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CREDIT: Robert K Hughes LRPS

Entry Guide and FAQs

Documentary Photographer of the Year 2021

Entry Guide

Please see our Terms and Conditions of Entry for more information.

  1. Visit the submission site (via the main site or link below).
  2. Choose an entry category to submit images, either ‘Open’, Student’ or ‘RPS Member’.
  3. Once you have selected the category you will be asked to enter your name, email address, a RPS membership number (if you are a member) and agree to the terms and conditions. 
  4. You will be asked to submit payment details if you are entering a paid category.
  5. Once payment has been approved you will receive an email with your unique upload link. Follow the link to submit your images. Please complete and submit your entries before 23:59 on 5 August 2021.
  6. Title your project and add a project statement (e.g. a short project summary or artists statement). But do not add your name to any image title or statement.
  7. Once you have uploaded your images, you can add an optional image caption. Then click save changes after you have uploaded and edited any text. It is also possible to change the image sequence, if you wish.
  8. Once you have entered all your images and checked you are happy with the project title, statement, sequence and any optional image caption of each image(s), click submit.
  9. Once you have submitted your images, your entry is complete. No further edits can be made.
  10. You will receive an email to confirm that your entry has been submitted.

Submit Entry

Submissions are now CLOSED

Frequently Asked Questions

Entry Submission Questions  

Q1. Do you have to be an RPS member to enter?
You do not have to be a member of The RPS to enter your work. Entry is open to anyone, of any age or level of practice.   But you do need to be a member to enter the RPS Member Category.

Q2. I can't remember my Membership number 
Your membership number can be found on your membership card or on your membership details once you log in to the main RPS website.

Q3. When is the final date to submit work?
Entry will close for shortlisting at 23:59 BST on Thursday 5 August 2021.

If you have started a submission, but not completed it, you have until 23:59 on Friday 6 August to submit. It is not possible to submit or complete any entries after that time. 

Q4. Is there a theme?
The DPOTY is a documentary competition, but there is no theme. Any story, subject and photographic approaches are eligible.

Q5. I have lost the email with my entry link
If you have lost your entry, use the link on the submissions page to request a new link. Or it can be recovered here:

Q6. Can I pay by PayPal / Cheque / Cash
We can only accept entries paid with a credit or debit card online during the submission process.
Concessions and reduced entry is available on request to support inclusion; please contact

Please note - that if you enter, but do not complete by the closing date, there is no refund. 

Q7. Can I edit my entry and return to it later?
Yes, you can continue to edit uploaded images and text until you are ready to complete and submit your entry. Once you have clicked 'submit entry' no further edits can be made, and you will receive an entry complete notification email.

Q8. Are group entries permitted?
No. Group entries are not permitted for this competition.

Q9. How are the winners selected?
An initial online assessment will be made in collaboration between the judges and the RPS. Images will then be further judged and assessed in terms of intent and narrative, engagement and impact and technical execution to create a shortlist from which to select the commended projects in each category. From these the  category winners will be selected. Whilst you can enter multiple categories with the same entry (paying the appropriate fee), that entry can only be the overall winner in one category.

Uploading Images

Q10. What type of image file can I upload?
Files must be less than 10MB in size. All images must be submitted as JPEG files, in sRGB colour space. Any files submitted in any other format (including TIFF, PSD etc) will not be accepted by the system.

Q11: Can I submit in monochrome or colour or a mixture? 
It is totally up to you. But remember the judges are looking for compelling stories and a coherent entry.  

Q12. Can I enter more than once?
Multiple paid entries are permitted. You may also enter the project into multiple categories (paying the appropriate fee as necessary), but can only be the overall winner in one category.

Q13. Can I enter by email / WeTransfer or post?
We can only accept images that are uploaded using our entry system to ensure that all entries are logged and available for the selection panel.

Q14. I have submitted my entry can I edit it?
You can edit uploaded images and text but once you have clicked 'submit', you can no longer edit.

Q15. Is there a time limit on when images were taken?
There is no time restriction set on when photographs were taken.

Q16. Should I include my name in the image description or watermark my images?
Submissions must be anonymous and not include the photographer's name in an image title, description, or project statement.

Q17. Can my images be manipulated in some way?
Yes, manipulation or editing using software is permitted, however, the images submitted must be the work of the entrant only. As this competition is for documentary work excessive post-processing or manipulation or that alters the authenticity of the subject is not acceptable.

Q18. Do I need to title my images?
No. It is optional, but please do not include your name in the image title.


Further Questions

Q19. Can I send in prints as my entry?
No, we only accept online entries for the competition.

Q20: Can I take an alternative to the prizes being offer? 

No. We offer no alternatives to these prizes. 

Q21: Why have you changed the competition to include Open and Student categories?  

In-line with the aims of the RPS, under its charter and as a charity, we have been planning for some time to move the competition to an international open competition for photographers and image-makers, of all ages, focussed on documentary and visual storytelling.

Q22: Why have you increased the number of images required to 12 to 15? 

Previous competitions required only 5 or 6 images. Feedback from previous years indicated that this was quite restrictive, even for a basic photo essay. Considering input from experts, comparison similar competitions and in-line with submissions for RPS distinctions we increased the number of images required.  We believe 12 to 15 allows a significant body of work to be submitted and offers entrants more flexibility without making the judging process overly complicated.  

Q23: Do I retain copyright of my images? 

Yes. See our Terms and Conditions for details.

Q24: Why are you charging? 

The competition is staffed by volunteers, who give their time for free, but there are other fixed costs incurred in running the competition. We have tried to keep the costs to a minimum and make the entry charges small. We are not seeking to make a profit. We recognise that even these small charges may inhibit some entrants, particularly in the ‘global south’. So, we have concessions available on request to help make this as inclusive as possible; please contact

Q25. I have another question, can you help?
Please contact us at  Please note that this email is managed by part-time volunteers so replies may take a few days.

Sponsors and Friends

We are grateful for the support of Fujifilm and its commitment to the photo community.

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