News + Features

All About Portrait Masters Awards & Accreditation 

April 21, 2022

By Abbey Pleviak

© Eleonora Barna

Family & Group Portrait, 8th Place, Eleonora Barna.

Updated 5/16/22 with new categories added.

If you’ve been wondering about the Portrait Masters Awards & Accreditation Program, we’ve got the scoop for you! 

This program was created by The Portrait System, Powered by Sue Bryce to acknowledge, honor and celebrate high-quality, professional work, and to arm portrait photographers with the public recognition they deserve. As someone who did not receive a formal photo education, achieving these standards were amongst  Sue‘s proudest moments of owning a professional photography business. Winning accolades like these made her feel proud and validated as a photographer. 

When you enter the Portrait Masters Awards & Accreditation Program, your images will be judged by a panel of experts in the field who will give points to your image based on the technical and artistic skill exhibited therein. Bronze, Silver, and Gold Merits are awarded to images that have achieved a high professional standard, according to the points they have received. If your photograph receives any of these high honors, you will be given a badge that you can place on the image that earned it. All points that are awarded on Bronze, Silver, and Gold images are tallied toward achieving accreditation levels. There are three accreditation levels: Associate, Master, and Fellow. As soon as you achieve Associate level, your profile is added to a public member directory, and you can include your achievement of this standing in all your marketing. Additionally, in each category of entry, the top image receives a trophy and an award of $1,000. The Grand Trophy winner of the whole competition receives an additional $1,500. 

“The judges and I are looking forward to seeing how entrants can celebrate the genre and in what ways,” says Richard Wood. “We are always surprised with the innovation our community takes as the industry evolves.

“Striving for awards and accreditation is an incredible tool in that it not only helps us set goals, but provides us with deadlines,” Wood adds. “This means that those creative ideas of ours, are more likely to come to fruition and we can give a constant heartbeat to our journey of improvement through the many crafts of photography. Having the fire of accreditation and awards always burning in the back of our minds, means we are also constantly more conscious of ‘how can I do this better?'”

Every round, things get a little changed up, so be sure to check out all the updated rules (including the recent country/state eligibility updates), FAQs, and all the resources available for the Portrait Masters Awards & Accreditation Program. 

Creative Portrait winner inn Portrait Masters Awards.
Creative Portrait, 4th Place, Emily Moore. Photo © Emily Moore

Important Dates for Portrait Masters Awards 2022 

2nd Round

Opens: 9am PST, Monday, May 16th 

Closes: 11:59pm PST, Tuesday, June 15th 

Results Announced: Noon PST Friday. July 15th 

3rd Round

Opens: 9am PST, Thursday, Sept 15th 

Closes: 11:59pm PST, Saturday, Oct 15th 

Results Announced: Noon PST, Tuesday, Nov 15th, LIVE 

Maternity image of woman against orange background.
Maternity Category, 19th Place, Tianna Jarrett Williams. 
Photo © Tianna Jarrett Williams

Costs and Fees 

Non-Member Fees: $40 per submission 

Member Fees: $20 per submission 

Portrait Masters winner of little boy with fur hat and stuffed animals.
Challenge Category: Into the Wild, 1st Place, Hanna Neret. Photo © Hanna Neret

Awards Categories 

Visit the Awards page to see what the current categories are for each round.

The Challenge Category, which is unique to each round, will be announced when awards results are given. This event is LIVE and open to the public here. 

The Challenge Category for the 2nd Round is MONOCHROME

2nd Round Results Announced: Noon Pacific Time, Friday July 15th, LIVE 

3rd Round Results Announced: Noon Pacific Time, Tuesday, Nov 15th, LIVE

Portrait Masters Awards & Accreditations image of three generations of women.
Family & Group Portrait, 1st Place and Grand Champion, Felicia Schuette. Photo Felicia Schuette


Category Winner Perks 

Once again in this round, award winners of each category, as well as the competition Grand Champion, will get their own episode on The Portrait System Podcast. 

Subscribe to The Portrait System Podcast: 

ART19 – Spotify – Stitcher – TuneIn – RadioPublic – Apple Podcast 


Awards resources & content 

Updated competition rules 

Previous round category winners 

Enter your images HERE 

Abbey Pleviak is based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and writes for The Portrait System, Powered by Sue Bryce. She also has a passion for storytelling through indie filmmaking and loves shooting on Super 16 mm film because of its vibrant, natural beauty.