Birth Photographer of The Year 2023 Awards Rules + Prizes

Overall Rules

    • Entries must be 100% photographic in origin.
    • All elements in an entry must be the work of the entrant.
    • The use of third party imagery such as stock photography (including skies, borders, backgrounds or textures) is prohibited.
    • Entries must be from original exposures made within the last 4 years of the closing date.
    • All images captured, retouched, digitally edited or printed over the duration of a workshop, tutorial, or similar where the primary focus of the event is for education, are ineligible. This is irrespective of whether the image submitted was captured or created under the direct instruction of the educator/presenter or not.
    • AI is not permitted in any way to fill in or remove any part of the photograph with the exception of noise reduction


      1b) SUBJECT:

    • The purpose of the Awards is to judge and reward visually impactful images. While there is no same subject rule, it is recommended that each entrant submit images that are significantly different.
    • Judges tend to generally score higher for images that are innovative and creatively fresh, so be aware that a repetitive concept or subject is likely to quickly lose favour with the judges.
    • Entries that have been plagiarised, either knowingly or subconsciously, will be disqualified. Plagiarism is where you copy another photograph, painting or image and all or a significant number of the key elements are the same (e.g. same subject, same location, same pose, same crop, same post-production). Copying or being inspired by a style, pose or subject from which you create your own entry is not considered plagiarism.

    1c) CREATION

    • All post-production must have been completed by the entrant.
    • No titles or marks that identify the entrant are permitted on the digital image
    • Non-photographic copy/text may only be included in the creative category.
    • Further information on Composites and Digital Manipulation can be found below.



    Photo captions are an integral part of documentary-style images. A well-written caption can add important meaning and value to a photograph and will often clarify the intent of the photographer; a poorly written caption may do the opposite. Accuracy is vital. The creation of captions using Chat GPT is prohibited. 

    A caption should provide the basic information needed to understand a photograph and its relevance. It should primarily cover the Who-What-Where-Whenand sometimes Why of the picture’s content.

    Most captions should consist of one or two short declarative sentences. For judging purposes these could cover “the five Ws” listed above as completely and succinctly as possible. If needed, an additional sentence that provides pertinent context may be added to fully explain the image.


    Whilst this is an unbelievable situation we want it grounded in realism- Gee Greenslade

    Entries into the creative tag is the only tag where digital and pixel manipulation is permitted. This includes the addition of text. Text tool is permitted so long as its cohesive and does’t make up more than 20% of the image. You may not use text as your caption or any defining text. Text can be used as an artistic choice.

    Where further digital manipulation is allowed, digital technologies can be used to assemble images, manipulate and adjust photographic elements in any manner, but not to create new elements. This means you cannot create new digital elements in the likes of adobe illustrator etc. It must be photographic in origin.

    Photoshop filters are allowed but use them creatively and with intention. 

    • Entrants are allowed to create composites using multiple images.
    • Images must be original and photographic in nature
    • Stock photography is not permitted
    • Cloning, headswaps, dramatic colour changes and other pixel manipulations are permitted. This includes the removal or addition of any element of the photograph. Content aware, clone tool, and patch tool are acceptable as it pulls from the content of *your* image. Topaz or Photoshop AI where content is pulled or created from *other* images such as stock images to fill in content on your images are not permitted.

      Re-photographing existing photographs or images is only permitted if the existing image is the work of the entrant, 100% photographic and no older than 4 years from the Awards close of entry. Re-photographed images to create supporting elements or backgrounds created by the entrant may be beneficial for better executing a story. This is only permitted if the original photograph was taken within 4 years of the close of entries. This is only permitted in the creative tag.

    All entrants must be able to supply a copy or proof of each element used to create the final image (to prove its photographic origin) if requested. Failure to provide such proof may result in the disqualification of the entry without a refund.



    Unless stated otherwise in the individual tag rules:

    Prohibited post-production includes, but is not limited to, the following:

    • Compositing elements from multiple captures.
    • Altering the content of a picture by adding, rearranging, reversing, distorting or removing people, objects or elements.

    For example you can’t remove:

    • physical marks on an object or a body
    • objects or elements in the picture
    • objects that may contravene the documentary category rules e.g. fence posts or power lines
    • reflected light spots, e.g. lens flare
    • shadows
    • extraneous items on a picture’s border (but cropping is permitted)

    Similarly, you can’t add elements or areas by

    • cloning or adding objects, details and sky
    • painting in object details and textures
    • photo montage
    • replicating material on the border of a picture to make a neat crop possible.
    • Images with special effects, borders, textures and added backgrounds.
    • Whilst desaturation and conversion to B&W are permissible, changes in colour tone and hue to such an extent that the colouration of the resulting image diverges significantly from the original capture are not permitted.
    • Changes in density, contrast, colour and/or saturation levels that serve to obscure or eliminate backgrounds or background elements or materially change the content or authenticity of an image.


    The Awards Team reserves the right to request original RAW file(s), slide(s) or negative(s) and/or to disqualify images where post-processing is deemed to have exceeded acceptable documentarian practices.

    Please note, it does not matter whether you think your entry complies with these rules. It is the Awards Team that needs to believe your entry complies with the intent of the rules to provide an even playing ground for all entrants. If you are in doubt about your entry complying with the specific rules for a category, then enter into the creative tag or email



 Image Submission Criteria

  • Each image should be sized to 3000 pixels on the longest side
  • colour space should be in sRGB 
  • please use JPEG as your image format
  • no image should exceed 2MB in size
    please name your entries with this format pending the number of entries you are submitting
    Barratt_Lacey_02 etc.

