Vincent Alban, 77th College Photographer of the Year
Vincent Alban, 77th College Photographer of the Year
College Photographer of the Year 78
College Photographer of the Year 78
College Photographer of the Year is the largest and most influential college photojournalism competition in the world. We invite you to share your work with us as we honor excellence in student photojournalism.

About CPOY and the contest

We are pleased to announce the 78th College Photographer of the Year competition.

We will receive entries from August 19 to September 18, 2023. Judging will take place from October 21 to 28 and will be livestreamed. Read the rules and ethics standards closely to guarantee acceptance. Please follow @collegephotog and our website for updates on how to watch judging live or how to attend in person.

We believe that open and transparent judging allows student photographers to learn from the conversation, builds public trust, and lets jurors share their own humanity through honest discussion. We hope you have a chance to follow the judging process.

The University of Missouri administers CPOY with support from its co-sponsor Nikon Inc., whose generosity allows CPOY to offer free entry to college students worldwide. We thank them for their 17-year dedication.

Who may enter

Undergraduate or graduate students at any college or university worldwide who enrolled for at least one semester, trimester or quarter between September 2022 and December 2023 may enter. Those who have worked two years or more as full-time professional photographers, videographers or web producers (including paid internships) are not eligible.

You must submit the name and contact information for a faculty member or advisor who can verify your eligibility as a recent student and not a professional photographer. They will only be contacted if we have eligibility concerns.


College Photographer of the Year - Gold Portfolio Winner

  • A Mentorship with National Geographic *

  • Nikon digital camera set

  • National Press Photographers Foundation scholarship in memory of Colonel William J. Lookadoo

  • A plaque

Runner-up College Photographer of the Year – Finalist Portfolio Winner

  • Nikon digital camera set

  • Tuition to the Missouri Photo Workshop

  • National Press Photographers Foundation scholarship in memory of Milton Freier

  • A plaque

Sports Portfolio - Gold Winner

  • Nikon digital camera set

Documentary Photographic Project - Gold Winner

Domestic Picture Story – Gold Winner

Missouri Photo Workshop fellowship in honor of Greg Dorsett / The Muskegon Chronicle

Multimedia: Online Storytelling - Gold Winner

  • A plaque awarded in the name of the college or workshop

Multimedia: Individual Story or Essay - Gold Winner

Multimedia: Group Story or Essay - Gold Winner

Multimedia: Documentary Short - Gold Winner

Other Awards

  • Digital certificates will be emailed to Gold, Finalist and Award of Excellence winners in individual categories, upon request. One certificate will be emailed, upon request, to each group.

  • All recognized entries will be featured at and on social media.

*Note About Mentorship with National Geographic

This year's College Photographer of the Year (winner of Portfolio) will be awarded a mentorship with National Geographic that includes virtual seminars and one-on-one meetings with a mentor(s), leading to the pitch of a short assignment for the digital platform. 

The mentorship furthers our mission of inclusivity. CPOY's winning photographer now has the opportunity to build a lasting relationship with National Geographic editors from anywhere in the world.

We are grateful to National Geographic for their decades-long support of CPOY and student photographers worldwide.

Eligible materials

All entries must have been created between August 23, 2022 and August 22, 2023 and may not have been previously entered in this competition. (There are some exceptions for Category 13 - Documentary Photographic Project).

All entries or components of entries must be publishable. The work is not eligible if you invaded someone's privacy, promised it would not be published or did not obtain informed consent in the case of people of diminished capacity.

CPOY Ethics Standards

College Photographer of the Year is a journalistic competition. Digital, analog/film or print alteration or deceptive modification of entry materials is strictly prohibited (with the exception of Category 8 - Illustration). Entries that violate CPOY Ethics Standards are subject to disqualification.

Digital alteration rules:

  • CPOY accepts two photographic modes: color or black & white images

  • black and white images - should display a full grayscale range and may not contain color information. Conversion to black and white that does not alter content is permitted.

  • color images - routine image correction for color toning, white balance, and exposure is acceptable; desaturation, over saturation, high dynamic range or other painterly toning is not.

  • film edges are not permitted unless the original photograph was captured on film (negative or transparency) or Polaroid, and the border is the true nature of the medium.

  • the following are ineligible: diptychs, triptychs, double exposures, in-camera multiple exposures, stitched panoramas, added masks, borders, backgrounds, text, handwritten notes, prints that are manipulated and rephotographed or other artistic effects (except in category 8 - Illustration).

