PTD Photo Travel Essay Competition (Digital Only)

PTD Photo Travel
Essay Competition

‚úČ Judy Burr, APSA, MPSA·


Entry Deadline: July 1

There is only one category in the Photo Travel Essay Competition. Essays may be in color, monochrome or mixed. Short video clips are permitted but must not dominate the essay. There are no geographical limitations.

To enter a 20-image essay without music, spoken words or special effects, see the PTD Mini-Essay Competition

Award Winning Videos

Select the year (below) to view the video


  • A Gold Medal will be awarded to the best essay.
  • Other awards and Honorable Mentions will be determined by the total number of entries and the discretion of the judges.
  • The winning essays will be posted on the PSA website.

Star Credits

  • All award winners receive four (4) acceptance credits and two (2) title credits in Photo Travel Stars 1 through 5.
  • For Galaxies 1 through 5, winners can apply one (1) title credit with three (3) acceptances.
  • No credits toward Diamond Ratings or PSA Who’s Who are given.
  • No more than three photo essay acceptance credits and one essay title credit can be claimed for any one Galaxy 1-10 rating.

Eligibility & Rules

  • All entrants must be individual members of PSA in good standing.
  • Entrants may submit up to two (2) essays
  • The maker’s name may not appear in the essay, but name and show title must be on the disc if one is submitted.
  • All images must be made in a camera by the entrant or scanned from the maker’s own transparencies or negatives. All photographs in an essay must be made by only one photographer.
  • No show may be longer than 5 minutes and may include short video clips which do not dominate, music and/or narration.
  • The use of copies of photographs or artwork is permitted if they are a small portion of the show and help tell the story.
  • Submission using Dropbox, WeTransfer or similar program is preferred, but you may send a DVD. You must be sure it will play on a PC.
  • File format must be mp4 (if available: html5, H.264), mov, or avi). No proprietary file format of a video editing software program is allowed. PowerPoint (ppt), Keynote (key), or Executable (exe) files must be converted to acceptable file formats. (See Suggestions and Guidelines for Photo Travel Essays) (doc) (revised March 2021).
  • Photographs must meet the Photo Travel Definition* as a whole, but individual pictures such as close-ups of people or objects may be included if they do not dominate the essay.
  • The Photo Travel Definition will be read to the judges prior to judging.
  • Permitted music is music that follows Internet copyright laws allowing it to be played on websites. This is the only type of music that will be accepted in this competition. Any entrant submitting an essay that does not follow copyright laws will have their essay disqualified or rejected. See Guidelines on Royalty Free Music in the Photo Show Music Guidelines. Entrant will be informed if there is a problem with the music. Music credits must appear at the end of the essay.
  • Recommended music sites are listed in the PSA website. Some information is under Competition-Music Guidelines. Members already logged in can reach the Photo Show Music Guidelines page directly. There is a list of sources for music.
  • A specific show may be submitted to only one PSA division each year.

Entry Forms

  • Download and complete one entry form (available as a PDF or Word doc) for each travel essay submitted. A completed entry form is required for each CD/DVD. It is best to send all your entries together. Mailing instructions can be found at the bottom of the entry form.

    Essays that do not follow the music guidelines at are not eligible for this contest. Please note - link is  accessible after member login

  • » Photo Travel Essay competition Entry Form - due July 1:   pdf | interactive pdf | doc (forms updated March 2021)

  • » Photo Travel Definition: A Photo Travel image expresses the characteristic features or culture of a land as they are found naturally. There are no geographic limitations. Images from events or activities arranged specifically for photography, or of subjects directed or hired for photography are not permitted. Close up pictures of people or objects must include features that provide information about the location.

    Techniques that add, relocate, replace or remove any element of the original image, except by cropping, are not permitted. The only allowable adjustments are removal of dust or digital noise, restoration of the appearance of the original scene and complete conversion to greyscale monochrome. Other derivations, including infrared, are not permitted. All images must look natural.

    The Photo Travel Division has produced a Guide for Chairs and Judges.  It is vital that these guides are issued to judges, and that Chairs of Exhibitions/Competitions ensure that all judges have read the guides and understand them. The guides (translated into several languages) can be found below or on the home page of the Photo Travel Division.