Professional Rules

Applications for The Alexia Professional Grant are closed.
Winners have been announced.

The Alexia Foundation offers a professional Alexia Grant to enable professional
photographers and visual journalists to produce substantial bodies of work that
share the Foundation’s goals of promoting world peace and cultural
understanding. Work that helps bring about change is more valued.

Grants are administered by the Foundation and the endowed Alexia Chair at The
Newhouse School at Syracuse University.

Alexia Foundation Grants were created to support still photographers and that
remains our primary mission. We recognize that the profession more and more
calls for a diverse range of story forms. Therefore, while your submissions must
have a set of still photographs, you may also submit other story forms as part of
your grant application submission. Those may include audio, motion, VR or any
other visual format.

The Professional Grant recipient will receive $20,000 for the production of the
proposed project.

There is a $50 application fee for professional grant applications.

Deadline for submission is January 31, 2017 at midnight Eastern U.S. Time.

Complete submission guidelines are on the submission page. Your submission
will include a proposal synopsis of up to 25, the proposal of up to 3,500
characters, your resume, three references, up to 20 still photographs and links
to motion pieces, if you wish to include a motion component for consideration.

Winners will be announced on or around April 8, 2017. Judging takes place at
Syracuse University March 24 and 25 at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public
Communications and is open to the public.


Photographers and visual journalists from any country may apply for this Grant.
Proposals for projects that have already received grants or awards of more than
$10,100 in the previous calendar year are not eligible. The Grant is made to an
individual photographer; project proposals that involve multiple content
producers will not be accepted - unless you also submit a motion piece with
your still images. You must be the primary creator on motion pieces but may
have produced the piece with a small support team.

Application Procedure

Your application must include the items listed below – there is no form to fill out
in advance. Once those are ready, click the submit button at right and follow
instructions from there. You will be prompted to pay the $50 entry fee during the
application process.

Written Elements
Submit written elements as PDF documents.

1. Synopsis: In not more than twenty-five (25) words, write a synopsis of your

2. Proposal: A written proposal of not more than 700 words (3500 characters) to produce a
body of work comprised of still or motion body of work that will promote world
peace and cultural understanding. Nearly all previous grant recipients have
proposed projects that were already in progress.

The most effective proposals start by telling a story that takes the reader to the
setting and engages them emotionally. Then describe why the project is
important. Then explain how you will accomplish the project. Conclude by
explaining the outcomes of the project, how it will be used, ideally to bring about
change. Evidence that you have created partnerships with other organizations is

Do not put your name or other identifying information on your proposal. All
applications will be judged anonymously.
Only one application per person each year will be accepted.

For helpful tips on writing a proposal, see our blog post with National Geographic Director of Photography and former Alexia grant judge Sarah Leen.

3. Resume: A resume which shall include your email address, phone numbers
and address along with the names, titles and phone numbers of three (3)
references. Do not send any letters of recommendation.

Photographs - What and How To Submit

Submit a body of work consisting of up to twenty (20) photographs. Images
should demonstrate your ability to accomplish your proposed project. If you
submit photos that are not related to your proposal, they must have been taken
within the past two (2) years. There is no time limit on pictures that relate directly
to your story proposal.

Image Preparation: Digital photo files must be formatted as medium-quality
JPEG images at 5000 pixels at the longest dimension at 72 dpi. Each image
must have a caption in the file’s metadata/exif caption field. Do not include your
name in captions or exif fields. You may provide URLs for no more than two (2)
of your motion pieces - which should reflect your proposed project or a topic or
approach that is similar to your proposed subject.

