Siena International Photo Award

The contest

Siena International Photo Award is one of the photo contests with the highest international participation ever. 2019 edition has received nearly 48.000 images from amateur and professional photographers from 156 countries worldwide.

Rules 2020

General Rules
Siena International Photo Awards is a photographic contest open to professional and non-professional photographers from all around the world. An entry may be excluded from the contest where the Organizing Committee, in its discretion, should consider it not in accordance with the rules and conditions of the competition.

Themes and categories
The photos must be based on the following categories and themes:
Photojournalism is our window to the world around us.
Regardless of whether an image is considered spectacular or not, a photograph is a representation of all the words that we choose to say… or not say. Photography is a medium, unique to perhaps all other mediums, that has the potential to convey thoughts and feelings without saying a word.
It has been said that each photograph is worth a thousand words. Photographs represent ourselves and how we see the world. Seeing, after all, is believing. And nothing makes people see more than a strong photograph. Image processing is allowed in this category, but it is the responsibility of the photographer to not manipulate or enhance the images in a manner that distorts or changes the reality of the scene.
Capture the extraordinary experiences that are an essential part of traveling – the discoveries, and adventures that inspire us and make travel thrilling and astonishing – the differences in the ways other cultures live. Capture an image that captures everyday life in a public space.
We ask you to introduce us to the people you encounter, showing us their lives and expressions from daily life: portraits or people in the context of their culture. Photographing people often requires interaction and communication with the subject and can, by its very nature, be intrusive. We want you to show us your skill at capturing people. Share images of individuals, groups, communities, people at work, leisure, and festivals, for example.
Capture those vibrant moments and express what nature means to you! Captivating images of wild places with a unique perspective, from expansive landscape vistas of forests, deserts, and mountains to the microhabitats of plants and other flora are a way to share one’s appreciation for our amazing planet. Images may include water environments such as oceans, lakes, and rivers with images taken above or below water, including waves, tide pools and other water scenes.
Wildlife is a way to evoke the atmosphere and the sense of place and to convey how an animal is an integral part of its environment. Celebrate and illustrate the rich diversity of life on Earth and inspire action to protect and conserve it through the power of imagery.
Old buildings define the past while new buildings shape the future, and the spaces around them create the interaction between architecture, inhabitants, and environment. Capture the architecture of buildings, urban spaces or both in a single, strong image where architecture is a key element of the image. All manners of editing, digital blending, and layering are allowed in this category. Raw Files will not be requested.
From sporting events to personal fitness, we want to highlight the emotions of physical exercise and competitiveness. We want to showcase the most creative and captivating sports photography as an art form. We’re looking for defining action shots, decisive moments, and displays of true camaraderie to help bring people closer to the exciting world of action sports.
STREET LIFE (Special theme of the year 2020):
If you are creatively capturing the weird and wonderful moments of life as they unfold around you, we want to see your work!
From the pulsing arteries of a bustling metropolis to the quiet solitude of its empty backstreets. Glistening glass and steel, against crumbling brickwork and eroded stone. Chance encounters and random moments.
Life exists in the streets. Take us there. No matter your tools or your location, we want to see your unique perspective from the street, however, you define it. Urbanscapes, observational photography, accidental revelations, street encounters, city scenes… Inspire us with street photography, and the insights it can uncover.
We want you to show us your skills with visual storytelling by photographing people, nature, wildlife, music, sport, etc… and to tell a story in a portfolio that includes five to nine images. Think of this as a story in pictures and a way to convey something about the character of your subjects by creating reportage, illustrated without words. The same image may not be entered into more than one section.
The 5th Siena International Photo Awards contest hosted by Art Photo Travel challenges filmmakers at any stage in their career to create a short documentary film (five minutes or less) featuring PhotoJournalism, Sport, City, Travel, People, Wildlife, and Nature.
Short film videos and multimedia presentations must be hosted on a third-party site, such as Vimeo or You-Tube; entries must include a URL to the work.
The participant(s), or the agent or representative entering on their behalf, must be the copyright holder(s) or have been authorized by the copyright holder(s) to submit the material.
Agents or representatives entering on behalf of a production team must confirm, by entering, that each member of the production team accepts all the entry rules.
All entries must include the contact details of the participant(s) and of the production’s contact person.
All entries must include a title, synopsis and complete list of the production team.
All productions must either have English-language audio and/or text or must be subtitled in English.
All videos should be submitted as a file (preferably as “.mov”) via a file hosting website like, WeTransfer, Google Drive, etc.
For awarded material, winners must provide high-resolution production files for Short Documentary Film category winners. Copyright holders grant the Siena International Photo Awards unlimited, non-exclusive use of these materials for all activities in all media, including social media, online, in relation to the contest, the exhibition, the public archive, and all promotional and educational activities for and under the auspices of the Art Photo Travel Association, without any remuneration being due.
The copyright holders represent and warrant that submission of the material does not breach any law, and further, that no third party may hold any claims or any objections regarding the rights granted to the Siena International Photo Awards. The copyright holders will hold the Art Photo Travel Association harmless of any claims from third parties related hereto.

