Celebrating documentary images that bring insight and meaning to the varied interpretations of family
2 June 2021
6:59 AM


As the leading international competition of its genre, the Documentary Family Awards (DFA) is in search of outstanding photographs that reflect unique interpretations of family life.

The DFA is one of the only photo competitions in the world to stream its final round of judging in its entirety. All finalist images are included in this 2-3 day event, where winning photos are reviewed and discussed by leading photographers and editors in the industry.

Submit your photography for the chance to join award-winning photographers from over 70 countries whose work represents the best documentary family photography from around the globe.

Open Categories

The Documentary Family Awards accepts submissions twice a year, and is currently open for its Spring 2021 Call for Entries.

  1. Night Time
  2. Teenagers
  3. Joy
  4. Faith & Religion
  5. Pandemic
  6. Nothing Is Better Than Real Life
  7. Birth
  8. Cell Phone Only
  9. Environmental Portrait
  10. Photo Series
  11. Young Photographers (free to enter, open only to emerging photographers 18 and under)

Read full descriptions and category-specific rules here: https://documentaryfamilyawards.com/open-categories/

Why You Should Enter

  • First entry is free
  • Access to live stream judging providing hours of educational discussions directly related to the documentary family photography genre
  • $3800 USD in cash prizes
  • Best Overall Award winners receive $500 (1st place), $350 (2nd place) and $250 (3rd place) and free entries into the next award cycle
  • 1st Place Award winners in each category receive $250 USD and free entries into the next award cycle
  • Judges Choice Awards receive free entries into the next award cycle
  • Permanent online gallery published featuring all award winners, honorable mentions and finalist images
  • Customized Press-release for digital or print media sent to every award winner
  • Individual award profile created for all winners on the DFA website featuring their work
  • Feature Interviews and Photographer Spotlights regularly published in the DFA photo digest newsletter as well as featured across the DFA’s social media channels
  • Video On Demand access to the final round of judging of the March 2021 Call For Entries
  • Digital Award Badge for all winners and honorable mentions for use on their website or social media
  • Your photograph(s) published in the 2021 year-end magazine
  • Eyes on your work and the opportunity for critique from top photographers, educators and editors in the industry

How To Enter

  1. Create your free personal Picter account here https://app.picter.com/signup. If you have used the Picter platform before, please log-in to your account.
  2. Submissions are only accepted through the Picter platform. Photographs sent by email, social media direct messages or any other service will not be considered.
  3. Confirm your photographs adhere to our technical requirements, category-specific rules and terms and conditions.

Judging Criteria

Judges will be making decisions based on:

  • Adherence to category-specific rules
  • Originality
  • Strength of voice or point of view
  • Intentionality
  • Strength of moment and composition
  • The photograph’s ability to transcend or elevate the genre
  • The photograph’s ability to resonate with the viewer


Call for entries open
20 April 2021
Late Submission Deadline (late fee applies)
1 June 2021
Submission deadline
2 June 2021
Live Judging
June 2021
Winners Published
June 2021



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Juror information

Final Round Panel

Song Tae Chong, PhD – Curator and Educator

Song Tae Chong PhD is a New York City based educator and curator. Currently a Trustee of the Martin Parr Foundation, Song focuses on praxis based curatorial work and theoretical practice. As the Director of Milk Gallery in Chelsea, Song mounted over 40 exhibitions and numerous special projects. She is part time faculty at NYU where she specializes in postcolonial visual culture and history and theory of photography. She also teaches in the MFA Program at Parsons in NYC and is currently a visiting lecturer at Fordham University. Her research interests include epistemologies of memory, photographic theory, architecture and landscape photography, decolonizing the archive, and 20th century documentary photography. Her private practice includes zine and book publishing, artist advisement, creative direction and exhibition design.

Kristin M. Young – Photographer, Educator and Writer

Kristin M. Young embraces many roles as a teacher, writer and photographer, but her favorite by far is wife and mother. She and her husband have six children whom she unashamedly and relentlessly photographs. Their oldest son, Colby, is tucked away in Heaven after a courageous two-year fight with brain cancer. After documenting their cancer journey through her camera lens, Kristin feels a firm calling to encourage others to look for hope and beauty while in the valley. Fully embracing the motto “shoot what you love and do it often,” Kristin is a staunch advocate for personal projects as creative outlets. She also blends her love for social justice, writing and visual arts in her journalistic and documentary approach to photography. Raised in Germany as a proud Army brat, Kristin currently resides in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Carl Juste

Under the threat of persecution, Haitian-born Carl–Philippe Juste, and his politically active family, were forced to flee their homeland in 1965. Settling in Miami’s Haitian community, Juste flourished academically and attended the University of Miami. He vigorously pursued photojournalism and, since 1991, has worked as a photojournalist for The Miami Herald.

