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SPIE International Day of Light Photo Contest

The 2021 SPIE International Day of Light Photo Contest

The SPIE International Day of Light Photo Contest is held annually to raise awareness about IDL and to demonstrate the impact light has on cultural, economic, and political aspects of our global society. 

Amateur and professional photographers alike are encouraged to submit photos for a chance to win cash prizes. Photographers age 13 to 17 should submit their images to the Youth Photo Contest.

The theme of the photo contest is A World of Light: The Vital Role That Light and Light-Based Technologies Play in Daily Life. Examples of content include, but are not exclusive to, artistic images that depict:

      • Various properties of light and how it interacts with the atmosphere, nature, and materials

      • Light technology such as lasers, LEDs, etc.

      • Images created with light technology such as telescopes and microscopes

      • People interacting with light and/or light technology

      • The betterment of the human condition with light

New for the 2021 contest: With our partners at lightsources.org, we have added another science and technology prize. See details below and in our rules.

Enter Photo Contest  ›       Enter Youth Contest  ›

Contest details

By entering the International Day of Light Photo Contest, you are agreeing to the rules.

The 2021 SPIE IDL Photo Contest runs from 16 May 2021 to 16 September 2021.

Have questions? Email us at IDLinfo@spie.org.

Cash Prizes: Important Dates:
• First Prize: US $2,500 • 16 May 2021: The 2021 Photo Contest opens
• Second Prize: US $1,000 • 16 September 2021: The 2021 Photo Contest
• Third Prize: US $500 • 16 October 2021: Winners are notified
• Technology and Science Prizes: US $750 each* • 30 October 2021: Winners are announced
• Youth Prizes: Surprise gift box of SPIE

The Technology and Sciences Prizes are sponsored by lightsources.org. There are two prizes available, one for each of the following categories:

Technology across the globe: Images of light technology; people interacting with light technology; light technology at work.

Technology-produced imagery: Images captured using visible light technology (e.g. light microscopes) or invisible light technology (e.g. synchrotrons, free electron lasers, etc.)


Submissions from previous Photo Contests

2017 2018
2019 2020