About the competition

The Alpha Awards are back once again in 2021 to celebrate the greatest images from across Australia and New Zealand, captured on Sony Alpha cameras and lenses. The Awards aim to reinvigorate and reconnect photographers across the region, reward professionals and enthusiasts alike, and provide a platform to showcase the very best Alpha Photography work.

In 2021, the categories established for 2020 will remain in place, giving the 11 open categories you see below.  Once again, the grand prize winner will be selected from among the total pool of finalists by Scott Gray of the World Photography Organisation.

Students between the ages of 11-18 years, can enter our Youth Competition which offers primary and high school students the opportunity to showcase their photography skills. The Youth Competition lowers the barriers to entry for younger photographers, with relaxed entry criteria and easy submission through Instagram.

Competition Dates

The competition commences at 12:00PM AEDT on Wednesday, 3 March 2021 and closes for submissions at 11:59PM AEST on Monday, 31 May 2021. All finalists will be notified by Wednesday, 16 June 2021.


There is over $30,000 worth of Sony camera gear to win!

Grand Prize | Total Prize Value: $10,000
Sony digital imaging gear to the value of $10,000

Category Prize | Total Prize Value: $22,000
Sony digital imaging gear to the value of $2,000 for each category winner


Judging for all categories will be based on aesthetic considerations, including but not limited to the photographer's choice of subject, photographic technique and post-capture treatment.  Where possible, images should be entered in the most specific category (i.e. a photo that could go into Landscape or Seascape should be entered into Seascape).  Beyond this, category-specific criteria are listed below.


The theme for the 2021 Youth competition is Start. The Youth Competition is run via Instagram; submissions are not accepted through Sony Scene.  For full details, visit the Youth Competition page.

Open Photo Categories:
A photograph that prominently features the night sky. Judges in this category are looking for images that demonstrate exceptional mastery of this field’s significant technical constraints, alongside the aesthetic considerations of the Landscape category.
  • Composite images that do not alter the explicit content of the image are allowed (i.e. exposure blending, colour compositing, dark frame subtraction).
  • Pure starfield images may be submitted, but judging will be based on aesthetic and pictorial criteria; astronomy work that lacks aesthetic impact may not be highly awarded, despite technical excellence.
This category covers any image that documents life in an urban centre.  Both people and places will be considered.  Judges in this category are looking for images that give insight into urban life or reveal unexpected or extraordinary aesthetics.
A category to celebrate photos captured on Sony fixed-lens cameras.  The Compact Camera category has a theme of “Distance” in 2021, for entrants to interpret as they wish, across all genres.  Judges in this category are looking for technical excellence, as well as imaginative interpretations of the theme.
A category which rewards originality, experimentation and imagination, Creative is for photo-composite images. Any number of photos can be used and edited together to form an image of a subject, object, environment, idea, or concept.  All elements used in the composite must be captured by the submitting photographer, and should the submission reach the final round of judging, entrants will be required to submit the original layered file and/or contributing images.  Judges in this category are looking for a clear concept, executed with sensitivity to the subject matter and a high level of technical competence.
Submitted images should be drawn from a body of work, commissioned or otherwise.  Subject matter can range from commercial work to photo reportage documenting current affairs, newsworthy events, etc. For an image which reaches the final stage of judging, the photographer will be required to submit the full body of work for context. Judges in this category are looking for clear storytelling, executed both within the individual image and, for finalists, sustained throughout the series.
A photo of a place and/or thing. Photo compositing in this category for technical purposes will not be penalised.  Photographs that qualify for consideration in Astrophotography or Seascape are unlikely to receive an award in this category.
A photo of the natural living world. Animals, plants, fungi - if it’s alive, it counts.  Domesticated animals and animals in clearly artificial settings or captivity are unlikely to be awarded.
A photo of a person who is aware of the photographer and participating in the creation of the photo. Judging in this category will reward photos that reveal more than just the surface of the subject.  Candid photography is not considered in this category.
A landscape photograph that prominently features the sea.
A photo of a sport being played, or related to the culture of a sport.
Photography documenting a wedding.  Documentary work related to a wedding will also be considered.


