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International Photography Competitions

Xposure International Photography Festival offers FREE to enter photo competitions with great prizes across several genres. Photographers of all ages, backgrounds, and experience are eligible to enter the online competition of Xposure.

The panel of judges are looking to award an Overall Winner and best in class images from the 8 categories;

  • Photojournalism
  • Portraiture
  • Wildlife
  • Still Life
  • Action & Sport
  • Landscape
  • Best of the Emirates

Under 16 Children – UAE Residents

A restricted “General” category for children under 16 years of age & resident in the United Arab Emirates. (Alternate prizes apply)

In addition to the main prizes of best overall entry, all winning and shortlisted photographers of each category will be included in the publication of the Xposure Year Book and featured in a gallery at Xposure.  In each category, there shall be awarded:

  • 1 Winner
  • 1 Runner-up
  • 5 Shortlisted photographers


Overall Winner  – $3,000 (USD) / digital imaging equipment / Flights and accommodation to the awards ceremony in Sharjah UAE / Included in the exhibition at Xposure 2017 / Publication in the next edition of the Xposure Year Book
Category Winners – $1,500 (USD) / digital imaging equipment / Flights and accommodation to the awards ceremony in Sharjah UAE / Included in the exhibition at Xposure 2017 / Publication in the next edition of the Xposure Year Book.
Category Runner-up – $750 (USD) / Included in the exhibition at Xposure 2017 / Publication in the next edition of the Xposure Year Book.
Shortlist – Online Exhibition  / Publication in the next edition of the Xposure Year Book
Under 16 Category Winner – Photo equipment and included in the exhibition at Xposure 2017
Under 16 Category Runner-up – Photo equipment and included in the exhibition at Xposure 2017

Competition Entries
Online entries will be accepted from June 30th, 2017 to September 15th, 2017. The latest time for submitting an entry will be 23:00 GST   GST – Gulf Standard Time (Standard Time) is (UTC +4) 

Competition Registration
Registration to enter the competitions opens on June 21st, 2017. You may register HERE or visit https://xposure.awardsplatform.com If you have previously registered for any Xposure competition, you should use your existing login credentials.

Competition Rules

The Contest opens for online submissions on 1st May 2017 and closes on 15th September 2017, at 11:00 pm GST (the Entry Deadline).  All entries must be received by the Entry Deadline.

Who may enter
This competition is open to all ages.
Employees of Sharjah Government Media Bureau, and each of their affiliates, subsidiaries and agents, and their immediate family members (spouse, parent, child, sibling and their respective spouses, regardless of where they live) or persons living in the same households of such individuals, whether or not related, are not eligible to enter or win a prize.

How to enter
Please submit images online at https://xposure.awardsplatform.com The images should be suitable for public display, printing and publication in the Xposure Magazine. The JPG file format should be used and the preferred resolution is 300 dpi

More detail

  • The recommended image size should be close to 5,000 pixels on the longer dimension. We can accept images that were not captured at this resolution as long as they are between 3,300-5,000 pixels on the long dimension. For more information on electronic submission guidelines see our FAQ. 
  • To enter electronically, please visit https://xposure.awardsplatform.com to register. Once the registration process has been completed, you will receive an e-mail confirmation. Simply log onto the website and follow the online instructions to upload images from your computer. Digital images should have a long dimension of at least 3,300 pixels and be saved at 300 dpi 28cm or larger as a jpeg file. We recommend the uncompressed file size not be larger than 5 megabytes to ensure a fast upload experience. We can accept images that up to 8 megabytes (uncompressed) if you do not have the ability to downsize the images. (Uncompressed is the size you see in Photoshop’s “Image Size” display which represents the count of pixels in the image. It is not the file size on your computer’s hard drive viewable on your desktop.) Images may be colour profiled in sRGB, Adobe-1998, or not colour-managed.
  • You may enter up to ten images per user distributed in any ratio across the competition categories. but each entry must clearly state the category for which it is submitted. (see categories)
  • To qualify, photographs must be taken or produced since June 20th, 2014.
  • An entry consists of one photo, in addition to completed data fields.
  • Each submitted photograph, in its entirety, must be a single work of original material taken by the competition entrant. By entering the contest, the entrant represents, acknowledges and warrants that he or she has full power and authority to enter the photograph and that the photograph does not infringe any copyright or violate any other intellectual property rights. The entrant agrees to indemnify Sharjah Government Media Bureau from any and all third party claims arising from the photograph.
  • Photographs that include sculptures, statues, paintings, and other works of art will be accepted as long as they do not constitute copyright infringement or fraud, provided that entrants are prepared to provide a release form as described below in “Third Party Releases/Licenses.” When photographing the work of others, it must be as an object in its environment and not a full-frame close-up of another person’s art.
  • The entries will be judged in accordance with the Judging Criteria, as defined below. The photograph must not, in the sole and unfettered discretion of the Sponsors, contain obscene, provocative, defamatory, sexually explicit, or otherwise objectionable or inappropriate content. Photographs deemed inappropriate will be disqualified without notice.
  • On-line entries must be made by a user registered online at  https://xposure.awardsplatform.com and by the authorised account holder of the e-mail address submitted at the time of entry. “Authorised account holder” is defined as the natural person who is assigned to an e-mail address by an Internet access provider, online service provider, internet domain owner, or other person or organisation (e.g., business, educational institution, etc.) that is responsible for assigning e-mail addresses for the domain associated with the submitted e-mail address.

