1st Place Best Overall Award. Photo by Aniya Emtage, Barbados.

Technical Support & FAQ

Information to make your DFA experience as smooth as possible

The Documentary Family Awards accepts submissions twice a year during our Spring and Fall call for entries.

How To Enter

Please read as our submission process has recently changed.

  1. Create your free personal Picter account at 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. The Picter system allows you to save a draft submission, allowing you to work on your entries over as many days as you require.
  4. If you are 18 years of age or younger, please fill out our image waiver form before you submit your images. documentaryfamilyawards.com/call-for-entries/image-waiver-release-form/

Image Requirements

  • Aspect Ratio: We accept any aspect ratio.
  • Image Dimension : At least 1500px on the long edge. 2000px or more prefered.
  • Image Size: Maximum file size of each photo should be 50MB.
  • Image File Type: jpg.
  • Toning: Color or Black & White only. No spot colouring or split toning allowed.
  • Image Date: Photos submitted can be from any year unless category-specific rules apply.
  • No watermarks, text or borders of any kind can be added to the image. (exemption given to diptychs, and triptychs and cell/mobile photos with borders. )
  • Resolution: Photo can be any resolution, as long as it matches the pixel dimensions stated under Horizontal and Vertical image dimensions.
  • File Name: Specific file names are no longer required
  • If your submitted images do not meet all of our image requirements they may be disqualified without notice.

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

Photo Manipulation Guidelines

No digital manipulation of any photo submitted is allowed beyond standard editing practices. Allowed editing/toning techniques include white balance, color, contrast, dodging and burning.

Digital manipulation not allowed includes cloning, patching, or any form of pixel manipulation that alters or removes content from the original photo (the exception being sensor dust spot removal). If concerns are found regarding the authenticity of an awarded photo, the photographer must provide a RAW file version of that photo.

We reserve the right to remove any award-winning photos should the authenticity of its file integrity come into question.

Nudity & Sensitive Content

By submitting your photos to the Documentary Family Awards, you agree that you have the full consent of every adult in your photo, including any children and their legal guardian or representative’s consent.

You understand that by submitting your photos they may be used to promote Documentary Family Awards which includes (but is not exclusive to), Instagram posts, Facebook posts, future press releases, features by other websites and general use online to promote Documentary Family Awards. We will not sell your photos and every effort to give full credit to the photographer will be made.

Facebook support group

Join our dedicated private group for photographers and get technical support or ask DFA specific questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do I have to log in to enter?
A: Yes. We now use Picter to manage all submissions. To enter our awards create your free Picer account here https://app.picter.com/signup. If you already use Picter you can login using your existing account.

Q: Do still need myDFA account on the Documentary Family Awards website?
A: Yes. This account is used to manage your award profile where you can upload a bio photo, add a written bio and social media links. Your award profile is made public if you win one or more awards or honorable mentions. Examples: documentaryfamilyawards.com/find-a-photographer/

Q: Do you accept International Credit Cards
A: Yes.

Q: Is there a special definition of ‘family’?
A: We consider the definition of family to be as broad as you wish.  Subjects in the photographs entered can be any age, any gender, related or unrelated, close family members or distant friends. More information can be fond here: documentaryfamilyawards.com/open-categories/

Q: Is there is a description of each category?
A: Yes! Read more about category-specific rules and definitions here: documentaryfamilyawards.com/open-categories/

Q: Can I submit photos at separate times or does it have to be all at once?
A: We highly recommend submitting all of your entries at once. With the Picter submission system, you can now upload and save your submission as a draft allowing you to finalize your submission over several days before clicking send.

Q: Does not receiving a confirmation email mean that the photos haven’t been submitted?
A: You should receive a confirmation email after successfully paying for your entries.

Q: Is cropping, straightening or lens correction allowed?
A: Cropping, straightening and lens correction done minimally is allowed. If your photo has been cropped significantly or a major noticeable straightening adjustment has been done, it may affect the photo making it through to the final round. All decisions made by the current judges are up to their discretion.

Q: Can I submit any aspect ratio? Such as a square photo or 6×7?
A: Yes.

Q: Can I use presets to tone/edit my photos?
A: We prefer to see photos that have traditional toning techniques applied such as contrast, curves, color balance, dodging and burning. Photos can be black & white (no sepia) or color. If you have a preset that doesn’t heavily “flavour” the look of your photo then it should be ok.

Q: Can I submit a double exposure?
A: No. Even if it is done in camera we do not accept double exposures.

Q: If my photo matches multiple categories will it be judges in those categories?
A: Each photo submitted will only be judged in the one category you select. You can’t submit one photo to multiple categories. However, photos submitted as part of a photo series can also be entered into single image categories.

Q: Can I submit the same photo multiple times?
A: You can only submit a photo once in any given award cycle. If the photo does not place, you can submit it again in the next round.

Q: Can a Business/Studio submit under the business name?
A: Every submission needs to be submitted under one individual’s name, that of the photographer who took the photo(s).  If you work in a collective or for a studio you can add the business Instagram account as the credit.  And of course, we encourage you to share any awards through your business social media or website.

Q: Do you send a confirmation email after a submission?
A: Yes. You will receive an automatic email confirming you have submitted. If you can’t find the auto-response, make sure you check your spam/junk folders

The Documentary Family Awards is an international competition in search of the insightful and meaningful ways that documentary photographers explore the interpretation of family.

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