Information & Rules
The Independent Photojournalist of the Year will receive a $15,000 USD prize, plus a gallery space to display their work at the Xposure International Photography Festival, flights, and accommodation to attend the festival along with a friend or colleague. The printing, framing, installations, and building of the gallery space will be undertaken by Xposure.
The Runner-up to the Independent Photojournalist of the Year will receive a gallery space to display their work at the Xposure International Photography Festival, flights, and accommodation to attend the festival along with a friend or colleague. The printing, framing, installations, and building of the gallery space will be undertaken by Xposure.
The Independant Freelance Photojournalist Awards
- The awards are open to all individuals over the age of 18, regardless of nationality.
- Participants must hold a National or International Press Card issued by recognized associations such as the International Association of Press Photographers (IAPP), International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), The UK Press Card Authority (UKPCA), National Union of Journalists (NUJ), News Media Association (NMA), European Press Federation (EPF), or other internationally recognized issuing authorities, gatekeeper bureaus, or recognized media bureaus.
- Freelance photojournalists who are not directly employed by any media outlet are eligible to enter.
- Non-press cardholders can also participate if they provide a letter of introduction from a gatekeeper bureau, recognized media bureau, or press association.
- Non-press cardholders who can demonstrate evidence of news media published work during the past five years are also eligible.
- Entries must be submitted online.
- The submission period is from 1st June 2023 until the deadline on 15th October 2023 at 23:00 GST (Gulf Standard Time) (UTC +4).
- Finalists will be notified during the week commencing 11th November 2023.
The Independent Photojournalist Award (IFPA) features three categories for submissions:
- Spot News: This category focuses on capturing and reporting on unexpected and rapidly evolving events or incidents. Spot news or breaking news journalism aims to provide accurate and timely coverage of such events, keeping the public informed about the latest developments. Examples of spot news can include coverage of natural disasters, terrorist attacks, mass shootings, and political upheavals. The category recognizes the importance of delivering real-time information to the public during unforeseen situations.
- Environmental: The environmental category in the IFPA highlights photojournalism related to the state of the environment and the impact of human activity on the natural world. Environmental journalists investigate and report on scientific, social, and political aspects concerning the environment. They strive to uncover stories of environmental degradation, raise public awareness about environmental issues, and advocate for sustainable solutions. This category focuses on capturing and conveying the complexity of environmental problems and the need for conservation and sustainable development.
- Solutions: The solutions category aims to shift the narrative of traditional journalism by focusing on potential solutions to social, economic, and environmental issues. Solutions journalism goes beyond highlighting problems and instead explores innovative and effective approaches taken by individuals or groups to address these challenges. It involves in-depth reporting and research to provide readers with a comprehensive understanding of the issue and the effectiveness of the proposed or implemented solution. This category aims to inspire readers by showcasing progress and positive change, encouraging constructive action in response to important issues.
These categories provide distinct opportunities for photojournalists to showcase their skills and contribute to the field of journalism by capturing impactful images that inform, raise awareness, and inspire change.
Entry rules for the Independent Freelance Photojournalist Awards (IFPA):
- All entries must be submitted online before the Entry Deadline.
- By entering the contest, the entrant confirms that they have the authority to submit the photographs and that the photographs do not infringe any copyright or violate any intellectual property rights. The entrant agrees to indemnify Sharjah Government Media Bureau against any third-party claims related to the photographs.
- The photographs must have been taken within the past twenty-four (24) months at the time of entry.
- All submitted images must be the original work of the entrant, and any entries found to belong to another person may result in legal action
- Entries should not include manipulated content or staging to mislead viewers.
- Adjustments to levels, color, contrast, and brightness are permitted.
- Photographs featuring sculptures, statues, paintings, and other works of art are acceptable as long as they do not infringe copyright or involve fraud. If photographing the work of others, it should be shown in its environment and not as a close-up of another person’s art. Entrants may be required to submit a release form for such photographs (more details provided below in “Third Party Releases/Licenses”).
- Photographs with watermarks, names, or additional elements not part of the original image capture will be disqualified.
- Nominated finalists will be notified and may be asked to submit RAW files, high-resolution TIFF files, or out-of-camera files for verification before the announcement of nominees or finalists.
