The Imagely Fund

For the first time ever, we'll be offering TWO $5000 grants in 2019.

We'll award one grant each for a humanitarian and an environmental photography project.

The 2019 grant cycle is in the judging process

Or scroll for details.


"I believe photography can have a profound positive impact on the world. A single great image can move people and capture the urgency of a crisis. I also know firsthand how hard it can be to fund worthy causes that have no immediate commercial value. We started the Imagely Fund to support photographers who are undertaking important projects that can move the needle of public awareness for major humanitarian or environmental issues."



Thanks for your patience ... the 2019 Imagely Fund competition is still in the judging process.

Application Period is Now Closed

The Imagely Fund typically runs once per year. It usually opens in the spring, with award decisions made in early fall depending on the schedules of our judges. Sign up below for email updates when competitions open or winners are announced.


The Imagely Team was honored to host award-winning humanitarian and conflict photographer Giles Clarke as the 2017 Imagely Fund Fellow.

Giles’ work documents the devastating impact of the ongoing war in Yemen. Following the 2015 takeover of Sana’a by Houthi rebels, the country has been beset by poverty, famine, food insecurity and sanitation-related diseases. In February 2018, the World Health Organization declared that the country’s already-catastrophic cholera epidemic would likely intensify following the rainy season. Destruction of critical infrastructure has inhibited access to even basic health care. The United Nations currently estimates that more than 20 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance.

“I am extremely humbled to have been selected as the 2017 Imagely Fund Fellow for my work Yemen in Crisis,” Giles says. “This challenging assignment for UN/OCHA would not have been possible without the logistical support and planning by the tireless OCHA teams both in Yemen and NY. Recognition for the work is so important in helping create awareness for Yemen; a country currently suffering from a full-blown humanitarian crisis and where foreign press coverage remains limited. Many thanks to all at Imagely for supporting this and my upcoming work on the region".


This grant is open to both professional and emerging photographers from any country, worldwide. The grant is focused on environmental and humanitarian photography. Applicants must be over 21 years of age and should have a proven ability to produce outstanding imagery and coherent photo essays, as well as the background necessary to carry out the proposed project. This means that for photographers planning to complete a project in a country other than their own country of origin, there should be a clear demonstration of preparation for work in that country (i.e. proper visas, contacts, language training, etc.), and preferably some experience in the country or a good deal of experience and understanding of the culture and language/customs.

There are no application fees for this grant. The 2019 grant will be open to submissions from June 18 - August 2, 2019.

Each submission may contain only one project proposal. Each applicant may apply only once per submission cycle and only for one category. Applications are not carried over to the following year. All applications must be submitted in English using our online form. Please do not directly email submissions. Using our ONLINE FORM, please be sure to select your appropriate category: ENVIRONMENTAL or HUMANITARIAN photography.

Only applications that meet ALL SUBMISSION CRITERIA will be judged.

Once the application has been submitted, content changes are not allowed. The Imagely Fund is not responsible for misdirected submissions. Applicants should save copies of their application for their own records.

Applicants should NOT send any hard copies or printed materials (no prints, books, CDs/DVDs or transparencies), the Imagely Fund staff will not review any of these materials, and they cannot be returned to applicants.

The application consists of two items: a one-page project statement and a link to your online portfolio which should contain at least one complete photo essay.

Applicants should have a professional website. (There are many wonderful professional-style website templates available, -- such as WordPress -- that are free and easy to use.)

In general, we do not accept links to password-protected galleries, or to Flickr, Picasa, or other photo-sharing sites. If you want to keep your gallery separate from your other work, you can create a specific, non-public link and send that to us with your application. (We occasionally make exceptions to this rule for embargoed or very sensitive projects).

Project Statement

The project statement should be 1-page, preferably as a PDF-- but MS Word is acceptable, too. Please follow these formatting guidelines. It helps our judges to quickly evaluate applications in a systematic manner. Please save and title your submission using your name and/or project title (i.e. Smith2017_Rocks). This makes it easier for the staff and judges to sort and find your project.

Please include the following information, in this order, in the HEADING of your project statement/bio:

Applicant's Name (first and last)
Project Title
Project Location
Applicant's Email
Applicant's Home Country
Web Address of Online Portfolio
Project Category (Environmental or Humanitarian)

The personal statement should describe the proposed project in detail, including:

Who or what will be photographed?

Why is this project important? Include historical, environmental, or cultural background to the project as appropriate. You should display good substantive knowledge of your subject matter.

What positive consequences might result from this project? We are interested in projects that will have a tangible impact or contribution.

