Who will fund a visual story you are planning but have not yet commenced?
Collected here are funding opportunities that meet two basic criteria:
The grant is provided specifically for the production of new visual projects (meaning grants like the OSI Audience Engagement Grant are not included because they exclude the shooting of new work);
An open application process (meaning they do not depend on prior selection, as in the Magnum Emergency Fund which uses a group of nominators to invite applicants).
The grants we’ve selected also don’t charge significant entry fees.
The text below is taken from their respective websites. Click on the links to go to those sites for further information, including the deadlines for the next round of applications.
This living list was made in January 2017 and will be updated periodically. If you are aware of other funders, or errors in this listing, please contact us.
The following list is in alphabetical order:
Alicia Patterson Foundation: The Alicia Patterson Foundation’s mission is to foster, promote, sustain and improve the best traditions of American journalism. The foundation provides support for journalists engaged in rigorous, probing, spirited, independent and skeptical work that will benefit the public. Alicia Patterson fellowships are open only to U.S. citizens who are full-time print journalists, or to non-U.S. citizens who work full-time for U.S. print publications, either in America or abroad. Freelancers are welcome to apply. Photographers who have previously been awarded grants by the foundation include Jon Anderson, Stephen Ferry and Teru Kuwayama (2007), Brenda Ann Kenneally (2008) and Alessandra Sanguinitti (2010).
Alexia Foundation: The professional Alexia Grant was not established with the single purpose of rewarding the best photographers — this is not a portfolio competition. The grant will be awarded to a photojournalist who can further cultural understanding and world peace by conceiving and writing a concise, focused, and meaningful story proposal, and who can demonstrate the ability to visually execute that story with compelling images. There is no mathematical formula for determining grantees, but the proposal and photography must both be considered of the highest quality. The Foundation also provides cash grants to enable student photographers to have the financial ability to produce a picture story that furthers the Foundation’s goals of promoting world peace and cultural understanding.
Catchlight: The inaugural CatchLight Fellowship of $30,000 each will be awarded annually to three creative leaders in the field of visual storytelling who have demonstrated excellence in the novel use of photography to depict and bring awareness to challenging social issues. The grants will build on work by each of the fellows with potential to achieve a next level of excellence in visual storytelling, innovation in distribution and measurable social impact.
Canon Female Photojournalism Award: Organized annually, the contest has run since 2000. The winning photographer receives €8,000 to finish a photojournalistic project, which will then be shown the following year at the Visa pour l’Image festival. The competition is open to female photojournalists of any age and nationality.
Carmignac Gestion: The Carmignac Gestion Photojournalism Awardaims to support photojournalism since it demands courage, audacity, freedom and determination. Each year, a reportage subject that is directly linked to current events is suggested to international, professional photojournalists. An independent jury of experts made up of image and information specialists will select a reportage project to be achieved that will receive 50,000 euros in support. This grant includes the execution of the reportage and the acquisition by Carmignac Gestion of four photographs chosen from the reportage. Carmignac Gestion will also provide its full backing for the photojournalist to develop, promote and distribute the reportage. An exhibition will be organized within 12 months of the prize being awarded and a monographic book presenting the award-winner’s work will be published.
CENTER: The annual Project Development Grant was initiated to help a photographer complete a work in progress, and the Project Launch Award helps the completion and dissemination of a project. Open to all photographic fine-art and documentary projects or series.
The Documentary Project Fund: The Documentary Project Fund will be offering two Project Support Awards. The first is the Established Artist $5,000 award, open to anyone on any topic local to the photographer. The second is the Emerging Vision $3,500 award, meant for new or transitioning photographers. All applicants must have the appropriate skill level necessary to plan and execute a documentary project. Selected artists will have one year to complete the photographic work.
European Fund for Investigative Journalism: The aim of Journalismfund.eu, the European Fund for Investigative Journalism, is to promote quality journalism in Europe by giving journalists the chance to carry out journalistic research projects. The project should be one that, in principle, could not be realized in this format within the remit of regular journalism — a project that can include cross-border research, networking between colleagues, established and innovative investigative methods and that is at the same time original, innovative and intensive. Journalismfund.eu will support journalists, who have good ideas for cross-border research and for research on European affairs. Support for travels, translations and simply time for research can be granted.
Fund for Investigative Journalism: The FIJ’s Board of Directors meets periodically throughout the year to consider grant applications for investigative projects and books. It is the fund’s policy to pay the first half of approved grants to successful applicants, with the second half of the grant paid on evidence of publication of a finished project in accordance with the original proposal. Second-half grants are not guaranteed if projects are not completed in a timely fashion or if the projects are published in a different form or in a different outlet than originally proposed. In 2010, the Seattle photojournalist Tim Matsui received a grant to document human trafficking in Cambodia. He contributed to a multimedia series on trafficking published online by KUOW Radio (Seattle).
