The Early Career and Emerging Talent award seeks to recognize and validate the efforts of photographers who are beginning to find their own voice in their architectural photography practice. The award is open to those who have been photographing architecture for five years or less. For this contest, submit three images that exemplify who you are as a photographer—your style, your technical skills, your interpretation of architecture. These could be three images from three separate locations, or from one location. They could be interiors, exteriors, or aerials. There is no limit as long as you think the three images that you submit represent who you are as a photographer. You may enter as many times as you would like, three images per entry.
We’re not looking solely for photographs of amazing buildings and the judges have been instructed not to judge the architecture, but the photographic interpretation of the subject. An incredible photograph of an outhouse has just as much of a chance of winning as a photograph of the latest starchitect’s massive project. There is no geographic restriction on the location of the images; nor are exteriors looked upon more favorably than interiors or vice versa. Images are free to contain human or animal figures, or be strictly architectural. Commercial, personal, artistic, and every other type of image is fair game, as long as the photographs contain an architectural or man-made component.
The judging criteria consist of, but may not be limited to:
Style: Do the entries show a consistent style across images? Even if the subjects are wildly different, a consistent look or feel across images is integral to a photographer’s career.
Technical prowess: Are the images competently made? Are the subject’s proportions correct? If elements of the composition are exaggerated or distorted, do they do so in a way to improve the photograph or detract from the photograph? Is the image in focus and sharp, or if the image is imperfect in a particular way, was it done in a controlled manner that adds to the aesthetic value of the image?
Lighting: Does the lighting in the photograph work to highlight the subject or enhance the story the photograph is trying to tell? Whether the lighting is evocative and moody, light and bright, or highly technical, all are valid approaches when applied judiciously and appropriately.
Overall impression: Is there an emotional reaction to the images, do they inspire, or fall flat? Are they capable of standing on their own without explanation?
We expect winning images to be announced in April 2024. To see the full list of prior shortlisted entries and winners to get a better idea of what judges have awarded in the past, check out these links:
What is “Emerging Talent?”
In order to make sure this contest is open to the people we intend it to be, we’d like to provide clarification on what “Emerging Talent” means. Our intention is for people who are just establishing their careers or who have recently made the decision to pursue architecture, interiors, or real estate photography full time to enter and learn from the experience.
If you are a regularly published architectural photographer, you’re probably not an “emerging talent”. If your full-time income is derived from photographing architecture – you could still be an emerging talent, or early in your career. As it’s so difficult to interpret and draw the line, we are only looking to accept entries from photographers who have been active in the genre for five years or less. We realize there is a huge range of talents and skills within this time frame, but five years is still the blink of an eye in a photography career. The winner and runner up from the prior “Emerging Talent” contests are no longer eligible to enter future Emerging Talent competitions. On the whole, we mostly trust our entrants to determine if they consider themselves “early career” or not.
Prizes: New for 2023, Five Winners
Top prizes: Five winners will be awarded trophies for the best new and emerging photographers, one of whom will be the grand prize winner – and win an all expenses paid trip to California to photograph architecture and attend a private workshop with AP Almanac Founder Mike Kelley.
Grand prize: An all-expenses paid trip from anywhere in the world to Southern California for a personal one-on-one workshop with Architectural Photography Almanac founder and photographer Mike Kelley.
That’s right – I want to help the winner of this contest improve their business practices and photography skills with a fully paid trip to visit and work with me in my studio in California.
-Airfare from anywhere in the world to Los Angeles, CA
-A day of one-on-one workshopping on a topic of your choice in studio
-A guided shoot at a local location in Los Angeles or nearby (TBD)
-Meals, accommodation, and a rental car for 3 days
Alternatively, the cash equivalent value of that trip if logistically unfeasible for the winner. Details will be discussed after competition closing.
A shortlist of the top ten emerging photographers will be published on APALMANAC. For each shortlisted entry, there will be judges’ comments and explanations of their choices.
Before prizes are distributed, we will verify that the eligibility requirements have been met once the shortlist has been selected.
Complete the form below and upload three images in JPEG format, no larger than 3mb each. Images must be at least 1600px on the longest side, and no more than 4000px on the longest side. Non-JPEG images and images smaller than 1600px will not be accepted, as we would like a large enough file to be able to accurately judge the content of your photographs.
Images may have been created only within the last five years, or since the beginning of your architecture photography practice.
Submission Deadline: February 1st, 2024 12:00am
Image credit for lead image: Laura Deus, winner 2022 Emerging Talent award