Photo Festivals – Open Calls the best photography festivals where you can apply via an open call

Open call is a democratic way of inviting artists to take part in a photo festival. Here’s a short list of the best photography festivals where you can apply via an open call to boost – or kick off – your artistic career. 


Fotofestiwal is one of the oldest photography events in Poland. Since 2001, it gathers photographers, artists, curators and viewers from all over the globe to celebrate photography. While the Fotofestiwal takes place annually, the range of its perspectives towards its program and the very idea of photography is truly impressive. The event’s topic changes every year, ranging from the documentary approach to the creative ways of manipulation of the lens-based image.

Why enter:

  • Chance to win the man prize (2500 euro)
  • If you’re a finalist a chance to have your works exhibited to over 20,000 viewers of the  FOTOFESTIWAL in Łódź
  • Have your work exposed during the slideshows of finalists’ works during international photography festivals.

When to apply: the open call is launched each fall. The Festival takes place in June.

Details: http://fotofestiwal.com/2018/en/

fotofestiwal łódź logo

Rencontres d’Arles

Rencontres d’Arles is probably the most well-known and the most sought-after event. It has been taking place in Arles since the 70s, presenting the freshest trends in contemporary photography.

Why enter:

  • Your work could be seen by a stunning number of viewers – in 2016 the festival was visited by over 100,000 people
  • A chance to win the New Discovery Award or be one of the 10 shortlisted artists
  • Secure a research and production fellowship
  • Win the Luma Rencontres Dummy Book Award Arles and get you photobook published

BYOPAPAPER!: get exposed on the Papeteries Etienne walls
When to apply: the beginning of October each year.

Details: https://www.rencontres-arles.com/en

Rencontres d’Arles


FORMAT is one of the UK’s leading international contemporary festivals of photography and related media. FORMAT organises a year round programme of international commissions, open calls, residencies, conferences and collaborations in the UK and Internationally.

Why enter:

  • Get a chance to take part in Exhibitions or Commissions
  • Take part in Events, Talks, Performances
  • Develop your work during the Master Classes, Portfolio Reviews, Talks

When to apply: the beginning of September each year.

Details: http://www.formatfestival.com/about-format

Format Festival in Derby

Format Festival in Derby, jury.

Camera Obscura

OBSCURA Festival of Photography is Malaysia’s premiere photography festival centred around storytelling through photography as a medium. OBSCURA is a platform for photographers to share their stories, messages and ideas with each other and the public. An independent festival now in its 6th year, OBSCURA is committed to fostering a mature, thoughtful and critical photographic community, who will form the catalyst in creating a similarly robust society.

Why enter:

  • Take part in the masterclasses conducted by renowned artists
  • Take part in discussion panels and have your work reviewed for free by some of the most esteemed photographers, editors, and curators in the industry today.
  • Get exposure beyond the European public
  • Take part in the photobook section


When to apply: April

Details: https://www.obscurafestival.com/


Athens Photo Festival

The Festival started in 1987 and aims to foster an understanding of contemporary culture and society through photography in all its forms. The festival brings together the different perspectives from emerging and established artists and photographers from all over the world.

Why enter:

  • Join the exhibition programme and be presented at the Benaki Museum, one of the most prestigious museums in Greece.
  • Join the portfolio reviews, screenings, talks and discussions, workshops, and various community and participatory projects

When to apply: April

Details: https://www.photofestival.gr/

athens photo festival

Riga Photomonth

Riga Photomonth is an international photography festival that takes place in the capital of Latvia since 2014. Riga Photomonth explores and shows photography from Northern and Eastern Europe.

The festival’s public programme includes exhibitions, artist talks, workshops, lectures and film screenings. In addition, Riga Photomonth hosts portfolio reviews and workshops for professionals.


  • Be one of the chosen artists to show your work at the Kaņepes Culture Centre during the festival’s opening night
  • Join one of the six exhibitions and profit from the lectures, artist talks, film screenings and discussions on contemporary Northern and Eastern European photography.
  • Be one of the chosen artists to join the portfolio reviews by the renowned curators, publishers and artists

When to apply: January

Details: http://rigasfotomenesis.lv/en/about-rfm/

riga photomonth

Krakow Photo Month

The most well-known photo-event along with the Fotofestival in Lodz. It hosts exhibitions, portfolio reviews and accompanying events for a whole month in Krakow.


  • Win the Show Off: the mentoring and final exhibition of your debut-work
  • Win the ShowOFF section and exhibit at Triennial of Photography in Hamburg
  • Be selected for the Portfolio Review: one of the flagship events of the Krakow Photomonth Festival. The Portfolio Review is a unique opportunity to get advice and tips from experts, whose experience and opinions have in previous editions of the event often resulted in the further photographic development of the participants.
  • Be one of the chosen artists to join the portfolio reviews by the renowned curators, publishers and artists

When to apply: January

Details: http://photomonth.com/pl/

kraków photo festival

VINTAGE – International Festival of Analog Photography Lovers

Set in Bydgoszcz, Poland, the festival is designed to foster the passion towards analogue photography techniques. If you did not abandon your film-loaded camera and are able to use the old tool in a contemporary manner, that is the perfect event for you.


  • Win the competition for the best analogue project/photograph
  • Have your work presented during the festival

When to apply: July

Details: http://vintagephotofestival.com/pl/o-festiwalu/

 vintage photo festival


PhotoNOLA celebrates photography annually in New Orleans in partnership with museums, galleries, and alternative venues citywide. The festival works on the basis of showcases and portfolio review that you can apply for and that might lead you to the award. Photonola includes exhibitions, workshops, lectures, a portfolio review, gala and more.


  • Join the PhotoNOLA’s Portfolio Review program: face the gallery owners, editors, publishers and museum curators from throughout the U.S. and abroad.
  • Win the PhotoNOLA Review Prize: the best portfolio wins a solo exhibition at the New Orleans Photo Alliance gallery the following December, a $1000 cash prize, and marketing consultation. Second and third place winners are recognized on the PhotoNOLA website.
  • Have your work exposed beyond Europe

When to apply: the terms vary for the open calls for the accompanying exhibitions and for the portfolio review: August/November

Details: https://photonola.org/

photonola festival

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