category Definitions

1) Nothing Is better than Real Life

Real life is the authentic, unscripted moments in our everyday life. For some, these are extraordinary events and for others, it can simply be the small moments of accomplishment or defeat. This category is wide open, as an opportunity for you to enter photographs that explore all aspects of family life.

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2) Birth

The birthing process includes a depth and complexity that goes far beyond the climax of life entering this world. Therefore, we are looking for photographs that represent not just the final moments of labor but also the supporting events and landmarks that lead towards a child being born. Submissions are open to work from everything leading up to, during, and after the birthing process.

Note: The Birth category is uncensored. Share your best work with us and we will share the award-winning photos on the appropriate channels. A reminder that photographers entering this (and any) category must have permission from any recognizable subjects to use their photos publicly.

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3) Pets & Animals

Our new category for this contest cycle is Pets & Animals. We know that the members of a family are not limited to humans, and this category is for those special characters. Keep in mind people and their interaction (or lack thereof) with animals of all types and sizes: pets, wildlife, farm animals, critters and more.

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4) The Camera You Have With You(photos taken on your phone)

The best camera is the one you have with you. This category is about sharing family documentary work both personal and professional, created with your phone’s camera.

Toning: We highly recommend toning your images with Snapseed by Google (iOS or Android ). However, judges will be more receptive to the toning options available on phones so if your photos have an Instagram filter applied, for example, that is acceptable.

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5) Environmental Portrait

In our own words, an environmental portrait uses a subject’s surroundings (or lack thereof) to tell us more about the subject themselves in that moment. Their surroundings can be literal (ex. at home, work, in nature etc.) or abstract (ex. using color, shapes or space), and can be a single person or multiple people in one frame. Although it is not required, in this category the photographer may choose to be involved in directing the subjects to be in a certain location or light if it enhances the portrait. This is our only category where we allow submissions where the photographer has given direction to the subject.

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6) Photo Series

The Photo Series category gives you the freedom to tell larger stories, show growth and change in your subjects, or simply provide a broader perspective on a topic.

There are no limitations on the timeframe in which the series can be photographed and the timeline and order does not have to be linear. For example, photos can be from a day in the life, a birth, or perhaps from multiple families and subjects over a longer period of time. You can explore a specific theme or present your personal perspective of this genre. These are just examples and we want to encourage creativity in not only the images, but the concept itself.


Do you still need help? Head to our HELP! page and browse our resources or ask a question.

3rd Place: Nothing Is Better Than Real Life

by Taras Bychko, Ukraine.