Definitions of categories
PHOTOJOURNALISM & DOCUMENTARY: We ask you to capture the people and events that make the news, through single pictures documenting cultural, political, or social issues affecting individuals or societies; reporting on news topics and their aftermath; and documenting the impact of humans on the environment.
JOURNEYS & ADVENTURES: Culture, Daily Life, Street Photography, Trip memories & Adventures, Other.
Photographs of people in their daily life but also images that do not include people within the frame. Pictures taken catching landmarks and rural and urban settings, but also people in everyday life.
FASCINATING FACES AND CHARACTERS: Men, Women, Children, Portraits, Human Relations, Other.
Photos of a person or a small group of people, in which the face and the expression are predominant. Images are also eligible when they are shot in any environment, as long as people are predominant in the scene.
THE BEAUTY OF NATURE: Aerial, Astrophotography, Environmental, Flowers & Plants, Trees, Mountains, Landscapes, Macro, Nightscape, Panorama, Seascapes/Waterscapes, Star Trail, Underwater (except fish), Other.
It includes landscapes (not urban) and nature photography. It is required to show the impact of the world’s natural elements caused by an atmospheric event as a storm, a magnificent sunset, or a snowfall to capture the majesty and the force of nature. People or animals can be included in the images as long as the main objective of the whole frame is the impact caused by natural elements. Images representing country details, including flora or abstract elements, as well as atmospheric and lighting conditions, can also be submitted in this category. Seascape photography is also accepted with pictures featuring the ocean or a beautiful, isolated beach.
ANIMALS IN THEIR ENVIRONMENT: Animals in nature (not domestic animals), Birds, Fishes, Other.
Images that feature every kind of animals (mammals, birds, etc…) within a natural environment; wildlife pictures or portraits. Underwater photography is also included.
ARCHITECTURE & URBAN SPACES: Bridges, Buildings, Cityscapes, Industrial, Interior, Panorama, Other.
Architecture and cityscape photography including any buildings such as skyscrapers, old edifice, and monuments. Modern glass buildings where the image highlights the angles and geometrical shapes of the building can also be submitted in this category.
SPORTS IN ACTION: Any kind of professional and non-professional sports, amateurs, other.
Shots capturing particular moments during major sports events as well as the variety of ways in which sport is practiced worldwide, on a non-professional or professional level, competitively or for recreation.
STREET LIFE: photography that portrays everyday life as it happens, on the streets and elsewhere; not only limited to bustling city streets, narrow alleyways, and busy urban centers. Street photography can happen in any public space, with people or without. The only rule of street photography is that it must capture a truly candid, unstaged moment that reveals some true aspect of society.
PORTFOLIO STORY-TELLING: Architecture, Documentary & Photojournalism, Music & Dance, Nature & Environmental, People, Sport, Wildlife, Other.
A sequence of images (min. 5, max 9) that tell a story. A set of photos with an open subject: thematic portfolios, photojournalism, and storyboards (sequences of images that tell a story about nature, wildlife, ethology, natural environments and territory, etc.). The photographer is free to choose the topic, style, setting, and subjects. It refers to five or more images linked together by a logical sequence. The project should be developed with a minimum of 5 images and a maximum of 9 connected together by a logical theme. Photos can be taken in sequence or in different moments as long as they are obviously connected with each other.
SHORT DOCUMENTARY FILM: When life gets dull, it’s time to see the world from a brand new perspective. Go off the beaten path on your walk, rediscover the beauty of the city, and take on new challenges to push your limits. A new world will appear when you look at it from different angles. Explore the world from a whole new perspective.
Videos from any platform are welcome.
Each entry must be less than five minutes long and include clips lasting at least 30 seconds.
Entrants may submit content to several categories featuring PhotoJournalism, Sport, City, Travel, People, Wildlife, and Nature.
A single submission may only qualify for a single category. One submission does not qualify for two or three categories.
Entrants must ensure submitted information is authentic and all content is original. Watermarks may influence the evaluation results. Submitting false information will result in disqualification.

