2022 Photography Awards Rules & Categories

Changes for 2022

Change Summary

  • External judges will be invited to participate in the heats. A majority of judges will be member judges.
  • We will try and ensure that if a judge has entered a heat they are not a judge in that heat.
  • Membership benefit: 9 free award entries per year – 1 per category per heat. (€90 value)
  • The 2-year restriction on when an image was created will be reintroduced. Enter images taken from 1 January 2020.
  • Due to a lack of entries the press category has been dropped

Schedule for 2022

30 May 2022 @ 13:00 Closing date for photography heat 1
31 July 2022 @ 13:00 Closing date for photography heat 2
31 October 2022 @ 13:00 Closing date for photography heat 3

There will be no extensions, so get your images in on time.
The next heat will open immediately after the previous heat closes.

The Awards Programme needs you

The Awards Program is the largest aspect of the IPPVA and requires constant work throughout the year in different areas. In order for it to be successful, it requires a team of 7 people to work on it.

We also need to set up judges’ training as a priority.

We would love for members to volunteer their time/skills for this year or next. Please email

Submitting your images

Login in at IPPVA Competition System.

  • Click the ‘more information’ button on the current heat.
  • Click ‘Enter Competition’ and accept the Terms and Conditions
  • You will be presented with the categories and upload buttons
  • Upload your entries
  • Confirm your entries look right and once you are happy with everything then hit the Pay Now button at the foot of the page

We strongly suggest that you make all your submissions before paying to keep the process simple.  Once your entry is paid it will be valid.  No other steps are required. 

IPPVA Awards System // Login

Can videographer members enter photography heats?

Yes. Both photography and videography heats are open to all full members.

Where can I find my Awards Login details?

For all our newer members who joined in the past 12 months or so, your details were included in your onboarding email when you became a Full Member of the IPPVA.

If you search for the subject line: “Congratulations – you have been awarded your Licentiateship with the IPPVA”, you’ll find everything you need in that email.

If you still cannot find your login details, please contact straight away. 

For other members, try the “Lost Your Password” link, but if you cannot remember your account’s email, please email so as not to lock yourself out with failed attempts.

Please make sure you log in to the system several days in advance in case there is a problem.  Support is not available 24/7 so do not wait until 12:55 on the closing date to log in for the first time.

Note: the IPPVA Awards Website is separate from the IPPVA website and may have different email addresses and passwords set up.

Entry Fee

The price for each photography entry is €10.

9 Free Award Entries

As a membership benefit, the IPPVA is giving each member 9 free entries into the awards each year. That is broken down into 1 per category per heat.

Photography Main Categories (and shortcodes)

Portrait PO
Newborn NB
Wedding Classic WCL
Wedding Open Creative WCR
Wedding Documentary WD
Commercial CM
Architectural AR
Fine Art FA
Landscape LS
Open Creative OC

Overall Judging Criteria

Numeric Scoring
There is a single score for each image:

  • 90-100 Gold
  • 80-89 Silver
  • 70-79 Bronze

Judges will look for the following in all images and each category will have extra criteria specific to that genre:

  • Visual Impact
  • Imagination, originality, and artistic merit
  • Composition and Technique
  • Subject Matter and Centre of Interest
  • Technical Control including:
    • Exposure
    • Contrast
    • Tone
    • Colour Balance and Colour Management
    • Image detail and handling of processing

Technical flaws that could affect an image score:

  • Dust/sensor marks
  • Over sharpened detail
  • Banding and posterization issues
  • Blown highlights and resulting loss of detail

Judging Procedure

Once the competition is closed to entries, the administrator will check that all images adhere to the rules.

If an image is considered in the wrong category the administrator will contact the entrant, to give them the opportunity to change their submission.

The Awards administrator will ascertain judges availability and allocate the judges and categories and set a date for judging. The Awards Chairperson may call on judges to talk up/down an image when there is a large difference in judges scores. A judge may challenge an award or non award.

These judging sessions will be recorded and made available to members.

