Diversity has existed on earth since the beginning of time. It is one of the fundamentals of life that our ancestors have learnt and understood along with the wisdom behind it until it has become ingrained as intellect.

You may see diversity right in front of you, whether it be in an idea that inspires you or in a random and spontaneous visual comparison.

In all its vastness, the ‘Diversity’ category widens the doors of creativity allowing your photography to be filled with meaningful, empowering and expressive concepts.

This Twelfth Season also presents our photography community a special space for talented artists in the digital field to formulate digital creations, that convey the depths of their imagination, through the ‘Digital Art’ category.

For the seventh year in a row, the ‘Portfolio’ category continues to bring in great photographic works from photographers that have an awe-inspiring passion for visual story-telling.

Lastly, and definitely not least, the ‘General’ Category (Colour and Black & White) gives photographers the opportunity to soar to new heights of creativity without any restrictions in their path.



A global concept whose origins go back to the beginning of time; of which the meaning also changes constantly due to the fluctuations of time, place, events and circumstances.

Delving deeper into the essence of ‘Diversity’ tells us that it is a basis for coexistent thoughts, including the principle of tolerance, acceptance and the appreciation of differences to benefit all humanity.

The photo that perfectly captures the artistic aspect of ‘Diversity’ translates and evokes a response from the audience. It is one that brings to reality the wonders of the world we live in, highlighting how different yet similar we all are as we share a kindred purpose. 

Can your (photographer’s) photo have that subtle yet impactful effect on the viewer? Your understanding of the sublime meanings and connotations of ‘Diversity’, which is the differences and pluralism, should be engrained! It is your arena for creativity.


Do you have a great photograph, but it does not convey all the messages that you want it to? 

Do you feel that you are creative in the field of Fine Arts and are able to formulate digital formations that enhance the work that lives in your imagination?

Do you think enhancing your photograph digitally will take it to the next level? Then this is the category for you! 

Our fourth and final category is Digital Art.



The Portfolio category returns once again to challenge you (photographer’s) to showcase your story-telling skills through a series of photographs. 

A strong photographic story delves into the heart of a subject matter and tells the story from your (photographer’s) perspective. 

A portfolio of photographs allows you to capture the hearts and minds of an audience in a way a single photograph cannot.



This category remains a favourite among photographers who have an outstanding eye for visual compositions that do not necessarily fall into any of the other categories. 

Year after year, this category has gained quality and depth, not to mention numbers, with over a third of all entries registered in the competition. 

We continue to offer participants two opportunities to participate in this category: Black and White - to give the deserved substance to this classic art form; and colour - giving participants the option to dazzle the jury and viewers with their vibrant compositions.

General - Black and White

General - Colour

Special Awards

The Photography Appreciation Award

There are many passionate people within the photography industry who are dedicated and relentless in their pursuit for excellence. These people offer their services and expertise without expecting a return on their efforts and therefore form a vital part of the photographic community.

The ‘Photography Appreciation Award’ is a special category for a person or group who has shown long-standing commitment to enhancing the art of photography. By awarding the recipient, HIPA hopes to give back a small amount of the respect and appreciation they deserve.

The Photography Content Creator Award

Service to photography is not limited to taking stunning photographs, but extends to editors, publishers, bloggers, researchers, inventors, promoters and all print and digital content creators that have had a positive impact on the industry and helped shape it to what it is today.

Emerging Person/Organization in Photography Award

This award is presented to an emerging person or organization that has shown outstanding work or vision in the photography industry on a regional, national or international level.

All winners of the Special Awards are to be exclusively selected by HIPA.


  • Season Theme Diversity will be the main theme of the season.
  • Grand Prize The Grand Prize (USD $120,000) will be chosen from any category available this season, and not only from the main theme.
  • Submission Deadline Last day of participation will be on 30th June 2023 at 11:59 pm (UAE local time)
  • Special Awards There are THREE Special Awards for the Twelfth Season and they are; ‘The Photography Appreciation Award’, ‘The Photography Content Creator Award’ and the ‘Emerging Person/Organization in Photography Award’.
  • Other categories Other categories are; General, Portfolio and Digital Art

  • General category The General Category will have two sub categories: Colour and Black and White.
  • Black & White Participants are allowed to submit Black and White photographs in all categories except the ‘General - Colour’ sub category.
  • Photo Criteria Submitted Photo(s) must be in JPEG format, with high quality and resolution, of a minimum 5 MB in size, the minimum of the longest edge should be no less than 2000 pixel and the quality no less than 300dpi and to be suitable for publication.
  • Raw Photo Raw Photo Participants are NOT requested to submit the raw/original camera files at the same time as submitting their photographs. But will be requested from them if they reach to the shortlisted participants.
  • Story Telling In the Portfolio category, participants are required to submit 5-10 photographs telling one story

