Visual Journalism that Educates and Illuminates
26 January 2022
7:59 AM

By clicking "Start Submission", you agree to be contacted by the host regarding this opportunity.


For 75-years, the members of the National Press Photographers Association have worked tirelessly for the benefit of photojournalists by utilizing a range of advocacy and educational programs. Through our annual Best of Photojournalism competition, we proudly recognize the work of visual storytellers around the world.

Photojournalists bear witness to history on a daily basis. They stand on the sidewalks and sit in the living rooms of neighborhoods internationally with a shared mission to inform the public. Through well-researched stories and the documentation of life events, audiences rely on these journalists to ethically inform them of what is happening in their communities and to give understanding to why specific moments in time should matter to us all.

The Best of Photojournalism recognizes the ways in which this type of photography is produced and it proudly honors the journalists who do it. It also recognizes all of the steps it takes to execute compelling still and video imagery in the modern news era.

CALL FOR ENTRIES: The Best of Photojournalism competition will open for entries on Monday, December 20, 2021, and remain open until 11:59 p.m. PT on Sunday, January 23, 2022. The contest deadline has been extended to 11:59 PT on Tuesday, January 25, 2022.

Entries for the 2022 Best of Photojournalism competition will be entered via this online portal. All entrants will be required to have an account on this platform ­– your NPPA login credentials will not work on the competition submission site.

All entries must have been made between January 1, 2021, and December 31, 2021. Story category entries may contain images made in prior years but the majority of the work must have been made between January 1, 2021, and December 31, 2021.

Entry is free for NPPA members in good standing at the close of the contest and $75 for non-members. (To verify your NPPA membership, you will need to know your NPPA user ID ­– this is the login you use on

The NPPA has a long-standing tradition of leading the way when it comes to the ethics of our industry. All entrants will certify that the work being submitted conforms to the Code of Ethics all members ascribe to when joining.

All entries in the competition will be catalogued and permanently archived at the University of Georgia's Special Collections Library, preserving what our industry believes is the most important work of the year.

The competition is divided into six primary divisions, each with content-driven categories. The Still Photojournalism division recognizes the work of photojournalists who tell stories either with single imagery or through the use of multiple image photo stories. The Picture Editing division recognizes the editors who hone the subject approach, sequence and help display works, while ensuring that audiences can access and process what is being shown.

The Online Video, Presentation and Innovation division recognizes individuals and teams that excel in promoting online visual journalism through web sites, galleries, multimedia presentations and other digital delivery means.

The Video Photojournalism division recognizes the work of visual journalists who work primarily in broadcast environments. The Video Editing division recognizes the unique role that editors play in the production of video narratives.

New for the 2022 competition is a Documentary category that looks at longer form journalism projects.

Across these six divisions, there are nearly 100 categories entrants can participate in, ranging from breaking news and sports to the collaborative works of visual teams inside the newsrooms. The final mediums ­– be it print, digital or broadcast ­– are all recognized equally.

Judging is handled in two rounds after the closure of submissions. During the first round, more than 100 judges will work through all of the categories and perform an initial assessment ­– scoring each entry on a scale from one to five. Every entry will have multiple experts from a relevant field examine the work and the resulting scores will subsequently be averaged.

At the conclusion of the first round, separate panels of final judges, composed of varied industry experts, will convene to discuss and rank the entries with the highest averaged scores. They will assess everything from the technical merits and aesthetics to the intended potential for impact on the local or international community.

At the end of this finalization process, the NPPA will announce what is the Best of Photojournalism ­– visual journalism that educates and illuminates.

The competition is supported through a partnership with the University of Georgia's College of Journalism and Mass Communication and presented by Sony as its primary sponsor.

If you have any questions, send them to


Call for entries open
20 December 2021
Submission deadline
26 January 2022



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Technical Guidelines

Entries for the 2022 Best of Photojournalism competition should be entered via the new online portal.

