Registration is now closed.

If a submission is incomplete or incorrectly entered, it will not be considered by the judges. Therefore, please ensure that you carefully follow the instructions listed on this page before submitting your work.

IAFOR Documentary Photography Award expects all participants to act in accordance with the guidelines of professional conduct as specified in the IFJ Declaration of Principles on the Conduct of Journalists.

Submission Requirements

Each applicant may submit 10 to 20 images related to the award theme, either in the form of a photo-essay or as a collection of single images.

Applicants must be younger than 31 years old on June 1, 2016 OR enrolled in part-time or full time education on June 1, 2016 (proof may be required).

The majority of images should have been made in 2015-2016. However, at the discretion of the judges, images made earlier than 2015 will be allowed if they form part of a photo-essay continued in 2015-2016.

Photographs must be submitted via the online submission system on the submission page. A username and password are required to enter the award. Once you have completed the registration process, you will be sent a confirmation email.

You are able to make as many changes as you like to your submission before the final deadline of midnight on June 1, 2016 (Greenwich Mean Time – GMT). Once the submission deadline has passed, the images currently uploaded to your profile will be the images that are entered into the competition.

Only entries submitted via the award website will be accepted.

Entries submitted by e-mail, post or on USB or CD will not be accepted.

We accept high-quality scanned images of non-digital photographs. We do not, however, accept hard copies (prints) of photographs.

Though every effort will be made to contact applicants with incomplete submissions, if a submission is incomplete (e.g. the images have not been uploaded correctly), it will not be considered by the judges. We are not responsible for incomplete entries.

Project Description and Photographer’s Biography

Along with your images, please submit a project description about the photo-essay / portfolio of images entered into the award and how it relates to the project theme of ‘Justice’ (see below for more information). Your project description should be no more than one A4 page in length (approximately 500 words).

Please also submit a short biography of the photographer (approximately 100–300 words).

The 2016 Award Theme – “Justice”

By seeking to reveal the world’s injustices, the photographer acts as a powerful agent of change. When the photographer bears witness to social problems, human rights abuses, suffering, conflict, poverty, and to those struggling on the margins of society, some justice is done to the subject in that they are noticed and given hope of a voice. The photograph becomes a record and a piece of evidence, communicated effectively to the world regardless of language or culture. Whether from within or outside a suffering community, the photographer is an activist, putting themselves at the service of the promotion of human rights, peace-building and social change.

When the truth, as the photographer sees it, is exposed and disseminated, justice, to a level, is served through the raising of awareness. But the seeming reality of a photograph and its human aspect mean that it is relatable and emotionally powerful in a way that, unlike facts and figures, can inspire more than just stagnant sympathy. The story that a photograph tells has the power to form and change opinion, and in turn inspire action. These actions can create real, tangible justice for the cause that the photograph represents, the impact and importance of which is real and measurable.

We hope that the broad nature of this theme will encourage photographers to submit work that explores justice from a variety of perspectives.

Story Proposal

You must submit a story proposal of an assignment that you would undertake if you were to win the award. The story proposal must be uploaded via the online submission system during the registration process. Your story proposal should be no more than one A4 page in length (approximately 500 words). Your story proposal should demonstrate that you have researched the subject and include a breakdown of your budget. Please include references and links to information regarding the subject. The story proposal is an important aspect of your submission, which will be carefully considered by the judges.

Important: The story proposal can be a continuation of the submitted photo-essay / portfolio of images entered into the award. Though the submitted images / portfolio must be related to the award theme, with 2016’s theme being “Justice”, it is not necessary for the submitted story proposal to be related to the award theme.

Size and Quality

Images must include your full name and image number in the file info.
For example, 01_firstname_surname.jpg

Images must be uploaded in jpg/jpeg format (medium to high quality).

Images should be saved at 300 dpi.

Images should be saved at 3000 pixels on the longest edge.

Images should be no more than 10mb per image. If your images are larger than 10mb, please adjust your quality settings.

An embedded ICC profile is needed. Adobe RGB or sRGB is recommended for colour images. Gamma 2.2 is recommended for black and white. No CMYK.

Both black and white and colour photographs are accepted.

Titles and Captions

The following information should be entered while uploading your images via the online submission system.

  • Image title
  • Image caption

Captions may include anything noteworthy about the photograph, including details about the subject pictured, the context of the image, the location where the image was made, and the date it was made. Do not use all upper case. Please check your spelling, facts and grammar. Please limit your captions to 40 words or less. Do not list any caption over forty words.

Once an image has been uploaded it is not possible to edit its caption or title. Therefore, if you need to change a title or caption, please delete the image and re-upload it – you will then have an opportunity to add a new title and caption.

Image Adjustments

The content of an image must not be altered or retouched beyond the accepted standards allowed by the industry. The jury will ultimately decide whether an image conforms to these standards.

Minor adjustments are acceptable in the following areas.

  • Levels
  • Curves
  • Dodging
  • Burning
  • Minimal sharpening
  • Contrast
  • Colour correction

Images with added borders, personal logos, embedded watermarks or other effects (such as HDR or selective colouring) will not be accepted. Images must not show the name of a photographer, or the name of the agency or publication that the photographer belongs to. This information can be included in the metadata of the image but must not be visible on the image itself.


If you are having difficulty submitting your images, there could be 4 main reasons why:

  • You have already uploaded the maximum number of 20 images
  • Your files are too large
  • Your file is in the wrong file-format (jpg/jpeg only)
  • The website is experiencing high levels of traffic. In which case, please try again later

If you continue experiencing difficulties, please address your questions to Thaddeus Pope (

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