The following competition rules constitute the terms and conditions of the South African Photographer of the Year competition.
By submitting an entry to the Competition, you are agreeing to be bound by the following rules:


The Competition

  1. The competition is owned and operated by South African Photographer of the Year Pty Ltd. with registration number 2021/710525/07.
  2. The starting date of the competition is 10 October 2023 from when images may be entered up until the 17 December 2023 at 24:00 CAT. The online submission platform will be closed outside of these dates.
  3. The competition is comprised of both an adult professional and amateur competition, as well as a youth competition.
  4. The Adult professional and amateur SAPOTY is open to individuals that are aged 18 years or above on the date of entry.
  5. The youth SAPOTY is open to individuals that are aged 17 years or below on the date of entry.
  6. The competition is sponsored by:
    1. Zimanga Private Reserve
    2. ORMS Direct & Print Room
    3. Canon South Africa
    4. HPH Publishing
    5. International Association of Wildlife Photographers
    6. Sapmok
    7. SAPOTY

Submitting an entry to the competition

    1. Entry into the competition is accepted via the custom-built entry system on the website; and no entries are valid via e-mail, post, or any other means.
    2. Entry into the adult competition requires the purchase of entry credits, which are charged at a rate of R250 for 10 entries. There are no limits to the number of entry credits purchased and further entry credits may be bought at own discretion.
    3. Entries to the SAPOTY youth category are free and do not require the purchase of entry credits, however, are limited to 20 entries.There is no limit on the number of entries you may submit to the competition.
    4. Entry into the Africa Category competition requires the purchase of entry credits, which are charged at a rate of R250 for 10 entries. There are no limits to the number of entry credits purchased and further entry credits may be bought at own discretion.
    5. Entries must be submitted by the closing date – 17th December 2023. Any entry credits not used by the closing date will not be valid and not be refunded.
    6. Each entry in the adult competition may be submitted to one of the following categories, in both Amateur and Professional:
      1. Mammals
      2. Birds
      3. Animals in the environment
      4. Black and white
      5. Landscape
      6. Water
      7. Close-Up
      8. Africa
      9. Young Photographer of the Year
    7. It is your responsibility to ensure that your entry fits the description of the relevant category to which you submit your entry.

Image Specifications

    1. Entries must be submitted in JPEG (or JPG) format. These must be 1920 pixels on the longest side and a maximum of 2000kb (2MB). Adobe RGB or sRGB colour space.
    2. Metadata must not include a single reference to the photographer’s name or in the file name. This is to assist with the blind judges by the judges.
    3. Images taken between 1 January 2019 and the competition closing date will be eligible for entry.
    4. All images must have been taken within the South African borders and coastline up to the border of Namibia on the western side and Mozambique on the eastern side of the of South Africa. These geographical rules apply for the 2023 competition season.
    5. The Africa category is open to all images taken within the geographic borders of the African continent, including the islands off her coast and excludes imagery within the borders of South Africa.
    6. Entrants that are shortlisted for the final round of judging will be required to provide:
      1. raw format files (such as NEF, CR2 etc) or, if unavailable, original untouched JPEGs for authentication.
      2. DNG files are not permitted unless this is the native raw output of your camera
      3. Full high-resolution files of the final image, an extended caption description; and
      4. if required by SAPOTY for authentication, a range of images taken before and after the image in question
    7. If an entry is unable to be authenticated by the SAPOTY, it will be disqualified from the competition.

    8. Minimal post processing of images is acceptable, but such processing should not deceive the viewer and/or misrepresenting nature.

    9. General adjustments are allowed, such as contrast, saturation, sharpness, white balance, shadows/highlights, black and white rendition, removal of chromatic aberrations and lens distortion, and sensor spots, cropping, digital graduated grey filter and local adjustments (such as dodge and burn) and removal of vignetting, only if done with moderation and retaining the original character of the image. The judges’ decision will be final.

    10. Multiple exposures provided the image is constructed inside the camera itself will be allowed.

    11. Editing or subtracting elements in the image, removal of elements in the image other than sensor spots or disturbing elements bigger than 3% of the image, frames, and watermarks are not permitted. Manipulated images that are clearly an exaggerated rendition of the image will be disqualified. It is up to the jury to decide on this, and the jury will exclusively judge photos that are anonymous and show no name or personal watermark in the image.

    12. Except for HDR, stitched panoramas, focus stacking, and in-camera multiple exposures, composited images are not permitted in any category, except for the Creative Imagery category. Sky swapping or removal of objects through cloning, for example, is not permitted.

    13. Images are not permitted to be entered into the competition that:

      1. are domesticated animals, farm animals, pets, and/or cultivated plants

      2. animals that are held in Zoos or enclosures

      3. have required the use of live bait

      4. feature captive or restrained animals, animal models, and/or any animal being exploited for profit.

Entry into the competition​

    1. Individuals (as well as partners and family members) involved in the organisation or running of the competition, will not be permitted to enter the competition.
    2. By submitting an entry to the competition, you agree:
      1. that you have read and understand the rules of the competition.
      2. that any entry you submit complies with these rules; and
      3. in doing so accept all liability for any loss or damage caused to, or incurred by, South African Photographer of the Year and its licensees as a result of your breach of these rules.
    3. Any entry found not to comply with the rules, will be disqualified from the competition at any stage at the sole discretion of South Africa Photographer of the Year. In this case, no refunds will be made, and any decision related to the competition is final and binding. If any entrant to the competition is awarded as a winner and subsequently disqualified for a breach of the rules, the relevant entrant is required to return such prize(s) to South African Photographer of the Year within 30 days of receiving notice of such disqualification.
    4. By entering the competition, you agree not to do or say anything that does or might damage the reputation of the competition, the official sponsors, and events link to the competition. In the event of this you will be liable to SAPOTY and the official sponsors in respect of any damages or losses incurred as a result of a breach of the rules of conduct by you.
    5. Whilst the information in these Rules is correct, the SAPOTY, in our sole discretion but acting reasonably, reserves the right to amend the competition rules and the terms and conditions at any time for any reason. When a photograph is submitted and its upload is successfully completed, the entry cannot be changed or withdrawn, and no refunds will be given.