  • the following content alterations are prohibited: adding, deleting, rearranging or distorting people or objects in the image is manipulation and not allowed (except in category 8 - Illustration).

  • AI-generated images are prohibited: AI-generated images are not allowed in any category, including category 8 - Illustration.

Staging and re-creations are prohibited. As a journalistic competition, CPOY does not allow deceptive modification of entry materials. You may not deliberately arrange a scene or direct subjects to re-create or rearrange a scene. Exceptions are illustrations and portraits. 

Images submitted into single-photo categories cannot be copies, scans or a photograph of other photographs or documents. A photograph of a photograph can serve as a detail image as part of a larger picture story or project, but they may not comprise a majority of the story.

CPOY reviews every still photograph and multimedia entry in advance of judging. CPOY may contact photographers whose images seem to conflict with these standards and provide them with the opportunity to resubmit the photograph before judging begins. Once judging begins, judges may disqualify entries deemed manipulated or over controlled. At any point, CPOY may contact photographers to request original RAW images or unedited JPGs for image verification.

Words of advice: Before submitting your images, compare them to the original files as captured in camera to verify that your toning is within these journalistic guidelines.

These guidelines may not be exhaustive, but CPOY expects you to live within the spirit of the competition, which awards honest and straightforward photojournalism.


Entrants must own the copyright (or the right to copyright) all submitted material. In the case of multimedia categories, the entrant must be the authorized holder of the copyright for all components of the entry, or entrant must have copyright permission or have licensed the work from the holder.

How to enter

File naming

Your files are automatically renamed when you submit.  It is not necessary to rename your files, although you should title them in the IPTC field.

Still Image File Specifications

  • File type: .JPG only

  • Image size: 3000 pixels minimum on the longer side 

  • Resolution: 300 dpi, minimum

Multimedia File Specifications

  • File type for required thumbnail image (to represent entry): .jpg

  • File type preferred for option video file entry: x264 encoded mp4 files in 1080p

  • File types accepted for optional video file entry: .mp4, .mov, .mpg, .m4v and .m2ts

  • You must also submit a URL. Vimeo recommended, with option to download.

Captions, Dates and File Information

Captions are required and can be critical during judging --- write and enter your image captions carefully. Please do not put your name in the caption. You are also required to submit Story Descriptions for the Picture Story and Portfolio categories.

Each photograph must include a caption embedded in the .jpg file's IPTC metadata description field that meets journalistic standard for accuracy and ready-for-publication requirements.

IPTC data may be embedded into images using Photoshop, Photo Mechanic, Aperture, Lightroom and other image editing solutions. You must include the correct capture date and location information. Please verify that capture dates are correct so you remain eligible. Once you have uploaded your files, any preexisting IPTC data will be automatically extracted and displayed.

Entry Tip! Captions are read in the final rounds of each category and should be written in English. Well-written captions with relevant details strengthen your entry and stand apart from entries with weak captions.

Captions that are inaccurate or falsely represent the picture content may be disqualified.

The following IPTC fields are required:

  • DOCUMENT TITLE is the image title

  • AUTHOR is the photographer's name

  • DESCRIPTION is the caption

  • CAPTURE DATE verify that this field is correct.If any images are outside eligible entry dates your entry will be rejected. IMPORTANT: If your IPTC date is incorrect for some reason, you are able to edit the date during entry.

  • LOCATION INFORMATION include city (or nearest city), state/province, country

Picture Story Submissions

The order or sequence of images you create upon entering will be preserved. You may change and verify the sequence after you upload the images. CPOY will not change the order of the pictures after you submit the entry.

For Story categories 9-13 (and 8, if you submit an Illustration project), include the story summary after the caption in the first image of the story or essay. For Portfolio category 15, you will create a .jpg title slide for story summaries (see portfolio details).

Multimedia Submissions

  • Categories 16-19 require a single URL via an active link. Include needed passwords to access the URL content.

  • You must also submit a thumbnail .jpg to represent the entry.

  • If possible, please upload a file of the project. This is not required.

  • If your entry wins, you will be asked to provide the video file after judging so that we can display it on the CPOY website.

Portfolio Submissions

The order of images you create upon entry will be preserved. You should verify the order after you upload the images and change the sequence as necessary. CPOY will not change the order of the pictures after you submit the entry.

  • Organize the Portfolio with the individual photos first (categories 1-8, if you entered a single image in 8), followed by the projects (categories 8-10 and 12-13).