For Staff Photographers:
If you are a staff photographer: Professional Grant applicants who are staff
photographers must provide written permission from their employer granting
them a leave of absence of approximately three (3) months over the course of a
year to allow time to complete their project. It is not necessary for this time to be
taken in a single block. While all other application elements will be submitted
online, the letter of permission must be mailed to:

Mike Davis
The Alexia Grant Competition
Professional Division
S.I. Newhouse School of Communications
215 University Place
Syracuse, NY 13244

Ethical Standards 

The Alexia Foundation follows ethical photojournalistic
standards as set forth by organizations such as the National Press
Photographers Association, World Press Photo and Pictures of the Year
International. Images may not be altered to change the structural integrity of
photographed scenes. Toning of images - saturation, contrast, vignetting,
dynamic range, etc. - must be within reasonable limits, as determined by the
panel of judges.

Judging Criteria & Process

The Grant was established to help promote world peace and cultural
understanding. The strength of your written proposal will be judged equally to
your photographic skills. The Grant goes to those who clearly and concisely
propose significant projects that share in the Foundation’s mission and who
demonstrate the ability to accomplish their proposals by showing photographs
of the highest caliber. Photographs you submit with your proposal may be about
your proposal’s subject or of past work that is of a similar type. (It is rare that a
recipient has not already started work on the project that she or he is

Professional Grant applications will be judged in two rounds. First, members of
the Alexia Board and its Advisory Council will review submissions and forward
the top tier of entries to a panel of judges who will read and rank the story
proposals for all those portfolios brought forward. The second and final round of
judging takes place at Syracuse University and is by a three-member panel.
Winning recipients are chosen based on the judging panel’s determination of the
combination of the strongest proposal and photographs.

Expectations of Grant Recipients

Professional grant recipients will produce a substantial body of work on the
project they’ve proposed – in the realm of one to three months of field time,
depending on the project – within one year of signing the grant agreement.
Recipients will submit sixty high resolution images at the conclusion of the
project and if a motion piece is produced, a digital file of the piece will also be
submitted to the Alexia Foundation and Alexia Chair. Grant recipients will consider images made during the entirety of their project in choosing the 60 images and may consult with the Alexia Chair to create the selection. The goal of the 60-image selection is to reflect the full scope of the recipients’ project. Images must have captions.

Recipients must also submit a document that outlines the project as it was completed; describe the work they’ve produced as a result of the grant, including outcomes of the body of work.

Grant of Rights

All applicants understand, acknowledge and agree that should they be awarded
a Grant, said Grant recipient retains the copyright to his/her photograph(s), and
explicitly grants the Foundation, its licensees, affiliates and their designees an
irrevocable, non-exclusive perpetual royalty-free license to use, copy, publish,
distribute, screen and display such Grant-related photographs, photo stories,
picture essays, multimedia or photo-documentary projects, in any and all
manner, form/medium/media now known or hereafter created, and in any
publication, advertising, marketing, venue or program sponsored or authorized
by the Foundation for the advancement of its mission and goals, including but
not limited to educational, promotional and fundraising purposes at the
Foundation’s sole discretion, without additional permission or consideration, or
notification to the Grant recipient or any third party.

The Alexia Chair at Syracuse University may also use entry materials as part of
his educational responsibilities.

Each applicant warrants and represents that every photograph submitted with
such applicant’s Grant entry is his/her own original work and that he/she has the
unrestricted right to grant to the Foundation the license described above.

Alexia Grants will be awarded subject to these additional terms:

The license granted herein by the applicant to the Foundation for use of
photographs submitted with the applicant’s Alexia Grant application shall be
extended in all its terms to all works created by the applicant in the course of
any project funded in any part by the applicant’s Alexia Grant.

Each applicant shall be deemed to have consented to the use of his/her name,
portrait, and/or picture by the Foundation in promotional and public relations
materials or for any other purpose related to the Alexia Grant program or the

Each applicant shall agree to reasonable requests by the Foundation to present
such applicant’s work and/or represent the Foundation at photography
workshops, seminars and/or conventions, provided that any necessary expense
associated with such presentations is paid by the Foundation.

Each applicant shall be responsible for determining his or her own tax liability
arising from acceptance of the Alexia Grant, and for satisfaction of any such


If you are uncertain about any of these requirements, please contact Alexia
Chair Mike Davis at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public
Communications by e-mail at
View Prior Winning Submissions