Exhibition in Paris|Solo Exhibitions Online|International Press Exposure
Seeking new visions
in portraiture.
The 9th annual LensCulture Portrait Awards are now open for entries! Over the years, we’ve discovered and recognized more than 250 excellent portrait photographers from all over the world — and many of them have continued to advance their careers with international magazines and media, museums, book publishers and art galleries.
This year, we aim to discover and reward 35 photographers who are making exceptional photographic portraits today.
These awards are open to photographers at all levels of experience, and all genres of portraiture are welcome — from professional studio shoots, to detailed environmental portraits, to casual candids. We’re open to all types of artistic approaches, too, including staged, fiction, fashion, metaphoric, self-portrait and conceptual work.
Winners will enjoy career-changing opportunities including an exhibition in Paris, extensive media coverage, cash prizes and more. Scroll down to meet our expert international jury and read about our free entry option for single image submissions.
Whether your portraits are traditional or eclectic, quirky or visionary — we want to see your work!
Closed for new entries.
Images in video above by © Alejandro Martin Lorenzo, Nicolò De March, Luisa Madrid Estremadoyro, Valeria Roscini, Rhiannon Adam, Eva Watkins, Ali Saltan, and Darin Back.
Exhibition in Paris
during Paris Photo 2022!
Winning photographers will be exhibited at a gallery in Paris during Paris Photo, the premiere international photo fair that brings together hundreds of galleries, publishers and collectors, as well as an ambitious program of exhibitions, conversations, artist book signings and curated fair events.
An opening reception will be held for LensCulture artists, invited media, photo editors and industry insiders for a night of art appreciation and networking during the world’s largest international art fair dedicated to photography.
Be seen by our
international jury
Whitney Matewe
Photo Editor
New York, United States

Whitney Matewe is photo editor at TIME. She primarily works on portraiture and feature commissions as well as larger packages such as TIME100, Next Generation Leaders and Kid of The Year. Prior to joining the photo department at TIME, Whitney was a photo editor at National Geographic, The New Yorker, The Intercept and Condé Nast brands like Teen Vogue and GQ. She has served as juror on multiple awards and reviews.

Lucy Conticello
Director of Photography
M Magazine, Le Monde
Paris, France

A chance encounter brought Lucy to work as an assistant photo editor for a newly minted Italian newsweekly called Liberal. After two formative years as junior assistant photo editor, Lucy went to New York to pursue a career as photo editor, critic and lecturer. She has worked for Business Week, The New York Times, l'Espresso, The New York Times magazine, Courrier International, The International Herald Tribune as well as photography agencies such as Sipa Press, Magnum Photos and briefly, the AFP. In 2011 Lucy joined M, the weekend magazine of Le Monde, as the Director of Photography where she remains today.

Rebecca McClelland
Head of Department Art Production
Saatchi & Saatchi
London, United Kingdom

Rebecca McClelland is Executive Producer & head of department for Art Production within Saatchi & Saatchi, managing a team of creative producers & image searchers. Rebecca is responsible for leading & crafting visual outputs of several of the world’s leading creative companies like Airbnb, Sunday Times magazine, BBH, Wallpaper*. As an award-winning visual story teller, with 17 years experience in advertising, luxury & long-form current affairs, Rebecca is renowned for helping clients develop a dynamic visual language.

Josh Raab
Head of Instagram & TikTok
National Geographic
Washington, D.C., United States

Josh Raab is Head of Instagram & TikTok at National Geographic. Previously, Josh worked at TIME as a Senior Photo and Multimedia Editor. He has also been an adjunct professor at the International Center of Photography. Josh started out as a photographer covering the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings and Hurricane Sandy, then transitioned into editing by founding Jay Peg’s Photo Pub., an online and print publication for emerging photographers. He still shoots whenever he has a free moment, but spends most of his time biking and skiing.

Alona Pardo
Barbican Art Gallery
United Kingdom

Alona Pardo has been a Curator at Barbican Art Gallery in London for nearly 15 years. With a focus on photography and film, she has curated a number of exhibitions and publications including most recently Masculinities: Liberation through Photography (2020); Trevor Paglen: From Apple to Anomaly (2019); Dorothea Lange: Politics of Seeing (2018); Vanessa Winship: And Time Folds (2018); Another Kind of Life: Photography on the Margins (2018); Richard Mosse: Incoming (2017) and Strange and Familiar: Britain as seen by International Photographers (with Martin Parr; 2016). She has a particular interest in work that exists in the intersection between social activism, aesthetics and identity.

