To All Awards

2023 Photography Awards

Call for entries


"A "winner" to me when I could see the concept being articulated in a way that had a point of view that was unique to whoever created it. I felt like the most exciting work was work that was executed in a way I hadn’t seen before because you could tell it was unique to a particular perspective and experience of the world."

Allie Keith, Associate Creative Director, Rethink, Toronto, Ontario

You have succeeded in building your niche within the creative industry, creating arresting and technically au point imagery. Keep pushing past your comfort zone by flexing that creative muscle. Winning an Applied Arts Images Award will help you broadcast your work in front of top creative professionals working in the advertising, design industries today.

This is an international competition open to all forms of commissioned, published, unpublished, and personal work, for photographers of all levels — including newly minted professionals and Canadians working in smaller communities or smaller businesses or with smaller budgets. With over 60 categories including these and many more categories:

  • Advertising Photography
  • Architectural Photography
  • Arts & Culture Photograpny
  • Cinematography
  • Corporate Photography
  • Editorial Photography
  • Environmental Factor Photography
  • Environmental/Spaces Photography
  • Event/Experiential Photography
  • Food Photography
  • Packaging Photography
  • Promotional Photography
  • Sports Photography

Applied Arts remains as committed to recognizing the talented artists who continue to pursue excellence within their creative projects. Our mandate is to showcase the jewels of their labour resulting from years of hard work. We provide them with the opportunity to grow their community and business by getting the eyes of established industry creatives on their work. Thus Applied Arts will not accept Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Be sure to review the Call for Entry kit and 2023 Photography & Illustration Categories kit for important information and tips on entering.


2023 Call for Entry Kit 2023 Photography Awards Categories Kit

2023 Photography Awards Jury

It's important that our Photography & Illustration Awards are judged by award-winning designers and art directors. After all, the quality of their work is highly dependent on the quality of the images they choose. So who better to judge award-worthy images, than a cross-section of some of the best – and most highly awarded – creatives from across Canada and beyond. A new jury is chosen each year for each of our competitions.

Olivier Caron
Art Director
Quebec, QC

Olivier started his career mainly working as a graphic designer who specialized in branding and identity projects before switching to advertising and art direction. His endless curiosity for every subject and his love of cutting edge ideas, good design and excellent craft are at the core of his work ethics. In addtion to his art direction work at LG2, Olivier, from time to time, puts his other creative outlet as a seasoned professional musician to use in his agency projects. His work has been awarded at Applied Arts, Communication Arts, The ADCC, Marketing Awards, SIA, Idea and Crea Awards.

Heloise Condroyer
Creative Director
Design Army
Washington, DC

Héloïse Condroyer is Creative Director for Design Army LLC, an award winning boutique design agency based in Washington DC, where she has worked since 2015. A native French citizen, Heloise lived in Paris before moving to Washington DC where she worked as Art Director with two of the top global advertising agencies, JWT Paris and DDB Paris. She has worked on a large number of international design and advertising campaigns, including luxury brands like Rolex, Tudor, Mövenpick, Glenfiddich, Bouygues Telecom, Ritz Carlton, Hong Kong Ballet and many others. Heloise has been the recipient of significant international design awards, including Applied Arts, Cannes Lions, One Show, Clio, LIA, Epica, Emmy and others. Among her passions, art and design are her favourite.

Nathalie Cusson
Creative Director, Design
Scooter Design Inc.
Montreal, QC

Nathalie Cusson is a multidisciplinary Creative Director with 20 years in the advertising and design industries. She brings extensive hands-on experience in corporate identity, branding design, editorial design, and art direction, as well as retail environment design, motion and filmmaking. She has worked on many iconic Canadian brands, including; LCBO, Air Canada's enRoute, Fairmont Hotel & Resorts, CIBC and Telus as well as not-for-profit organizations such as Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Rethink Breast Cancer, BlackCAN and Unicef Canada. Nathalie's work has been recognized through many award shows, from organizations like NOWNESS, Applied Arts, Communication Arts, the National Magazine Awards, Magnum Opus Award, Folio: Eddie and Ozzie Awards, the AIGA, the Effie Awards Vimeo Staff Pick and the ADCC.