Competition Categories

Photojournalism – Representational photography, which provides a documentary visual account of specific subjects and events, literally representing objective reality. Open to all published photojournalism and documentary projects, in addition to personal documentary projects. 
Portraiture – Portrait photography or portraiture is photography of a person or group of people that captures the personality of a subject by using effective lighting, backdrops, and poses. A portrait picture might be artistic, or it might be clinical, as part of a medical study.
Wildlife – Wildlife photography is a type of photography that focuses on taking photographs of wildlife or non-domesticated animals. This type of photography is important not only for its artistic value but also for its scientific value as well.
Still Life – The depiction of inanimate subject matter, typically a small group of objects. It is the application of photography to the still life artistic style. An example is food photography.
Action & Sport – Action photography by its very definition involves a lot of movement, often unpredictable. Become familiar with various camera settings and techniques needed to capture a subject. Sports photography refers to the genre of photography that covers all types of sports.
Landscape – Landscape photography shows spaces within the world, sometimes vast and unending, but other times microscopic. Landscape Photographs typically capture the presence of nature but can also focus on man-made features or disturbances of landscapes.
Best of the Emirates – Images that have been taken in the United Arab Emirates that can include Landscapes, Architecture, Cityscape, Heritage, Cultures and Places.

Junior Category – (Under 16 Years Old – Restrictions Apply) – The Junior category is separate from the main awards and open to all types of still photography recorded by a phone, DLSR or mirrorless camera and produced at a Junior level (entrants must be under 14 to enter). Photos must have been taken in the period between 1st January 2017 and 30th August 2017. Entrants must be resident in the United Arab Emirates.


Judging & Awards

The panel of judges are looking to award the overall best image of the year and best in class images from the 8 categories; 
In addition to the main prizes, all winning and shortlisted photographers will be included in the publication of the Xposure annual and featured in a gallery at Xposure 2017. In each category, judges will award:

  • 1 winner
  • 1 runner up
  • 5 shortlisted photographers
  • Overall Winner  – $3,000 (USD) / digital imaging equipment / Flights and accommodation to the awards ceremony in Sharjah UAE  (excludes junior category – see below) / inclusion in the exhibition at Xposure 2017 / Publication in the Xposure Year Book

  • Category Winners – $1,500 (USD) / digital imaging equipment / Flights and accommodation to the awards ceremony in Sharjah UAE (excludes junior category – see below) / inclusion in the exhibition at Xposure 2017 / Publication in the Xposure Year Book

  • Category Runner-up – $750 (USD) / Canon digital imaging equipment (excludes junior category – see below) / Included in the exhibition at Xposure 2017 / Publication in the Xposure Year Book. 

  • Shortlist – Online Exhibition  / Publication in the Xposure Year Book.

Junior Category Awards
The Junior Category Awards will be issued to Best Photo and Runner-Up and exhibited at Xposure 2017.  Certificates will be issued at the Awards Ceremony and token gifts apply.


All submitted images will be screened by the Moderators to ensure that no offensive or culturally sensitive material is presented to the Jury. Submissions will either be approved or rejected at this stage. Any offensive submissions will be removed from the competition without notice.

Judging Procedure

Round One – Entries will be judged on the basis of artistic merit and overall impact

Round Two – Entries will be judged on the basis of composition, technical quality and effectiveness of expressing the category theme

Round One Process
The VIP jury (the “Judges”) will independently review each entry and apply a credit rating on the basis of Overall Impact and Artistic Merit. The collective credit ratings from this process form the round one score.

Short List Round One
The 25 highest ranked images in each category will go forward to round two. In the case that two or more images are in ranking position 25 all those images with the equal 25th point score will go forward into round two.

Round Two Process
In Round Two the judges will apply a credit rating on the basis of Photographic / Technical Quality, Image Composition and Effectiveness in expressing the category theme.