What background and preparation do you have that will enable you to carry out the project? (i.e. photographic training/ background/ knowledge or training related your project)

If the proposed project will take place in a country other than your own, please describe your plans for preparations for working in the project location (i.e. visa preparations, local contacts, health vaccinations, language training, etc.).

How do you plan to spend the grant funds? Please include a paragraph outlining a rough budget/breakdown of expected costs.

Link to Online Portfolio. Each applicant should include a link (web address) to an online gallery/photo story of a coherent set of 15-25 images based around a theme or project.

Carrying out an effective project requires not just creative and technical mastery of photography, but also the ability to focus on a single project over time. You need to take time to develop knowledge about your subject matter, build any necessary relationships, and to invest the time to be present when the best photo opportunities present themselves. Your portfolio should display these qualities.

Images displayed in the online portfolio or website MUST BE TAKEN BY THE APPLICANT. Any applicant receiving a grant on the basis of images taken by someone else will be liable to repay the grant's full amount to the Imagely Fund, and will, of course, forfeit the Imagely Fund Fellow title.

If a project involves more than one photographer, all photographers must be listed on the application with links to their specific online portfolios.

Following the application deadline (August 2, 2019), Imagely Fund staff will compile all complete applications that adhere to all submission guidelines.

Imagely Fund staff will perform an initial screening of all applications. Any applications that do not meet the application criteria or which are unlikely to be competitive will be removed. As this is an environmental and humanitarian photography grant, photography projects in other genres/fields will not be considered.

Qualifying top applications will be submitted to the Imagely Fund Judges for consideration.

Selection of the grantee will be based on the Judges’ determination, in their sole discretion, of the following:

Photographic skill, background and promise of the applicant (in terms of photographic vision and technique) based on the applicant's images in his/her web portfolio.

The degree to which the applicant's non-photographic background and training have prepared him/her to undertake the project.
The environmental or humanitarian significance of the project and its potential positive contributions.
The feasibility and viability of the completion of the proposed project within the projected time frame and with the grant funding.
The quality of the overall application packet.

Winners of the grant will be notified after the judging. Due to the hectic nature of our Judges' schedules, exact timing is difficult to predict. We anticipate that the winner will be notified by Fall 2019. The grant winners may share the news with others involved with the project, but we ask that winners please keep news of the award confidential until the public announcement.

Disbursement of Funds, Photo Essay and Deadline for Completion of Project

Imagely Fund Grants are in the amount of $5000. The funds are intended to help cover the costs of travel, lodging, and related expenses for roughly one-month of full-time photography. The funds do not need to be spent on travel and lodging. The project may be ongoing and the Fund may be used to cover specific needs. The most important thing is that applicants outline how funds are expected to be spent. In general, we are interested in supporting the expenses related to the completion of the project -- rather than the purchase of a large item of photographic gear.

The funds will be disbursed in two portions. Imagely Fellows will receive $4000 up-front prior to the project. The remaining $1000 will be disbursed to the Grantee (winner) upon completion of the project and upon receipt of a photo essay/blog post (for the Imagely website) from the project.

For the final photo essay, we expect roughly 5-8 photos, along with a description of the project and how the funds were used. This photo essay will be displayed on the Imagely blog. The Grantees will have 12 months from the announcement of the award to complete his or her project and to provide Imagely Fund staff with a captioned photo essay.

Copyright and Use of Images

The Grantees (i.e. the award winners/photographers) retains (keeps) all copyright and ownership of their images resulting from the project, including the right to sell, print, or distribute images as he or she sees fit. (This means that if you win, you keep the rights to your images.)

By accepting the grant, the Grantees (the award winners) agree, however, to give Imagely a worldwide, non-exclusive right to display the images included in the Grantee's photo essay on the Imagely website. The Grantees also give Imagely the right to use the images from the photo essays on its website, in printed materials, or in galleries for the purpose of promoting the Imagely Fund. (This means that if you win, you allow us to use a small, select set of your images -- that you choose -- in our publications and on our website to promote the grant.)

The Grantees (award winners) retain all rights for licensing and selling their own images -- with the understanding and explicit agreement that a set of the images may also be used by Imagely in the manner mentioned above. (This means that if you win, you can sell your images however you like, but that you allow us to use a small set of them -- which you pick -- to promote the grant. People often ask us if we plan to sell the winner's images -- NO! We are not in the business of selling other photographer's images! The purpose of this grant is to support great photography related to environmental and humanitarian causes).