Louis Dollé
Art Director
House9 Design
Montreal, QC

Louis Dollé is a Graphic Designer and Art Director based in Montréal. He spent the first five years of his career at Baillat Studio, working on critically acclaimed projects before moving to a new adventure as the Art Director of House9 in 2021. Louis Dollé is an award-winning graphic designer with seven years of experience working in the realm of arts, culture, and festivals.

Vanessa Iddon
Senior Designer
Perfect Day
St. John's, NL

Vanessa is a senior designer and illustrator based in St. John's, NL. Born in Ontario Canada, she graduated with a BA in Art History from Queen's University in 2011, and a diploma in Graphic Design from CNA in 2014. She has worked professionally as a graphic designer at Newfoundland and Labrador studio, Perfect Day, for over eight years and is experienced with all types of digital and print production. She brings a true artist's approach to her projects and excels in concept development, branding, illustration, and has developed creative for a variety of clients throughout the province and beyond.

Steven Kim
Creative Director
One Twenty Three West
Toronto, ON

For over 20 years, Steven's work ethic coupled with his love for the business of creativity has led him to generate a string of award-winning works for agencies of all sizes. What he loves the most about being creative is the chase for purity, always striving for work that is well-considered yet effortless in craft. Steven is also an award-winning photographer, with a keen interest in just about anything.

Lisa Lebedovich
Executive Creative Director
Vancouver, BC

With a passion for ideas & collaboration, Lisa has created standout campaigns for local and international brands alike over her 20+ year advertising career. She has been privileged to work at some of Canada's top agencies including Rethink, TAXI, Cossette and now Will, where she leads the agency's advertising mandates as Executive Creative Director. Lisa has won numerous awards for her work including Cannes, The One Show, the London International Advertising Awards, The ADCC, the Clios and the Marketing Awards. Her work has been featured in Communication Arts, Lürzer's Archive and on the cover of Applied Arts. She also recently published her first children's book and otherwise dreams of one day becoming a world-famous movie extra.

Karolina Łoboda
Creative Director
Toronto, ON

Born in Warsaw Poland, and based in Toronto Karolina has been a designer for the past 20 years. She works as an independent freelance designer, creative director and art director. Karolina aims to fill the void for clients with compelling stories to tell about exceptional products and services that improve our world. Her inspiration comes from Arts & Culture, nature and human psychology. She works with writers, photographers, and stylists to meet the specific needs of a project. She has experience working with clients big and small, local, and global. Her is mission is to create with passion and purpose to help clients grow their business through poetic design.

Michael Morelli
Creative Director
Toronto, ON

Michael has be in the business for the past 20 years art directing advertising campaigns for all types of clients large corporations to small businesses. He was awarded the #7 ranking by Strategy 2022 Creative report card - Creative Director category- an advance from the #17 position in 2021. Michael is very knowledgeable and has exceptional taste. There is little he doesn't know about the different categories: smoking, grilling, baking, curing, sous vide, you name it. For all your meat needs, Michael is your man.

Benson Ngo
Creative Director
Performance Art
New York, NY

Benson is a Toronto native currently calling Brooklyn, New York home for close to 10 years. His background is in branding and design combined with a deep love for tech and UX. With over 15 years in the business Benson has worked with a roster of clients including BMW, Black & Abroad, Molson Coors, Dos Equis, Jameson Whiskey, McDonald's, eBay, Oreo, and multiple GSK brands — for whom his work has won at multiple international award shows. When Benson is not working away on exciting creative, he's an avid biker and foodie that loves exploring new neighbourhoods.

Mustaali Raj
Art Director, Designer & Visual Artist
Vancouver, BC

Mustaali Raj is an award-winning art director, designer and visual artist with a multi-disciplinary practice. Being both a third culture kid and an avid traveller, his sense of belonging extends well beyond geographic boundaries. This multi-faceted sense of belonging and experiences play an important role in exploring intersection of identities. Along with celebrating and advocating for diversity in the creative sector, Mustaali's approach centres around community building, elevating creativity and designing for social good. As an engineer turned designer, his creative process is a cohesive blend between left and right brain thinking. He is a circle, living in a square, drawing triangles.