Juste has covered many international and national stories for the Herald, including assignments in Haiti, Cuba, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq. In addition, he has worked on various documentary projects for the museum, HistoryMiami, including At the Crossroads: Afro-Cuban Orisha Arts in Miami (2001), South American Musical Traditions in Miami (2002), and Haitian Community Arts: Images by Iris PhotoCollective (2006-2007), all were funded, in part, by the National Endowment for the Arts. Juste has been a guest lecturer for various national organizations and universities. He has received numerous awards for his work, including the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, National Headliners, and POYi. His work has been exhibited in various prestigious institutions and galleries in Cuba, Dominican Republic and The United States. In 2016, he won a prestigious Knight Arts Challenge grant to complete Havana/Haiti: Two Cultures, One Community, a book and exhibit of photographs and essays about Cubans and Haitians, to prove once and for all that Haitians and Cubans have more in common than most people understand.

As part of his ongoing independent work, in 1998, Juste co-founded Iris Photo Collective. Iris’ photographers, writers and culture activists create work that explores and documents the lives of people of color throughout the world with the goal of empowerment for all. Havana/Haiti is a project created by Juste and guided by the mission of Iris PhotoCollective.

Preliminary Round Panel

Ranita Roy – Photographer and Visual Artist

Ranita Roy was born in Andul, a small town in India. Currently based in Kolkata, India. She is a documentary photographer and visual artist. Her work has been published in various media publications including Reuters, The Washington Post Magazine, The New York Times, Al Jazeera, The Guardian, The Cosmopolitan Magazine, The National (UAE), DW News, The Economic Times, Hindustan Times, BBC. In 2019 she completed a Master’s degree in Environmental Science, in the same year, she attended the 7th annual New York Portfolio Review organized by The New York Times in New York. She was Shortlisted in the 2020 Inge Morath Award (Magnum Foundation). In 2021 she attended the National Geographic Storytellers Summit and has recently been selected for the 2021 Magnum Foundation photography and social justice fellowship.

Mikaela Martin – Photographer

Mikaela Martin is an Australian documentary and fine art photographer, based in South Florida, USA.

Before picking up a camera professionally, Mikaela was an actor and filmmaker. This work and practice is very much at play in her photography. She is interested in the ways we confront our own fragility and wonder; both from within, and through the people and spaces we inhabit.

Much of Mikaela’s work explores her relationship with her two young daughters, featured most recently in her ongoing project “Good Lord, leave your Mother alone”.

Mikaela’s work has been published, awarded, and exhibited both locally and internationally. Commercial work includes Apple (No one else yet, but it’s a solid start). She has spent the last few pandemic months obsessing over pinhole photography and DIY darkrooms. And The Sopranos.

Manu Rigoni – Photographer, FDF Brazil Co-founder and Researcher on Art and Feminism

Manu Rigoni is a Brazilian photographer living in Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil. She discovered the power of storytelling within documentary photography, even when she is underwater diving. Manu Rigoni has a degree in Audiovisual and she is currently an Art History student. Also, she is a co-founder of FDF Brazil – a directory exclusively dedicated to family documentary photographers.

Her work focuses on families from all over Brazil and also on her personal project called “Retratos do Fim” (Portraits of the End), in which she photographs the last moments of the lives of elderly women.


Please visit documentaryfamilyawards.com/support/

Terms and Conditions

Please visit documentaryfamilyawards.com/call-for-entries/terms/

About Documentary Family Awards

Founded in 2017, the Documentary Family Awards (DFA) aims to provide a platform that celebrates the very best documentary family photography from around the world, while also supporting photographers through open online educational events. With one of the most transparent judging processes in the industry, the DFA streams online its entire final round of judging for anyone to watch, providing a unique opportunity for viewers to learn from leading documentary photographers, photojournalists and editors during in-depth discussions and debates.

2 June 2021
6:59 AM