GrandPrize 120,000

1st 15,000
2nd 10,000
3rd 5,000
Black and White
1st 15,000
2nd 10,000
3rd 5,000
1st 20,000
2nd 18,000
3rd 16,000
4th 10,000
5th 6,000
1st 25,000
2nd 22,000
3rd 20,000
4th 18,000
5th 15,000
1st 15,000
2nd 13,000
3rd 11,000
4th 9,000
5th 7,000

Special Awards




GrandTotal 450,000


All the Prize money will be in US Dollars


  • You may submit up to one (1) Photo in each relevant category of the Competition including the sub categories under the General category, Except the Portfolio category where you can submit between 5 – 10 Photo(s); You must provide a title and description for each Photo submitted and a description for the set of photos in the Portfolio category.
  • The same Photo must not be submitted in more than one (1) category. Any Photo submitted in more than one (1) category will be discarded from the Competition.
  • Submitted Photo must be in JPEG or JPG format, with high quality and resolution, of a minimum 5 MB in size, the minimum of the longest edge should be no less than 2000 pixel and the quality no less than 300dpi and to be suitable for publication.
  • You are kindly requested to upload the original Photo(s) (RAW) or the Photo(s) without any editing on the time of submitting the Photo(s) to the Competition.
  • Black and white Photo(s) are permitted in all the categories of the Competition except for the Color sub category under the General category.
  • Participants are allowed to submit a digitally manipulated photo only in Digital Art category.
  • For the Portfolio category, you are requested to submit a series of Photo(s) on the same subject matter. The number of permitted Photo(s) is the minimum of 5 and maximum of 10 Photo(s).
  • All submitted Photo(s) (must not contain any tag(s), signature(s), initial(s), frame, border(s), logo(s) or any other references and/or marks added by the Participant. Basic technical editing of the Photo(sis acceptable, provided any such editing does not affect the authenticity and/or genuineness of the Photo(s). Advanced editing used to create illusions, deceptions and/or manipulations; including compositing and creative retouching of the Photo(s) is prohibited. HIPA preserves the right to assess and discard from the competition any submitted Photo(s) deemed, at HIPA's own discretion, contrary to the foregoing.
  • Photo(s) that portray or otherwise include inappropriate and/or offensive contents, including nudity, violence and/or any other contents deemed to be contrary to the UAE religious, cultural and/or public morals traditions and practices will be disqualified.
  • Photo(s) (that have won any previous award(s), whether in any HIPA prior competition(s), or in any other competition(s) whatsoever and announced before 30th June 2023, and/or Photo(s) that have been previously used, or are intended to be used, for any kind of commercial purposes, must not be submitted. Any Photo(s) submitted in contrary to the foregoing will be automatically and without further notice disqualified from the entire Competition.
  • HIPA's appointed judging panel shall assess and determine the winning Photo(s). The results, prizes and the winners will be announced in a public ceremony.
  • The winner(s) will be contacted by HIPA and must provide HIPA with their bank account details and personal details within seven (7) days from HIPA's request. The cash money prize(s) will be paid to each winner within a period of two (2) months following the announcement of the Competition's results.
  • Payment of the prize money is subject to obtaining the winner(s) legal documents required to process the bank transfer. Alternatively, the prize money can be collected in person via cheque, on receipt of valid photo identification.
  • HIPA’s judging panel has the right, at its absolute discretion, to turn down or reject any Photo(s) or Submission(s) without having to give any notice or explanation to the relevant Participant.
  • Any federal, state/ provincial/ territorial, and/or local taxes, fees and surcharges and taxes (whether foreign or domestic, and including income tax) on any prize that may be awarded to you under the Competition will be solely paid by you.
  • The decision of HIPA's judging panel is final and binding on all Participants in respect to all matters relating to the Competition.
  • Submitted Photo(s) must be a single work of original material created and/or taken by you, must not contain any materials owned or controlled by a third party for which you have not obtained a license, permission or approval to use, must not infringe the copyright, trademark, moral rights, rights of privacy/publicity or intellectual property rights of any person or entity.
  • Upon reaching the final stage of judging, you grant HIPA, a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty free, sub-licensable right and license to use, publish, reproduce, display, perform, adapt, modify, create derivative works, distribute, have distributed, print, promote your submitted Photo(s), in whole or in part, in any form, in all media forms now or hereafter known, anywhere in the world for any purpose, related to the Competition, the publication in HIPA promotional digital and/or printed materials and formats broadcast such as on HIPA magazines, printed leaflet and brochures, HIPA website and/or through other public online feeds, promoting subsequent competitions and/or the work of HIPA generally.
  • You must obtain, solely bear the cost for, and provide HIPA within seven (7) calendar days of any request to do so by HIPA, with any or all of the following:

