Head On Photo Awards - $30K in cash and prizes

Todd Antony

Head On Photo Awards

Over $70,000 in cash and prizes

Get notified

Image detail: Todd Antony

Entries for Head On Photo Awards 2022 have now closed.

The Head On Portrait and Landscape Awards are open INTERNATIONALLY to photographers of all levels. The Head On Student Award is open to Australia’s young photographers (school years K-12). 


Prizes and exposure

The Head On Photo Awards winners will share a massive prize pool, previously reaching $70,000, including $30,500 cash and 100 finalists will have their work exhibited in Head On Photo Festival 2022! 

Over 2,000 people attended the Head On Photo Festival launch in past years, a celebratory event centred around the announcement of the Head On Photo Award winners. 

Prizes are awarded to three winners per category:

  • 1st place winners for portrait, landscape and student 
  • One international runner up each for portrait and landscape
  • One Australian runner up each for portrait, landscape and two runners up for student

Plus, another 100 shortlisted images will be presented on a rolling slideshow! 

Awards exhibitions receive significant visitation, recording over 10,000 visitors across stunning Festival venues and have toured globally. The Awards also have dedicated exhibition web pages with high traffic. 

The Head On Photo Award puts your photos on the world stage! 

1st place Portrait Award

$15,000 cash


Prize package valued at $7,165 including Sony A7 IV with 85mm f/1.4 GM Lens

International and Australian runners up

Each runner-up receives a prize package valued at $2,366 including Sony RX100 VII compact camera

1st place Landscape Award

$15,000 cash


Prize package valued at $5,265 including Olympus OM-1 with 8-25mm F4.0 PRO lens 

International and Australian runners up

Each runner-up receives a prize package valued at $1,666 including Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV + 14-42mm Lens

1st place Student Award

$500 cash


Prize package valued at $4,665 including Sony Alpha 7C with 50mm F2.5 G

First and second runners up

Each runner-up receives a prize package valued at $1,965 including Sony ZV1 + Shooting grip

2022 Head On Photo Awards Prizes supported by:



"... Head On Awards are an important part of the strategy to keep your work and name 'out there' in the photographic community and potential clients."

Brian Cassey - Portrait Award winner & finalist


Printed Finalists exhibition

2021 Head On Portrait Award exhibition

The Head On Photo Awards Finalists’ exhibitions will be open to the public during Head On Photo Festival 2022 at key Festival Hubs(subject to public health orders). These venues are at the heart of the Festival where talks, tours and school excursions take place; in 2019, our main Festival Hub attracted over 12,000 visits. Head On team curates, designs and produces the exhibitions and the Festival covers all associated costs (once you enter your image, we do the rest).

In 2020 in response to COVID-19 lockdown, Head On presented the entire Head On Photo Awards as online exhibitions as part of Head On(line), the world's first photo festival delivered entirely online.

In 2021, we presented the Head On Photo Awards exhibitions outdoors, along Sydney's iconic Bondi Beach and throughout the fabulous Paddington Reservoir Gardens (pictured Photo: Stephen Godfrey).

Head On Photo Awards catalogue


Each year we produce a limited edition, 120-page printed catalogue of the Finalists’ work. The high quality 20x20cm hardback book contains a full page for each photograph. It is available for purchase at the Festival Hub or in our online store.

About Head On Photo Awards

Since 2004 we have been helping photographers all over the world to create, exhibit and inspire, awarding over $750,000 in cash and prizes.

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

Portrait | Landscape | Student

"Being a finalist and exhibitor in the Head On Photo Festival, I got to connect with photographers whom I still stay in contact with. Also being a finalist gets major street cred."

Krystle Ricci - Portrait Award Finalist 2018

Head On Photo Awards Categories

Portrait Award

Winner Head On Portrait Award 2021 Photo credit: Gideon Mendel

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. We encourage all photographic styles and interpretations of photographic portraiture.

Landscape Award

Winner Head On Landscape Award 2021 Photo credit: Alethia Casey

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. We encourage all photographic styles and interpretations of 'landscape'.

Student Award

Winner Head On Student Award 2021 Photo credit: Chege Mbuthi

The Head On Student Awards is open to all of Australia's young photographers studying at schools K-12. There is no theme and work entered can be of any photographic genre.

"Being a finalist/semi-finalist was a validating experience... strengthening my confidence that my practice and the bodies of work I was making were of interest to others. The awards have had an indirect but invaluable impact on my career"


Work is judged anonymously; no identifying details of the photographer will be visible to the judges to ensure that the work is selected on creative merit alone.


The judging panel is comprised of leaders in the Australian and international photography communities. It represents all aspects of the photography world, including curators, picture editors, photographers, educators and other industry professionals.

"Head On Photo Festival challenged me to be a better photographer and gave me a sense of being a member of global photographers community."

