Top Teen Photography Competitions

Pre-College Photography Resources

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The Top Teen Photography Competitions

Photography may already be part of your daily life by way of social media, but have you had the chance to share your work with other photographers or to have your work exhibited and celebrated?

At SOCAPA our students create impressive photography portfolios to shared with friends and family, but we also hope that work finds a larger audience. We’ve collected our top ten picks for contests and competitions that give youth a chance to share their work on a bigger scale, and the opportunities to win awesome prizes and national or even international recognition. Submission deadlines may change yearly, so be sure to check each contest for the timelines and rules. Good luck!

1. Sony World Photography Awards
2. Photog Fest
3. Travel Photographer of the Year
4. Rocky Mountain School of Photography Contest
5. National Geographic Student Photo Contest
6. Scholastic Art & Writing Awards
7. National YoungArts Foundation
8. Congressional Art Competition
9. Photographic Society of America Youth Showcase
10. iPhone Photography Awards

Sony World Photography Award Logo

Sony World Photography Awards


Student Competition Deadline: End of November
Youth Competition Deadline: End of December

There are multiple competitions to participate in through the Sony World Photography Awards. The Youth competition has themed monthly competitions running from June - December. Top ten images are chosen each month, as well as one winner. All monthly winners will be in competition for the title of the Youth Photographer of the Year which comes with exciting prizes in addition to the prestige! Free to enter!

To enter the Student competition photographers must be participating in a full-time photography program. Each year students are asked to respond to a prompt with five to ten images. The 10 shortlisted photographers and the overall winner get a chance to travel to London to be part of the awards ceremony where their photographs will be exhibited plus there are prizes!



Photog Fest Logo

Photog Fest


Submission Deadline: March 1st

The contest accepts photos that fit in a wide range of categories from students in middle, junior high, or high school. This competition is free for participants! Official selections are exhibited at a Chelsea art gallery in NYC as part of the All American High School Film Festival weekend, in October. Monetary prizes and equipment are given away, in addition the photographer of the year wins a full-ride (4 year) scholarship to the Minneapolis College of Art and Design!


Travel Photographer of the Year Banner

Travel Photographer of the Year


Submission Deadline: April to mid-October

Travel Photographer of the Year has a category for students, the Youth Travel Photographer of the Year. This category is split into two groups: ages 14 and under and ages 15 to 18. There are entry fees required for this competition. Winners get their photographs exhibited online as well as in books and in traveling photo exhibitions which gets work seen internationally! Additional prizes are also awarded to category winners.


Rocky Mountain School of Photography Logo

Rocky Mountain School of Photography High School Photo Contest


Submission Deadline: Early December

The Rocky Mountain School of Photography holds an annual photo competition for high school photographers. Categories include: People, Miscellaneous, Nature, and Smartphone. The top 100 images from each category are displayed on their site, and the top three winners in each category have thoughtful reviews from the judges. The Grand Prize Winner walks away with a package prize.


nat Geo Student Photo Contest Banner Image

National Geographic Student Photo Contest


Submission Deadline: End of January

Students submit photos that speak to the yearly prompt, in 2019 the challenge was to “capture the spirit of exploration”. Photographs are submitted along with a caption to describe how or why the photograph speaks to the theme. The Grand Prize Winner gets to choose a National Geographic Student Expedition Photography Workshop which are offered around the world alongside professional National Geographic photographers!


Scholastic Art & Writing Awards logo

Scholastic Art & Writing Awards


Submission Deadline: vary by region

Students can submit work in a wide range of art or writing categories. There is a photography category which look for originality, technical skills and the emergence of a personal vision. Students in grades 7 to 12 are invited to compete. There are many awards and recognitions given, regionally and nationally, culminating in a recognition ceremony at Carnegie Hall in NYC for the National Medalists. Scholarships are also awarded to top recipients each year.


National Young Arts Foundation logo

National Young Arts Foundation


Submission Deadline: June - October

US citizens and residents between the ages of 15-18 are eligible to apply to the annual YoungArts competition. Disciplines include: Photography, Film, Dance, Theater, Voice, Writing, and more! There are a variety of levels of awards given to 100’s of applicants. This application does include a fee, though it can be waived. Most awards include an opportunity to participate in some educational programming in their discipline alongside accomplished artist-mentors. Winners are connected to a network of professionals and peers and many include monetary awards as well.


Congressional Art Competition Winner

Congressional Art Competition


Submission Deadline: Spring

The Congressional Institute sponsors a yearly visual art competition open to high school students. Students must submit their art to their representative with the help of a sponsoring teacher. Artwork must be 2 dimensional, photographs are accepted. The winners will have their artwork brought to the Capitol and hang in the Cannon Tunnel for one year, where it will be seen daily by a stream of visitors, both tourists and politicians.


Photographic Society of America Youth Winner

Photographic Society of America Youth Showcase


Submission Deadline: Beginning of April

The Photographic Society of America (PSA) is open to high school students ages 14 to 19. There are six categories, each open to print or projected (digital) images. Winners will be awarded monetary prizes for Best in Show, first, second, and third place, as well as honorable mentions. First place images will also be featured in the PSA Journal and on the PSA website. Finally, winning images will be exhibited at the PSA conference and winning students will be given a student membership to PSA.


iPhone Photography Awards logo

iPhone Photography Awards


Submission Deadline: End of March

The IPhone Photography Awards (IPPAwards) run a yearly competition for photographers worldwide taking photographs using an iPhone or an iPad. Categories range from Abstract, to animals, to floral, lifestyle, news, travel, and more. This competition does include submission fees and is not specific to youth, though youth are welcome to participate. There are prizes for overall winners, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners in each category, as well as additional honorable mentions.