Deadline: March 16, 2012
Entries submitted after that date require a $10 per entry late fee. No entries will be accepted after March 30, 2012.
Enter the most prestigious competition for creativity in photography, the Communication Arts Photography Competition. Any photograph first printed or produced from March 2011 through March 2012 is eligible. Selected by a nationally representative jury of distinguished designers, art directors and photographers, the winning entries will be distributed worldwide in the Communication Arts Photography Annual and on commarts.com, assuring important exposure to the creators of this outstanding work. As a service to art directors, designers and art buyers, a comprehensive index will carry contact information of the photographers represented.
CA’s Award of Excellence is one of the most-coveted awards in the industry. If chosen, winning places you in the highest ranks of your profession. Ask any creative director which competitions rank as the most influential and they’ll place Communication Arts at the top of the list.
David Allan Brandt, photographer, David Allan Brandt Photography, Los Angeles, CA
Shana Darnell, photo editor, Turner Broadcasting/CNN, Atlanta, GA
James Genell, associate creative director, Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, IL
Sarah Leen, senior photo editor, National Geographic, Washington, DC
David Meredith, principal, Pilot NY, New York, NY
View Previous Winners
What to Enter: Information on eligibility, categories and fees.
How to Enter: Information on preparation of entries and forms.
Photography Competition FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions about applications and file formats.
What to Enter
Any photograph first printed or produced between March 2011 and March 2012 is eligible. Explanation of the function in English is very important to the judges. Submission of entries acknowledges the right of Communication Arts to use them for publication and exhibition.
Photography Competition Categories/Fees
These categories are judged by the Photography jury and will appear in the Photography Annual:
Advertising: (ads, posters, CDs, packaging, etc.) $35 single entry/$70 series
Books: (cover/jacket and/or interior, must be published) $35 single entry/$70 series
Editorial: (consumer or trade magazine, newspaper) $35 single entry/$70 series
For Sale: (poster, print, note paper, greeting card, licensing/stock, gallery sale, etc.) $35 single entry/$70 series
Institutional: (company/association publication, brochures, collateral, etc.) $35 single entry/$70 series
Multimedia: (time-based media for film, television, video or web) $80 single entry/$160 series
Self-Promotion: (promotion for photographers, creative firms and vendors) $35 single entry/$70 series
Unpublished: (commissioned but not published, personal or student work, etc.) $35 single entry/$70 series
Entries must be registered no later than Midnight (Pacific Time Zone), March 16, 2012. Entries registered after that date require a late fee of $10 per entry. No entries will be accepted after March 30, 2012.
Each photograph is a single entry. A printed piece with several photographs must have a dot or some other mark indicating which specific single photograph is to be judged. If a single photograph isn’t indicated, the entry will be disqualified.
Campaigns or series are limited to five photographs. If the entry has more than five photographs, indicate which five are to be judged. If this isn’t indicated, the entry will be disqualified.
How to Enter
All competition entries are processed through our online entry system. Printed Call-for-Entry forms are no longer used.
Before you begin the process of entering a competition, please have the following information and materials ready. This will make the process go quickly.
- – Your contact information for registration and notification.
- – Title and brief description of each project.
- – Any digital files you might want to submit saved as RGB (not CMYK) JPG format (maximum 1024 pixels wide X 768 pixels high @72dpi).
Entries can be submitted in the following formats:
Unmounted printed samples: ad tear sheets, pages or spreads, brochures, annual reports, posters, books, etc. (pieces over 18″ x 24″ must be submitted as digital files).
Digital files: RGB (not CMYK) JPG format with a maximum width of 1024 pixels and a maximum height of 768 pixels (72dpi). Digital files will be projected for the judges.
Multimedia entries: Submit multimedia entries on DVD NTSC (viewable on a standard DVD player) or mpeg files on CD-ROM. Include 4 seconds of black, no slates or bars. Single entries must be on individual disks. Series should be edited together on one disk with 2 seconds of black between each entry. Computer-based formats such as QuickTime or Flash should have a maximum screen size of 1024 x 768.
Please do not send any pieces of art you want returned. NO ENTRIES WILL BE RETURNED. No exceptions. CA is not responsible for damage or loss of any entry. All entrants grant Communication Arts the right to reproduce work selected in the Photography Competition on the Communication Arts Web site and in materials used to promote the magazine and/or future related promotions.
Preparation of Packages
Send entries, unmounted, in flat packages only, no mailing tubes (they frequently arrive damaged). Address packages to Communication Arts Photography Competition. Non-United States contestants should mark each package “Materials for Contest Entry. No Commercial Value.” No provision will be made by CA for U.S. Customs or airport pickup. International entries should be sent by international courier. All entries must be received by the deadline date.
Forms and Entry Fees
After choosing a form of payment you will have access to PDF reports summarizing what you entered. If you chose to pay by check, you will have an invoice available for printing. If you chose to deliver entries via mail/courier, you will also have entry forms in PDF format that you will need to print, trim and attach to your entries. Tape an entry form to the back of each entry. If the entry is a print-based campaign, you will tape an entry form to each part of the campaign. Tape an entry form to the outside of each disk/video case. Multiple digital files may be placed on a single disk. Please tape all applicable entry forms one on top of the other so we can flip through them to verify the contents of the disk.
Make checks payable to Communication Arts. Non-United States contestants must send an International Money Order or a check in U.S. funds drafted on a U.S. bank. Please include the check with your entries if you are delivering them via mail/courier. If your payment is being sent under a separate cover, please send your entries now, with a note saying that the check is coming under separate cover. If you submit all of your entries online please write the Communication Arts invoice number on the check. The invoice number can be found in the Entry Forms PDF file. We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. Charges for your entry fees will appear on your statement as “(Commarts)”. Credit card charges can be done online. We do accept wire transfers, however there is a fee of $25 (U.S.) to cover fees charged by the banks to process the transfer. Please contact our office at (650) 326-6040 (9-5 PST) for instructions.
