Show the world the best 10 photos from your project


The big picture

Compé offers you valuable feedback on your photo project

Project minded

Meaningful, cohesive photo projects are the best way to tell your visual story. Submit your project and share it with the world.

Feedback centered

Honest feedback on your project is essential for your improvement as a photographer. Your work can be thoughtfully reviewed by photographers and university-level educators.

Exhibition geared

If selected, your work will be hung in an exhibition here in Philadelphia, where the public gets to see in person why your prints made the cut.

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Project focused

Projects, not single images, bring you big improvement


The saying goes that “a picture is worth a thousand words,” but in reality a single photograph doesn’t say all that much.

That’s why at Compé we’re asking to see the 10 best images from your best photography project. We want to show the world how how meaningful a cohesive submission can be. What’s your best body of work?

Personalized feedback

Advice is worth it’s weight in gold


What sets Compé apart from the pack is the fact that we offer real useful feedback on your project. Because what’s the point of entering a competition if you know there’s little chance you’ll ever get more than an auto-reply email for your time and money?

ONWARD is out to change the way you think about the photography competition system. So we’ve designed a system that starts a conversation, not just a competition. What are the ways you can receive feedback?


Written Review

You’ll have the option of receiving a written review of your submission from a university level educator. You will get thoughtful, constructive and critical feedback on the technical and conceptual aspects of your work, culminating in a well-rounded review.


Video Review

You’ll receive a personalized recorded video from one of the reviewers in ONWARD’s “Global Mentorship Program,” Greg Miller or Karen Marshall. These two experienced and insightful photographers will provide honest advice and individualized recommendations for further inspiration.

What is the Global Mentorship Program, you ask? Check out ONWARD’s flagship yearlong program dedicated to the completion of a long-term project!

What you get in your feedback

Getting constructive feedback means improvement as a photographer. Your review will be focused on just that–where and how you can improve, not just what’s working!

In a balanced and thoughtful overview of your submission, you’ll hear about successful elements as well as ones that need addressing. While the emphasis is on your project as a whole, there is more in-depth analysis of the individual parts that make up your cohesive submission too.

We’ll also send you off with some suggestions of photographers, books, or projects that might give you fresh inspiration.

Take a look at our actual review for Sesh Kumar Sareday, a photographer from the US who participated in this year’s Compé!

Read Actual Review →

Submit & Share Now →


The distinguished guest juror lends a discerning eye and critical voice to Compé


Richard Renaldi

His critically-acclaimed work explores themes of intimacy and the relationships that humans share with one another and their environment.

Get to know the Juror →

Richard Renaldi, internationally recognized photographer, was born in Chicago in 1968 and received his BFA in photography from New York University in 1990. Exhibitions of his photographs have been mounted in galleries and museums throughout the United States, Asia, and Europe.

Following the success of his first book “Figure and Ground,” his second monograph, “Fall River Boys,” was released in 2009 by Charles Lane Press. The book represents an even further refined collection of landscape and portraiture, revealing an intimate and personal view of an industrial town in decline. Renaldi’s most recent monograph “Touching Strangers” was released by the Aperture Foundation in the spring of 2014. In this case Renaldi not only captured intimate moments but in fact created them, encouraging strangers to even briefly appear familiar.

In 2015 Richard was named a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow in Photography. He continues to work on new projects as well as give lectures and workshops for emerging and established photographers.

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Popular Vote

You publish your image, the world votes


The first image submitted by each photographer is automatically published to the online Compé Gallery where viewers all over the world may vote for their favorites. Votes are limited to one per day per viewer.

In addition to being featured online, the popular vote winner receives a cash prize and automatically qualifies for inclusion in the second round of judging.

Polls are open from the very beginning, so the earlier you enter the more votes you’ll get!

Submit & Share Now →


With two rounds of judging by ONWARD’s guest juror, as well as a popular vote and multiple types of feedback, Compé honors a select group of outstanding photographers with an assortment of enviable prizes and opportunities

A view of Compé exhibition

All entrants selected for advancement to the second round will submit prints in a medium of their choosing to be framed and exhibited at Project Basho Gallery from March to May 2016. All chosen work will also be displayed on the ONWARD Galerie website.

As a special thanks for submitting, we are also happy to announce we will be offering all entrants a discount for entry into the Hariban Award Competition from the Benrido Collotype Atelier in Kyoto, Japan!