Entries will be accepted from Monday, December 20, 2021, through 11:59 P.M. PT on Sunday, January 23, 2022.  All entries must have been made between January 1, 2021, and December 31, 2021. Story category entries may contain images made in prior years but the majority of the work must have been made between January 1, 2021, and December 31, 2021.

Entry is free for NPPA members in good standing at the close of the contest and $75 for non-members. If you choose not to join the NPPA, the fee will be collected during the entry process. Membership status will be checked at the closing of the entry timeframe. Non-members who have not paid the entry fee may be disqualified. If you are entering on behalf of others (e.g., you are a contest editor), you may not use your membership status to wave the registration fee for others -- each individual entrant must be a member or pay the fee. On team entries, if one of the team members is a member of the NPPA, the entry fee is waved.

Each entrant may have up to 20 entries spread across any combination of disciplines (Still Photojournalism, Picture Editing, Online Video, Presentation and Innovation, Video Photojournalism, Video Editing and Documentary) and categories. This 20-entry limit applies to all disciplines and all entrants including Video Photojournalism and Video Editing. Multiple entries in one category will count towards the total number of entries. (For example, if you enter two images in the Sports Action category, that accounts for two of your 20 total entries.) A single photograph, story, video or package may not be entered on its own in more than one division, with one exception: the same video/story/package entry may be submitted in both Video Editing and Video Photojournalism, exclusively. However, a photo may be entered in both a single category and as part of a picture story, portfolio, or compilation. A video may also be entered in both a single category and as part of a compilation. Each entry counts as one towards the 20-entry total.

Please read the individual Category descriptions for more information as some categories have additional restrictions.

Thumbnails will be required for video entries and should be 1920 x 1080 pixels in a JPG format. Online entries will need a screen grab to be uploaded.

For some categories, you may be asked when material was first published or broadcast.

If you cannot enter the competition online, please request mail-in entry procedures by sending an email to Mailed entries must be received by January 20, 2022.

Please feel free to send any questions along to

Preparing Your Entries

We will not fix or recategorize any entries that do not follow the guidelines. Entries that do not meet the criteria or are improperly categorized will be disqualified from the competition.

Still Photojournalism

Entrants to the Still Photojournalism division must ensure their pictures provide an accurate and fair representation of the scene they witnessed so the audience is not misled.

Photographs must have complete, accurate captions and associated metadata as described below. Photo credits or other identifying information should be removed from the caption (but may remain in other metadata fields).

No multiple exposures, panoramas or stitched photos, produced either in-camera or with software, will be accepted.

Photographs may not be altered or manipulated during post-processing except for basic toning/contrast adjustments or by cropping. See the Visual Integrity guidelines for further information.

Entrants must be prepared to provide file(s) as recorded by the camera for images that proceed to the final stages of the contest when requested. These file(s) will be requested between February 21 and February 24, 2022. Failure to provide these files when requested may lead to the exclusion of the entry.

Please remove any personal tags, rating or color codes.

File names in story and portfolio categories must begin with a sequence number (01, 02, etc.) to ensure the final round judges see them in order. Each image should be saved as an RGB file. Do not save them as CMYK.

Images should be sized to be 3000 pixels on the long dimension.

Image files must be saved as a JPG with a quality setting of High (9 on a 12 point scale, 8 on a 10 point scale). File sizes should be no more than 5 MB.

Including the correct metadata and file formats in your entry is critical to the smooth running of the competition as well as the post-event archiving of material. The judges will rely upon the entrants to ensure the following standards are met. Failure to meet these requirements may result in a disqualification of an entry.

Image metadata can be entered in whichever image management program you are most familiar with. So, if you already use Photo Mechanic, Bridge, Lightroom or MediaPro or some other tool, you can enter the metadata in your familiar working environment.

If you do not currently have a preferred image management tool, Camera Bits has a free 1-month trial version of Photo Mechanic.

The following IPTC fields are required for entries:

  • Caption/Description - See Caption Guide below.

  • City, State/Province and Country

  • Date - The date the image was made.