Nigel Sielegar
Corse Design Factory
New York, NY

Nigel Sielegar is a designer/entrepreneur currently working in New York City, and an adjunct professor at the School of Visual Arts (SVA). He is the founder of Corse Design Factory, a design firm with a boundless interest in the many facets of design disciplines. Nigel is an internationally recognized award-winning designer. He has also juried design competitions including The Young Ones Student Awards by The One Club for Creativity and the YCN Award based in London. Nigel is a recipient of multiple Certificate of Typographic Excellence from the Type Directors Club in New York, Communication Arts excellence in design award, and Print typography and lettering awards among others. His work has been exhibited in prestigious exhibitions in Shanghai China, Mainz Germany, Bangkok Creative Festival, and more than 50 other countries around the world. His designs have also been featured on numerous design blogs, press, and publications nationally and internationally.

Adam Thur
Executive Creative Director
DDB Canada
Toronto, ON

After over 15 years in the industry, Adam finds himself constantly inspired by the new ways that creativity can transform a brand. And while his approach has evolved with the times, one thing has remained constant: his belief that every creative idea must start with a strong consumer insight. These core beliefs have helped him create breakthrough work for clients such as Audi, IKEA, Wonder Bread, Interval House, and Frito-Lay. Adam has been honoured to work at some of Canada's top agencies, including DDB, TAXI, Leo Burnett, and Juniper Park. Adam's innovative ideas and attention to craft have helped him earn many Canadian and international awards, including multiple Cannes Lions and Effies.

Paulina Van Vliet
Senior Designer
Edmonton, AB

Paulina has been working as a designer for nearly 10 years. She's drawn to projects that are complex and require critical thinking and problem solving to build a clear hierarchy of information. Paulina's experience includes working on huge layered campaigns to single illustrations for social. Most recently, she's been focused on honing my skills in web design Currently at CUSP where she is working on digital solutions for companies that are innovative and inspire emotion.

Devon Williamson
Creative Director, Partner
Berners Bowie Lee
Toronto, ON

Devon is chief creative officer and co-founder of Berners Bowie Lee, an ad agency that focuses on understanding and shifting culture. She is an award-winning creative with a career that spans roles in art direction, visual design, UX and software design at decorated agencies across Canada and the US. Devon co-founded BBL to work with companies that want to embrace change, find cultural relevance and use creativity to have an impact. In 2019 she was selected as one of 15 women from across the globe to be a part of Cannes See It Be It where she continues to volunteer by mentoring and supporting up-and-coming female creative directors. The same year she was ranked as the best art director in Canada by Strategy's Creative Report Card – one of the first woman to achieve this since the list was first published.

Judging Process

All work is entered and judged digitally. There are no hard copies. Therefore, please read our RECOMMENDED BEST PRACTICES, in the 2023 Categories Kit to ensure you submit your work properly for maximum impact.

The judges are divided into groups, with each viewing a different and random group of entries. Each judge reviews and scores entries separately. Judges do not confer or discuss the work and there is only one round of judging.

Entries are given one total score, based on three criteria only:

  1. Creative merit.
  2. Technical excellence.
  3. Suitability for end use in the category it was submitted to.

NOTE: Entries submitted to the Young Blood and Community categories are judged with the level of experience and/or available resources taken into consideration.


Open internationally to all forms of commissioned, published, unpublished and personal work from professionals and enthusiasts created between February 2022 and February 2023 (but not entries that have been submitted into last year's competition). Only digital entries are accepted for this competition.

Young Blood
For professionals that have graduated within the last three (3) years.

Exclusively for Canadian artists and firms working in smaller communities or with smaller businesses or budgets, to help them get the recognition they deserve.

To be eligible to enter Community categories, you must be Canadian and meet one of the following criteria:

There is a stand-alone awards competition for students studying in a creative arts program at the post-secondary or high school level. Work from any year of study is eligible and may be entered up to one year after graduation. Students are only eligible to enter the Student Awards competition. Visit Student Awards for eligibility and deadlines.

Categories & Entry Fees

Entry fees vary per sub-grouping and category. Please be sure to download the 2023 Photography & Illustration Categories Kit for detailed pricing.