Elisa Medde
FOAM Magazine
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Elisa Medde edits, curates and writes about photography. With a background in Art History, Iconology and Photographic Studies, her research reflects on the relationship between image, communication and power structures. She has been nominator for the Prix Elysée, The Leica Oskar Barnack Award and MAST Foundation for Photography Grant, amongst others. Elisa has chaired numerous juries and written for Foam Magazine, Something We Africans Got, Vogue Italia / L'Uomo Vogue, YET Magazine and other publications. Elisa is Editor-in-Chief of Foam Magazine, Amsterdam.

Anna Goldwater Alexander
Director of Photography
San Francisco, United States

Anna Alexander is Director of Photography at WIRED in San Francisco. She’s been producing photo shoots and commissioning WIRED photographers for approximately twenty years. She took a hiatus from WIRED as the Photo Director at Dwell from 2011-2013. Anna has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from the University of Arizona.

Jim Casper
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Jim Casper is the editor-in-chief of LensCulture, one of the leading online destinations to discover contemporary photography from around the world. As an active member in the contemporary photography world, Casper organizes annual international photography events, travels around the world to meet with photographers and review their portfolios, curates art exhibitions, writes about photography and culture, lectures, conducts workshops, serves as an international juror and nominator for key awards, and is an advisor to arts and education organizations.

© Eszter Cseh
© Igor van de Poel
© Isabella Hewlett
More Awards
And Benefits
Introducing 1:1 Reviews
This year, we’re delighted to offer Series winners a one-to-one online project review with select jurors. Each winner will have the opportunity to speak directly with one juror about their work for 30 minutes online.
Online Solo Exhibitions
First, second and third place Series winners will have their work permanently exhibited on LensCulture. Benefiting from LensCulture’s high search rankings and traffic to the site, our online exhibitions offer significant ongoing exposure for your work to our global audience of over three million.
Visibility with Industry Insiders & Creative Professionals
All it takes is one set of eyes to change the course of your career. If our jury ranks your submission highly, you will be included in LensCulture Discoveries, our directory of top-rated photographers. We provide this directory to key decision-makers, including editors, book publishers, gallery owners, festival directors, creative directors, curators, and online media publishers. Even if you do not take home the grand prize, we often return to highly-ranked submissions when planning features and interviews. So do our jury members.
Featured at International Photo Festivals
Select works will be screened at photo festivals and events worldwide. In the past, our winners, finalists, and jurors’ picks were screened at festivals in the US, the UK, Italy, France, Spain, Japan, The Netherlands, Australia, Malaysia, Hungary, Serbia, and more.
Permanent Group Exhibition in LensCulture Online Gallery
LensCulture has become a key resource for discovering new photography all over the world. All winners, finalists, and jurors’ picks for this award will be prominently featured in the permanent online gallery on our site, reaching our global online audience of over three million.
In-depth Written Project Review
As a special part of the launch of our review service, all Series winners and jurors’ picks will receive a free Project Review. Building on the success of our Submission Reviews, the Project Reviews offer more comprehensive and in-depth written feedback on your images, project statement, and artist bio that is professional, personal, and actionable. Learn More »
International Press Exposure
Award winners receive press coverage in publications and media outlets around the world — the kind of exposure that can lead to viral, global recognition of your work. Winners, finalists and select entrants have been featured in major publications, including the BBC, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Internazionale, VICE, The Times of London, Huffington Post, Spiegel Online, The British Journal of Photography, and The Telegraph.
Be sure to check out our latest feature in The Guardian, a beautiful image gallery sharing the work of the winners with the world.

© Elliot Ross
© Eola Min
© Tobias Nielsen
Cash Awards
& Recognition
Series Prize Winners
1st Place: $3,500
2nd Place: $2,000
3rd Place: $1,000
Single Image Prize Winners
1st Place: $2,000
2nd Place: $1,000
3rd Place: $500