Starting date: 2019, October 27th
Early Bird deadline: 2019, December 1st
Contest deadline: 2020, January 5th
Jurors voting session: from February 1st to April 15th, 2020
Finalists call: 2020, February 18th
Call for HD files upload: within 2020, February 27th
Contest results release to Awarded participants: 2020, April 25th
Awards Ceremony: 2020, October 25th
“Imagine all the People sharing all the World” Exhibition opening: 2020, October 26th

Entry fees
The payment of your Fee to allow you to participate in the photo contest can be made following the instructions given on your personal registration account page. The entry fees are to be paid following the instructions on the website when filling the entry form. Payment should be in accordance with the entry fees stated there. Checks are not accepted. Entries for which payment results uncompleted will be automatically rejected and not admitted to the contest. Early Bird: all entries registered by December 1st, 2019 will favour of the possibility to enter each additional image with €6,00 instead of €8,00). Additional photos can also be uploaded after December 1st, 2019, provided that the payment of the registration fee had been processed before that date. The total number of entries is intended to be distributed freely across the different categories.

Professional photographers and amateurs
– 1 image: free to enter
– 3 images: € 20,00 (free image included)
– each additional image: € 8,00 (€ 6,00 if registered by December 1st, 2019)
– Storyboard: € 35,00 per each full storyboard entered

Short Documentary Film
– € 35,00 per entry

Under 20 fees (born after October 27th 1999)
– 3 images: free to enter
– each additional image: € 8,00 (€ 6,00 if registered by December 1st, 2019)
– Storyboard: € 35,00 per each full storyboard entered

– Credit Card (Preferred method)
– PayPal transfer
– Wire transfer: Account Name: Art Photo Travel, IBAN: IT 90 C 01030 14206 000000376166, Monte dei Paschi di Siena Bank – Ag. 6 Siena (Italy). SWIFT: PASCITMMSIEXXX  –  BIC CODE: PASCITM1SI6

Photos submission
All entries must be submitted online only. An image cannot be entered in more than one category, but a Storyboard image may also be entered in a single image category. Photos must be in JPG file format, sRGB colour profile. The file size of the individual image should not exceed 2MB. The dimensions of photos must not exceed 1920 pixels and have 72dpi resolution. The evaluation of the photos will be made by jurors in Full HD screens. Works entirely created by computer, photomontages, photos with signatures or watermarks are not allowed.

File Name
Free participant’s choice. Maximum 30 characters allowed. Please do not use invalid characters such us?/ : ? * ” < > | ‘ #. All information will be collected from the online entry system and the name of the image will be automatically displayed with the photo.