Mail entries to:
Communication Arts Photography Competition
110 Constitution Drive
Menlo Park, CA 94025-1107 U.S.A.
(Via United States Mail, FedEx, UPS, etc. Entrants submitting from outside the U.S. please use an international courier)
Notification of Acceptance
Only accepted entries will be notified two months after the deadline date. Complete credits and any additional material necessary for reproduction will be requested at that time. No additional fees are required. Award of Excellence certificates for the photographer, client and art director of each accepted photograph will be mailed in one month after the publication date.
If you have any other questions or want to request a call for entries, you can reach us at:
(650) 326-1648 fax
Photography Competition FAQs
Can I get an extension on the deadline?
We will accept entries up to two weeks after the March 16, 2012 deadline date, but a late entry fee of $10 per submission is required. No entrires will be accepted after March 30, 2012
Do you offer a cash prize?
We do not offer a cash prize. The winners are featured in one of our annuals distributed worldwide and on commarts.com, assuring important exposure to the creators of this outstanding work distributed worldwide.
Can I submit my work via e-mail and just include a credit card number with it?
No, we do not accept entries via e-mail. All entries must be registered using our online competition system.
Will you confirm receipt of my package(s)?
The best way for you to track your package(s) is to contact your carrier. We are unable to acknowledge receipt of your package(s) until your submission(s) has/have been processed. At that time you will receive an e-mail confirming that your package(s) has/have been received, along with your assigned entry number(s). This process can take up to two weeks.
Will my entries be returned?
Because of the number of entries we receive, it is not possible for us to return any of them.
If we submit digital files, do we also need to mail a copy of our entries?
No, we only need one version of the work.
What is the best way to submit my entries, digital or print?
The method of entry you select will not impact the judges’ decision. Any entries over one cubic foot or posters larger than 18″x24″ need to be submitted as digital files.
Can I enter one project into multiple separate categories?
Yes, just make sure to submit a duplicate entry for each of the categories you are entering and attach a separate entry form on each printed submission.
Can I enter my work as a series?
Yes, but all work in a series must be part of the same campaign. When works are submitted as a series they are judged together as a group. The overall strength of the series depends on each individual piece and its function within the campaign.
If my entry is accepted, what will you use for reproduction?
If your work is accepted we will request necessary reproduction materials at that time.
What do you mean by “unmounted”?
We get thousands of entries and they would get very heavy if every entry was mounted on a board. If your entry is very flimsy and you feel it must be mounted on something, please back it with lightweight paper.
The entry instructions state, “Do not send original pieces of art you want returned.”
What does that mean?
It simply means that you should not send original photographs or artwork because they will not be returned.
I have a single brochure/poster/self-promo piece that has several photographs on it. Why is it a series and not a single entry?
The judges of the Photography Competition are only judging the images, not the typography, design or art direction. (Entrants who want the design or art direction of their pieces to be considered should enter them in the CA Advertising and Design competitions.) Each photograph is a single entry. Therefore, a piece with several images must be considered a series. There is a maximum of five images in each series; if a piece is entered and there are more than five images on it, the five that are to be judged must be marked in some way.
Where do we put creative credits?
All we need is the contact information of the person submitting the work along with the name of the firm or agency entering the project. Creative credits will be requested if your work is chosen for inclusion in the Annual.
I don’t know which category to put my piece in?
Choose the category that you feel best fits your submission. If we feel another category is more appropriate, we will move it; your work will not be penalized or disqualified.
We’re waiting on the check from our accounting department. Can we have an extension?
Please send your entries now, with a note saying that the check is coming under separate cover. If you submit all of your entries online, please write the Communication Arts invoice number on the check. The invoice number can be found in the Entry Forms PDF file.
Do you accept work on disk?
Yes, entries can be submitted on disk. Please review the information under How to Enter for size and formatting requirements.
Can I submit multiple entries on one CD?
Yes. Please name the files as instructed on the entry forms generated for you and attach all the entry forms (one for each entry) on the CD case. Please enclose each series in its own folder on the CD.
Can I put more than one single multimedia entry on each tape/disk?
No, each single multimedia entry must be submitted on its own tape/disk. Video-based series must have 4 seconds between each spot.
Is there a category for student work?
The Photography Competition has an Unpublished category, which can include student work. However the work must be completely original and not utilize content owned by another copyright holder unless the entrant has been granted specific usage rights. If a student project is selected and documentation of specific usage rights cannot be supplied, the project will be disqualified. Communication Arts is not liable for any copyright infringement on the part of the entrant and will not become involved in copyright disputes.
What rights do I retain if my work is chosen?
You retain all rights to your images. If selected, you will need to grant us the right to reproduce the image or images for both our online and print-based publication.
How does the judging take place?
The judging process is a two-part system: screening and finals. In screening, the jurors are divided into multiple groups and each category is distributed equally amongst them. Judges are not permitted to vote on work in which they were directly involved. Each juror views the entries independently. Print entries are spread out on rows of tables and digital entries are projected on a large screen. Any juror can put a print entry into the final voting by picking it up from the table. Digital entries are selected by checking an “in” or “out” column on prepared scoring sheets. For the final round the judges are brought back together as one group. Each judge votes “in” or “out” on each entry. After the judges make their selections, their votes are tallied. A simple majority is usually required for a finalist to be selected a winner.
When will we know if our entry was chosen?
If your entry is chosen we will notify two months after the final deadline date. Because of the number of entries we receive, we can only notify people whose work is accepted.