Categories for 2023

The awards celebrate the unforgettable, unique, and unsung music images from 2022.

The Abbey Road Studios Music Photography Awards is a FREE to enter global competition shining a light on the creatives behind the lens. The competition covers two areas: Open Entry and Invited Entry. The categories within are designed to showcase emerging, undiscovered & established talent.

All entries submitted into the open entry categories are reviewed by our expert Submissions Panel, led by Rolling Stone Photo Editor Sacha Lecca, alongside acclaimed photographers and Music Photography Awards 2022 alumni Yana Yatsuk and DeShaun Craddock.

Our judging panel, helmed by photographer, publisher and director Rankin, together with Cat Burns, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Vicky Grout, Karen Binns, Eric Johnson, Matthew Josephs and Nakyung Han will then nominate, debate and award the defining photographs that capture moments of creativity – in the studio, on stage and behind-the-scenes.

For five of the categories (Undiscovered Photographer of the Year, Music Moment of the Year, Underground Scenes, Live Music and In the Studio) all photos submitted must be taken between 1 January 2022 to 31 December 2022.

The Hip-Hop 50 category is in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop and serves as a vibrant homage to 50 years of photography. In celebration the MPAs will be accepting photos from the last 50 years (1st January 1973 – 31st December 2022).

Discover the Open Categories

Undiscovered Photographer of the Year supported by adidas

Recognising emerging, unsung talent. Do you have a body of work waiting to be discovered?

Music Moment of the Year supported by Outernet London

Celebrating THE image that defined music in 2022. Could your picture be remembered for generations to come?

Underground Scenes

Tribes, vibes, stories, scenes. Shining a light on grassroots movements & the photographers documenting subcultural music scenes around the world. Take a shot that champions music subculture in 2022, then take a shot at the Underground Music Scenes Award.

Live Music supported by Philips Ambilight TV

Did you capture the image that defines live music in 2022? Show us what live music means to you.

In the Studio

Where music creation & the art of photography meet. Showcasing musicians at work & play in the studio.

Hip Hop 50 supported by Hennessy

2023 marks 50 years of Hip-Hop: five decades of captivating beats, powerful lyrics and ground-breaking artistry that have left an indelible mark on popular culture. We will allow photos from the last 50 years to be submitted.

Entrants must be 25 years or older

The Invited Categories

Entries to the invited categories will be nominated by our Judging Panel showcasing more established global music photographers, and the images which made a serious impression on them.

Portrait Photography Award

A photograph that captures the spirit, essence, and personality of the artist. Stylised, conceptual, or candid, it’s how the artist represents their work through visual imagery.

Editorial Photography Award

Editorial photography draws the viewer in, sharing a whole story with an image. It can create an entire mood, illuminate written text, set a tone or present a highly evolved creative concept.

Artist at Work Photography Award

This award celebrates a defining photograph that captures a moment of creativity of the artist at work – in the studio, on stage, behind-the-scenes.


A special honour in recognition of an individual whose impact and contribution to the art of music photography is unparalleled.

The recipient of the 2022 Icon Award was New York based photographer Eric Johnson. His work embraces and epitomises the soul of New York, bringing together a community of young & old, black & white, natives & immigrants from all walks of life. His work dates more than 30 years and has been published in Vogue, Dazed & Confused, The Face, W, Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Interview Magazine and 032c. He has photographed luminaries ranging from Muhammad Ali and Floyd Mayweather to Peter Bogdanovich and Jim Jarmusch. He is best known for his work documenting the US music culture of the late ‘90s and early 2000s. His photos of Biggie Smalls, Nas, Missy Elliott, Lauryn Hill and the late Aaliyah defined an era of US music photography. His recent work with the likes of Doja Cat and last year’s MPAs judge Shygirl continues to place him at the heart of contemporary pop music culture.