You may submit unlimited images into any of the categories. Every image is reviewed by 5 judges and an average score is given.
Receive Image Merits
Images that receive a score of 70 or higher have met professional standards and receive either a bronze, bronze with distinction, silver or gold merit.
Win Category Awards*
Each category winner will receive $1,000, a trophy, and the opportunity to be awarded Grand Champion of the competition, winning an additional trophy and $1,500.
If your image earns a bronze, silver or gold merit, you will receive points toward becoming an Accredited Portrait Masters Photographer.
Bronze images awarded scores of 70-74 demonstrate a professional standard of work. Bronze images awarded scores between 75-79 are of a high professional standard of technique and communication and are called ‘Bronze with Distinction'. All bronze awards earn .5 accreditation points.
Silver images have exemplary execution of technique and visual presentation and earn 1 accreditation point.
Gold images exhibits excellence in all technical fields with outstanding creative communication and narrative and earn 2 accreditation points.
Each category winner will receive $1,000, a trophy, and the opportunity to be awarded Grand Champion of the competition, winning an additional trophy and $1,500. Each category winner will also receive the opportunity to be featured on The Portrait System Podcast and in The Portrait System Magazine.
We created this program to acknowledge, honor, and celebrate high-quality, professional work and to arm you with public recognition you deserve in your field.
As someone who did not receive a formal education, achieving these standards were amongst Sue’s proudest moments of owning a professional photography business, and made Sue feel proud and validated as a photographer. We feel a deep pride that the Portrait industry is getting stronger and more valued all around the world, and can’t wait to see what you create next! Points accumulate each round and never expire.
Upon successfully reaching your required points level for MASTER, your folio will be manually reviewed to ensure your current work is of a consistent, good professional standard which reflects the accolade and title of ‘Master’ within The Portrait Masters.
In order to reach FELLOW, you must have at minimum 10 images with silver or gold merits in your folio.
When you reach Associate level, you are added to our Find a Photographer Directory, where you can make a profile, showcase your award-winning images, add your business links, and you can add this link to your website.
A portrait of one person showing personality and connection.
Family & Group Portrait
A portrait of two or more family members that capture their connection.
A portrait of one pregnant female or depiction of a baby bump.
A portrait of a newborn baby or multiple babies birth age to one-year-old.
A portrait that celebrates intimate beauty and sensuality defined as boudoir.
Teen & Senior Portrait
A portrait of an individual teen, or group of teens, within the ages of 13-19.
A portrait of an individual child, or children, within the ages of 1-12.
A fine-art portrait that has a unique theme or style including fantasy & composite.
A portrait that demonstrates the expression of movement.
Photographs that display a pet or animal as the main focus or theme.
Challenge Category: Into the Wild
This category is entirely up to the creative interpretation of the entrant. So roar your terrible roars, gnash your terrible teeth, roll your terrible eyes and show your terrible teeth. "Let the Wild Rumpus start!"
How To Enter
Log In (Become a member, or create a free account)
Complete Payment ($20 for members, $40 for non-members)
You can enter each category as many times as you’d like. Read the category description and submit photos through the online submission process that fit those guidelines. Your submission may be disqualified if it does not fit the applicable category guidelines. Each of the category winners will automatically be entered for an opportunity to win the Portrait Masters Grand Champion Award. By submitting your image, you agree to all terms and conditions. Click the button below for important details and rules.
We are frequently asked what it takes to reach high professional standards. Below we have laid out the judging criteria and some of the common issues you should avoid in order to maximize your score. Sue Bryce Education members can receive more helpful feedback by watching Richard Wood's Awards & Accreditation critiques.
Mastering expression and facilitating connection is extremely important in professional portrait photography. It sets the entire mood for the image and tells the story. A good, beautiful connection is essential in creating images of high professional standards.
Common issues with expression and connection:
Stern, blank and/or disconnected look on the subject
Understanding lighting — when and how to use it properly — is pivotal to creating perfect portraits and grow your photography business. It creates and set the mood, balances the image, highlights the subject and helps determine the overall look of the portrait.
The overall technique is every aspect of your image. From start to finish, the equipment you use, the technical decisions you make, the story you choose to tell, and all the way to the presentation. It is everything you did to execute your image.
Creating perfectly sharpened and focused portraits is absolutely key in reaching high-professional standards. Most of the images that score under 70 are either out of focus, overly sharpened or have poor post-processing
A portrait is a picture that visually describes ‘who’ a person is. The viewer should be ‘informed’ by a portrait and even better emotively informed or ‘moved’ by a portrait. The more powerful this communication is, the more powerful the portrait often is.
Common issues with storytelling:
Emotion/story/subject is not strongly conveyed so that it can be quickly interpreted
The emotive content and story feels too forced or manufactured
Story is unoriginal, ‘done before’ or feels cliché