Submissions open for 2021 SUNSTUDIOS Emerging Photographer Award

15th July 2021

Competition offers videography category for the first time in its 12-year history

Image taken by 2019 Overall SEPA Winner Cihan Bektas Image taken by 2019 Overall SEPA Winner Cihan Bektas

Image taken by 2019 Overall SEPA Winner Cihan Bektas Image taken by 2019 Overall SEPA Winner Cihan Bektas

Images taken by Cihan Bektas, winner of the 2019 SEPA competition

SYDNEY, 15 July 2021 – SUNSTUDIOS, backed by Canon Australia, today launches its annual imaging competition, the SUNSTUDIOS Emerging Photographer Award (SEPA), and is calling for the nation’s upcoming photography and videography talent, to submit work across two new categories: Faces and Places.

Designed to nurture and support winners through the next stage of their career, SEPA is offering a total prize pool of $25,0001 in value to four main category and two people’s choice winners. Entry is free until midnight on 23 August, 2021.

The main competition will award two photo and two video winners. All applicants can submit a maximum of ten entries across available categories.

The 12th year of the competition also sees the introduction of a people’s choice award in which a further two winners (one overall photo and one overall video) will be judged by the public and awarded later in the year. Community voting will take place from 30 September, 2021 when the Sydney finalists’ exhibition is scheduled to open.

Each year SEPA aims to break down the barriers image makers face in establishing a career by offering an opportunity to have work evaluated by industry leaders. A specialist panel of judges made up of a diverse mix of experts will select the four winners. The judges include: ACS Cinematographer, Carolyn Constantine; ACS Freelance Cinematographer, Andy Taylor; World Press Award-winning photographer, Adam Ferguson and Nicky Catley, Photographic Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Sun-Herald & Australian Financial Review.

Luke Harrison, Senior Business Manager, SUNSTUDIOS says: “Acknowledging the increasing trend towards hybrid image capture, we are very excited to open up the competition this year to videographers. SEPA holds a unique place in the competition landscape as it’s designed to help take emerging artists’ careers to the next level by offering free entry and the chance to have their submissions assessed by industry experts. We’ve also created a customisable prize, including SUNSTUDIOS’ creative services, that image makers can tailor depending on their aspirations.

Mr Harrison continues, “Through the SEPA competition, SUNSTUDIOS’ aim is to support visual creators by resourcing and nurturing award recipients to achieve their goals. We can’t wait to see what the imaging community creates in 2021 and launch new talent across Australia.”

Finalists’ work will feature in an exhibition currently scheduled to open on 30 September2 at the Atrium Gallery, SUNSTUDIOS Sydney when the winners will be announced. The exhibition later travels to the Skylight Gallery at SUNSTUDIOS Melbourne3.

All applicants can enter through the SEPA competition page by 23 August, 2021. Entry is free and you must have under five years of professional experience to be eligible to enter. Please see here for further terms and conditions.

Submission details:

• Entries are invited from all states and territories within Australia during the search for the nation’s brightest new talent.
• For entry details click here.
• Entry Terms and Conditions can be found here.

Categories and prizes:

The following four main category winners each receive $6,0004 in prizes to spend across SUNSTUDIOS’ retail, fine art printing, gallery, equipment and studio hire:

• 1 x Faces (including Portraiture, Fashion, Beauty, Documentary) – Photo winner
• 1 x Faces (including Portraiture, Fashion, Beauty, Documentary) – Video winner
• 1 x Places (including Landscape, Architecture, Travel, Documentary) – Photo winner
• 1 x Places (including Landscape, Architecture, Travel, Documentary) – Video winner

The following two People’s Choice winners will each receive $500 in SUNSTUDIOS’ services which includes studio and equipment hire:

• 1 x Photo People’s Choice
• 1 x Video People’s Choice

Key dates:

• Call for Submissions: 15 July, 2021
• Entries close: 23 August, 2021
• Main category judging: 27 - 31 August, 2021
• People Choice judging: 30 September – 16 December, 2021
• Opening night Sydney SUNSTUDIOS: 30 September, 2021 (COVID-19 restrictions pending)
• Opening night Melbourne SUNSTUDIOS: 18 November, 2021 (COVID-19 restrictions pending)



1 $25,000 can be spent across SUNSTUDIOS retail, fine art printing, gallery, equipment and studio hire.

2 COVID-19 restrictions pending

3 Exhibition to open in Melbourne 18 November 2021, COVID-19 restrictions pending

4 $2,000 available to spend in retail (this includes fine art printing) and $4,000 available to spend across other services which includes studio and equipment hire.

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