Advertising Photography
Architechural Photography – NEW
Arts & Culture Photography
Catalogue Photography
Conceptual Photography
Corporate Photography
Editorial Photography
Environmental Factor Photography
Event/Experiential Photography
Fashion & Beauty Photography
Food Photography
Gallery Photography
Lifestyle Photography
Nature Photography
Packaging Photography
Photo Manipulation
Photojournalism Photography
Portrait Photography
Promotional Photography
Pro Bono/PSA/Charity Photography
Still Life Photography
Travel Photography
Unpublished/Personal Photography


Entries can be from any application from the groupings of categories above.

Entry Material Guidelines

All entries are submitted digitally only. Hi-res, final files are to be submitted for judging. These files will be used for publication, if selected as a winner.

Main Entry Files

Your Main Entry File(s) must clearly show the images to be judged in hi-res format.


*Exceptions are noted in specific categories.

IMPORTANT NOTE RE MULTI-PAGE PDFS: Use a PDF with multiple pages to incorporate any additional images while still adhering to the maximum number of files allowed. For example, the PDF could have several pages that show the image in final context, inside pages from a book or multiple views of 3D entries such as packaging, etc. but it only counts as 1 file. This allows you more opportunities to show your work, without going over the file limit.

Support Files

Support Files are mainly for clarity to assist the judges. They are not for publication (except where noted) and do not count towards the file limitations noted above. Upload these to the "Entry Supporting Materials" sub-section of ENTRY MATERIALS on the entry form.

Please note these important required vs. optional Support Files for certain entries:

~ English translations for non-English entries:  Include any important text (e.g. headlines, entry title) either as a Support File or within a multi-page PDF as your Main Entry File.

~ Images in context of the finished piece, for example the finished ad or self-promotion piece, etc. Upload as either a Support File or within a multi-page PDF as your Main Entry File.
~ Explanatory notes for the judges: Although not recommended (except where noted in a category), brief descriptions/explanations of up to 50 words may be added for clarity (or up to 10 seconds for video files). Include either as Support File or within a multi-page PDF as your Main Entry File.
~ Case studies: While not recommended (as outcomes are not a criteria for judges in scoring), case studies can be added ONLY as a Support File and should be limited to max. 45 seconds. REMINDER: You must include the actual creative to be judged as your Main Entry File.

~ Entering URLs of the same creative as a Support File: Don’t submit a URL link if you’ve already submitted an MP4 as your Main Entry Material. However, available links to non-static creative are requested in the Winners Information section for publishing in the online Winners Gallery.
~ Files submitted, be they Main Entry Files or Support Files (including URLs), should not identify the entrant (except for self-promotion work).

Acceptable File formats and restrictions





Entries are judged online. Here's how to help the judges:

How To Enter

The Entry Form consists of five (5) steps. You will have the option to save your progress during each step of the process.

Create your "MY ENTRIES" Account.

This is your Applied Arts Awards account for all Awards competitions. Once logged in personal account information can be updated, a new entry can be started, copied from an existing one, or edited; and you can pay for all or some entries.

Bookmark for easy access to your account later.

NOTE: If you've entered the Applied Arts Awards previously, please use the email address associated with your account.

All entrants must complete an online entry form in My Entries, regardless of payment method, to be eligible for entry.

Step 1: entry information

Select from one of the Awards competitions, choose a category and add your entry title.

Step 2: Entry Materials

Entry format: All entries are to be submitted in digital format. See ENTRY MATERIAL GUIDELINES section above for detailed specifications.

Step 3: Winners' Information

This section is for publication only and is not visible to the judges. Please review the information carefully. There will only be 48 hours to edit this information after the Winners have been notified.

The "Winner" field is the primary company or individual you want to be credited on the piece (i.e. company name, photographer, illustrator, Young Blood, etc.).

NOTE: In the instance that a team (e.g. AD & writer) worked together (typically for the Young Blood or Student categories), enter only the first individual of the team as in the "Winner" field. The other team member(s) should be added in the CREATIVE CREDITS section. (See Step 4: CREATIVE CREDITS for further explanation on how to enter additional names so that they are properly credited as "Winners").

Optional fields: Phone, email, web address, social handles, and the URL to the winning entry (typically, for motion entries). If these are entered, they will be published beside your winning work.

NOTE: We recommend including the URL as, due to file sizes, we don't upload the MP4 files directly for viewing in the Winners Gallery. They are only used for judging.

