Entry rules

2024 Contest entry rules

Millions of people around the world see the winning photographs and stories, often for the first time. Being a global platform means a responsibility to present the most accurate and compelling work – presenting a balanced selection of stories from around the world. To do this we apply these rules and recruit a highly qualified and diverse jury.

In order to facilitate a fair entry and judging process, it is important that every entrant reads these entry rules and agrees to them when submitting their entry. These entry rules outline who can enter the contest and what can be entered.

Below you can find the general entry rules, alongside information about the categories, code of ethics, how to enter, technical requirements, judging process, and verification process (including manipulation rules). More detailed information about each of these elements can be found on the links provided.  

General entry rules

1. The World Press Photo contest is open to professional photographers working in the field of journalism and/or documentary photography. Every entrant needs to provide a document with a valid date that confirms their current professional status. Examples of documents include, but are not limited to:

  • press card, stating you are working as a photographer;
  • at least 1 proof of publication (for example a tearsheet) from 2022 or 2023, with your name visible as credit, in either online or print format from a recognized media organization or publication;
  • journalism union membership card;
  • membership document from a recognized photographic association that shows the photographer is a professional member;
  • a recent letter of reference (must be from 2022 or 2023) from a photo agency, photo editor, media organization or publication, stating you have worked for them as a photographer;
  • if you are not able to provide proof that meets the above criteria, you may register with alternative (multiple) documents so that we can gain a better understanding of your professional status.
We do not consider proof of professional status:

  • CVs or cover letters
  • diplomas
  • samples of photography

The organization reserves the right to ask for additional information to help clarify the entrant’s professional status.

2. Team entries of two or more photographers are allowed. Proof of professional status must be provided for each team member.

3. The photographer(s) must be the author(s) of the photographs submitted in their name.

4. The photographer(s), agent or representative entering on their behalf, must be the copyright holder(s) or have been authorized by the copyright holder(s) to submit the photographs.

5. Entries must comply with the categories, as described here.

6. Entries must meet the technical requirements

7. Photographs can be submitted whether or not they have been published.

8. Photographs taken at restricted events are not accepted (i.e. events where only photographers commissioned by those organizing the event have access, for example photographers commissioned by governments, political parties or corporations).

9. All entries must have accurate captions and descriptions, written in English. If the captions have been translated, please also provide the original caption. Captions must contain all the information described in the guidance on captions.

10. Each entry must include relevant additional information, such as motivation, the type of project (assignment/personal project) and funding.

11. All entries must comply with the World Press Photo code of ethics. Read the code of ethics.

12. Entries can only be submitted via Picter, the official contest entry platform.

13. The deadline for creating an account on the contest entry platform Picter, completing registration and for submitting entries to the 2024 Contest is Thursday 11 January 2024, 13.00 Central European Time.

14. Members of the World Press Photo staff, Supervisory Board, International Advisory Committee and 2024 Contest jury are not permitted to enter the 2024 Contest.

Additional entry rules for the Singles, Stories and Long-Term Projects categories

15. A photograph can only be entered once, either as a Single or as part of a Story, or as part of a Long-Term Project. However, projects entered to the Open Format category can contain photographs that have also been entered to the Singles, Stories or Long-Term Projects categories.

16. Photographs must not show the name of the photographer, agency, or publication, or any other information (these details can be included in the metadata of the photograph but must not be visible on the photograph itself).

17. Photographs entered to Singles, Stories and Long-Term Projects must comply with our rules on manipulation and must not be altered by adding, rearranging, reversing, distorting or removing people and/or objects from within the frame. Read the rules on manipulation here.

18. Entrants must provide file(s) as recorded by the camera for all images that proceed to the final stages of the contest. These file(s) will be requested and studied confidentially between 25 January and 25 February 2024. Failure to provide these files when requested will lead to the exclusion of the entry.

Specific rules on the use of AI tools

AI-generated images are not photography. A photograph captures light on a sensor or film, it is a record of a physical moment.

Singles, Stories and Long-Term Projects
19. All photographs entered into the Singles, Stories and Long-Term Projects categories must be made with a camera. No synthetic or artificially generated images are allowed, and no use of artificially generative fill is allowed in post-production. Any use of these tools will automatically disqualify the entry from the contest.
20. The use of smart tools, or AI-powered enhancement tools is possible within the contest rules, as long as these tools do not lead to significant changes to the image as a whole, introduce new information to the image, nor remove information from the image that was captured by the camera. This remains in line with our rules on manipulation from previous years.

Some examples of tools where limited usage may be allowed are Denoise, automatic adjustments (e.g on levels, colors, contrast) and object selection for local adjustments. These are permitted up to the extent that they do not alter, add or remove information from the photograph that was captured by the camera. This is determined by the contest organization and global jury. 

21. Tools that immediately breach the contest rules and are not allowed are all AI powered enlarging tools such as Adobe Super Resolution and Topaz Photo AI. These tools are based on generative AI models that introduce new information to enlarge and sharpen images.

Open Format

22. The Open Format category welcomes visual journalism that features innovative techniques, non-traditional modes of presentation, and new approaches to storytelling. However, all photographs entered into the Open Format category must be made with a camera. No synthetic or artificially-generated images are allowed, and no use of artificially generative fill is allowed. Any use of generative AI will automatically disqualify the entry from the contest.

23. Open Format entries will be subject to a thorough entry check process by the contest organization to determine whether they meet the above criteria. In later stages of the judging process, entrants will be contacted to provide file(s) as recorded by the camera (original RAW files or equivalent) that may be subject to a forensics check by independent analysts.

Terms and conditions

24. Copyright holders retain copyright of their work. For awarded entries and honorable mentions, copyright holders grant the World Press Photo Foundation unlimited non-exclusive use of high-resolution photographs and Open Format entries for activities in all media, including social media, online and print, in relation to the contest, the exhibition, the yearbook, the public archive, and all promotional and educational activities for and under the auspices of the World Press Photo Foundation, without any remuneration being due.

25. For all entries except awarded entries, copyright holders grant the World Press Photo Foundation non-exclusive use of low-resolution photographs and Open Format entries in a non-public archive for its educational and research activities, without any remuneration being due.

26. The copyright holders represent and warrant that submission of the entries does not breach any law, and further that no third party can hold any claims or any objections regarding the rights granted to the World Press Photo Foundation specified in articles 21 and 22. The copyright holders will hold the World Press Photo Foundation harmless of any claims from third parties related hereto.

27. The Entry Rules and any dispute, proceedings or claim of whatever nature arising out of or in any way relating to the Entry Rules (including any non-contractual disputes or claims), shall be governed by Dutch law.

28. Any dispute arising from the Entry Rules (whether contractual or non-contractual) shall be decided solely and exclusively by the competent court of Amsterdam.

29. The conditions set out in the Entry Rules are binding, and the World Press Photo Foundation reserves the right to refuse or exclude any entry at its own discretion. 

For more information on GDPR and the contest, please click here.

Are you looking for more specific information? Visit one of the following pages to find out more about: 

Image credit: Jonas Kakó, Panos Pictures