  • Photographer and Credit/Byline (please fill in both) - The name of the photojournalist who made the image. Please be consistent from photo to photo. For example, please use Joe E Smith for each image, not Joe Smith on one, Joseph Smith on another, J.E. Smith on a third, and so on.

  • Source - Your employer or client.

  • Copyright - Who holds the copyright on the image (this may be the entrant, employer or client).

  • Contact Email - Please use the same address here as you will use when you create your account for submission.

  • Contact Phone - Please use the same phone number here as you will use when you create your account for submission.

Caption Guide:

Captions must be accurate and answer the basic questions of good journalism. They must be written in English only and follow basic AP style. Here are the basic AP guidelines.

  • The first sentence of the caption should follow this structure:

  • The first clause should describe who is in the photograph and what is going on within the photo in the present tense followed by the city, state or province and country (if outside the United States) as appropriate. The last portion of the first sentence should be the date. Use absolute dates and absolute locations, meaning you should have a date of, "Monday, December 17, 2018" and not just, "Monday" or "last Tuesday."

  • Captions must give attribution of action not seen (e.g. the scene of accident where more than 10 died, according to police).

  • Names should always be listed in order, left to right, unless it is impossible for the caption to read normally otherwise.

  • With multiple people identified within the caption, enough representations to placement are necessary that there is no confusion for who is who.

  • The second sentence of the caption is used to give context to the news event or describes why the photo is significant.

  • If in doubt of the need for a second sentence, leave it off.

  • Whenever possible, try to keep captions to no more than two concise sentences, while including the relevant information.

  • Try to anticipate what information the reader will need. 

Example: Democratic presidential hopeful U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., delivers his policy on Iraq speech, Sept. 12, 2007, in Clinton, Iowa. Obama called for the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. combat brigade.

(Adapted from the AP Style Guide)

If the photograph is a portrait, the caption must contain a note stating that the photograph is a portrait and was posed and directed.

For the story categories, within the caption block of the first image in a story, you must include a short overall story description at the top of the caption (up to 100 words). There may also be a fillable field for this on some categories.

Picture Editing

Entries need to be exported as JPG files. Please make sure they have been saved as RGB files and not CMYK. They should be at least 3000 pixels tall.

Each individual page or spread should be entered as an individual image so designs can be seen in full. (For example, a two-page magazine spread should be entered as a single image.)

Online Video, Presentation and Innovation

Either web links or videos may be submitted, depending on the categories (web links are required for Innovation, Social Media and Presentation categories).

Links and passwords, if needed, will be aded under Description after uploading the thumbnail.

All entries should be compressed for smooth playback online. Videos must be mp4 format at 720p resolution. If you already have a video compression tool that you're familiar with, use it. If you don't, Handbrake is a popular choice.

Video Photojournalism, Video Editing and Documentary

All entries should be compressed for smooth playback online. Videos must be mp4 format at 720p resolution. If you already have a video compression tool that you're familiar with, use it. If you don't, Handbrake is a popular choice.


The Best of Photojournalism places a high priority on visual integrity and representing the ethical standards of the National Press Photographers Association and the industry at-large. All entrants are expected to adhere to the National Press Photographers Association Code of Ethics.

NPPA Code of Ethics

Visual journalists and those who manage visual news productions are accountable for upholding the following standards in their daily work:

  1. Be accurate and comprehensive in the representation of subjects.

  2. Resist being manipulated by staged photo opportunities.

  3. Be complete and provide context when photographing or recording subjects. Avoid stereotyping individuals and groups. Recognize and work to avoid presenting one's own biases in the work.

  4. Treat all subjects with respect and dignity. Give special consideration to vulnerable subjects and compassion to victims of crime or tragedy. Intrude on private moments of grief only when the public has an overriding and justifiable need to see.

  5. While photographing subjects do not intentionally contribute to, alter, or seek to alter or influence events.

  6. Editing should maintain the integrity of the photographic images' content and context. Do not manipulate images or add or alter sound in any way that can mislead viewers or misrepresent subjects.