Second-round finalists will be considered for the following prizes:

2 Juror’s Awards – Grand Prize

  • $750 cash prize
  • Live video review with juror Richard Renaldi
  • Invitation to present your work at ONWARD Summit ’16 on March 12th, 2016 in Philadelphia

Honorable Mentions

  • Written review of your submission by a university level educator

Popular Vote Prize

  • Acceptance into the second round of judging for Compé ’16
  • $200 cash prize


ONWARD Compé stands out among photography contests as a unique opportunity for valuable feedback on your photo project

Feedback is Golden

Every single entrant has the chance to receive constructive critique of their submission. With multiple tiers of submission, you can choose a written response or an in-depth video review of your work. If you win one of the two Juror’s Awards, you’ll even get to chat live over Skype with guest juror Richard Renaldi!


Show business

Are you tired of online-only exposure? Us too. Putting your work on the screen can certainly be useful, but it’s not where you want your work to end up forever. What makes Compé unique is the chance to hang your work in a professional exhibition here in Philadelphia, where the public gets to see in person why your prints made the cut.


Frames on us

Artists almost always get stuck with the bill when it comes to getting their work ready to hang–but not this time. ONWARD provides standard-size frames (up to 20″ x 30″) for the exhibition, ensuring a uniform look to the show while decreasing costs for participating photographers. It’s a win-win!


Prints Matter

With the goal of setting a high standard for photo competitions, Compé remains committed to a two-step judging process:

  • The first round is judged based on digital file submissions.
  • First-round finalists submit exhibition-ready prints for consideration in the final round.


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Submit & Share Now →


Over the past eight years, ONWARD has grown from its humble beginnings as a local photography contest into a highly respected international competition and festival



2008: ONWARD launched in 2008, attracting 283 submissions. Renowned photographer Andrea Modica served as the competition’s first juror.


2009: In just its second year, the competition drew an impressive 413 entrants. The competition was juried by Peter Barberie, Curator of Photographs of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.


2010: For ONWARD ‘10, noted documentary photographer Debbie Fleming Caffery judged from an applicant pool of 418 photographers, selecting multiple works from many of the entrants.


2011: ONWARD’s fourth year was marked by its greatest growth yet, attracting a total of 614 entrants. Juried by celebrated photographer Larry Fink, the exhibition traveled to Ricoh’s Ring Cube Gallery in Tokyo, Japan.


2012: ONWARD’s fifth year was marked by the addition of the inaugural Summit photography conference. The competition was judged by photographer Todd Hido.


2013: Juried by Mark Steinmetz, ONWARD ’13 saw a remarkable increase in international involvement, with just under half of the competition’s entrants coming from outside of the U.S.


2014: ONWARD ’14, juried by Andrew Moore, attracted the greatest international participation yet, with Compé submissions from 24 countries and a contingent of photographers traveling all the way from Japan to join in the Summit event.


2015: ONWARD ’15, juried by Elinor Carucci, drew a phenomenal number of international submissions, with more selected photographers than ever making the trip to Philadelphia to see the exhibition in person.

Take your pick

Tier one: $49
Submit 10 photos

· Submit 10 images
· Featured on online gallery
· Eligible for all prizes
· Eligible for popular vote

Tier two: $79
Submit 10 photos
Receive Written Review

· Submit 10 images
· Featured on online gallery
· Eligible for all prizes
· Eligible for popular vote
· One written review from a university-level educator

Tier three: $159
Submit 10 photos
Receive Video Review

· Submit 10 images
· Featured on online gallery
· Eligible for all prizes
· Eligible for popular vote
· One video review from one of Global Mentorship Program reviewers

Be part of history

Take a few simple steps to participate in this year’s ONWARD!

Submit & Share Now →


Hey, the deadline is January 9th 18th (extended now)! Polls are open from the very beginning, so the sooner you enter, the better chance you have of winning the popular vote!

Need a little help?

Read the FAQs and get some answers →

Review all the details before your submit your photographs!

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Resources for photographers

Check out some of our insightful articles and resources for photographers and get inspired!

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  • “I want to be moved” – Guest Juror Richard Renaldi


    I will not only be looking for strong photographs but also images that have ideas and feelings behind them. Work that holds my attention usually has one or most of these qualities; depth, a unique point of view, maturity, and originality. I am interested in work that has something new to add to the conversation. If the work is conceptual I want it to be aesthetic and smart. If it is journalistic, I want it to also be personal. If it is personal I want it to be universal. It actually doesn’t need to fit into any category and even better if it doesn’t. Your submissions just need to transcend and I want to be moved.

    Read Richard's full-length interview »