2023 Open Award Finalists

Entries open to all AOP Member and Non-Members.

Championing exquisite imagery. 

© Todd Antony 

  ”The Open Award is open to everyone – both professional and amateur – and are about championing exquisite imagery. There are no categories or restrictions in the Open Award, the image is the star, and exciting and innovative work is encouraged.” 

The AOP Open Award is run by the Association of Photographers and is an exciting opportunity  for professionals and amateurs to compete on equal terms during what is our prestigious Annual Awards season. 

Not to be confused with our AOP Projects Programme which features a rolling calendar of partnered projects, the AOP Open Award aims to bring together professional and amateurs in a high profile way.


Featured Image: © Julia Bostock, Islanders (Series)

Entry information

The 2023 AOP Open Award Winners are;

Congratulations to Alex Macro – GOLD winner in the 2023 AOP Open Award

Camargue camouflage.

The ancient white horses of the Camargue are as wild as their surroundings. Catching one, literally and photographically, can be challenging. This one very graciously and coyly paused in the reeds for a second while I caught this shot.

© Alex Macro

Accepted on behalf of GOLD Winner, Alex Macro by Leah Mitchell. Presented by AOP President Tim Flach

Congratulations to Owen Harvey – SILVER winner of the 2023 AOP Open Award

The Matadors.

Bullfighting is a huge part of the Spanish identity and history, with origins as early as 711 AD.
With growing division in the opinion of whether the killing of an animal should continue for entertainment, I went to Spain in search of the next generation of young hopeful matadors.
I found young men who felt they’d learnt respect, courage and discipline from the teachings of bullfighting. Some were from generations of bullfighters and the culture around this performance of strength, movement and machoism was their life in and outside of the arena.

© Owen Harvey

SILVER Winner - Owen Harvery receiving his award from AOP Chair Hamish Crooks

Event Images: © Gurdev Singh

Meet the Finalists of the AOP Open Award 2023

“Once again, the judges and the AOP team have been blown away by the quality of the Open Award finalist entries. Captivating and considered work, with a range of entries that have compelling human stories to share. Plus, lots of new names to discover, making this another exciting year for photography indeed.”
Isabelle Doran
“…a really compelling set of entries I thought. It was quite a tricky challenge judging single images, series of images and also the film entries, as obviously it’s not like for like, so that was a challenge. But I think between all of us there were some obviously clear standouts… Overall great work from everyone”
Nic Renn
Creative Director & Art Director
“It was a real pleasure the judge the AOP Open Awards this year. I think the diversity in the work across lots of different genres was excellent and the quality throughout was high. The winners themselves were certainly deserving of their places and I certainly look forward to seeing more of their photography in the future, so congratulations to all.”
Levon Biss

Scroll through the Gallery wall and Click here for further details on individual entries 

The Open Award is a popular competition that has been running for 13 years, and each year has attracted approximately 1,500 entries from around the world.  

Finalists will be exhibited alongside 38th AOP Photography Award Finalists at the official AOP Awards Showcase in September 2023 with Gold and Silver Winners for the 38th AOP Awards, including the Open Award being announced live at the event.

AOP Open Award Finalists will also feature in the highly collectable 38th AOP Awards Book. 

There are no categories or themes in this competition, so the choice of work submitted is entirely up to the photographer. 

As in previous years, stills, moving image & innovation are accepted.
All images must have been created on or after 1 January 2021.
  • You can enter a single or series (2-5) of images
  • Images submitted online should be RGB and in JPEG format. They should be no larger than 3500 pixels on the longest edge. Your final file size must not exceed 10 megabytes
  • You can enter a piece of moving imagery up to 7 minutes in length, demonstrating your understanding and skills within the medium. All moving image entries must reference whether the work is a collaboration with another artist be it a director, editor, colour grader, musician etc. or whether it’s the independent work of the photographer. You may wish to illustrate the creative use of technologies for example AR, VR, CGI or an other technique, created by a person.
  • You can enter works of innovation with an example of excellence that illustrates the creative use of technologies and innovations in the production of still images. This can be AR, VR, CGI or any other technique, created by a person.
  • You can enter commissioned or personal work.
  • You can win Gold and Silver.

For Full Image Specifications please see points 7 & 8 in the 2023 AOP Open Awards Terms and Conditions here

AOP Open Award Prizes

Gold and Silver Winners will each receive a complimentary
AOP Associate Membership*.

