The St. Louis Public Radio Teen Photojournalist Prize provides professional recognition, publicity, encouragement, hands-on training, and resources to area high school students who demonstrate a talent for documenting their world through photography.
The competition is open each spring to teens in Quincy, Ill., St. Louis, and Rolla, Missouri. Local schools and youth organizations throughout our listening area are encouraged to participate.
Best in Show — $800 Visa gift card
First Place Categories — $200 Visa gift card each
All contest winners receive:
- Master class with STLPR photojournalist Brian Munoz (as space allows)
- Publication on stlpr.org and on STLPR social media
- Display on Public Media Commons big screen
- Exhibition at UMSL at Grand Center
- A framed print of their winning photograph
- Students will submit original photographs made between Tuesday, April 11, 2023 and Monday, April 8, 2024.
- Entries should have a title, caption and personal reflection as outlined on the entry form.
- Deadline: Monday, April 8, 2024 at 11:59 p.m.
- No more than 3 photo entries per person.
- Entries will be judged by a panel of award-winning local photojournalists and visual storytellers
- Winners will be honored at the opening night of the gallery exhibit at St. Louis Public Radio on Tuesday, May 14 at 7 p.m.
- See the full contest rules
Judges will review entries for the following categories:
An issue-based or general news photograph. If you’re a photographer for your school publication — you can include photos created for student media in this category.
A photograph that captures the human interest of daily life.
A photograph that captures the spirit of a sports competition — individual or a team — through peak action.
A photograph that captures peak emotion by an individual, or team, through game reactions or emotions related to sport.
A photograph that captures a unique aspect of a person’s character or personality. You are able to pose or direct your subject in this category.
A photograph that captures the spirit of a natural environment but could also focus on human-made features or disturbances of landscapes.
Animals and Wildlife
A photograph showing the beauty, detail and character of an animal or other wildlife. Please do not put yourself in danger while capturing these images.
Students can view excellent examples of these categories on the National Press Photographers Association contest page.
Teachers and youth organizations can download these digital assets for handout and display:
So, what separates photojournalism from simply taking pictures?
Photojournalists can tell a story or make a statement through a single image. The images they capture have the power to transport viewers into a moment in time and show insight on a broader subject.
These images celebrate times of joy, capture times of anguish and find the beauty in everyday life. They also allow someone at home to not only know what is happening elsewhere but see it, too. Photojournalism requires patience, creativity and most importantly, curiosity.
2023 Prize Winners
2024 Contest Rules
Please review all of the contest rules before submitting your entries!
- No entry fee is required and all rights to images remain the property of the photographer. See the copyrights and permissions disclosure for full details.
- By submitting to the Contest, the entrant agrees to abide by all Contest rules.
- All entries must be original works by the entrant. Unauthorized use of another’s image will result in disqualification.
- To be eligible, entries must have been made by the entrant between Tuesday, April 11, 2023 and Monday, April 8, 2024.
- The contest is open to local high school or home-schooled students.
- Each entry must be submitted with an entry form detailing the title, caption and a personal reflection; no more than three entries per participant are allowed.
- Judging: Entries will be blindly judged by a panel of professional photojournalists and media professionals, taking into account: the moment captured, image composition (lighting/color/layering/focus), the creativity behind the image, the caption, and the student reflection provided. The decisions of the judges are entirely their own and are final and binding.
Photo Editing: Color images should replicate what the human eye experiences. Because this contest focuses on photojournalism, artistic manipulations are not allowed.
Examples of prohibited techniques include the exaggerated use of color saturation, contrast, and burning and dodging methods. You may not remove or add objects or subjects to a photo in part or whole. You may not use software capture filters. Please do not add masks, borders, backgrounds, text or other effects to your entry.
Allowed editing includes minor cropping, exposure correction, white balance, color toning, sharpening and contrast adjustments. Changing a color photo to completely black and white is allowed — but not spot coloring.
Captions: Captions, or cutlines, are the words that go along with an image to explain what’s happening in the photograph to provide more context. Without a caption, the viewer might get the wrong information or the wrong impression about what’s going on in the photo.
