Photography Contests for Kids

Stephanie M. Kelley
Youngster taking a photo

If your child is constantly looking for the best angle, lighting and composition for her shots, you shouldn't let that talent go to waste! Hundreds of companies around the world offer photo competitions for young photographers. There are many reputable contests that reward children for their outstanding images. Some are annual contests, while others offer monthly chances to win. All reputable young photography contests share a common goal of allowing children the chance to express themselves through photography.

Top Photography Contests for Children

The following young photography contests are among the most reputable in the world.

ImageMakers National Photography Contest

This competition is highly regarded in the photo industry. ImageMakers is a program developed by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and is part of a comprehensive initiative promoting children's creativity via photography. The goal of the program is to encourage artistic skills and cultural enrichment while helping kids develop an interest in cameras.This particular contest is open to members of the Boys and Girls Club across the country and includes five categories:

  • Black and white process: This category embraces how black and white photography plays with light and shadow and how it can offer a different view of a familiar object.
  • Color process: The contest offers a category for color photography, which invites kids to submit photos taken in full, vibrant color.
  • Alternative process: Alternative photo processing includes techniques such as salted paper prints and other types of processing.
  • Digital: The goal here is to celebrate the digital photography age and how it has changed the face of photography forever.
  • Photo essay: The photo essay category requires children to submit a one page essay addressing the year's theme and how it relates to the photograph that they submitted.

The above categories are divided into four age groups, encompassing children between the ages of 6 to 18.

Ranger Rick Photo Contest

The popular children's magazine Ranger Rick by the National Wildlife Federation runs a quarterly photo contest for kids 13 and under. The competition requires young photographers to enter pictures they have taken in nature without the assistance of an adult.

  • Photos should have a nature or wildlife theme.
  • The contest is ongoing, so submissions are always accepted.
  • Prizes include national recognition, certificates and free magazines.

Sony World Photography Awards

The Sony World Photography Awards is open to anyone under the age of 20. Contestants can enter a maximum of three photos across three categories.

  • Culture: Enter a photo that celebrates one of many diverse cultures that make-up the world.
  • Environment: From preserving and protecting it to celebrating it, this category emphasizes the beauty of the environment.
  • People: This category encourages young people to capture the beautiful of the human race on film.

Young Travel Photographer of the Year

Photo enthusiasts aged 18 and under can enter the Young Travel Photographer of the Year contest from Travel Photographer of the Year. It is an internationally acclaimed contest that focuses on capturing images that epitomize the joy of travel. The grand-prize is decided on the best single portfolio. However, prizes are also awarded in one-shot categories as well.

  • The contest is divided into two age categories for students age 14 and under and ages 15-18.
  • Entries for this category are portfolios of four (4) images.
  • They offer a Photographers' Alliance award for the best emerging talent.

Encourage Your Young Photographers

In addition to these photo contests, many local camera shops nationwide offer their own competitions for young photographers. Contests typically spring up in May during National Photography Month and the summer months when children are out of school. During the month of May, many photo retailers also offer special promotions and programs aimed at encouraging kids to express themselves through photography.

Parents can help foster their child's love of photography by purchasing easy-to-read photo books that offer tips to young photographers. Encourage your children by giving them the chance to experiment with a wide range of photo equipment. Giving kids photo assignments is a great way to teach them that practice makes perfect.

Photography Contests for Kids