There are lots of portrait photography competitions, but we're told that very few match the imagination and production values of entrants in the International Portrait Photographer of the Year. And a look at this year's entries will show you why!
This year, Forough Yavari has done the incredible, winning the Awards for the second time! As you can see, she has submitted an incredibly imaginative portfolio with multiple layers of interpretation and meaning, lavishly produced and presented.
And not to be outdone, our category winners have presented a wide range of different approaches and styles. Congratulations to:
The Portrait Story: 1st Joseph Smith; 2nd Osama Elolemy; 3rd John Sheridan.
The Family Sitting: 1st Raoul Slater; 2nd Donell Gumiran; 3rd Peter Rossi.
The Environmental Portrait: 1st Jo Kearney; 2nd Mark Cornelison; 3rd Peter Rossi.
The Character Study: 1st Frederic Aranda; 2nd Elena Paraskeva; 3rd Paul Dodd.
The overall first prize is US $3000, and for each category we have a first prize $1000, with 2nd $500 and 3rd $250.
However, as we emphasise, the main aim of our Award is to be selected in the Top 101 portrait photographs of the year and be published in our annual book. As judges and successful entrants know, being a prize-winner is partly opinion and partly luck. That’s why we place so much importance on being in the Top 101 as there is plenty of room for a variety of tastes, approaches and styles. And any of the Top 101 photographs could be a prize winner on the day.
You can view the Top 101 for 2023 in the Flip-Book at the end of this article.
While the book is published online, it can also be purchased as a 'real' hard-cover paper publication as well (it's proudly printed by our sponsor Momento Pro in Australia, or if you are ordering a copy from outside Australia, we have arranged for Lulu to print it as well so you're not charged Australia's unreasonable postage costs).
Our judging process has been developed over several decades of competition experience. Once the first round of judging is completed, we have a score for each entry out of 300, expressed as percentage. We then take the top 10 scoring entries from each of the four categories and ask the judges to confirm their choice of 1st, 2nd and 3rd. When the initial score out of 100 is given, the judges are scoring against a standard of excellence, but when it comes to the final top 10, they are comparing the entries against each other and so this is an important part of a fair process.
Separately to the category judging, we take the top 10 portfolios of four entries (the highest scoring entries from any category) and these are judged to determine the overall International Portrait Photographer of the Year.
For the book, we take the top 10 entries from each category, and then a further 61 top scoring images, weighted for the number of entries in each category (categories with more entries will be more highly represented in this selection). We then check to ensure that there are not two or more photographs that are very similar (we are looking for variety) and there is also a limit on the number of photographs a single entrant can have in the Top 101 - no more than two, just to share the experience around. This produces our Top 101.
You might wonder why some of the prize winning photos are not in the Top 101. It is because of our competition rules. If a photographer entered more than two portraits, only the top two scoring entries are accepted into the Top 101. However, to be eligible for the prizes, we take the top 10 scoring entries in each category and invite the judges to have a second look. Some of the entrants had three or even more portraits in the top 10 of some categories and, while an entry may have had a slightly lower score initially, during the comparative review process outlined above, the judges elevated a lower initial score into the prizes. The judges have no idea what entries scored originally when they run through the review process, plus all six judges have a say, so hopefully this explains why some of the winning images are not also in the Top 101. They didn't miss out, their photographer was already fully represented!
This year we had 704 entries and to be sure of a place in the Top 101, you needed a score of around 79-84%, depending on the category you entered. A graph below shows you the distribution of scores across all the categories together.
Thanks to our wonderful judging team: David Burnett, Rocco Ancora, Martina Wärenfeldt, Sarah Edmunds, Tony Hewitt and last year's winner, Jatenipat Ketpradit. And a big shout out to our wonderful sponsor, Momento Pro.
I hope you enjoy a collection of best portrait photographs from around the world in the flip-book below.
Chairman of Judges
International Portrait Photographer of the Year Awards
Please enjoy our 2023 Awards book below. To enjoy it even more, you can purchase a paper copy in our shop!