Captions must have all the necessary information included in the first sentence of the photograph — who/what/when/where/why. Make sure to include the names of identifiable people in your photograph. Photo captions should try to follow Associated Press style.
An example: John Smith, a 14-year-old student from Maryville, Ill, plays the saxophone on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024 at Woodland Park in Collinsville, Ill. Smith learned to play saxophone at age 10 from his grandfather James, a local jazz legend who has performed around the world.
- Prizes will be awarded as follows: Best in Show: $800; Best in Category for General News, Feature, Sports Action, Sports Feature, Portrait, Landscape; and Animals and Wildlife Category: $200 each
- Winners will be notified of the results by phone and/or text message.
- Applicants should submit their applications electronically at stlpr.org/prize.
Copyrights and Permissions Disclosure
By submitting photos to the St. Louis Public Radio Photojournalism Contest, the entrant grants to The Curators of the University of Missouri and St. Louis Public Radio license -- with respect to photographs of which the entrant is the sole creator and copyright owner and/or comments, titles, captions, or reflections made by the entrant -- to use, reuse and publish the same, in whole or in part, in any and all media, now or hereafter, for the purpose of the Photojournalism Prize contest and promotions specific to the contest; and if appropriate, to use my name and pertinent education and/or biographical facts in relation to the contest entry.
The entrant agrees to defend, indemnify, save harmless, and fully and forever release The Curators of the University of Missouri, their Officers, Agents, Employees, and Volunteers, from any and all liability, claims and demands arising out of or in connection with the use of photographs and/or comments, titles, captions, or reflections including without limitation any and all claims for copyright infringement, libel, or invasion of privacy.
The entrant certifies that any and all Models and subjects were treated with respect and dignity and that no people, wildlife or the environment were harmed by the creation of my photograph(s). The entrant also certifies that any and all models and subjects who are identifiable in the photographs gave me consent to use their likeness. In order to receive cash prizes, winners will be required to provide personal information for tax purposes to comply with university policy.
For questions regarding the contest rules, submit an email to: email@example.com.
Brian Munoz is a staff photojournalist and multimedia reporter at St. Louis Public Radio. He most recently worked at USA TODAY as a visual storyteller and editor focusing on politics and sports, including the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. His work has appeared in publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, and The Atlantic. Munoz's journalism — both written and visual — has been recognized by state and national organizations, earning him the designation as a 2019 ProPublica Emerging Reporter.
Cristina is the Visual Communications Specialist at St. Louis Public Radio. She previously worked as a videographer for Saint Louis University and St. Louis County and is a former Staff Photographer / Videographer at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was part of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography awarded to the photography staff at the Post-Dispatch for their coverage of the unrest in Ferguson, Mo.
Brian Heffernan is the digital editor and special projects editor at St. Louis Public Radio. Before coming to the newsroom in April 2018, Brian worked as a reporter and photojournalist for a variety of publications including Al Jazeera America, BBC, St. Louis Magazine, Riverfront Times, San Francisco magazine and the Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette newspapers in South Carolina.
Eric Lee is currently a staff photojournalist at St. Louis Public Radio. His personal projects center around identity, community, and resilience. His work has appeared in The Atlantic, Bloomberg, National Geographic, New York Magazine, NPR, Washington Post, and other publications. He is the photographer for the 2023 Pulitzer Prize for Investigations winning series, "Capital Assets" by the Wall Street Journal.
A native New Yorker, Eric earned his B.A. in film studies at Gettysburg College in 2015 and M.A. in new media photojournalism at the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design at George Washington University in 2020.
In his free time, Eric enjoys cooking, taking his dog on long walks, and watching films.
Whitney Curtis is a senior photographer & videographer at Washington University in St. Louis. Before joining WashU, her clients as an independent photojournalist included The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, ProPublica and Politico. Additionally, she worked as a staff photographer at newspapers in the Midwest and Mountain West. Her work has appeared in group exhibitions at the United Nations Visitor Centre, the International Criminal Court in The Hague and the Monroe Gallery of Photography.