Nadide Goksun - Finalist and Winner 2019, 2020, 2021

Carly Earl
As the Picture Editor for Guardian Australia, Carly Earl works with the best photojournalists in the country. She is also an award-winning photojournalist who has been working in the media for over a decade. Carly's photography has accompanied some of the Guardian's biggest stories. She covers Indigenous affairs, healthcare, women's rights and the environment. Her passion is connecting an audience to the voiceless people of real news stories.
Carly Earl
Picture Editor, Guardian Australia
Giles Clarke is a photojournalist who focuses on humanitarian awareness in communities ravaged by poverty and conflict throughout the world. His longterm projects for the United Nations (OCHA) have concentrated on the war in Yemen and the growing unrest in the Sahel region of Africa. He is syndicated globally by Getty Images (Reportage) and the latest recipient of the 'WARS Photography Award' in December 2021.
Giles Clarke
Photojournalist, Getty Images (Reportage)
Julia Coddington is an Australian based street and documentary photographer, teacher and community builder. She is a strong advocate for the female voice in street photography as co-founder of the Unexposed Collective and an administrator of @womeninstreet, a large international community of women street photographers. She is also a member of the Little Box Collective, an international collective of street photographers. Julia’s work has been exhibited in Australia and internationally, she has curated exhibitions and group shows, has considerable experience as a judge for photographic awards and was a nominee for the Leica Oskar Barnack prize in 2020.
Julia Coddington
Co-founder, Unexposed Collective
Kaya Lee Berne
Kaya lee Berne is a photo editor at National Geographic magazine, where she specializes in natural history and wildlife photography. Prior to this role, she was a lead producer for LOOK3, Festival of the Photograph. Kaya earned a degree in neuroscience from the University of Virginia and currently resides in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Kaya Lee Berne
Photo editor, National Geographic magazine
Eric Mencher
Eric Mencher has been photographing professionally for over 40 years and is currently concentrating on street photography and long-term documentary projects. As a photojournalist at The Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper until 2009, he covered a variety of assignments, including the post-apartheid era in South Africa, the aftermath of genocide in Rwanda, and the civil war in Chechnya. He also photographed numerous stories in the arts, like the 100th anniversary of James Joyce's masterpiece Ulysses. Mencher received the Overseas Press Club Award for Rwanda: Aftermath of Genocide and has won other major awards, including prizes in World Press Photo and Pictures of the Year. He collaborates on projects with his wife, Kass Mencher, including a series of diptychs titled Duets. He is an original member of the Instagram-based collective Hikari Creative.
Eric Mencher
Photographer, Hikari Creative
Nelson Ramirez de Arellano
Nelson Ramirez de Arellano Conde, (b. Berlin, Germany, 1969) started his career as an artist in 1993, with an ecological approach as member of the artists group “ArteNativa”. During this time he created the duo “Liudmila & Nelson”, a cutting-edge collaborative photography based artistic team in collaboration with the Cuban artist Liudmila Velasco (b. Moscow, Russia, 1969). Liudmila and Nelson´s most important achievement in their artistic career is to have represented Cuba at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013. Nelson Ramirez de Arellano, parallel to his career as an artist, was director of the Cuban National Center for Photography (Fototeca de Cuba) from 2010 to 2020 and was chief curator from 2000 to 2010. He currently works as director of the Contemporary Art Center Wifredo Lam and the Bienal de La Habana. Ramirez de Arellano also created the Havana Month of Photograghy Festival “Noviembre Fotografico” in 2006 that held more than 60 exhibitions in different venues in Havana City annually.
Nelson Ramirez de Arellano
Director, Fototeca de Cuba
Eefje Ludwig (b. 1982) is an independent Dutch photography curator, mentor and advisor currently based in The Netherlands. From 2008 to 2016, Eefje was the education department manager at World Press Photo developing different training projects, publications, and exhibitions. For many years she led the Joop Swart Masterclass. She collaborated with PHmuseum as the Education Manager in 2016, was Artistic Director of Festival Photoreporter en Baie de Saint-Brieuc in 2017, and is a founding member of the Transformations project and the international photographers’ collective/agency MAPS. More recently, she curated the retrospective show and accompanying catalogue of Chas Gerretsen in collaboration with the Nederlands Fotomuseum (2021). Eefje is currently working as a guest curator for Noorderlicht Festival 2023. In 2019 she founded The Forest Bathing Circle aiming to reconnect people to nature through artistic expressions. She mentors photographers worldwide, seeking to support them in their careers.
Eefje Ludwig
Guest curator, Noorderlicht Festival 2023
Azu Nwagbogu
Azu Nwagbogu is the Founder and Director of African Artists’ Foundation (AAF), a non-profit organisation based in Lagos, Nigeria. Nwagboguwas appointed as the Interim Director/Head Curator of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art in South Africa from June 2018 to August 2019. Nwagbogualso serves as Founder and Director of LagosPhoto Festival, an annual international arts festival of photography held in Lagos. He is the publisher of Art Base Africa, a virtual space to discover and learn about contemporary art from Africa and its diasporas. Nwagbogu is a curator with a special interest in future museology.
Azu Nwagbogu
Founder and Director, African Artists' Foundation
Moshe Rosenzveig OAM
Moshe Rosenzveig OAM is the founder and Creative Director of Head On Photo Festival. Moshe has over 40 years’ experience in the media as a photojournalist, award-winning television producer/director (SBS TV) and commercial photographer. He has held lecturing positions at the University of Technology (UTS), the Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS) and others. He has also sat on judging panels for various competitions including The Walkleys, Tokyo Photography Prize, Sydney’s Art & About and is the lead judge for Head On Photo Awards. In 2018, Moshe received an Order of Australia Medal for services to the arts.
Moshe Rosenzveig OAM
Founder and Creative Director, Head On Photo Festival
Meg Hewitt is from Sydney, Australia and formally studied sculpture, painting and temporal media before taking up photography in 2010. She has exhibited both in Australia and internationally and her book ‘Tokyo is Yours’ is held in important collections such as the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the International Centre for Photography in New York. Meg also teaches workshops in street photography, street portraiture and editing for narrative. She has judged competitions such as Aussie Street and the Miami Street Photography Festival Award. Meg is a member of the Australian photo collective Oculi and the international street photography collective UP.
Meg Hewitt
Photo artist, Oculi & UP
2021 Head On Photo Awards announcement of winners