Jurors’ Picks
Each juror will select an individual Juror’s Pick to receive special distinction.
25 Finalists will be selected.
“Winning 1st place in the Portrait Awards has boosted my career and increased my visibility. I have been approached by several galleries for solo exhibitions and by the Hermitage State Museum in St. Petersburg. The work has been featured in international publications like The Guardian, HANT Magazine, FemmesPHOTOgraphes Magazine, DIE ZEIT, etc. In addition, my project will be part of Festival CIRCULATION(S) in Paris. Go for it! It can be life changing and definitely career changing.”
Marinka Masséus
Winner Portrait Awards 2019
© Mohamed Abdullahi
© Giannina Urmeneta Ottiker
© Justin Aversano
© Lis Kasper Bang
Gallery —
Editors’ Picks
When you enter this award, your work will be immediately reviewed by our editors. Selected submissions will be featured in our Competition Gallery and published across all of our online channels, reaching an international audience of three million+ photography lovers and experts. (For example, more than 637 early entries were selected and featured during our 2021 Street Photography Awards, and 249 of those were promoted via LensCulture’s Instagram and Facebook platforms, viewed over 6.4 million times garnering more than 574,000 likes and comments.) Enter your work early to take advantage of this incredible opportunity for global exposure!
Note: While our editors review entries for inclusion on a daily basis, not every submission can be shown here.
Click on each photo to learn more about the photographer. If you like someone’s work, share their submission on Facebook or favorite their image! Your support increases the exposure for every participating photographer.
Benefits For
All Who Enter
When you share your work with us, you participate in our global community of over three million. The opportunities for connection, inspiration, and participation are endless — don’t miss your chance to get involved!
Benefits6 Winners8 Jurors' picks25 FinalistsEditors‘ Picks(1)Every Entrant
$10,000 in Cash Awards
Exhibition in Paris during Paris Photo
Solo Online Exhibition(2)
1:1 Online Portfolio Review with Juror(3)
Permanent Online Winners’ Gallery
Visibility with LensCulture Insiders
Featured in International Photo Festival Projections
International Press Exposure
Massive Exposure to our Global Audience of 3 Million
LensCulture Portfolio Account(4)
Opportunity to be in LensCulture Discoveries online directory of top-rated photographers
Share your Work with the Global Photography Community
Opportunities for Immediate Exposure
(1)Editors’ Picks: During the competition, LensCulture’s editors will curate hundreds of entries for immediate exposure to our global audience through the competition gallery and our Instagram and Facebook pages, all updated daily. (2&3)Offered to Series winners. (4)LensCulture Portfolio Account: Available for all Series entries and 5+ Single entries.
© Carlo Gianferro
Enter a Series or 5+ single images and you can add a professional written review of your submission for an additional $25. This is a unique opportunity to receive valuable and specific feedback on your work from one of our experienced industry professionals.
Show Us Your Work
Become a part of our passionate community of photographers from around the world! When you share your work, you participate in a community with more than three million members worldwide. LensCulture is dedicated to offering you the best opportunities for exposure, engagement, recognition, and critical feedback. Don’t miss this opportunity―start your entry today! There are no limitations on age, level, genre or location. For further information, please see our FAQ.
Closed for new entries.
Are you currently an enrolled student?
Get a 30% discount on your entry fee. Start your submission and select the option to register as a student. Your discount will then be automatically applied to your entry.
LensCulture has been helping photographers gain visibility and recognition for over 15 years.
Hear from a few winners about this career-changing impact.
© Lucas Ziegler
Be Persistent
Many successful photographers enter the same work in several competitions before they finally win. This is an effective strategy to have your work seen by many different jurors and build your career. Persistence is the key to getting your work seen by influential experts worldwide - it only takes one person to make a positive impact on your creative journey!
© Bootsy Holler
Success Stories
For 17 years, LensCulture has been committed to helping photographers of all levels move forward creatively and professionally. In that time, we have heard from hundreds of photographers who were able to achieve breakthroughs in their careers through participation in the LensCulture community.
  • Rahima Gambo
  • Sheng Wen Lo
  • Juul Kraijer
  • Ana Vallejo
  • Heloisa Lodder
  • Aaron Elkaim
  • Diego Moreno
  • Alex Vasyliev
    Russian Federation
  • Marinka Masséus
  • Nadir Bucan
  • Tadas Kazakevičius
  • Antonio Pulgarin
    United States
  • Walter Plotnik
    United States
  • Vikesh Kapoor
    United States
  • Mathieu Willcocks
    United Kingdom
We respect artists’ rights
All photographers retain full copyrights for their own work. Period. Winners, Jurors’ Picks and Finalists grant LensCulture limited, restricted use of winning photos only to promote the photographers themselves and in connection with marketing the Awards competition itself. Details can be found in the Competition rules.
© Vladimir Karamazov
LensCulture Portrait Awards