Ethics and Conduct

    1. Without exception, by entering the competition you are expected to adhere to the following code of ethics. Any breach of these ethics will be deemed to be a breach of the rules and may result in being disqualified from the competition.

    2. Entries must not deceive the viewer and/or misrepresent the reality of the natural world, this includes caption information that must also be accurate and true.

    3. Entrants must not intentionally disturb an animal or injure, distress, or damage an animal for the purposes of photography; and/or use tape lures or decoys to attract or elicit a behavior from an animal.

    4. The practice of ‘live baiting’ is strictly prohibited. Any other means of luring animals must be declared in the caption of your entry.

    5. South African Photographer of the Year reserves the right to disqualify any entry where it suspects either full disclosure has not been made or where the methods employed by the entrant are judged to breach the ethical code of conduct.

Judging Process and Prizes

    1. The judges will judge the submissions to the competition and, in respect of each category, as choose a shortlist of entries from which they wish to see further high-resolution files.
    2. The overall winner of the competition will be chosen by the judges from the category winners.
    3. All category winners and the overall winner will treat any communication received from the SAPOTY as confidential. All winners agree not to disclose any communication received from SAPOTY regarding the competition until such date that an official announcement of the winners has been made public.
    4. The sponsors for all prizes linked to all the categories and the overall winners of the South African Photographer of the year will be made available on the entry start date of the competition in October 2023. These sponsors hold no direct affiliation with the South African Photographer of the year company, and they were sourced and contracted in good faith to be part of the 2023 competition period. Future sponsors may differ, and the South African Photographer of the year company will always strive to contract relevant, reputable and ethical sponsors to be part of the competition on a yearly basis.
    5. Winners’ announcement date – To be confirmed.
    6. Exhibition date and venue – To be confirmed.


    1. All entrants in the competition agree that their name and likeness, and relevant submission to the competition can be used, without compensation, for the purpose of advertising, promoting, and/or publicising the competition.

Intellectual Property Rights

    1. By entering the competition, you warrant and hereby agree that any entry you submit; is your original work; and does not infringe on any intellectual property right of any other individual or person. You must be the sole owner of the copyright of all submissions to the competition.

    2. SAPOTY and its Sponsors respects the rights of all the competition entrants and does not claim copyright on any of the images entered to the competition.

    3. You agree that SAPOTY may, but is not required to, make your entry available on its website and any other media, whether now known or invented in the future, in connection with any publicity and/or judging of the competition.

    4. You agree to grant SAPOTY a non-exclusive, worldwide, irrevocable licence, for the full period of any intellectual property rights (including all moral rights) in the competition entry and any accompanying materials, to use, display, publish, transmit, copy, edit, alter, store, re-format and sub-licence the competition entry and any accompanying materials for any purpose connected with the Competition, including (but not limited to), promoting the competition within printed and online media, the inclusion within printed and digital versions of the competition book, the inclusion within printed and digital versions of the competition calendar and other merchandise, display at exhibitions, use in press, promotional and marketing materials, social media networks and for the promotion of any future photographic competition in both print and online media. All images will be credited to the photographer where used.


    1. Proof of electronic submission to the competition is not proof of receipt of such submission by SAPOTY.

    2. Without prejudice to any other terms and conditions of these rules, SAPOTY, its agents, distributors, or sponsors will not in any circumstances be responsible or liable to compensate the winner or accept any liability for any loss or damage occurring as a result of taking up the competition prize.

    3. SAPOTY is not responsible for any emails or other forms of electronic communication that do not arrive. You must ensure that your email settings and spam filters accept emails from, and all other addresses.

    4. Any third-party use, will be required to adhere to the same license granted to SAPOTY. SAPOTY is not liable for any violations of this license, and such instances are to be settled between the entrant and the third party without the inclusion of SAPOTY in the matter. SAPOTY does not accept liability for the misuse of images and/or the failure of any third party to comply with the sub-license granted.


Who can enter?2022-06-09T16:44:04+02:00

The competition is open to all ages and all nationalities from around the world, but, the competition only awards images taken in South African.

Any entrant under the age of 18 must have the permission of a guardian to enter the competition, and must enter the Junior South African Photographer of the Year competition category.

How many images can I enter?2022-06-09T16:44:23+02:00

You may enter as many images as you like! Each package purchased is worth 10 entries but there is no limit to the number of the packages that can be purchased.

What is the cost of entering SAPOTY?2023-10-23T10:55:30+02:00

Each package is R250 for 10 entries. You may enter the competition as many times as you like by buying repeated entry packages.

Entrants under 18 should enter the Junior South African Photographer of the Year category which is free!

Do images have to be taken in South Africa?2023-09-05T08:31:47+02:00

Yes. South African Photographer of the Year is an international photography competition, but images must be taken within South Africa. However, the Africa category is open to imagery taken outside the borders of South Africa.

What are the image entry specifications?2022-06-09T16:46:08+02:00

Entries must be submitted in JPEG (or JPG) format. These must be 1920 pixels on the longest side and a maximum of 2000kb (2MB). Adobe RGB or sRGB colour space.

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