Gallery of Victoria; Mikko Takkunen, Picture Editor, New York Times; Polixeni Papapetrou, Artist; Dr Ross Harley, Dean, University of NSW Arts & Design; Alexander Strecker, Lens Culture; Shoair Mavlian, Photography Curator, Tate Modern; Michael Reid, Gallerist; Petrina Hicks, Artist; John McDonald, Arts Critic, Sydney Morning Herald; Chris Rainier, National Geographic; Trent Park, Magnum, and more.

2018 Head On Photo Festival and Announcement of winners. Attendance 2000 photography lovers. Image Credit: John Swainston

2019 Head On Photo Awards Judges

Genevieve Fussell (USA)
Picture Editor, The New Yorker
Cai Meng (China)
Curator, CAFA
Lucy Pike (UK)
Picture Editor, WeTransfer
Enrico Stefanelli (Italy)
Festival Director, PhotoLux
Shane Hulbert (Aus)
Associate Dean, Photography RMIT
Lydia Dorner (Swiss)
Assistant Curator, Musée de l’Elysée
Arianna Rinaldo (Italy)
Artistic Director, Cortona On The Move
Mags King (Aus)
Managing Photo Editor at Fairfax Media
Grzegorz Kosmala (Poland)
Founder of BLOW UP PRESS
Michael Cook (Aus)
Acclaimed photographer
Michele Aboud (Aus)
Acclaimed photographer
David Alan Harvey (USA)
Photographer - Magnum Photos
Moshe Rosenzveig (Aus)
Creative Director - Head On Photo Festival
Head On Photo Awards Categories

Portrait Prize

2018 Head On Portrait Prize Finalist Photo Credit: CoCo Amardeil

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 Prize

2018 Head On Landscape Prize Finalist Photo Credit: Ignacio Palacios

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.

An additional prize, the ‘NSW Parliament Prize’ will be awarded for the best image depicting scenes from New South Wales plus two more: ‘Speaker’s Prize’ and ‘President’s Prize’.

Mobile Prize

2018 Head On Mobile Prize Winner Image Credit: Zay Yar Lin

Images submitted can be of any subject matter and any style as long as they were captured on a mobile device. The judges will be looking for photographs that invoke a high level of engagement with the viewer.

Student Prize

2018 Head On Student Prize Winner Image Credit: Hi Yin Chan (Image detail)

This prize is open to years K-12 Australian school students. Photographs submitted can be of any subject matter and any style as long as they were captured on a mobile device For the terms and conditions for the Head On Student Prize click here.

2018 Head On Photo Festival Trailer