The Judges individually consider the three aspects (criteria) for each image and allocate credits on each aspect. The collective scores will determine the ranking. Should one or more images be placed equally in ranking 1, 2 or 3 there shall be a final “Tie-Break” round of judging.

Tie-Break Process
If a tie-break is required the judges will consider the respective images once again based on the criteria of Originality. The Judges will apply a credit rating of 1 to 6 in the Tie Break process.

Publication of Winning Images. Decisions of the Judges are final and binding.

Publication of Winning Images
Winners will be published in the 2017 issue exhibiting the Xposure Photo Annual Contest and also on the “Xposure” Web site.

Rights Reserved
Sponsors reserve the right not to award all prizes in the event an insufficient number of eligible entries meeting the minimum judging criteria are received, as determined by Sponsors and Judges in their sole discretion.

Entrant Licenses & Releases
If the photograph contains any material or elements that are not owned by the entrant and/or which are subject to the rights of third parties, and/or if any persons appear in the photograph, the entrant is responsible for obtaining, prior to submission of the photograph, any and all releases and consents necessary to permit the exhibition and use of the photograph in the manner set forth in these Official Rules without additional compensation.

By participating, ALL ENTRANTS grant Sharjah Media Centre, Xposure, the Sponsors and their designees, licensees or affiliates (the “Authorised Parties”) a non-exclusive, worldwide license, to reproduce, distribute, display and post the entries online so that viewers may view all competing entries. In addition, each entrant grants to the Authorised Parties a license for use of his/her winning entry in connection with the business of Sharjah Media Centre, the Contest and promotion of the Contest, in any media now or hereafter known, including but not limited to, print or digital publication in Xposure® magazine showcasing the winners; and promotions related to the contest. Authorised Parties will not be required to pay any additional consideration or seek any additional approval in connection with such use.

Third Party Licenses & Releases 
Winners authorise Sharjah Government Media Bureau, Xposure International Photography Festival & sponsors to reproduce, distribute, display and create derivative works of the photograph entry.

Limitation of Liability 
By participating, entrants agree to release, discharge and hold harmless Sharjah Government Media Bureau, and each of their respective partners, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising agencies, agents and their employees, officers, directors, and representatives from any claims, losses, and damages arising out of their participation in this Contest or any Contest-related activities and the acceptance and use, misuse, or possession of any prize awarded hereunder. 

Sponsors assume no responsibility for any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, or delay in operation or transmission; communications line failure; theft or destruction of or unauthorised access to Contest entries or entry forms; or alteration of entries or entry forms. Sponsors are not responsible for any problems with or technical malfunction of any telephone network or lines, computer online systems, servers or providers, computer equipment, software, failure of any e-mail entry to be received on account of technical problems or traffic congestion on the Internet or at any Web site, human errors of any kind, or any combination thereof, including any injury or damage to entrants’ or any other persons’ computers related to or resulting from participation, uploading or downloading of any materials related to this Contest. 

This Contest is subject to federal, state, and local laws and regulations of the United Arab Emirate. Certain restrictions may apply. Entries void if the Sponsor determines the entry to not be an original, or if the entries are illegible, incomplete, damaged, irregular, altered, counterfeit, produced in error or obtained through fraud or theft.

Participants also agree (a) to be bound by these Official Rules; (b) that the decisions of the Judges are final on all matters relating to the Contest; and (c) if he/she wins that Sponsor may use each winner’s name, photograph, likeness, and/or voice in any publicity or advertising relating to the Contest or future promotions without compensation or approval. Any International state and local taxes, fees and surcharges on prizes are the sole responsibility of the prize winners. In the event that the selected winner(s) of any prize are/is ineligible or refuses the prize, the prize will be forfeited and Sponsors, in their sole discretion, may choose whether to award the prize to another entrant. 

Cash Prizes will be issued by electronic bank transfer within 7 days of the Awards Ceremony. Physical prizes of any type that are awarded to winners and runner-up in each category shall be collected at the Award Ceremony or at another time selected by the recipient. Should a prize recipient not be available to collect their physical prize in person, they may elect (in writing) someone to receive or collect the prize on their behalf.  Physical prizes will not be shipped outside the United Arab Emirates. 

​Right to Cancel or Suspend
If for any reason the Contest is not capable of running as planned, due to infection by computer virus, bugs, worms, trojan horses, denial of service attacks, tampering, unauthorised intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes beyond the control of Sponsors that corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, or proper conduct of this Contest, Sponsors reserve the right, at their sole discretion, to disqualify any individual(s) who tamper with the entry process, and/or to cancel, terminate, modify, or suspend the Contest. If Sponsors elect to cancel or terminate the Contest, Sponsors will not retain any rights in the submitted photographs and will return the entry fees.

Xposure 2016 Competition Winners

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