- The entries will be judged based on the Judging Criteria as defined in the judging and awards process.
- Online entries must be submitted by a registered user of the IFPA awards platform and by the authorized account holder of the provided email address. The “authorized account holder” refers to the person assigned to an email address by the respective Internet access provider, online service provider, internet domain owner, or other responsible entity.
- Note that entering the IFPA awards does not exclude participants from entering the Xposure International Photography & Film Awards. Separate registration is required for the Xposure Awards Platform.
- Do not submit any images that have been modified by moving, cloning, adding, or deleting pixels.
- It is emphasized that the Independent Freelance Photojournalist Awards do not accept images created by artificial intelligence (AI). If any submitted images are found to be AI-generated, the entrant will be disqualified from the Independent Freelance Photojournalist Awards.
Independent Freelance Photojournalist Awards (IFPA), the submission details are as follows:
- Image Size: The preferred image submission size is close to 1,800 pixels on the longer dimension. However, alternative resolutions are accepted if they are over 1350 pixels on the longer dimension.
- File Format: Image files must be in JPG format.
- Filename: Image filenames should only contain normal Western characters and/or numbers. Special characters or symbols may prevent a successful upload.
- File Size: The online submission system can accept images up to 3 megabytes in an uncompressed state. The uncompressed size refers to the count of pixels in the image as displayed in Photoshop’s “Image Size” display, not the file size on your computer’s hard drive.
- Colour Profile: Images may be colour profiled in sRGB, Adobe-1998, or not colour-managed.
- Nominated Entries: Nominated entries may be asked to provide full-size images during the final scoring round.
- Modification of Images: Do not submit any images modified by moving, cloning, adding, or deleting pixels. The submitted images should be in their original state.
- AI-Generated Images: Do not submit images created by artificial intelligence (AI). AI-generated images are not accepted for the competition.
For the IFPA entries, the following guidelines apply:
- Photo Essay: You can enter a photo essay consisting of a minimum of 10 images and a maximum of 12 images. The photo essay should be assigned to one of the three categories.
- Original Material: Each submitted photograph must be part of an original essay or story taken by the entrant.
- Copyright and Intellectual Property: By entering the contest, you represent and warrant that you have the authority to enter the photographs, and that the photographs do not infringe any copyright or violate any intellectual property rights. You agree to indemnify Sharjah Government Media Bureau against any claims of ownership related to the photographs by third parties.
- Content Manipulation: Entries should not include manipulated content such as adding or removing elements or staging photographs to mislead viewers.
- Adjustments: Adjustments of levels, color, contrast, and brightness are permitted.
- Photographing Works of Art: Photographs that include sculptures, statues, paintings, or other works of art are accepted as long as they do not infringe copyright or involve fraud. If photographing the work of others, it should be shown as an object in its environment and not as a full-frame close-up of another person’s art. Entrants may be required to submit a release form for such photographs (more details provided below in “Third Party Releases/Licenses”).
- Watermarks or Names: Photographs that include watermarks, names, or additional elements not part of the original image capture will be disqualified.
- Nominated Finalists: Nominated finalists may be asked to submit RAW files, high-resolution TIFF files, or out-of-camera files for verification before the announcement of nominees or finalists.
- Judging Criteria: The entries will be judged based on the Judging Criteria defined in the judging and awards process.
- Online Entries: Entries must be made online by a registered user of the IFPA awards platform and by the authorized account holder of the submitted email address. The authorized account holder refers to the person assigned to an email address by the respective Internet access provider, online service provider, internet domain owner, or other responsible entity. It’s important to note that entering the IFPA awards does not exclude you from also entering the Xposure International Photography & Film Awards. Separate registration is required for the Xposure Awards Platform.
A panel of five industry expert judges is looking to award the best photo essay submitted.
Judges will award:
- One winner
- One runner-up
- Three Awards of Merit
All submitted images will be screened by the Moderators. Submissions will either be approved or rejected at this stage. All photo entries must be appropriate to the category in which they are submitted and must have been made by the entrant.
Visual documents should provide an accurate and fair representation of the scene the photographer witnessed. Therefore, besides keeping ethics in mind, the content of a picture must not be altered by adding, rearranging, reversing, distorting or removing people and/or objects from within the frame. It is not permitted to alter the basic reality of a photograph.