The judges for the Alpha Awards 2021 will be announced in March.
Images featured above were shot by category winners of the Alpha Awards Photo Competition 2020. Photo credits are listed in order of appearance: L-R: Grand Prize Winner, Oscar Hetherington; Astrophotography, Laurie Winter; City/Street, David Symonds; Compact Camera, Gary White; Creative, Grant Galbraith; Editorial, Ilan Wittenberg; Landscape, Jesse Little; Nature, Simon Runting; Portrait, Judi Thies; Seascape, Karl Dalyell; Sports, Scott Barbour; Wedding, Benjamin Lane; Youth, Alex Marshall

Terms and Conditions

  1. Instructions on how to enter and the prizes form part of these Terms and Conditions. Participation in this promotion is deemed acceptance of these Terms and Conditions.
  2. Entries are open to individuals who are Australian and New Zealand residents, and:
    1. entrants under 18 years old must have parental/guardian approval to enter and further, the parent/guardian of the entrant must read and consent to these Terms and Conditions. Parents/guardians may be required by the Promoter to enter into a further agreement as evidence of consent to the minor submitting an entry to this competition.
    2. employees of the Promoter and their immediate families are ineligible to enter.
    3. contractors of the Promoter in connection to digital imaging are ineligible to enter.
    4. a maximum of five entries per person will be accepted
  3. Promotion commences at 12:00 PM AEDT on Wednesday, 3 March 2021 and closes for submissions at 11:59PM AEST on Sunday, 30 May 2021. Judging will commence on Monday, 31 May 2021 with all finalists notified from Monday, 14 June 2021. If finalists cannot be contacted by Friday, 18 June 2021 their entry will be deemed invalid and another finalist will be selected in their place.
  4. All dollar values in these Terms and Conditions refer to Australian dollars.
  5. Prizes include:
    1. Overall Winner - First Prize (Valued at $10,000)
      1. Sony Digital imaging product/s to the value of SRP $10,000
    2. 11 x Category Prize Winners (Astrophotography, City/Street, Compact Camera, Creative, Editorial, Landscape, Nature, Portrait, Seascape, Sports, and Wedding.)
      1. Sony Digital Imaging product/s to the value of SRP $2,000
  6. All winners will have a maximum period of 6 months to select their Sony product/s to the corresponding retail value offered for their prize.
  7. To enter, individuals must:
    1. Read, understand, and complete the online entry form located at www.sony.com.au/alphaawards
    2. Upload a photo taken on a Sony Alpha camera and lens (Maximum 5 submissions per person, files must be in JPEG format and under 5MB in size).
    3. Own the rights to any images they submit and have obtained all model releases for identifiable persons featured in any images. If it is found that the entrant has submitted any image they do not own the rights to, their entry will be deemed invalid. Sony will not be liable for any legal action taken against such entrants by the rightful owner of the image.
    4. Give Sony permission to use the submitted images for the purposes of promoting and exhibiting Alpha Awards. Where possible, such usage will include full photo credit. This includes:
      1. Promotional license for a period of up to 18 months. Usage of finalists’ and winners’ images may be used for (but not limited to) online, promotional materials, in-store point of sale materials, news media, and social media.
      2. License to publicly exhibit, in perpetuity, at Alpha Awards Exhibitions held domestically and internationally.  Such exhibitions may include;
        • Conventional gallery display
        • Online gallery display
        • Display in Out-of-home advertisement media (bus stop, train station, billboard, etc)
        • Purpose-built out-of-home displays
        • Other implementations at the exhibitor’s discretion
    5. Provide a high resolution file of their entry in the event that their image reaches the final round of judging. Images under 12 megapixels, or less than 4000px on longest side, may not be accepted as high resolution. If the individual is unable to provide a high resolution photo, their entry will be deemed invalid.
    6. Declare that the photos submitted by them are their own work and all rights relating to those photo assets belong to them alone.
  8. At the time the Online Entry Form is submitted, individuals will receive an email from the Promoter (to the email address used for Sony Scene account creation), to confirm that their submission has been successful.
  9. Any entrants that are unable to complete the entry process online can contact the Promoter by sending an email to digitalimaging.SANZ@sony.com to arrange an alternative method of entry submission.