People have asked -- what would we do if an Imagely Fellow's project were to get picked up by a major publishing outlet that requires first rights or exclusive rights. Answer: We would be thrilled for our Imagely Fellow. In fact, this did happen with our 2011 Imagely Fund winner (then Photocrati Fund), Paul Colangelo. His project work was embargoed for a book deal. Our goal is to support great photographers and their important projects!


All entrants by their participation, agree to be bound by these Official Rules. Imagely reserves the right to disqualify any entrant who violates these rules, and any subsequent entries of the disqualified entrant. The laws of the United States apply to and govern this grant award and any claims must be raised and resolved in the United States. Additionally, entrants and the grant recipient agree to release, discharge, and hold harmless Imagely, Imagely Fund, and Imagely Fund Judges, their affiliates, officers, directors and employees from any liability, claims, or damages arising out of their participation in the promotion and the acceptance, use, misuse, or possession of any grant. All grant recipients, by accepting the grant, agree to the use of their name or likeness for advertising or publicity purposes without compensation, and upon request, to provide consent to such use in writing.

Imagely is not responsible for printing or typographical errors in any contest-related materials; for stolen, lost, late, misdirected, damaged, incomplete, illegible, or postage-due mail or entries; or for transactions that are processed late or incorrectly; or are lost due to computer or electronic malfunction. Imagely reserves the right to cancel or modify the competition if fraud or technical failures compromise the integrity of the offer as determined by Imagely in its sole discretion.

Taxable Compensation

The Imagely Grant is considered compensation. As such, the amount of funding that the grant recipient claims for their expenses may be subject to withholding tax. American citizens or residents should be prepared to provide a US Taxpayer Identification Number shortly after their grant is awarded, before the Awardee (winner) can receive the grant.

Imagely will provide grant recipients outside the US with information and assistance in securing this number if they do not already have such identification. Grant recipients living in the US will be supplied with appropriate reporting information in the form of a 1099. Grant recipients living in other countries will receive 1042 income reporting forms.


Imagely and Imagely Fund staff along with the Imagely Fund Judges will make every possible effort to keep applications confidential and private.

Materials and ideas contained within the application will NOT be used by Imagely the Imagely Fund, or by the Imagely Fund Judges for any purpose other than the grant review and selection process, without expressed written permission from the grant recipients. Grant recipient images may, however, be used for publicity (as outlined in this document).


The 2019 Grant Cycle is now closed and judging is underway. Complete the form below to be notified when the grant is open for submissions again.


You are free to undertake projects without travel. You do need, however, to make a compelling case for how you'll use the funds. We'll be happy to support the purchase of very specific equipment that is necessary for your project (i.e. underwater housing for camera for a project on endangered sharks) -- but we're not interested in buying a new camera without specific project-related needs.

Yes. The Imagely Fund is open to both pro and emerging photographers.

Yes, we welcome projects by photographic teams. However, each award amount still remains a total of $5000. For team project, each photographer must include a link to their own online portfolios for the judges to review.

Yes. You are welcome to submit projects that begin before judging is completed, and we frequently support ongoing projects. We do not, however, fund projects that are completed prior to application.

We are happy to fund portions of ongoing projects or projects of lengths differing from our estimate. It is just that, a rough estimate. Just be sure to outline how you intend to spend the funds in a rough budget.

Yes. One page for everything, please. Your application should consist of just two items: a one-page project statement (which includes your bio and budget), and a link to your online portfolio submitted via our online form. Please make sure that you select the category for which you are applying (environmental or humanitarian) on our online form.Your entire application should fit onto one page. We want to get an overview of who you are, what you do, what your skills are, and what your project is all about -- ALL IN ONE PAGE! It's tough to whittle down such important information to one page -- but it helps keep things fair and consistent for our judges - and ensures that we don’t have loose, random pages floating around!

No. We only accept applications via our online form.

No. We have specific requirements for the application. Please see above for our requirements for submission requirements. All applicants must follow this formatting to keep applications fair and consistent for the judges.

Do not submit any print photos. All submissions are via our online portal. Please provide a link to your online porfolio. We'd like to see cohesive photo essays or galleries. We're looking for between 10-30 images (roughly). We no longer accept password protected galleries. Please provide a specific link to your gallery.

The 2019 grant process will open June 18th. We will accept applications through August 2, 2019.

No. We expect every applicant to have a pro-style website with galleries. There are many FREE website templates that are very easy to use. We recommend checking out the FREE WordPress templates if you're just starting to build your own site.


Each Imagely Fund grant cycle is judged by a panel of distinguished reviewers. The reviewers for the current or most recent cycle are below.

Share this with other photographers

Close Menu