2021 Photography Awards
Call for entries
Call for Entry Opens: December 7, 2020
Final Deadline: February 12, 2021
Eligibility Period: January 2020 – February 2021
Great work needs to be recognized
Now, more than ever before, getting business is all about credibility – what work you've already done, and who's given it the nod. Applied Arts Awards have been a reliable source for showcasing the best of the best for 30 years. A nod from one of our juries – always different, always independent – gives you bragging rights, exposure, more confidence, and, above all, a portfolio showpiece.
We remain committed to celebrating all the great work out there. So show us – and the creative world – what you've poured your heart and soul into over the past year.
This is an international competition open to all forms of commissioned, published, unpublished, and personal Illustration work, including these and many more categories:
- Advertising Photography
- Corporate Photography
- Editorial Photography
- Environmental/Spaces Photography
- Event/Experiential Photography
- Food Photography
- Packaging Photography
- Promotional Photography
- Sports Photography
The competition also includes categories for newly minted professionals and Canadians working in smaller communities or smaller businesses. Please see eligibility section for details.
Be sure to review the Call for Entry kit and 2021 Categories kit for important information and tips on entering.
2021 Photography Awards Jury
All work is entered and judged digitally. There are no hard copies. Therefore, please read our RECOMMENDED BEST PRACTICES, in the 2021 Category 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 their work, and there is only one round of judging.
- Each entry is judged independently on its own merit. Judges are asked not to rank or compare entries.
- We have no pre-determined quota of winners If a category has no winners, it is eliminated. Similarly, a category may have multiple winners. All entries above the cut-off score are declared winners and published.
- We do not rank winners (i.e no gold, silver, etc.). Every entry above the cut-off score is given equal exposure as a winner.
Entries are given one total score, based on three criteria only:
- Creative merit
- Technical excellence
- Suitability for end use in the category into which it is submitted.
NOTE: Young Blood, Community and COVID-19 Response entries 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 January 2020 and February 2021 (but not entries that have been submitted into last year's competition). Only digital entries are accepted for this competition.
For professionals that have graduated within the last 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:
- Small community - The entrant and client must be in a community of less than 500,000
- Small Business - The client must be a single-establishment/small business, such as a restaurant, local retailer or service.
- Shoe-String budget - The budget for the assignment must have been extremely limited, given the project parameters.
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.
Categories & Entry Fees
Entry fees vary per sub-grouping and category. Please be sure to download the 2021 Photography & Illustration Categories Kit for detailed pricing.
PHOTOGRAPHY SINGLE: $40 / SERIES: $65
MOTION – SHORT: $100 / LONG: $115
YOUNG BLOOD, COMMUNITY AND COVID-19 RESPONSE - SINGLE: $30 / SERIES: $55
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/illustrations to be judged in hi-res format.
*Exceptions are noted in specific categories.
IMPORTANT NOTE RE MULTI-PAGE PDFS: Use a multi-page PDF to incorporate any additional images into the maximum number of files allowed (e.g. the image in context, inside pages from a book, or multiple views of 3-dimensional entries such as packaging).
Support Files are 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 French (other language) entries: Include any important text (i.e. 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 wihtin 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: (i.e. don't also submit a URL link, if you've already submitted the MP4 as your Main Entry File). However, available links to non-static creative are requested in the Winners Information section for publishing in the online Winners Gallery.
Acceptable File formats
- File Format: PDF (recommended), JPG, PNG, GIF
- File Size: 8-inches (or 203 mm) on the longest dimension
- Resolution: 300 dpi
- Colour Mode: RGB
- File Limit: Max. 5 MB for images/PDF files.
- Please upload MP4 files directly to your entry. Files should not exceed 80 MB.
- IMPORTANT re MP4: Video files will be resized by our system to 800px wide keeping aspect ratio.
- Counts as 1 'file' upload..
- File sharing sites OK.
- Password-protected URLs are not allowed.
- Ensure the URL is accessible until June 2021
RECOMMENDED BEST PRACTICES
Entries are judged online. Here's how to help the judges:
- A multiple–page PDF is preferred over multiple, individual JPG files.
- More is not better. Curate your images to the maximum indicated for each category, except where noted below.
- Use a multi-page PDF to give judges the full picture at a glance. Show multiple views of 3D pieces, zoom in on small print or details and show complex/novel work in the context of how it was seen by the audience.
- Look at your entry on a smaller–screen desktop and ensure all important details are legible at that size, as that's how a judge may be viewing it.
How To Enter
The entry form consists of five 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 https://www.appliedartsmag.com/myentries/ 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 digitally only. See ENTRY MATERIAL GUIDELINES section above for detailed specifications.
Step 3: Winners' Information
Everything entered in 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: "Descriptions of Entry" are for publication use only and are not shown to the judges. If added 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.
- In instances of a team entry (e.g. Young Blood or student group project), enter the subsequent names here (Reminder: you entered one name in the "Winner" field). Choose the 'Other' role and enter Young Blood (or Student, or Winner) as a custom role field. They will not be counted towards your 6 credit roles, and will be credited together as the "Winners". These individuals may also be added a second time, identifying their specific roles on the project (e.g. art director, writer).
- Credits only need to be entered once. Credits automatically get saved to your account to be used for any competition. For subsequent entries, select either a saved credit or add a new credit. To change the order of your credits, change the number from the sort column and select 'Update Sort' when finished.
- We strongly recommend credits be completed at the time of submission. If selected as a winner there will be only 48 hours to edit or add the creative credits. Be sure to review your creative credits carefully, particularly the credits to be the printed in the Annual.
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 Interac, Visa, MasterCard or American Express (AmEx is for Canadian payments only at this time), or PayPal. For US and international entry fees are payable in US funds.
We only accept cheque, or direct deposit in special circumstances. These cases must be pre-approved. Contact email@example.com 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 late-March 2021 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 firstname.lastname@example.org to your address book.
What Winners receive
- Their winning work published in print in the Summer 2021 issue
- A complimentary copy of the Summer 2021 issue
- Their winning work published online – Both in our Winners Gallery on appliedartsmag.com as well as our social media channels for all winning entries.
- A personalized, awards certificate for every winning entry signed by noted designer Georges Haroutiun, the founder and art director of Applied Arts
ADD-ON OPPORTUNITIES FOR WINNERS*
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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).
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 email@example.com.
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 Photogrpahy & 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 saved 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you need the entry removed from the Winners' pool.
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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
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 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.