What is HIPA?

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.

Who can participate in the competition?

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

Can I participate in the Special Awards (Photography Appreciation Award / The Photography Content Creator Award / Emerging Person / Organization in Photography Award)?

All participants in the Special Awards are exclusively selected by 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 to take part on your behalf.

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 I submit?

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

How do I submit photos for the competition?

You can submit your photo(s) 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 all the prizes.

Can I participate with a photo that has previously won a HIPA award or any other photography competition?

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

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

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

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

No, that is not allowed.

What is meant by “commercial purposes”?

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

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?

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) / Portfolio I submit?

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

Which language can I submit my photo descriptions in?

We accept photo descriptions in English or Arabic or both languages 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 may contact HIPA through customer.helpdesk@hipa.ae if you encounter any issues with the uploading of photographs(s).

Do I need to send the photograph in RAW format?

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.

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 authenticity of the photograph.

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

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.

Are panoramic photograph(s) accepted?

Yes, they are.

Can I submit photograph(s) that have been taken before 2020?

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 except the Colour subcategory under the General Category.

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

No, that is not allowed.

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

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

Is contemporary or conceptual photography allowed in the competition?


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 name and 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. 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.

Is the judging anonymous?

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

How will I be notified if I win 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 according to the achieved score.

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 a 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 from HIPAs offices in Dubai, UAE.

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 or any of its partners to use winning photos in our publications and all noncommercial purposes.

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.