There are 6 categories open for submission

Please read our full category descriptions if you want to better understand categories best suited for your work. Our judges are always on the lookout for creative interpretations of a category. Therefore the following definitions should not be considered rules but rather guidelines.

Feature Category

Our feature category changes each award cycle and is not repeated regularly.

1) Routine

While every day is different, there are many daily practices that ground families and keep us functioning as humans. For this one-off category, we want to see your unique take on the rituals and routines of daily family life. I.e. brushing teeth, baths, bedtimes, chores, school drop-off etc. This is your chance to really share the extraordinary in the ordinary.

Classic Categories

From birth to environmental portraiture to real life to images made on your phone, our classic categories allow you to explore all aspects of documentary family photography.

2) 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.

3) 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.

4) Cell Phone Only (photos taken on your phone)

The best camera is the one you have with you and more often than not it can be our phones. This category is about sharing family documentary work both personal and professional, created with your phone’s camera.

Toning: Professional toning of images in this category is not required.  However, if you do want to convert to black and white or add contrast etc, we 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.

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.

6) Photo Series (8 images max.)

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 have a question? Head to our support page and browse our resources or ask a question in our Facebook group.