Rules, Terms and Conditions

  • Images must have been taken since January 1 2020 and not been part of any other IPPVA competition.
  • The images must be anonymous and, in the case of images pertinent to advertising campaigns, they must not contain any text or graphic elements, which were not part of the original exposure. Images containing text will be immediately disqualified.
  • Commissioned Works: All images in the Commercial, Architectural, Portrait, Newborn and Weddings must be on a commissioned/real portrait/real wedding basis. The photographer must be able to provide proof of the commission. If the photographer is unsure of the eligibility of any images, they should contact the awards administrator or chairperson to check at
  • Images with the same subject/scene cannot be entered into multiple categories. This rule applies to each heat and across all heats in the same awards year.
  • In the case of weddings, the images must have been taken from a real wedding at which the photographer was the principal photographer.
  • Images taken at seminars and workshops are not allowed, with the exception of the Landscape and Open Creative category where it would count as ‘personal’.
  • Fine Art and Landscape categories may contain un-commissioned, speculative (i.e. future sales work).
  • Personal images, either from workshops or personal projects should be entered into the Open Creative category.
  • By entering the IPPVA Photographer of the Year competition you confirm that you:
    • A. Hold the copyright for the image(s) that you submit
    • B. Have permission from the client/subject in question to enter the image
  • All images submitted must be at the correct size and resolution (see Technical specification below).
  • No adjustments can or will be made by the IPPVA or its Judges to images that are not correctly sized.
  • Nude images should only be entered in the Fine Art Category.
  • You agree to accept that the judges’ decision is final.
  • Composite images: In any image, where multiple images are composited, either in part or whole, all elements must have been photographed by the entrant. The individual entering acknowledges that all parts making up the image are solely shot by him/her, however insignificant that or those parts may be in the final image.
  • It is a condition of entry that the IPPVA may use your images to promote the association and standards in professional photography through all media channels. Your statutory rights are not affected in any way by this condition but if you so wish you may write to us to withhold your work from any and all promotions.
  • There is a maximum of 5 entries per category. With a total entry per heat not exceeding 15.
  • In Heat 3 there is a maximum of 10 entries per category and a total entry not exceeding 30.

Photography Technical Specification

Each submitted image must be 4000 pixels on the longest side (i.e. 4000 pixels wide or tall). Files must be JPEG with the best quality compression provided that they are under 8MB in size.

Submitted images must be standard sRGB, saved in JPG. They MUST NOT BE AdobeRGB or ProPhotoRGB etc. Only sRGB. IF YOU DO NOT USE sRGB then THEY WILL NOT LOOK CORRECT to the judges.

File renaming: There is no requirement to rename images prior to uploading. All filenames are hidden from the judges and administrators through random generated codes.

Quick pre-submission checklist

  • Is the image 4000px on the longest side?
  • Does the image still hold together at 100%?
  • Are there any odd JPEG artefacts at 100%?
  • Are there any hotspots or blown highlights?
  • Have you read the category descriptions?

Photography Category-specific criteria and descriptions

In addition to the overall criteria the judges in individual categories will be looking for these specific points:


An image of the interior or exterior of a building or structure, in whole or in part, as a detail or graphic, where the integrity, design and structure of the building are the primary focus of the image.

The image must be sympathetic to the architectural elements of the structure. While there is an obvious emphasis on the technical elements of the image, the judges will be looking for harmony between design of the building/structure and the composition of the image.

  • Good use of composition
  • Use of light and time of day
  • Good use of camera lens, camera angle and camera height
  • Correct perspective (either corrected or deliberately emphasised perspective)
  • Control of depth of field


Any image that is commissioned to illustrate a product, people, expertise or to promote brand awareness. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Product Photography
  • Fashion Photography
  • Promotion of Brand or Corporate Identity
  • Corporate Portraits
  • An image used to convey an idea or concept

Please note that any exterior or interior images should be entered in Architectural.

The normal judging criteria of course applies here but there is a strong emphasis on the technical elements of the image, i.e.

  • Control and use of colour, contrast and tone
  • Presentation
  • Detail and sharpness
  • Fulfilling the client brief

Fine Art

In this category, we are heavily into the realm of creative photography in all mediums. Human Form is included. Anything that contributes artistically to the image is allowed including editing, manipulation, compositing, use of illustration, and graphic elements. All elements in the images must be taken by the photographer. No stock imagery may be used as part of the composition. All elements must be photographed/produced by the entrant.

Landscape and urban landscapes should not be entered in this category.

  • Artistic Merit, Originality and Style
  • Technical ability
  • Composition
  • Storytelling


Any image that portrays a landscape or urban landscape. Judges will be looking for a strong emphasis on originality and artistic merit. Images taken at common/popular Landscape locations will require something very unique in their approach in order to stand out. Fine Art Landscapes are also a part of this category.