    • A signed written consent, release and/or permission of each and every identifiable individual person(s) appearing in your submitted Photo(s), clearly authorizing you to use their picture or likeness for submitting the Photo(s) in the manner contemplated by the Competition, and authorizing HIPA to reproduce, distribute, display, and create derivative works of the entry(s) for all purposes, in any media now or hereafter known. Please click here to download the draft of the Model Release Form.
    • A signed written license from the copyright owner of any sculpture, artwork, or other copyrighted material that appears in your submitted Photo(s), authorizing HIPA to reproduce, distribute, display, and create derivative works of the relevant entry(s) for all purposes, in any media now or hereafter known;
    • A signed written license from the owner of any private property included in your submitted Photo(s), authorizing HIPA to reproduce, distribute, display, and create derivative works of the relevant entry(s) for all purposes, in any media now or hereafter known; and
    • A signed written license or release letter from a person who has the right or is able to assert any right over the Photo(s) (e.g. employer, agency, etc) authorizing HIPA. HIPA to reproduce, distribute, display, and create derivative works of the relevant entry(s) for all purposes, in any media now or hereafter known. Please click here to download the draft of the Release form.
    • If you have been announced as a winner of the Competition (in any category), you grant to HIPA, a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty free, sub-licensable right and license to use, publish, reproduce, display, perform, adapt, modify, create derivative works, distribute, have distributed, promote your winning Photo(s), in whole or in part, in any form, in all media forms now or hereafter known, anywhere in the world and for any purpose, including but not limited to: display at a potential exhibition of winners, publication of a book featuring select entries in the Competition, publication in HIPA materials and/or online highlighting entries or winners of the Competition, and promoting the work of HIPA generally.
  • You hereby hold harmless, release, indemnify and discharge HIPA and its partners, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising agencies, agents and their employees, officers and representatives from all liability, claims, judgments, demands, controversies, agreements, damages, actions and causes of action whatsoever, arising out of or related in any way to the Photo(s), the Competition or the conduct of the Competition and the acceptance and use, misuse, or possession of any prize awarded, whether in law or in equity, no matter what the cause or nature, and you further waive any claims that you may state or assert against HIPA in association with the Competition or any of its associated activities, or in any way related to or resulting from the Photo(s), Competition even if such injury or claims results from or is caused by the negligence or gross negligence of HIPA, in whole or in part. You further agree to indemnify and hold harmless HIPA from any claim arising out of your participation in the Competition including, without limitation, all claims brought or asserted by any third party as a result of any injury or loss that you or they may sustain in any way associated with your participation in the Competition.
  • If HIPA, at its sole discretion, is of the opinion that you have breached any of the Rules, HIPA has the right to disqualify you from the Competition, and in such circumstances you must re-pay to HIPA all costs undertaken by HIPA in relation to your Submission(s) and participation in the Competition and the awards ceremony, including but not limited to (if and to the extent applicable) any travel costs incurred by HIPA, and re-pay the Competition prize money and return any trophies or certificates at your own cost to HIPA.
  • Under no circumstance HIPA will be liable for any:

    • lost, late, misdirected, stolen, illegible or incomplete Submissions;
    • error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation or transmission, communications line failure, theft or destruction or unauthorized access to, or alteration of, submitted Photo(s);
    • problems, failures or technical malfunction of any telephone network or lines, computer online systems, servers, providers, computer equipment, software, email, players or browsers, on account of technical problems or traffic congestion on the Internet, at any website, or on account of any combination of the foregoing;
    • incorrect or inaccurate information, caused by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Competition or by any technical or human error which may occur in the processing of the Photo(s) and/or the Submissions; and/or
    • injury or damage to any Participant or to any computer related to, resulting from or in connection with the Competition.
  • If, for any reason, the Competition is not capable of being conducted as anticipated, due to computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes beyond the control of HIPA, which corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity or proper conduct of the Competition, HIPA reserves the right at its sole discretion to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Competition as deemed appropriate, disqualify any Participant, and/or select winners from all eligible Photo(s) submitted prior to the termination, cancellation, modification or suspension. HIPA reserves the right to correct any typo-graphical, printing, computer programming or operating errors at any time.
  • The Competition, your Submission(s) and the Rules shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the Emirate of Dubai and the applicable federal laws of the United Arab Emirates, and any aspects or disputes arising out of or in connection with the Competition and/or your Submission(s) will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Dubai courts (as established by Law No. (3) of 1992 and Law No. (13) of 2016).


