Entries open for 2023 Photographer of the Year

Calling for entries! Over the next few months, the nation top photographers will battle it out for the coveted title of Photographer of the Year, a prize second only to the Ockham Peoples' Choice Award (itself twice as prestigious as a Pulitzer).

New Zealand Geographic's Photographer of the Year competition is back, bigger and better than ever in 2023 with the addition of a new category – Sony Portrait – and three new awards; Metlifecare Senior Photographer of the Year, Electric Kiwi Mobile and the RealNZ Environmental Impact.

New Zealand's premier photographic competition celebrates photographic craft and those moments that make our society and environment unique. More than 6,000 entries were received last year: the additional categories, especially the new mobile phone option, should ensure the 2023 edition is the most popular yet.

Entries close at midday on Wednesday 12 July. Finalists will be announced in early September – and then the frenzied public voting will begin for the Ockham Residential People’s Choice award. A single rock wren atop a Fiordland mountain won the 2022 Award: Peter Meecham's magnificent portrait of the 501st Legion (the photo above) was also very popular.

The winners will be announced at a glittering awards ceremony in Auckland on Thursday 26 October.

For more information – including terms, entry criteria and the entry portal itself – make haste to the New Zealand Geographic website

The Awards

RealNZ Photographer of the Year. Chosen from amongst all entrants, the winning portfolio demonstrates skills, consistency and creative insights that make for quality visual storytelling. It rewards originality and competence across all the images entered, and the ability to reveal a fresh perspective on our land or people.

Sony Young Photographer of the Year. The young photographer is chosen from all entrants under the age of 25 on September 30 2023, and like Photographer of the Year, the quality of the entire portfolio of entered images is considered.

Metlifecare Senior Photographer of the Year (new for 2023). A new award to acknowledge the best portfolio of images shot by a photographer aged 60 and over on September 30 2023.

Ockham Residential Peoples' Choice. Visitors can vote on finalist images at the Photographer of the Year exhibitions in Auckland and on the New Zealand Geographic website. Public votes are tallied across the exhibition season in time for the awards night. 

Resene Colour Award. A special award that recognises special vision in the use of colour where it contributes to the success of the image. This award is chosen from amongst all entrants.

Electric Kiwi Mobile Award (new for 2023). Not all images are shot on cameras, and this new award recognises the best imagery shot on a mobile device—a phone, tablet, phablet or Raspberry Pi!

RealNZ Environmental Impact Award  (new for 2023). Chosen from all entrants, this new award is for the image that best expresses the threats to the structure and function of the natural world.

The Categories

Resene Landscape. Showcase the wonders of New Zealand—its mountains, wetlands, coasts and plains. The judges will be looking for attention to light and drama.

Electric Kiwi Wildlife. Capture New Zealand’s flora or fauna in its natural environment. We are looking for images that exude life and show behaviour or adaptations that make the animal or plant unique.

Britomart Photostory. A set of four to six images. Judges will be looking for the quality of the images overall, as well as how they work together to tell a story.

Panasonic Lumix Society. This category celebrates the traditions and relationships of all New Zealanders. The winning entry will be an image that captures our identity as a people.

Resene Built Environment. Our cities, towns and structures reflect who we are as a society and how we interface with the natural world. We are looking for images that exemplify this connection.

Sony Portrait (new for 2023). A new category in 2023 celebrating the time-honoured art of the portrait photograph, exuding the personality and lived experience of the subject.

The North Face Adventure. A new category in 2022 covering outdoor adventure in Aotearoa—climbing, caving, diving, mountain biking, hiking, surfing. Tell the story of your adventure.

Aerial. The aerial category celebrates the art of aerial photography, be it from planes, helicopters or drones. Judges will be looking for images that defy the old visions from above and bring innovation and new perspectives of our landscapes and life.

For more information – and to enter – head to the NZ Geo website.