Description of Entry: For the purpose of providing a brief creative summary of the project to be published beside your winning entry. The description is limited to a maximum of 500 characters (includes spaces).

NOTE: The "Descriptions of Entry" are for publication use only and are not shown to the judges. If additional clarity is needed for the judges, a description/explanation may be added to either your Main Entry file(s) or as a Support File. Please limit it to 50 words or a max 10-second intro for video/broadcast.

Step 4: Creative Credits

Credits are a summary of the individuals or companies that have worked on the project.

A credit can be designated with an individuals name or an organization's. A credit role is a job function (e.g. creative director, or production house). Multiple names can be assigned to one credit role (i.e. if you have two creative directors, they are counted as only one credit role).

A maximum of 6 creative credit roles will be published in the Annual, however, any/all creative credits you entered will appear in the online Winners Gallery.


Step 5: Certificate information

Winners will receive one certificate for each winning entry. Complete the winning company/individual and/or client you wish to appear on the certificate. The entry title and the category the project won in will automatically be included on the certificate. You will have the opportunity to order additional certificates once winners have been notified.

Next: Finalizing Your Entry
After Step 5, the entry form is complete. Press the "Save" button to return to "My Entries" dashboard to submit a new entry, copy an existing entry to a new category, or submit payment.

IMPORTANT: A submitted entry is not final and entered in the competition until it's paid for. Entries may be edited until paid for. Once payment has been processed, it is final.

Payment & Refunds

Entry fees vary. Check the categories kit for entry fees. Some or all of the entries can be paid for at any given time – just select which entries to pay. Once an entry is paid it is officially in the competition and cannot be modified.

Payments can be made by Visa, MasterCard or American Express (AmEx is for Canadian payments only at this time), or PayPal. US and international entry fees are payable in US funds.

NOTE: For US/International entrants, select PayPal as your Payment type, then click the "Pay with Credit Cards or VISA debit".

We only accept cheque, or direct deposit in special circumstances. These cases must be pre-approved. Contact with your request.

If you are entering a piece as both a Single and as part of a Series, ensure there are two separate entries on My Entries - one for the Series and one for the Single.

Keep a record of your submissions.


All entrants will be notified by mid-March 2023 via email. At that time, you will have only 48 hours to correct or finalize creative credits and descriptions.

To ensure you don't miss the results notifications, add to your address book.

What Winners receive


  • Order additional certificates for your creative team, client, etc. with an option to order a plaque-mounted certificate
  • Order additional copies of the Awards Annual at a discounted price
  • Order a personalized, engraved Awards trophy. This attractive and original Lucite AACE cube is 3.5x3.5x3.5 square inches

*Additional fees apply

Frequently Asked Questions

Eligibility FAQ

Can students enter? No. Students may enter the Student Competition. Go here for categories, eligibility and deadlines for the Student Awards competition.

Can I enter something I entered last year? Not in the same competition, but if it meets the eligibility period for a different competition, then yes.

Can I enter something in multiple Awards competitions? Yes. Each competition has different eligibility periods; please check each competition for eligibility requirements.

Judging FAQ

Will the judges see my descriptions during the judging? Judges do not see the creative descriptions you have entered. These are only for publishing beside your entry if chosen as a winner. If you feel judges need an explanatory note, you may include a brief description as a Support File (no more than 50 words or 10 seconds for broadcast/video).

Categories FAQ

Can I enter a piece in multiple categories? Yes. In your account on the My Entries home page, click "Copy" on any entry you've created. Be sure to change the discipline and/or entry category to the new one you want to submit to.

Which category does my entry belong in? Often the best way to understand a category is to see previous work that won in that category. Check our online Winners Gallery for examples. If you still have questions regarding our categories or require assistance in selecting the appropriate category, contact

NOTE: Applied Arts reserves the right to move an entry to another category if we feel it unsuitable or incorrectly categorized.

What is a single, series, and campaign? A single means 1 piece. Series means you are submitting more than 1 piece of the same project to a maximum of 3 (5 pieces for Photography & Illustration competitions). A campaign is up to 9 pieces (6 pieces for the Student competition). If an entry contains more than the specified images, we will either contact you to split the submission into multiple entries, or choose which ones will be judged, so it's best to stick to the indicated number of pieces specified.