AOP Associate Member Limited Benefits include:

  • Exclusive cover under our group Professional Indemnity Insurance Policy* (see below)
  • Listing in the AOP Find a Service directory including contact details and up to 4 galleries of 15 images each
  • Access to our Business & Legal advice team on a charge-per-session basis (£50 inc. VAT for a 30-minute session)
  • Opportunity to pay for direct mailings to all Photographer members as well as advertorial copy in the newsletter (for an additional fee – please contact us to discuss.)
  • Free buy/sell advertisements on the AOP’s website
  • * Introductory insurance policy through Williamson Carson
  • All benefits and discounts of the Access membership (listed here)



1:1 Squintbox Consultation

Thanks to our friends at Squintbox, the selected Gold Winner will receive a one-to-one session with the Squintbox team to review their work and provide a half-day session on how to engage commissioners (worth £500)

About Squintbox

Run by former ad agency art buyers, Squintbox is an active online resource portal for photographers and directors showcasing their work to commissioning agencies

Entries for the AOP Open Awards 2023 open Midday, Wednesday 3 May 2023

Entry Fees (all prices include VAT @20%)

Members – £15.00
Non-members – £20.00
Members – £25.00
Non-members – £35.00

AOP Members receive a discounted entry fee.
Gold and Silver winners, along with finalists, may also appear in a final Awards showcase event and also feature in the 38th AOP Photography Awards book.


© Paul Winter, Ruth, Seaford Mermaids

Judged by

Michelle Marshall


Michelle is a French fashion photographer based in London where she has been working in the fashion industry for over 10 years.

Her visual aesthetics favours the candid and playful over the contrived.

Credits include Vogue Italia, King Kong Magazine, Vice magazine, Boys by Girls magazine, Volt, Nataal magazine, Lula Japan.

As Senior Lecturer in Fashion Photography, she also teaches at the University for The Creative Arts and for the University of the Arts London (UAL) across degree and master programmes.

Nic Renn

Creative Director and Art Director.

Nic Renn is an experienced Creative and Art Director with a demonstrated history of working with some of the world’s leading brands. He has a strong professional reputation built over thirty years working with direct clients as well as the world’s top branding agencies, including Wolff Olins, Landor, FutureBrand, Imagination and more recently Superunion. He is skilled in all aspects of brand building: design, art direction, typography, system development, implementation and brand guardianship. His career highlights include the rebrand of Barclays, The Body Shop, Bupa, Centrepoint, Diageo, Galliano, Greene King, JLL, Land Rover, O2 and the Olympic Channel.

Levon Biss


Levon Biss is widely regarded as one of the leading macro photographers of his generation. With an unmatched mastery of technique and lighting, he creates his large-scale artworks by combining over 12,000 individual photographs using microscope objectives on a bespoke photo rig, achieving unparalleled levels of detail and clarity. His exhibitions tour the globe as educational tools on natural history and his work is included in numerous school curriculums around the world.  His latest project Extinct & Endangered: Insects in Peril is currently on display at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and begins it’s European tour in summer 2023.

Olivia Hingley

Staff Writer, It's Nice That

Olivia (she/her) joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer.
A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English literature and history, she’s particularly interested in photography, publications and type design.
It’s Nice That was founded in 2007 in response to a university brief to “put something into the public domain that makes people feel better about themselves”. Right from the start, they were built by creatives, for creatives. Since then, It’s Nice That has grown to become one of the leading platforms globally for the creative community, encompassing an award-winning website, a range of social channels, a regular live events series and a top-ranking podcast.

This is your chance to be seen by leading commissioners and names withing the photographic industry and see how your work stands amongst renowned professionals and industry names. 

Become an AOP Member

AOP members enjoy discounted entry to the AOP Awards and Open Projects programme, if you would like to become an AOP member, please  click here.

2021 - 2022 Open Award Winners

© Sujata Setia, GOLD Winner
Found plastic toys
© Meredith Andrews, SILVER Winner

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See Interview with 2021/2022 GOLD Winner Sujata Setia here:

AOP Open Award 2023 Entries Open: Wednesday 3 May 2023

View our submission guide here

© Christopher Lindhorst, Chloe Watkins, Sound Support

AOP Photography Awards

The AOP Photography Awards are known as the ‘Oscars’ of the photography world. They celebrate excellence in the creative photography and image-making industry.
This is your chance to be seen by leading commissioners and names within the photographic industry.
Find out more about our 39th AOP Awards…