Author copyright
Each participant owns the copyright of the submitted images. The participant certifies the work as his or her own. The entrant allows the contest organizers to use, free of charge, the entered images for promotional purposes related to the photo contest, as a catalogue, calendar, and website, unless specifically stated otherwise on the registration form by the participant. No photographs entered for Siena International Photo Awards will be offered for sale or used by any of the Siena International Photo Awards sponsors for any commercial or other purposes other than for the marketing of Siena International Photo Awards, the competition, and/or the exhibition and catalogue without the approval of the photographer.

Publication of images
Each participant is personally responsible for the images submitted to the contest and what has been declared on the entry form. The participant also authorizes the publication and the images, in a different size if necessary, exclusively for matters related to the exhibition, and for teaching, cultural, or non-profit purposes.

An entry may be rejected by the Organizing Committee if it does not conform to Contest rules and conditions.

Digital post-processing procedures
You may use digital post-processing to optimize an image, and you may crop images slightly, but you are not permitted to add or remove key elements of the composition. Brightness, contrast, colour balance can all be adjusted. Dust spots, minor elements, etc. can be retouched. Images can be sharpened before printing. Post-processing, which could realistically be achieved in a darkroom will be accepted but jurors have the discretion to reject any entry which has been, in their opinion, over-manipulated and therefore removing the integrity of the original image. Participants who will be listed in the final round are requested to submit the RAW/original camera files of their photographs in Nomination. All kinds of editing, digital blending, and layering are allowed only in the “Architecture & Urban Spaces” category.

Jury Panel Rules
Entries will be evaluated by a nominated Jury panel. Images will be judged category by category. The judging is anonymous. Judges are not aware of participants’ names or details. The juror will assess the images for visual impact, composition, originality, technique, and creativity and the ability to communicate a message, a feeling, or an emotion. The selected SIPAContest Jury panel represents a broad spectrum of photographers and of editors. It is an international Jury Panel and it consists of respected photographers, editors, publishers, art buyers, curators and photo image experts. Each year a lay judge is also selected to represent the audience opinions of the large photography community. Sponsors are not included on the Jury Panel. All images participating to the SIPAContest are judged online by the entire Jury Panel, thus allowing all jurors to view the images independently, regardless of where in the world they are. The best entries of each category are chosen based on the total number of scores received. Top entries are shortlisted for the final judging round. The number of finalists varies from category to category and it depends on the overall standard of entries received. Before the final judging round all selected finalists are called to upload HD files with full captions by the deadline date to not be eliminated from the Contest. Category winners will arise from the highest image score per each individual category. Entries with the highest final score within each category will be declared as category’s winner.

The participant with the highest final score image will be proclaimed “Photographer of the Year SIPA Contest 2020” and will receive a prize equivalent to the amount of € 1,500.00 as an attendance bonus to the Awards Ceremony. The decision of Siena International Photo Awards Jurors is final. The jury reserves the right to assign special prizes and the right to withhold some awards if the quality of submitted photos is not satisfactory. Prizes must be collected in person by the winner at the awards ceremony in Siena or by a person representing them. The Pangea Prize will be only delivered to the winners who attend the Awards Ceremony.

All participants will receive a report card via e-mail with entry scores. All results will also be published on the website of the competition.

Each entrant will receive free of charge a best quality digital catalog of all awarded works. On request, entrants can also receive the printed catalogue.

Acceptance of Rules
Submission of an entry implies the acceptance of all Siena International Photo Awards rules and conditions.

The awarded and finalist images will be published on the competition’s website and showcased in a collective exhibition during Siena International Photo Awards Festival 2020. In addition, some of the entries can also be selected to be exhibited in Italy and abroad. At the end of the exhibition cycle, photo prints on display will be sold in a public charity auction in support of a project of solidarity.

Privacy legal information
By filling out the entry form, all authors automatically accept what is established by Italian Privacy law D.lgs 196/2003 and the following updates and by European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Participants allow the use of their personal data that the Organising Committee necessitates for the contest or for legal and associative reasons. Personal data will also be used by the Organizing Committee to diffuse contest results and information about future contests.

Organising Committee
Chairman: Luca
Tel.: +39 335-6816777



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