Getty Images: Getty Images offers many types of grants. The Editorial Grant, is available to both professionals and students. They award five grants providing $10,000 as well as editorial, logistical and promotional support. In addition, they annually award three $10,000 Instagram Grants to support photographers documenting stories from underrepresented communities around the world using Instagram.
Gomma Photography Grant: The Gomma Photography Grant offers €1,000 for an ongoing project that is to be completed within 18 months of submission.
Ian Parry Scholarship: The Ian Parry Scholarship is designed to award young documentary photographers with a bursary that will enable them to undertake a chosen project and raise their profile in the international photographic community. The award is divided into two, The Award for Achievement and the Award for Potential, and is for young photographers who are either attending a full-time photographic course or are under 24. Each winner receives $3,500 and Canon equipment. The winner of the Award for Potential also receives one year of personal mentorship. The winner of the Achievement Award also receives automatic acceptance into the final list of nominees for the World Press Photo Foundation Joop Swart Masterclass and is added to Reportage by Getty Images’ online Emerging Talent group.
The Imagely Fund: The Imagely Fund offers $5,000 grants to emerging photographers to undertake important humanitarian and environmental photography projects. Their goal is to identify outstanding, up-and-coming photographers and give them the resources necessary to pursue projects that will have a tangible and positive effect on the world.
Inge Morath Foundation: The annual Inge Morath Award is given to a female photographer under 30 years of age, to assist in the completion of a long-term documentary project. The winner and finalists are selected by the photographer members of Magnum Photos and a representative of the Morath Foundation at the Magnum annual meeting. The call for submissions and guidelines are announced annually by The Magnum Foundation and The Inge Morath Foundation on their web sites, usually in January/February. Winners of the Award are announced in July.
International Reporting Project: The IRP fellowships allow international journalists to do original, in-depth reporting projects. Since the program was created in 1998, more than 600 journalists have been awarded IRP fellowships and have reported from more than 100 countries around the world. In 2013, IRP opened the fellowship program to international media professionals. The program encourages journalists to cover neglected, under-reported stories of global importance. As much of the mainstream media have reduced their coverage of international issues, the International Reporting Project is filling some of the void.
International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF): The IWMF supports women (only) with grants and reporting fellowships. The Reporting Grants For Women’s Stories provides opportunities for women journalists to pursue international stories of importance through gender-sensitive coverage of underreported topics. The grants will average $5,000 USD and will be awarded to cover reporting-related costs including travel (flights, ground transportation, drivers), logistics, visa fees, and payment for fixers/translators. The Howard G. Buffett Fund For Women Journalists provides financial support for women journalists to pursue opportunities that will make them leaders in the news industry. Flexible grant amounts will support a wide range of innovative, original, and collaborative news media projects, and to strengthen the skills of women journalists worldwide.
The Luminous Endowment for Photographers: The M. Reichmann Grant is valued at $5,000 and is awarded twice yearly. Sponsored by the endowment’s founder, this award is granted to photographers of all ages who are moving to the next level in their art and craft. This is just one of the many grants offered by The Luminous Endowment for Photographers. The Greater China Grant is valued at US$5,000 and is awarded twice yearly. It is open to photographers of all ages and levels of experience, from anywhere in the world. There are no restrictions on the style of photography or subject(s) chosen except that the subject(s) must be located in Greater China, which for these purposes is defined as being Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.
The Magenta Foundation: The Canadian-based Magenta Foundation opens a call for submissions at the beginning of the year and awards $10,000 to the winner of their Flash Forward Emerging Photographer Project Grant. Applicants must be Canadian, British or American photographers who are 34 or younger at the end of the prior year. In addition, the Bright Spark winner will be awarded a $8,000 cash prize and the runner-up will be awarded a $2,000 cash prize. Check out the foundation’s FAQ page for more information.
Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation for International Photography: Photographers around the world are encouraged to submit entries focusing on lives and populations ravaged by war, famine, poverty, religious persecution, political oppression, forced migration, and other social injustices. The winning submission will be awarded a Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation Grant of $5,000 to be utilized for the production or completion of a social documentary project. The shortlisted photographers will be exhibited in Arles at Galerie Huit during Les Rencontres d’Arles. Photographers of all nationalities who are at least 18 years of age are encouraged to apply.