  7. Do not pay sources or subjects or reward them materially for information or participation.

  8. Do not accept gifts, favors, or compensation from those who might seek to influence coverage.

  9. Do not intentionally sabotage the efforts of other journalists.

  10. Do not engage in harassing behavior of colleagues, subordinates or subjects and maintain the highest standards of behavior in all professional interactions.

Ideally, visual journalists should:

  • Strive to ensure that the public's business is conducted in public. Defend the rights of access for all journalists.

  • Think proactively, as a student of psychology, sociology, politics and art to develop a unique vision and presentation. Work with a voracious appetite for current events and contemporary visual media.

  • Strive for total and unrestricted access to subjects, recommend alternatives to shallow or rushed opportunities, seek a diversity of viewpoints, and work to show unpopular or unnoticed points of view.

  • Avoid political, civic and business involvements or other employment that compromise or give the appearance of compromising one's own journalistic independence.
  • Strive to be unobtrusive and humble in dealing with subjects.

  • Respect the integrity of the photographic moment.

  • Strive by example and influence to maintain the spirit and high standards expressed in this code. When confronted with situations in which the proper action is not clear, seek the counsel of those who exhibit the highest standards of the profession. Visual journalists should continuously study their craft and the ethics that guide it.

Visual Integrity

For the Best of Photojournalism, the NPPA Code of Ethics states, "Be accurate and comprehensive in the representation of subjects" and our entry rules focus on two areas where accuracy is most important -- the making of the image and post-production. These are the two main areas where manipulation can occur. The following statements apply to all categories including still and video entries as well as picture editing and online presentations.

1. Making/capturing the image

Photographers must not intentionally alter the scene they capture in any of the following ways:

  • You must not add objects.

  • You must not move/take away objects.

  • You must not "stage" situations - meaning you must not deliberately arrange objects, subjects or situations that are not already occurring.

  • You must not "set-up" situations - meaning you must not deliberately create a situation that does not exist. For example, bringing disparate characters together in a place they would not be, giving or directing subjects to wear particular clothing, or creating or altering a scene by painting, adding objects, or people that aren't normally in that location or occur in that location.

  • You must not ask your subject to re-enact actions or scenes that occurred in the past in order to make a photograph.

Portraits have different rules. Portraits can be constructed as long as they are identified as portraits in the captions. They must not be made to look like they are naturally occurring events.

2. Post-production

Post-processing, in and of itself, is not manipulation as long as it is within normal limits of toning and color correction.

Types of post-processing that count as manipulation:

  • Dramatic changes in color that alter the original color of the scene. For example, changing a gray sky to blue. Color correcting sensor/white balance issues from incorrect camera settings is allowed.

  • Changes made by dodging or burning, adjustments to brightness, contrast, color, saturation, sharpening or clarity that significantly alter content by obscuring, enhancing or diminishing elements in the photograph.

  • Just like during the making/capturing of an image you may not add, move, remove any objects or persons. You may only use the cloning tool -- or any other tool -- to remove dust spots on the image created by the lens, the camera sensor or dust from scanning physical negatives. You may NOT use the cloning tool -- or any other tool -- to extend the photograph or expand the canvas of the photograph.

  • Altering the sequencing of an audio or video recording so as to change the meaning of someone's statement or apparent actions.

Entry disqualification due to image manipulation

  • If the judges have any questions regarding any possible image manipulation in post processing, entrants will be required to submit images as recorded by the camera. The judges will have a private conversation regarding the entry and the entry may be disqualified.

  • Additionally, filmmakers and photographers cannot be paid by anyone with a commercial stake in the story, and no branded content will be accepted.

  • Stories should honor the viewer's trust, and under no circumstances should scenes depicted as candid be set up, directed or controlled in any way.

  • Any re-creations of scenes to illustrate events in the past must be clearly marked as such. Special effects and music should be used sparingly and not alter the truthfulness of the narrative.



26 January 2022
7:59 AM

By clicking "Start Submission", you agree to be contacted by the host regarding this opportunity.