  • You must create a .jpg title slide (white text on black) and place it at the beginning of each story within the portfolio. Fill out the IPTC document title with the story title, and fill out the caption field with the story description. Place the slide it at the beginning of each story so it can be read aloud during judging.

  • Single images within the portfolio should not be repeated in a picture story in the portfolio.

  • Team Picture Stories and Multimedia entries cannot be included.

  • Multiple image entries within the portfolio are limited to 20 images.

  • 55 images maximum.

Rules about images and multimedia in more than one category

  • A single image can only be entered in one single image category (categories 1-7 and 8 if entered as a single). However, an image may be entered in one single category, one multiple image category and a portfolio category. (For example, a single image may be entered in General News, Domestic Picture Story and Portfolio, but not in both the General News and Portrait categories.)

  • A story may only be entered in one multiple picture category (9-13). However, a story can also be entered in the Portfolio category entry. The exception to this is Team Picture Story, category 11, which may not be entered in the Portfolio category. (For example, a story can be entered in International Picture Story, and as part of Portfolio, but not in both International Picture Story and Documentary Photographic Project.)

  • An entry in Team Picture Story may not be part of Category 15 / Portfolio. However, a single image from Team Picture Story may be entered into a single category and into Portfolio as a single image, with a single byline.

  • An entry in Team Picture Story may not be broken apart and entered into another multiple picture category. However, a Team Picture Story may be broken apart and entered into Portfolio as a story if all the images are from one entrant.

  • All photographs entered in still photography categories must be taken and credited to a single photographer. Team still photography entries with dual credits are only allowed in Category 11, Team Picture Story.

  • Multimedia entries can only be entered in one of the following categories: 17-19. However, a video entered in 17-19 may be part of an entry into category 16, Multimedia: Online Storytelling.

Advisor Verification

After the September 18 deadline, CPOY will begin to review entries. If we have questions about your student or professional status, we may reach out to the faculty or advisor you listed to verify your eligibility.

Use of Submitted Material

By entering this competition, you declare that you meet the eligibility requirements stated in the rules of the competition and that you are authorized by the holder of the copyright (or the right to copyright) to submit photos and multimedia entries to the College Photographer of the Year (CPOY) competition. You grant permission to College Photographer of the Year and the Missouri School of Journalism and POY programs (including CPOY's parent program, Pictures of the Year International) to use your submitted entries in exhibitions, in publications, and in promotion of the competition itself, and for educational, research, and historical purposes concerning College Photographer of the Year and Pictures of the Year International. This usage includes print and electronic and online platforms such but not limited to the CPOY, POY or MU websites, social media, books, slides/tapes, television broadcast/film/tapes, DVDs and CDs. Winning entries become a part of the permanent CPOY and POY archive.

CPOY History

For 78 years, our mission has been to recognize the best in collegiate photojournalism and set the standards. Each year, most of the roughly 600 students from 130 colleges and universities worldwide who enter CPOY hope to win a prestigious award and have their work recognized. However, our greatest value is educational, as it encourages still and multimedia photographers to evaluate their best work and share it with their peers and the esteemed working professionals who judge the contest each year. The College Photographer of the Year competition was founded by Cliff and Vi Edom in 1945. The University of Missouri administers the contest with support from its co-sponsor Nikon Inc., whose generosity allows CPOY to offer free entry to college students worldwide. We thank them for their 17-year dedication.

Juror information

CPOY hosts separate judging panels for Still Division and Multimedia Division entries. Juror information, including names and affiliations, will be announced shortly before judging. Please see and @collegephotog social media for details.

Select Winners from CPOY 77
Vincent Alban
Vincent Alban
Shooting Scene on Conkey
Minh Connors
Minh Connors
Alejandro helps out the Baez's
Chloe Trofatter
Chloe Trofatter
MSU defeats Penn State
Chris Day
Chris Day
Cairo Street Fire
Ethan Swope
Ethan Swope
War in Ukraine
Ian Cheibub
Ian Cheibub
Jaiden Tripi
Jaiden Tripi
Kristina Lindfors
Kristina Lindfors
Lia among her dogs
Maya Giron
Maya Giron
Anthrocon Furries Parade

Any questions?

Please feel free to contact us.

  • Minh Connors, Clayton Steward & Ellie Frysztak – CPOY Coordinators
  • Jackie Bell – CPOY Director
  • Lisa Krantz – CPOY Assistant Director
  • Email: Web: Phone: 573.882-5737

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