Short Grants

Budgets for newsrooms are shrinking and one of the greatest victims is the community photo story. Photographers don’t have the time or the funding that they used to have to work on compelling stories in their community.

The National Press Photographers Association is supporting the community photo story through the NPPA Short Grants, with six awards of $6000 each. This represents an increase in the grant funding, doubling last years amount.

A project funded by a short grant should be small in scale and focused. Staff photographers are encouraged to apply and complete the project during furlough, vacation or comp time. Independent photographers are also encouraged to apply. Priority is not based on employment status but on your ability to tell a great visual story, and on whether or not you have a great idea for a story that needs to be told.



Q: When is the entry period?
A: The entry period will open Tuesday July 29, 2014. The deadline for submitting your application for 2014 grants is noon EST on Monday, August 25, 2014.

Q: Who is eligible to apply?
A: According to the guidelines of the funding we are using, Eligible applicants must be "published authors" who make their living primarily through still photography and whose work is typically published in the United States.

Q: How do I apply?
A: All entries will be submitted through our online application system. Among the information you will be asked to provide: your name and contact information, your employer and employment status (if you are a staffer); whether you will use furlough or vacation to schedule the project; a 600 word description of the grant proposal; a brief description of any expected expenses/ budget; photographs that either illustrate the idea or show a past project; and the name and contact information for two references.

Q: What is expected for entry of images?
A: You should enter photographs that either illustrate the idea for your proposal or show a past project. You can enter up to three picture story sets, and at least one is required. You'll list the title of the story and a caption for each photo. Image files must be JPEG files only; files should be no larger than 3 MB.

Q: Can I submit more than one grant proposal?
A: Due to the nature of the grant funding and the time constraints on selecting a winner we ask the each entrant submit only one, their strongest, grant proposal.

Q: Do you accept group grant applications?
A: These grants are offered to individuals.

Q: If I won in a previous year am I eligible this year?
A: No, because of our funding source, photographers are only allowed to win the grant once. The goal is to disburse the funding among as many photographers as possible since it is really an attempt to return reprographic rights moneys to you.

Q: My story idea description takes more than 600 words.
A: Sorry. We need to know that you are a good communicator and can tell a compelling story succinctly. The description should not be the entire story- just enough to get us familiar with your plans and your idea.

Q: Who is the sponsor of this grant?
A: The Short Grants are made possible from the distribution of international reprographic royalties that NPPA receives from its membership in the Authors Coalition of America (ACA). ACA royalties must be spent to benefit published photographers who might have had their work reproduced overseas.

Q: What do you want to see in the application?
A: The primary criteria in judging are 1) your ability to tell a great visual story, and 2) a great idea for a story that you haven’t told yet.

Q: What type of story are you looking for?
A: Priority will be given to community photo stories based in the US. However, the judges will be permitted to award up to two photo stories that are based overseas.

Q: Do you have to be an NPPA member to qualify?
A: No. This grant is funded by international reprographic rights funds and while we encourage everyone to join NPPA, the program is open to all as a term of the funding. We won’t even know if you are a member or not prior to judging.

Q: Can students apply?
A:This grant is only available to working professionals.

Q: Who owns the copyright to the images taken with short grant funds?
A: Ummm. You do, silly. We are the NPPA, not some ugly corporation trying to steal from you. We do require that you give us permission to publish images from your project in News Photographer and online to promote the grant program. We need to be accountable for our use of the grant money. If you have a publisher for the work, we will honor any first publication agreements that you have.

Q: Will this be offered every year?
A: We hope so. Because this is funded by a grant, which fluctuates, we have no way of knowing. We have seen great success in past years and hope to continue this project for as long as possible.

Q: Who won the grants in previous years?
A: The 2013 Short Grant winners were Matt Black, Diane Weiss, April Saul, Cengiz Yar Jr., John Locher, William Plowman, and Logan Mock-Bunting.The 2012 Short Grant winners were Jared Soares, Amanda Lucier, Paul Kitagaki Jr., Torsten Kjellstrand, Christopher Capozziello, and Jenn Ackerman. The 2011 Short Grants winners were Victor J. Blue, Gabriela Bulisova, Mary F. Calvert, Matt Eich, and Mark Ovaska

If you have other questions please contact [email protected]