Particular attention will be paid to:

  • Composition
  • Originality
  • Use of Light
  • Colour, tone, and dynamic range

Images may be black and white. Stitched panoramas are acceptable.


A Newborn portrait must include a newborn baby that is less than 6 weeks past their due date. This will allow for babies who are born premature to be included in this category when they are well enough to be photographed. The image may include other people including parents, siblings, pets, etc. All images that include a newborn must be entered in this category, not portraits or fine art. The style is open to classic and documentary and can be done in studio, at home or environmental. Newborn images must be derived from commissioned portrait sessions and images with the same subject and/or from the same scene/session cannot be entered into multiple categories. If it is personal work, such as the photographer’s baby, it should be entered in the Open Creative category.

Additional pointers:

  • Use of lighting appropriate to the style of portrait
  • Posing of the subject(s) particular to newborn portraiture
  • Flattering angles of the newborn
  • Emotional Impact

No composite images can be used unless ALL elements of the composite are also photographed by the entrant. Digital backgrounds may not be used unless photographed by the entrant.

Documentary and environment portraits are included in this category.

Open Creative

The Open Creative category will be for anything the photographer would like to have judged which does not meet the criteria for any other category. Enter personal projects, your own family or if you are trying to branch out into other genres of photography, you can enter that uncommissioned work here.

All judges, regardless of which categories they judge, will be required to judge this category.

The normal judging criteria applies here but there is a strong emphasis on the technical elements of the image, i.e.

  • Control and use of colour, contrast and tone
  • Presentation
  • Detail and sharpness
  • Fulfilling the client brief


From a single subject to family groups. Young and old. Pets may be included in this category either on their own or with family members. The style may be classic, modern, documentary or environmental. This is a social category. Corporate Portraits would be under the Commercial Category. Likewise, Fine Art Portraits fall under Fine Art. Please bear in mind that Portrait images must be derived from commissioned portrait sessions and that images with the same subject and/or from the same scene/session cannot be entered into multiple categories.

Additional pointers:

  • Use of lighting appropriate to the style of portrait
  • Direction and posing of the subject(s)
  • Interaction between the subject and the viewer
  • Emotional Impact

No composite images can be used unless ALL elements of the composite are also photographed by the entrant.

Documentary and environment portraits are included in this category.


General Wedding Criteria

May be any image connected with a Wedding. It should contain, or clearly relates to, a bride or groom (or both!). For example, you may have a reportage image of a wedding guest, but it must be clearly demonstrated that there is a link to a wedding. Images may be of any wedding style.
Images must have been taken at a real wedding (not a training course or personally arranged shoots).

  • Control of the subject(s) where appropriate
  • Use of lighting
  • Use of the venue/setting
  • Emotional Impact
  • Artistic Merit
  • Storytelling

There are three distinct sub-categories.

  • Classic
  • Documentary
  • Open Creative

Classic Wedding Photography

Posed, classic photography. Posed shots of the couple, an individual bride or groom, or the group at large. Successful entries involve direction from the photographer, and excellent control of scene, light, and pose.

Documentary Photography

Documentary, reportage, or journalistic photography. The aim of this type of photographic style is to document the wedding day in an unobtrusive fashion, conveying a clear narrative. The photographer must show that the image was completely undirected and had a ‘hands off’ approach when taken. Nothing posed, or from the couple shoot should be submitted here.

It is imperative that the image tells a story. This is where there is a difference between documentary and candid. There are many moments that can be captured on the fly, i.e. ‘candidly’ but this does not necessarily make it a documentary image. The judges will be looking for a story/drama/life/emotion, looking to see that the photographer has composed the shot to include the elements needed to convey that story. A simple candid shot is not documentary, judges will be looking for more.

Open Creative Wedding Photography

Creative Photography closely follows market trends or even sets new ones. Creative wedding photography is modern, contemporary, fresh and exciting. This style of images may have many of the classic elements but also incorporates many modern and creative elements.

Posing or client interactions may be casual, unusual, or possibly break convention. Compositions, cropping, and styles of processing may also be key elements in an award-winning image of this type. The photographer must clearly convey their understanding of the elements of modern, creative photography and show that they have attempted to understand the genre.