    *please use your name, not mine 

  • Birth Images must be of birthing people in at least early labour: No maternity, No newborn (documentary-style or posed), No fresh 48. No pre-labour.
  • images may be of birthing people in early labour, active labour, transition, pushing, and up to three hours postpartum
  • submissions may contain family members
  • submissions may contain medical staff ONLY IF a written model release is obtained or if their identity is unidentifiable
  • no hospital should be able to be identified in any images unless written consent has been obtained
  • postpartum submissions must be within 3 hours of giving birth
  • images must have been taken within the past 4 years. Images older than this may be disqualified.
  • vetting team reserves the right to ask for raw files to verify the validity of all images submitted
  • Round, oval and square crops are accepted. Please be creative and crop however you’d like to tell the story!
  • Story boards, diptych, triptych allowed


Entries Open 2 October 2023 to 30 October 2023
Judging begins November 3 & 4 at 9AM AEDT
(Note this is the 2 & 3 for USA)

Winners, Finalists and Top 20 will be announced AFTER the Awards Ceremony

You may submit a maximum amount of FIVE entries per tag

Pricing is as follows for ALL ENTRANTS:
1 Entry- $35 AUD
2 Entries- $70 AUD
3 Entries- $105 AUD
4 Entries- $140 AUD
5 Entries- $150 AUD

Feedback is $10 AUD per image for All ENTRANTS.
You may have all images with feedback or only certain ones. Please select accordingly in your submission form.


  • All are welcome to enter.
  • You may not enter previously entered images in other years.
  • Judges scoring will be live-streamed (images will not be talked about or given feedback unless purchased, only a number score will be given unless challenged. Please see Challenge Section for more clarification)
  • live-streamed scoring will be only to view the scores as the images are judged. To obtain feedback, you can purchase the FeedBack option / image at checkout for a discussion to be held live on your image.
  • Please make it known that discussions/feedback does NOT constitute a challenge.
  • if your image has been challenged and you paid for feedback, you will have your image scored and challenged first and then judges will proceed to give feedback before the next image is shown.
    judges feedback can be purchased for an additional $10AUD per image
  • judges are able to challenge a score to bring it up if they think their peers have missed an integral part of the image or misinterpreted it.
    there is a Silver, Silver Distinction, Gold, Gold Distinction award system

How the top 20 is chosen

Each participant’s scores will be tallied up based on the number of images they entered. Those with the highest cumulative scores will be considered to be part of the ‘Top 20″ highest scoring portfolios.

For Example:
Scenario 1-

Lacey enters 4 images and scores 80 on all 4 images making her cumulative score 320

Sally enters 5 images and each image scores 78 making her cumulative score 390.

Sally would then proceed to be a part of the ‘Top 20″ pending 19 other participants did not score higher than her cumulative.


How Finalists are chosen

Entrants that are the top 5 highest scoring portfolios out of the top 20 will go on to be considered finalists. 

When you submitted your images initially you were asked to also upload 2 letters of recommendations and 1 business review. These documents will now be added to be a part of your portfolio. Our final PPY judges will then assess your portfolio with these three key elements
– your 5 image portfolio
– your 2 letters of recommendations
– your buisness review

Out of the recommendations, our panel of judges will then select the winner of Birth Photographer of the Year and the remaining 4 will be considered finalists



Judging criteria is as follows:

Each image will be judged individually based on the skill of the photographer.

  • >69 Approaching Professional Standard
  • 70-77 Professional Practice (not an award)
  • 78-79 Commended (not an award)
  • 80-84 Silver (award)
  • 85-89 Silver Distinction (award)
  • 90-94- Gold (award)
  • 95-100 Gold Distinction (award)

Approaching Professional Standard– Meets professional standard in some areas, bu needs work in others. With some practice the photographer can easily achieve professional practice.
Commended-  This is an image judges wanted to regard and above professional practice but not quite scoring in the award range.
Professional Standard- Approaching award level
Average to very good professional practice but does not meet BPOTY Award criteria
Silver– Exceeds normal professional practice with high levels of communication, craft and skill.
Silver Distinction– Professional Excellence. Superior visual communication, imagination, craft and skill.
Gold– Outstanding visual communication, interpretation, emotional impact and technique.
Gold Distinction– Exceptional vision, creativity, innovation and technique. A high degree of originality. Exhibits excellence in all assessment criteria.


A judge may choose to challenge the score of an image only if he or she is more than 10 points off from the lowest scoring judge.

For example:

  • Judge 1 scores 35
  • Judge 2 scores 19
  • Judge 3 scores 21
  • Judge 4 scores 20
  • Judge 5 scores 22

Judge 1 then has the opportunity to challenge this image and talk to the panel of judges and explain why he/she thinks this is a higher scoring image. A discussion can emerge and judges can then rescore with a new perspective.


Birth Photographer of the Year Overall Winner
$500 AUD + Certificate

Birth Photographer of the Year Finalists
$150 AUD + Certificate

Certificate commemorating you as a finalist

Top 20
Certificate commemorating you as Top 20

Badge to place over your image + certificate to commemorate your Gold distinction award.

Badge to place over your image + certificate to commemorate your gold award. 

Badge to place over your image + certificate to commemorate your silver distinction award.

Badge to place over your image + certificate to commemorate your silver award.  



Please thank a sponsor. 


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