What is the Young Blood category? Young Blood is a series of categories open only to entrants who have been out of school up to a certain number of years (3 for Photography and Illustration, and 5 for Design and Advertising). As with all categories, they are judged on creative excellence, technical merit and suitability for end use, but the jury also takes into account the level of professional experience. You will be required to specify the name of the Young Blood entrant to qualify.

What is the Community category? The Community Awards was our newest Awards program, launched in 2017, to help Canadian artists and firms working in smaller communities or with smaller budgets or local clients get the recognition they deserve. In 2019, Community Awards categories were rolled into each of the four competitions (Photography, Illustration, Design and Advertising) for added exposure.

Entry Material FAQ

At what specs do I need to submit my entry? Refer to ENTRY MATERIAL GUIDELINES section for specifications.

Can I submit a hard copy or disk? No. Only digital uploads are accepted.

The program crashed. Did I lose everything? No. You are saving your work as you go through each section of the entry form. If the program crashes as you are completing a certain section, it may not have been saved in that section.

The file I uploaded won't show me a preview. Why? You may not see the image preview if you haven't followed the specs outlined in ENTRY MATERIAL GUIDELINES. Check your file and re-upload. If you continue to experience difficulties, try clearing your browser history or contact

I uploaded the wrong file. Can I change it? Yes. You can resubmit images at any time until payment is made. Click the "X" beside the appropriate file and re-upload your image.

NOTE: The thumbnail image may not correctly display your new image. If this happens close your browser and log back into "My Entries" for the changes to show. If you continue to experience difficulties, try clearing your browser history or contact

Rights FAQ

Do I need to get the rights of the subjects or material used from external sources in my entry? It is the responsibility of the entrant to ensure copyright is not infringed. Upon entry you must grant us the rights to reproduce the image or images for both our online and print publications, so you would most likely need to have these rights in place to protect yourself. Although you do not need to send us a copy of the release forms, we do suggest that you have them. Entrants who request we don't run their winning work because they don't have the rights will not be refunded for their entry. NOTE: Student work is often exempt from copyright rules.

What rights do I retain if my work is chosen? You retain all rights to your images.

My client has revoked the right for me to enter work I've won for. What do I do? We do not issue refunds in these cases, but please contact if you need the entry removed from the Winners' pool.

Payment FAQ

Can I submit more entries after paying? Yes. In My Entries, you will have the opportunity to submit additional entries even if others already entered have been paid. This will simply generate a new confirmation email when you complete your entries with payment.

I want to change something after I've paid. What do I do? Once an entry is paid, you cannot change the category, entry title, entry format, winners information, description of entry, or credits. A paid entry is final, so check carefully before proceeding to the payment field. If chosen as a winner, you will be given a small window of time add or edit information.

Can I get a refund? Entries are non-refundable; costs cover administration, processing and the judging of the entry. A submission of entry acknowledges acceptance of these rules.

My client has revoked the right for me to enter work I’ve already paid for. What do I do? We do not issue refunds, but contact if you need the entry removed from the judging or winners' pool.

I'm getting error messages when I try to pay. What do I do? If you entered your payment information incorrectly on your first attempt, any subsequent attempts would be declined, even if you change your payment type. Close your browser and log back into My Entries. You should now be able to proceed with payment. If you continue to experience difficulties, contact

Winners FAQ

If I win, what image will you use for reproduction? We will use the image(s) you submitted on entry. In the case of series, complete, campaign or motion, we select a sampling at our discretion from the images/files submitted.


Questions? If you've checked all of the above sections and cannot find the answer to your question, or if you are having difficulty entering, contact


Applied Arts reserves the right to amend these rules throughout the competition. Applied Arts assumes all entries are original and the property of the entrant, with all rights granted therein. Applied Arts reserves the rights to publish or exhibit entries for our print or electronic formats, or related promotions. Entries are non-refundable. Costs cover administration, processing, and the judging of the entry. Entries may be moved to a more suitable category, if Applied Arts deems the category chosen unsuitable. All descriptions and credits are subject to be edited for length, clarity and grammar in accordance with the Applied Arts editorial style guide. A submission of entry acknowledges acceptance of these rules.