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Shortlist for Sony’s 2018 World Photography Awards Contains Significant Portion of Drone Pictures

BY Zacc Dukowitz
16 March 2018

The shortlist of finalists for Sony’s 2018 World Photography Awards came out recently, and it shows just how mainstream drones have become in the photography world.

If you haven’t heard of them, the Sony World Photography Awards are a huge, international competition.

Over 319,000 images were entered this year from photographers located all around the world, with awards being granted across four distinct competitions:

  • Professional: 10 categories judging a body of work
  • Open: 10 categories, reward a single image
  • Youth: Photographers ages 12 to 19—judged on a single image
  • Student: Students studying photography

One thing that stands out this year is that across many of the categories—architecture, landscapes, and sports, to name a few—many of the best pictures were taken by DJI drones.

Keep in mind, the contest is not drone-specific.

Rather, it’s a place where some of the top photographic talent living today has the chance to showcase their very best work. And shots captured by drone seem to have stolen the show this year, in many instances.

There was a very significant change in the entries to the Open [single image] competition this year, as so many more were drone images. The same criteria applies to drone photographers as land or sea-based; the content has to have something special—composition, impact, skill, portraying something special or different or informing in a new way.

– Zelda Cheatle, Head Judge

Sony will announce the winners for each competition on April 19th.

Once the winners are announced, all of the competition’s photos will be put on display in London at the 2018 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition from April 20 to May 6, where the work of over 600 photographers will being featured, including winners, finalists, and commended images.

Now we’ll get out of the way, and let these pictures speak for themselves.


Location: Zhuzhou, Hunan Province, China
Photo Credit: Ming Luo/Sony World Photography Awards


Location: Glacial River in Iceland
Photo Credit: Manish Mamtani/Sony World Photography Awards


Location: Yellow Stone Forest in Gansu province, China.
Photo Credit: Li Wang/Sony World Photography Awards


Location: Scala dei Turchi (“The Turkish Steps”), Sicily
Photo Credit: Placido Faranda/Sony World Photography Awards


Location: Guigong City, Guangxi Province, China
Photo Credit: Shifang Lin/Sony World Photography Awards


Location: China (no specific location provided)
Photo Credit: Xiaoxiao Liu/Sony World Photography Awards


Location: China (no specific location provided)
Photo Credit: Chaoyang Cai/Sony World Photography Awards

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