  10. The Promoter reserves the right, at any time, to verify the validity of entries and individuals (including an entrant’s identity, age and place of residence) and reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to disqualify any individual who the Promoter has reason to believe has breached any of these Terms and Conditions, tampered with the entry process or engaged in any unlawful or other improper misconduct calculated to jeopardise fair and proper conduct of the Promotion.
  11. The Promoter’s decisions in relation to the Promotion (including but not limited to selection of finalists and prize winners) are final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  12. Errors and omissions may be accepted at the Promoter's discretion. Failure by the Promoter to enforce any of its rights at any stage does not constitute a waiver of those rights. The Promoter reserves its legal rights to recover damages or other compensation from such an offender.
  13. If there is a dispute as to the identity of an entrant, the Promoter reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to determine the identity of the entrant.
  14. If this Promotion is interfered with in any way or is not capable of being conducted as reasonably anticipated due to any reason beyond the reasonable control of the Promoter, including but not limited to technical difficulties, unauthorised intervention or fraud, the Promoter reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to the fullest extent permitted by law to disqualify any entrant, modify, suspend, terminate or cancel the Promotion, as appropriate.
  15. Nothing in these Terms and Conditions limits, excludes or modifies or purports to limit, exclude or modify the statutory consumer guarantees set out in the Australian Consumer Law of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth), as well as any other implied warranties under the ASIC Act or similar consumer protection laws in the State and Territories of Australia or, where relevant, the statutory consumer guarantees set out in the Consumer Guarantees Act 1993 and the Fair Trading Act 1986 in New Zealand (“Non-Excludable Guarantees”). Except for any liability that cannot by law be excluded, including the Non-Excludable Guarantees, the Promoter (including its respective officers, employees and agents) excludes all liability (including negligence), for any personal injury; or any loss or damage (including loss of opportunity); whether direct, indirect, special or consequential, arising in any way out of the promotion.
  16. Except for any liability that cannot by law be excluded, including the Non-Excludable Guarantees, the Promoter (including its respective officers, employees and agents) is not responsible for and excludes all liability (including negligence) including, but not limited to, in relation to any personal injury; or any loss or damage (including loss of opportunity); whether direct, indirect, special or consequential, arising in any way out of: (a) any technical difficulties or equipment malfunction (whether or not under the Promoter’s control); (b) any theft, unauthorised access or third party interference; (c) any entry that is late, lost, altered, damaged or misdirected (whether or not after their receipt by the Promoter) due to any reason beyond the reasonable control of the Promoter; (d) any tax liability incurred by a entrant; or (e) taking/use of a prize.
  17. The Promoter collects personal information ("PI") in order to conduct the promotion and may, for this purpose, disclose such PI to third parties, including but not limited to agents, contractors, service providers and prize suppliers. Entry is conditional on providing this PI. The Promoter will also use and handle PI as set out in its Privacy Policy, which can be viewed at https://www.sony.com.au/section/contactusprivacypolicy. In addition to any use that may be outlined in the Promoter’s Privacy Policy, the Promoter may, for an indefinite period, unless otherwise advised, use the PI for promotional, marketing, publicity, research and profiling purposes, including sending electronic messages or telephoning the entrant. The Privacy Policy also contains information about how entrants may opt out, access, update or correct their PI, how entrants may complain about a breach of the Australian Privacy Principles, the New Zealand Information Privacy Principles, or any other applicable law and how those complaints will be dealt with. All entries become the property of the Promoter.
  18. The Promoter is Sony Australia Limited (ABN 59 001 215 354) of Level 3, 165 Walker Street, North Sydney, NSW 2060.