National Geographic: The National Geographic Society awards grants for storytelling through its Committee for Research and Exploration. National Geographic welcomes applications from around the world, and specifically encourages applicants from outside the United States to apply. Storytelling grants support people who pursue projects that demonstrate the power of science and exploration to change the world. Storytelling grants are awarded based on fresh story angles; potential of the project to reach its target audience; qualifications of the applicant and team; and alignment with one of the Society’s lenses (The Human Journey, Wildlife and Wild Places, and Our Changing Planet). Awarded funds will support field expenses and equipment, and budgets may include stipends to applicants without full-time, paid positions.
PhotogrVphy: PhotogrVphy’s grant awards $1,000 annually to the applicant with the most inspirational photographic idea to support a visual project. The grant is free to enter for all photographers over 18, but your series of photographs should be built off one of these themes: architecture, conceptual, nature, photojournalism or culture.
The Pierre and Alexandra Boulat Association: In order to to assist photojournalists struggling with the economic hardships associated with this profession, the association is promoting an annual grant (€8,000). The award is presented to a professional photographer of any age, sex or nationality who wishes to cover a social, economic, political or cultural issue in a journalistic manner, on presentation of a dossier. The award is given in order to allow the winner to produce a story that has never been told but that the photographer cannot find support for within the media.
The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting: The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting funds international travel costs associated with reporting projects on topics and regions of global importance, with an emphasis on issues that have gone unreported or under-reported in the mainstream American media. The amount of individual travel grants will depend on the specific project and detailed budget planning. Most awards fall in the range of $2,000 to $10,000, but depending on project specifics may be as much as $20,000.
Rebecca Vassie Trust: The Rebecca Vassie Memorial Award comprises a grant of £1,200, a mentor, development sessions with industry professionals, and premier printing services at Metro Imaging. They then work with the award recipient to organize public and industry exposure of the final work. The award aims to support early-to-mid career photographers with multiple credits and excellent portfolios, who are working professionally but not yet earning a full living from photographic work.
Reminders Project: The Reminders Project Asian Photographers Grantoffers financial support of up to US$3,000 for an in-depth photographic documentation in Asia. The awarded project will be shown at the 2017 Angkor Photo Festival. The grant is open to all Asian photographers with no age limit. Applicants who are ethnically Asian, but who were born or are currently residing outside of Asia are also eligible.
The Royal Photographic Society Bursaries: The Royal Photographic Society offers some bursaries for new projects: in partnership with The Photographic Angle it offers two, one-year bursaries (£3,000) to support a photographic project that will promote environmental awareness. In partnership with the Guardian, it administers The Joan Wakelin Bursaryof £2000 for the production of a photographic essay on an overseas social documentary issue.
STERN magazine: With its striking and often hard-hitting imagery the German weekly STERN magazine has been setting international standards in magazine photojournalism for decades. STERN magazine calls for submissions for the STERN Grant (also in German), a 10,000 euro scholarship award. With this award the sponsors aim to give talented young photographers the opportunity to work on a long-term photojournalism project they are passionate about. It is important that the proportion of photos yet to be produced must be 70 percent or more compared to those already available.
The Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and Fund: The Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and Fund (DFP) is is a resource for independent documentary filmmakers worldwide working on cinematic documentaries focused on human rights and contemporary-issue themes. Year-round support spans funding, creative support, and audience engagement support for individual films, as well as field-wide support in targeted regions globally.
University of Cape Town: The Ernest Cole Photographic Award has been established to stimulate creative work in photography in Southern Africa. The emphasis will be on creative responses to South African society. The bi-annual award, worth R150,000 (c. £13,000 or $21,000) is managed by the University of Cape Town library, and offers a unique opportunity for photographers to complete an existing project.
W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography: The W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography (US $30,000) is presented annually to a photographer whose past work and proposed project, as judged by a panel of experts, follows the tradition of W. Eugene Smith’s concerned photography and dedicated compassion exhibited during his 45-year career as a photographic essayist.
Women Photograph: Women Photograph announced their inaugural round of project grants for female, female-identifying, and non-binary photographers. The $5,000 Women Photograph + Pulitzer Center grantwill support a documentary project — either new or in-progress — from an established mid-career visual journalist. The second grant, supported by ONA, offers three (3) $2,500 grants to support documentary projects — either new or in-progress — from three emerging visual journalists. Applications open 1 April.
Women in Photography (WIPNYC): The Women in Photography (WIPNYC) Grant & Mentor Program will provide one female photographer with financial support and mentorship. The grantee will receive $5,000 to produce work. In addition, they will be paired with four photo/arts professionals for one-on-one Skype or Google Hangout sessions. Each mentor will be available for 6 hours over the course of one year (for a total of 24 hours). Launched in June 2008, Women in Photography is an innovative website founded by artists Amy Elkins and Cara Phillips that focuses on exhibiting work outside of the traditional model of the commercial art world, allowing it to reach a global audience and to provide opportunities at no cost.