Standard optimisation as in reasonable adjustments to exposure, colour and contrast are permitted.
Entries are judged in the context of the entire essay using the following criteria:
Round 1 Criteria
Round 2 Criteria
Essay Description and Captions
- Round One Process
The Award Jury (the “Judges”) will independently review each essay and apply a rating of 1-9 on the basis of each of the Round 1 criteria. The collective ratings from this process form the round one score.
- Short List Round One
The 5 highest ranked essays in each category will go forward to round two. In the case that two or more essays are in ranking position 5, all those images with the equal 5th point score will go ahead into round two.
- Round Two Process
In Round Two the judges will apply a credit rating on the basis of Round 2 Criteria.
The Judges individually consider the criteria for each image and essay as a whole and allocate credits on each element. The collective scores will determine the ranking. Should one or more images be placed equally in ranking 1st or 2nd, there shall be a final “Tie-Break” round of judging.
- Tie-Break Process
If a tie-break is required, the judges will consider the respective images once again based on the criteria of Essay Description and Captions. The Judges will apply a credit rating of 1 to 6 in the Tie Break process. Decisions of the Judges are final and binding.
Publication of Winning Images Images will be on exhibition at the annual festival, published in the next Xposure Year Book and also on the “Xposure” official website.
Rights Reserved Sponsors reserve the right not to award all prizes in the event an insufficient number of eligible entries meeting the minimum judging criteria are received, as determined by Organisers and Judges in their sole discretion.
Entrant Licenses & Releases
By submitting photos, entrants represent and warrant that they have obtained all necessary permissions and releases. It is important for entrants to carefully review the award rules and guidelines to ensure that they are complying with all requirements.
Third-Party Licenses & Releases
Copyright holders retain the copyright of their work. For the award, nominated and shortlisted pictures, copyright holders grant the organisers unlimited, non-exclusive use of high-resolution images for activities during and for promoting Xposure in all media. Awarded images will be published in the Xposure Yearbook and the Public Archive.
Limitation of Liability
By participating, entrants agree to release, discharge and hold harmless Sharjah Government Media Bureau, and each of their respective partners, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising agencies, agents and their employees, officers, directors, and representatives from any claims, losses, and damages arising out of their participation in this Contest or any Contest-related activities and the acceptance and use, misuse, or possession of any prize awarded hereunder.
Organisers and Sponsors assume no responsibility for any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, or delay in operation or transmission; communications line failure; theft or destruction of or unauthorised access to Contest entries or entry forms; Organisers are not responsible for any problems with or technical malfunction of any telephone network or lines, online computer systems, servers or providers, computer equipment, resulting from participation, uploading or downloading of any materials related to this Contest.
This Contest is subject to federal, state, and local laws and regulations of the United Arab Emirate. Certain restrictions may apply. Entries void if the Sponsor determines the entry to not be an original, or if the entries are illegible, incomplete, damaged, irregular, altered, counterfeit, produced in error or obtained through fraud or theft.
Participants also agree (a) to be bound by these Official Rules; (b) that the decisions of the Judges are final on all matters relating to the award contest; and (c) if he/she wins that Organiser / Sponsor may use each winner’s name, photograph, likeness, and/or voice in any publicity or advertising relating to the Contest or future promotions without compensation or approval. Any International state and local taxes, fees and surcharges on prizes are the sole responsibility of the prize winners. If the selected winner(s) of any prize are/is ineligible or refuses the prize, the prize will be forfeited and Organisers, in their sole discretion, may choose whether to award the prize to another entrant.
Prizes that are formed as Educational Programs or Workshops are only available on the date and time specified in the general entry information. Any other physical prizes of any type that may be awarded by sponsors or organisers, shall be collected at the Award Ceremony.
Right to Cancel or Suspend
If for any reason the award contest is not capable of running as planned, due to infection by computer virus, bugs, worms, trojan horses, denial of service attacks, tampering, unauthorised intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes beyond the control of the Organisers that corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, or proper conduct of this Contest, Sponsors reserve the right, at their sole discretion, to disqualify any individual(s) who tamper with the entry process, and/or to cancel, terminate, modify, or suspend the Contest.