Regard - 1st Place Photo Series by Anna Grevenitis, United States.

Press Pack Fall 2021

All the information available on this page for public distribution. To request an interview or obtain more information please email Thanks!

Celebrating documentary images that bring insight and meaning to the varied interpretations of family

The Documentary Family Awards accepts submissions twice a year and is currently open for its Fall 2021 Call for Entrieswith 11 categories to enter and an all-new panel of Live Judges

Final Submission Deadline December 15, 2021
Free Entry Deadline December 1, 2021

Closes @ 11:59pm PDT (GMT-8)

Not Just Another Photo Contest

Live judging as an educational opportunity

As the leading photo competition of it’s genre – the DFA concludes each round of awards with a multi-day live-streamed judging event where top photographers, editors and educators in the industry critique the finalist images and award Top 10 photos in each category. There are debates, critical feedback and at times intense discussions with the overall purpose being to provide a valuable experience for everyone watching. This event is freely available to watch worldwide.

Variable fees based on location

The DFA is painfully aware of the financial barrier to entry that exists for photographers in many countries. Photographers can apply for 40% reduced submission fees if they live in countries with a cost of living index of 50 points or lower at Additionally, the DFA includes a free single entry option made available during the first four weeks of submissions.

Meaningful promotion of award winners

It is essential that organizations such as the DFA give meaningful value to the photographers who participate in their awards. A custom press release option is available to all award winners at the end of each year. Photographers who access this free service are provided with a press release showcasing their DFA accomplishments over the current year. Additionally, the DFA takes steps to encourage local coverage of top awarded photographers in their home region. The DFA believes there is immense value to being published and recognized by one’s local publications (print & digital) and other regional information sources. Often the focus of photography awards leans towards international coverage and comparison between visual artists continents apart. Celebrating the strengths of photographers by assisting them with regional press coverage is a valuable resource we offer to award winners.

11 Open categories

The unifying theme of the Documentary Family Awards is the celebration of “family.” Family in all the different ways it is lived, cherished and experienced. We encourage photographers to push the definition of family to be more inclusive of families not just living in the same household or sharing the same lineage, but to acknowledge that family is what we make of it. Family to us means sharing some portion of life with the ones you love; sharing laughter and sadness, tragedy and victory, success and regret, compassion and support. Family encompasses the people we came into this world with and the larger community that holds us together. The sweet simplicities and deeper complexities found in the comradeship of humanity.

  1. Birth
  2. Cell Phone Only
  3. Environmental Portrait
  4. Joy
  5. Nothing Is Better Than Real Life
  6. Person’s Best Friend
  7. Siblings
  8. Teenagers
  9. Water
  10. Photo Stories (Narrative)
  11. Photo Series (Conceptual)

Read individual category definitions and guidelines here:

Where to submit

Call For Entries:




One free entry per photographer. Submit 5 additional photos for $35.



Submit 5 paid single photos for $35. Additional photos $7 each.



Submit up to 10 photos per photo series for $45. Additional series $36 each.

A $10 late fee applies to all submissions received after December 1, 2021

  • First entry is free (closes after first four weeks)
  • Access to live stream judging providing hours of educational discussions directly related to the documentary family photography genre
  • Over $4900 USD in prizes
  • Best Overall Award winners receive $500 (1st place), $350 (2nd place) and $250 (3rd place)
  • and free entries into the next award cycle
  • 1st Place Award winners in each category receive $250 USD and free entries into the next award cycle
  • Judges Choice Awards receive free entries into the next award cycle
  • Permanent online gallery published featuring all award winners, honorable mentions and finalist images
  • Customized Press-release for digital or print media sent to every award winner
  • Individual award profile created for all winners on the DFA website featuring their work
  • Feature Interviews and Photographer Spotlights regularly published in the DFA photo digest newsletter as well as featured across the DFA’s social media channels
  • Video On Demand access to the final round of judging of the March 2021 Call For Entries
  • Digital Award Badge for all winners and honorable mentions for use on their website or social media
  • Your photograph(s) published in the 2021 year-end magazine
  • Eyes on your work and the opportunity for critique from top photographers, educators and editors in the industry

Meet Our Live-stream Guest Judges

The final round of judging to select the top 10 winners + honorable mentions in each category, will be live-judged across multiple platforms by the following three finalist judges.

The Documentary Family Awards believes in the educational value of a transparent judging process. Our final round of judging is live-streamed to the public, providing a thoughtful discussion around photography and the work submitted. In this three-day event, our three guest judges will select the Top 10 Winners and Honorable Mentions in each category.

Meet Our Preliminary Round Guest Judges

The Documentary Family Awards are honoured to have the following lineup of guest judges reviewing every submission we receive. Their selections are sent to the final round judges for the live-stream portion of the awards.

Poster & Logo Downloads

These resources can be used as part of Facebook, Instagram, Newsletter or blog posts.

To download click on an image. After the full-size image loads click and drag the image to your desktop or control + click (Mac) / right-click (PC) and save the image.

The following photos can be used for announcements about the Documentary Family Award only.

Full credit must be given to the photographer as captioned. If you wish to use any of the following images for any other purpose or are unsure if you have the right to do so, please email us at

To download click on an image. After the full-size image loads click and drag the image to your desktop or control + click (Mac) / right-click (PC) and save the image.

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