About the Award:

What is HIPA?

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

Rules and regulations:

Who can participate in the competition?

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

Can I participate in the special awards (Photography Appreciation Award / Photographic Research/Report)?

Participants can only enter these two awards upon invitation from HIPA.

I am a previous winner with HIPA, am I eligible to participate in the current season of competition?

Yes, you are.

Can I nominate someone on behalf of me for the competition?

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

What are the fees involved in the competition?

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

What are the categories of the award?

Please click here for all categories 

How many pictures can submit?

You can submit one photograph per category available.

How do I submit photos for the competition?

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

How can I register for the competition?

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

How do I know that my photos have been submitted successfully?

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

I have not received a confirmation e-mail, why is that?

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.

What are the prizes?

Click the following link to view. 

Can I participate with a photo that has previously won a HIPA award/competition?

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

Can I participate with a photo that was submitted into another photography competition but did not win?

Yes, as long as you own the copyright of the photograph.

Can I participate with a photo that has already been used for commercial purposes?

No, that is not permissible.

What is meant by “commercial purposes”?

The use of a public record 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, or;
  • obtaining of names and addresses from such public records for the purpose of solicitation, or;  
  • monetary gain from the direct or indirect use of the public record.

Can I participate with a photograph that has been shared on a social media channel such as Facebook, Instagram, etc.?

Yes, that is possible.

Do I have to submit photos taken with a digital camera?

No, 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.

Do I have to write a description for the photo(s) I submit?

Yes, a brief description of no more than 30 words in length must be included with each photo in all categories.

Which language can I submit my photo descriptions in?

We accept photo descriptions in English or Arabic only.

Can I delete or replace photos that have already been uploaded?

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

What should I do if I am unable to upload my photo(s)?

You should double-check that your photo(s) meet all requirements for submission. The photograph size must be greater than 2 MB and the format needs to be in ‘.jpg’ or ‘.jpeg’ only.

Do I need to send the photograph in RAW format?

No, but finalists will need to provide their photographs in RAW format when asked to do so by the HIPA team.

Can I use Photoshop or any other photo-editing software to edit my photo(s)? And what are the limits?

Yes, but it should not affect the authentication of the photo.

I have a copy of the HIPA Capture-One software; can I edit my photo(s) using this software and submit them in the competition?

Yes, you can edit your photo(s) using any software, but it shouldn’t affect the authentication of the image.

Are there any specific requirements for photograph(s) resolution and dimensions?

No, we do not require any specific values for the photograph resolution and dimension size in pixels.

Are panoramic photograph(s) accepted?

Yes, they are.

Can I submit photograph(s) that have been taken before 2015?

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

Can I submit black and white photograph(s) in all the categories?

Yes, that is possible.

Can I upload the same photograph in more than one category?

No, that is not allowed.

Do I need a model release form when submitting portrait photo(s)?

Yes, a model release form will be required.

Is contemporary photography allowed in the competition?


Technical issues:

What is the best internet browser to use for registration and the uploading of photo(s)?

We recommend the use of Google Chrome.

How do I change or update my contact details on the HIPA website?

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

Can I see my submitted images on the website?

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

What can be done if I forget my username and password?

To reset your password, Click on this link http://members.hipa.ae/ForgotPassword

Will I be notified if my photo is chosen for the online galleries and the e-book?

Yes, you will be notified beforehand.


How many judging stages are there in HIPA?

There are 4 stages of judging at HIPA.

Who are the judges for the current season?

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

What is the judging system?

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

Stage 1
The process begins with screening (filtration) of received photographs which have passed the 3 days buffer period (where competitors are able to change their submitted photographs). In this stage, we have three judges who check all submitted photographs and check their compatibility with our rules and regulations. (Photographs here are marked either as qualified or disqualified).

Stage 2
Qualified photographs then move on to the first stage of actual judging by a group of three 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
The top 25% of photographs are then moved on to the second judging stage, where all the judges (usually 9) give another score between 1 and 100.

Stage 4
The top 500 photographs (roughly) will be moved on to the final judging stage, where they are applied into three bands based on their scores in the judging process.

The 3 bands are as follows:

Band 1: photographs with a minimum score of 65 eligible for third place  
Band 2: photographs with a minimum score of 75 eligible for second place
Band 3: photograph with a minimum score of 85 eligible for first place

The grand prize-winning photograph will be selected from band 3 photographs of the main category. 

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.

Is the judging anonymous?

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

How will I be notified if I’ve won in the competition?

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.

What does it mean when I receive an email informing me that I am a finalist?

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

Will I be notified if my photo is chosen for the online galleries and the e-book?

Yes, you will be notified.

Once I am member of HIPA, will I receive a copy of the annual book every year?

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.

If I was not a finalist, will my photos be used by HIPA?


If one of my photos wins with HIPA, can I use it to participate in other competitions?

Yes, although winners will be asked to sign an undertaking letter that allows HIPA to use winning photos in our publications and all noncommercial purposes. Rules and regulations of other competitions should also be taken into consideration in this case.

Can I sell my winning photo(s)?

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

If I have any more questions that the FAQs don’t answer, who can I contact?

Please contact info@hipa.ae and we will try our best to assist you.



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