6th Place Award in the “Birth” category. Photo by Nikki Gould, United States.

Three New Categories Opening Up!

Along with our Classic Categories, our upcoming awards will include 3 new Feature Categories that are available for this award cycle only!


In this open-ended category we are looking for photographs that focus on black lives.  Submissions may encompass family life, the larger family of a community or your interpretation of this theme.  Our intention for this category is to create a space where photography is used to pay attention to black families.

Note: All submissions to the Black Lives Matter category are free because it is not our intention to benefit financially from the Black Lives Matter movement.


In the last 6 months, COVID-19 has affected families all over the world.  For many people, the routines and details of daily life have changed either drastically or in smaller ways.  As documentary photographers many of us have played an important role in creating a visual record of this time in history.  For this category we would like to see your best photographs that portray how life within the family unit has changed during a pandemic.  How have details, family scenes, relationships and emotions all been affected by the virus?  What has life during COVID-19 looked like in your own personal experience?  Submissions in this category may also include self-portraits.


A portrait represents the photographer’s perspective of an individual during a moment in time.  While our classic environmental portrait category has looked for portraits where the environment plays a role in conveying information about the subject to the viewer, during this round we are opening the door to exploring the idea of portrait.  The unconventional portrait is an opportunity to submit photographs that capture a person’s essence in a more artful, abstract, straightforward or conceptual way.  We look forward to seeing submissions that reflect different interpretations of this theme.

Three things before you go:

  1. $18 to enter 6 images, $23 for a series and $16 per additional series (discounted COVID-19 prices)
  2. Images can be from any year 
  3. Free photographer profile page with every award & honourable mention

We look forward to seeing your submissions soon!

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