Whether you are an amateur or professional photographer, the photography community plays host to a large number of grants and competitions that reward high-level work. While some of these grants simply seek excellent photography, a major amount of photography grants fund editorial endeavors and the work of photojournalists. Some are social justice focused photography grants that seek out photographic work that speak to specific issues such as human rights. And while it is free to apply to many of these grants, some require an application fee as part of their process.
Aaron Siskind Foundation
This foundation awards a $10,000 Individual Photographer’s Fellowship Grant to a few photographers each year. The grant is open for any type of photography from photographers working in the field and living in the United States. Applications are accepted between March and May and there is a $10 fee to apply for the grant.
Alexia Grants are issued to professional and student photographers under two programs yearly to highlight work that tell visual stories involving social change. Deadlines for competition occur in January and February each year with grant announcements following in March. The professional grant will award $15,000 to be used to pay for the proposed project. The student competition contains three prizes including tuition provided for the program at Syracuse University London.
Alicia Patterson Foundation
This foundation offers grants to full-time print journalists including photographers. If selected the foundation will provide $20,000 to $40,000 to fund a 6-12 month fellowship. Around 5-7 fellowships are issued each year.
This Canadian non-profit promotes photography exhibitions that deal with the subject of human rights abuses. Annually it hosts a competition called Human Rights Through Visual Storytelling, exhibiting selected work internationally and issuing one $3,000 grant to the winner.
Blue Earth sponsors photography projects with the potential to raise public awareness about environmental and social issues. Submissions are accepted twice a year in January and July but a $30 to $60 fee is required to apply depending on membership.
Located in Santa Fe, NM, Center offers grants between $3,000 and $10,000 for fine-art and documentary photography projects through its annual Choice Awards.
Focus for Humanity
Focus for Humanity offers grants from $1,000 to $5,000 to amateur and professional photographers. It offers workshop and mentoring grants twice a year to amateurs, allowing the recipient access to a leading travel or humanitarian photographer. The professional grant is offered once a year funding work with the NGO or charity of your choice.
Since 2005, Getty Images has offered an annual grant to up and coming photographers. It issues five $10,000 grants for editorial photography to be used for personal or journalistic work. Applications are accepted in April and must contain 20-25 images, a summary of the project, and bio of the photographer.
Ian Parry Scholarship
Named after a 24 year old photojournalist who died in the 1989 Romanian revolution while working on behalf of The Sunday Times, this competition is for student photographers under the age of 24 only. The application includes a synopsis of a project you wish to undertake and a portfolio of past work. One winner will receive 3,500 pounds to complete their chosen project. Other winners selected as commended or highly commended will also receive 500 pounds each.
John Gutmann Photography Fellowship
Funding for this fellowship is provided for by the sale and reproduction rights of the work of late photographer John Gutmann. At least one emerging photographer is selected each year and receives $5,000. The cash award can be used for any purpose the recipient chooses. The fellowship is not available to students and the photographer must be a United States citizen.
While Lucie Foundation offers two photography grants that it describes as scholarships, the money in both cases is used to fund photographic work. The Foundation Scholarship is available to professional photographers and offers a $5,000 award to fund a new project idea or a work in progress. The Emerging Scholarship offers a $2,500 grant for student photographers to be used to complete a portfolio or a body of work.
Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund
The foundation’s Emergency Fund supports the work of experienced photographers who document critical global social issues. 10-20 photographers are selected each year to work on projects that shed light on subjects that otherwise may receive little to no attention. Photographers retain full copyright to the work but have it distributed through foundation partnerships.
National Press Photographers Association Short Grants
The NPPA supports community photography through its Short Grants Program offering six awards of $3,000 each year. These grants are available to staff and independent photographers that tell stories about their local communities through photography. Applications are due annually in August. Applicants must live in the United States and earn their living through still photography.
This fund awards one photographer a $5,000 grant to undertake a project of humanitarian or environmental photography. The annual competition runs from January to April and is open to international photographers over 21 years of age.
Pulitzer Center Travel Grants
Offered by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, these travel grants are to be used to pay for hard costs of international reporting projects. These grants are open to all types of journalists, including photographers. Grants are generally issued between $2,000 and $10,000. There are several grant opportunities offered in addition to the main travel grants program, including one for students and one for non-native, english-speaking journalists.
Reminders Project Grants
Reminders Photography Stronghold is one of the largest individual galleries in Tokyo, Japan. It offers what it describes as wall grants and residency grants. Wall grants allow 5-30 days use of gallery space and provide for a free five day stay at the RPS residence. Residency grants provide the five day stay at the RPS residence and are available to those that participate in photo exhibitions, workshops and lectures offered at the arts facility. Applications are handled quarterly for both grants with deadlines in September, December, March and June. One of each grant is issued each quarter.
W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund
The Gene Smith Grant offers an annual humanistic photography grant of $30,000 to a photographer working with documentary photography. It also offers the annual $5,000 Howard Chapnick Grant for leadership in photojournalism.