New Workshop! Lighting 3 | Advanced Off Camera Flash

We are closing out Awards, but will be back to make it a whole lot better. READ MORE

SLR Lounge Awards

Honoring the World's Best Photographers

SLR Lounge Awards

Honoring the World's Best Photographers

Our goal is simple

To grant distinctive, reputable awards to honor excellence, creativity, and audacity in photography.

Our system draws on a formula for judging that we continually reshape and modify with the goal of removing all pretense and bias from the awards selection process.

The Moderation Process

Once an image has been submitted to Awards, it will go through our moderation process where our curators will assess the overall image quality, approving images that show creativity and thought beyond what one might consider a standard shot. The reasoning for this process is to ensure and maintain a particular standard for all photos being admitted for community scoring and award consideration.

Below are the most common reasons why images are not approved:

  • Image does not meet the baseline minimum of our quality standards.
  • Image does not show creativity and thought beyond a standard shot.
  • Image is submitted to the wrong category.
  • Image is a duplicate of another image submitted.
  • Image has a watermark.
  • Image violates our Terms of Use.

Please note: Images will NOT be accessible or displayed on the site until it has been approved by our editorial team.

The Evaluation System

Every approved image will have 7 days to accumulate an average community score based on a set of criteria. Instead of using a universal set of criteria for every image, a unique set of four criteria is assigned to each image according to the image category. This ensures that each image is scored on a consistent set of factors, applicable and accurate for the type of image.

The Criteria

The set of four criteria are assigned to each category from the following:


This factors in the subject placement, use of foregrounds and backgrounds, balance, uniqueness of the angle, and overall creativity of the composition.


This factors in the refinement of the pose, how well it fits the scene, subject, and moment, and expression of the subjects.


This factors in the color balance, how well the lighting matches the mood and scene, whether it is flattering for the subjects, and the overall creative use of lighting.

Post Production

This factors in whether the post production matches the mood and scene, whether it's free of errors, and whether it's consistent and artistic.


This factors in the timing of the moment and difficulty of capturing such a moment.


This factors in the emotion of the subjects and the overall message or purpose of the image.


This factors in the mood, tones, execution of the vision of the photographer, and the overall aesthetics of the image.

The Weighted System

For additional accuracy, the scoring criteria are weighted, with more weight on criteria that have more influence and less weight on criteria that have less influence and impact.

Of our available categories, the criteria weights are as follows:

Wedding Portraiture

Creative wedding images that are posed or set up by the photographer. This includes portraits of the bride or groom, couples portraits, family formals, and wedding party photos. This category does NOT include photo-journalistic (i.e. candid) moments at a wedding.

Wedding Photojournalism

Storytelling wedding images of moments that occurred naturally, without photographer interference. This category does NOT include images that were posed or setup.

Landscapes & Cityscapes

Images of natural landscapes at any time of day, including nightscapes and images of urban cityscapes. This category excludes close up images, including those of architecture, animals/wildlife and people. While people and wildlife can be present in these images, they should not be the focus of attention or the subject of photograph. Composite imagery is not allowed, aside from straightforward bracketing (HDR) and panoramic stitching. Basic burning, dodging, and color correction are allowed.

The Awards

The following awards will be granted to the top images on our site.

Ascent Awards are reserved for the top 3-5% of images.

Summit Awards are reserved for the top 2-3% of images.

Apex Awards are reserved for those whose images are hand-picked by Curators from the top 1% of images.

*These percentages are used as goals. The actual number of distributed awards will vary.

The Curators

Scoring is done by all community members, however, the final selection of award winners is made by a team of curators. The curators are comprised of industry influencers, SLR Lounge editorial staff, and select previous award winners.

While the curators take into account the final community score of an image, they will use their expert opinions, based on the criteria of the image category, to determine the final winners.