According to MPB, the leading platform for used photo and video gear, women make up 70% of photography graduates. But women make up just 15% of professional photographers, and they earn an average of 40% less than their male counterparts. In recent years, companies like MPB, Nikon, and Leica, along with organizations such as SheClicks, Women Photograph, and Black Women Photographers, have worked to correct the imbalance with career-launching photography grants for women and nonbinary photographers.
In this guide, we’ve gathered some of the best opportunities, awards, and photography grants for women and nonbinary photographers, happening on a yearly or bi-annual basis. Please note that while some of these grants and awards are currently open, other others have closed for the year—so bookmark this page, and be sure to follow these organizations to stay up-to-date on open calls.
With support from MPB and Nikon USA, Women Photograph will award five $5,000 grants to women and nonbinary visual journalists carrying out documentary work. “Applicants are encouraged to submit a story, rather than singles, as part of the grant application,” the team at Women Photograph explains. “The images need not be related to the project proposal (but please specify in your application if the images are unrelated to your proposal).” Proposals are due by May 15th, and there is no entry fee.
From Women Photograph and Leica comes this $10,000 grant for women and nonbinary photographers, awarded to one photographer working on an ongoing documentary project. “[This grant] is open to photographers who can demonstrate a long-term commitment to their story,” the collective explains.
“Applicants should submit portfolios of 20 images indicating that a substantial amount of work has already been completed and that the photographer has a clear vision of what further work is needed to complete the project.
“Additional consideration will be given to applicants who are engaged with the communities they cover beyond traditional journalistic documentation.” The submission deadline is May 15th, and it’s free to submit.
The $1,000 me&EVE Grant by CENTER Santa Fe supports the work of a woman, female-identified, nonbinary, transgender, or gender non-conforming photographer, 40 years of age and over. The grant package includes $1,000 in financial support and more. Applications are open around the start of each year; subscribe to the CENTER newsletter for updates.
“The Leica Women Foto Project encourages diversity and inclusion in visual storytelling to amplify voices typically underrepresented in photography, discovering the breadth of shapes formed by a single story,” the team at Leica explains. “Conceived in 2019, the initiative has evolved to offer cash awards and business opportunities and Leica equipment to serve the female perspective in the world of photography.” The 2024 call for entries for these grants for women photographers will be announced in the fall.
Now in its 20th edition, the Julia Margaret Cameron Award welcomes Elizabeth Avedon as Chair of the Jurors Team. “As part of the anniversary edition of the Julia Margaret Cameron award, in addition to the usual prize of a fully-paid solo exhibition for the four overall winners, one of them will be selected to publish a book of their work in an initial edition of 100 copies,” the organizers explain. “This book will be curated, designed, and funded by FotoNostrum Books.” The deadline for entries is May 28th.
“Awarded every two years since 2012, The Prix Virginia is the first photography prize exclusively reserved for a woman photographer, regardless of her age or nationality,” the team at the Sylvia S. Association shares. “The Sylvia S. Association will award €10,000 to the winner.” Past winners of these photography grants for women include Cristina De Middel, Diana Markosian, Cig Harvey, Siân Davey, Dina Goldstein, and more.
The FotoEvidence W Award for Personal Story is granted annually to one woman photographer whose work merits a book. “During the past ten years, FotoEvidence has published 35 books to draw attention to human rights violations, oppression and assaults on human dignity wherever they may occur,” the publisher explains. “At this moment, women around the world are seeking equal rights and equal opportunity. FotoEvidence Women will support this global movement.” In 2023, the submission period will run from October 1st through November 1st.
The Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award, named for the Pulitzer Prize-winning AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus, celebrates the work of women photojournalists. “The Award recognizes the importance of visual journalistic work that inspires us to take action and compels us to better understand the world,” the team shares.
“Created in 2014 with a $1 million gift from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, the Award will be given annually to a woman photojournalist whose work reflects courage and dedication, as Anja’s does. The Award winner will be publicly honored, have her work showcased, and receive a cash prize of $20,000.” The most recent winner will be announced this summer.
From MPB, Peerspace, The Royal Photographic Society, The Centre for British Photography, UK Black Female Photographers (UKBFTOG), and SheClicks comes this opportunity for women, trans, and nonbinary photographers in the UK.
They just closed for this year, and successful applicants will be revealed this summer. They receive a year of support worth £40,000, including gear, studio space, an exhibition, press coverage, and £5,500 to spend as they wish. The Project will return again next year.
In 2022, the PHMuseum Women Photographer’s Grant comprised $10,000 in cash awards, two solo exhibitions, and screenings at the Photo Vogue Festival. Subscribe via the PHMuseum website for their ongoing calls throughout the year, including these grants for women and nonbinary photographers.
The second class of the Black Women Photographers x Nikon Grants were just announced in April, with a $10,000 Recipient, five $5,000 Recipients, five $3,000 Recipients, and four Nikon Mirrorless Gear Recipients. Follow along on Instagram at @blackwomenphotographers for future calls and opportunities.
“The Inge Morath Award is given annually, by the members of Magnum Photos, to a woman or nonbinary photographer under 30 years of age to support the completion of a long-term documentary photography project,” the cooperative shares. Past awardees include Ami Vitale, Daniella Zalcman, Olivia Arthur, Tamara Merino, and more. In 2022, the grant increased to $7,500.
Female in Focus by 1854, the publisher of the British Journal of Photography, aims to empower women photographers worldwide. This year, prizes included group shows in the US and UK, the opportunity to be seen by leaders in the industry, international press coverage, and more. The most recent winners have been announced, but you can stay in the loop for their next call by pre-registering on the 1854 website.
The Marilyn Stafford FotoReportage Award is given annually to a professional womxn photographer to support the completion of a documentary photo essay addressing an important social, environmental, economic, or cultural issue. The overall winner xreceives a grant of £2,000. Subscribe over on their website to get updates.
Women Street Photographers, the community founded by the award-winning photographer Gulnara Samoilova, hosts this annual exhibition, with 70 women and nonbinary photographers chosen to exhibit. This year, they offered two photography grants for women photographers, consisting of $1,000 each. Keep an eye out for their upcoming calls for submissions on their website.
• Women in Advertising Photography Work to Close the Gender Gap
• ‘What We See’: Stories from Women & Nonbinary Photographers
• ‘Who Is Afraid of Women Photographers?’ Exhibition Honors a Century of Female Image-Makers