General Questions

No, you cannot participate with any photo(s) that has / have already won in HIPA or any past competitions.

You can submit photos through the official HIPA website www.hipa.ae 

No, you cannot nominate others to take part on your behalf.

Please check your spam or Junk mail folders for any emails from HIPA, and make sure to add noreply@hipa.ae to your e-mail safe list.

Submitted Photo(s) must be in JPEG format, with high quality and resolution, of a minimum 5 MB in size, the minimum of the longest edge should be no less than 2000 pixel and the quality no less than 300dpi, and be suitable for publication.

You may contact HIPA through customer.helpdesk@hipa.aeif you encounter any issues with the uploading of photographs(s).

Click the following link to view all the prizes

Yes, that is possible except the Colour subcategory under the General Category.

Yes, there is no restriction on the date that submissions are taken on.

Yes, but deletion and / or replacement of photographs must take place no later than 3 days after the original upload.

  • ‘Diversity’ is the main theme of the Twelfth Season of competition.
  • Other categories in the Twelfth Season are: General, Portfolio and Digital Art.


Yes, a model release form will be required upon request from HIPA if you reach the final judging stage.

Yes, a brief description of minimum 30 words in length must be included with each photo in all categories. Except for the ‘Portfolio’ category you need to write a description for the entire portfolio

There are no fees whatsoever and the competition is completely free of cost.

After successfully uploading any photo(s), you will receive a confirmation email.

Yes, as long as you possess the copyright for the photograph, and did not win any moral or material prize.

The Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award (HIPA) is an international photography award established in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, in order to encourage and spread the culture of photography across the world.

The use of a photograph for the purpose of:

  • Sale or resale or for the purpose of producing a document containing all or part of the copy, printout or photograph for sale.

We encourage all individuals over the age of 18 from any part of the world to participate.

You may submit up to one (1) Photo in each relevant category of the Competition including the sub categories under the General category, except the portfolio category, where you must upload 5-10 photographs

Registration is available through the HIPA website; all rules must be read and accepted before registration.

You can participate with pictures taken with digital or analogue cameras, but submission must be done digitally online, so film photographs would have to be scanned by the participant before submission.

We accept photo descriptions in English or Arabic or both languages only.

Participants should upload their RAW or Camera original file(s) in any format when uploading their submissions, the HIPA system accepts up to 38 different RAW types.


No, only participants who have their photograph(s) published in the annual book of the respective season will receive a copy of the annual book from HIPA's offices in Dubai, UAE.

There are 4 stages of judging at HIPA.

The identity of judges will remain anonymous until the completion of the current season.

Yes, judging is anonymous. Judges are not aware of participants’ names or details.

You will be notified via the e-mail address you provided during registration. If you are chosen as a finalist, then you will be asked to provide necessary documents to ensure that your personal details are correct.

It means you may be a winner and that your photo may also be published in our annual book / website gallery according to the achieved score.

Yes, you can, but HIPA still hold the right to use it as per the undertaking letter.

Yes, although winners will be asked to sign an undertaking letter that allows HIPA or any of its partners to use winning photos in our publications and all noncommercial purposes.

We have a system for judgment based on FOUR main stages.

Stage 1

  • The process begins with screening (filtration) of received photographs. In this stage, judges check all submitted photographs and check their compatibility with our rules and regulations. (Photographs here are marked either as qualified or not qualified).

Stage 2

  • Qualified photographs then move on to the first stage of actual judging by a group of judges (there are usually three groups of three judges) and the judges here give a score for the photographs between 1 and 100. Each judging group handles a specific category and in turn judge on selected photographs.

Stage 3

  • A percentage of the photographs (percentage differs according to total number of photographs) will be qualified to the third judging level where all the judges (usually 9) give another score between 1 and 100.

Stage 4

  • The HIPA team will also begin the verification process of participants within a certain time-frame. This will include request of legal documents such as model release forms and ownership statements in addition to copies of identification cards and / or passport copies, in addition to verifying all terms and conditions, and the result of this stage determines the winners in each category.
Technical Issues

Yes, you can see your submitted photograph(s) as soon as they are uploaded.

You may edit or update all your details (except your name and email address) by logging on to your member page on the HIPA website.