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2018 Student Photo and Video Contest

Yu Zhu (MA ’15, CEAS) took “Red Wine” in Pingyao, Shanxin Province, China, an ancient town that dates back 2000 years. It won first place in our Altered Images category.

Our contest presents an opportunity to show the world through a unique lens – that of the SGS student. Enter your favorite photo(s) or time-lapse video. 

Who can enter?

Any graduate or undergraduate student affiliated with an SGS programs and centers or who participated in the Stanford Global Studies Internship Program.


What makes a photograph a winner? Technical quality, clarity and composition are all important, but so too is a flair for the unexpected and the ability to capture a picture-perfect moment.

Photographs should be entered into one of the following five categories. 

  • The Natural World—Animals, plants and landscapes; geological or climatological features; scientific processes and endeavors
  • People—Individuals from all walks of life
  • Altered Images—Photographs extensively manipulated for artistic purposes by applying digital and/or traditional special effects (i.e. colorizing, toning, collage, photo composites, HDR, etc.)
  • Travel—Locales, peoples or activities in the United States and abroad that convey a sense of place
  • Global Events—Events that capture the global perspective either at Stanford or abroad

Submitted photographs must have been taken by the entrant within the three years prior to the submission date.  Please do not send photos that have been entered in a prior year's contest.

Eight to ten finalists will be selected. From the finalists, category winners and a grand prize winner will be selected. Each category winner will receive a $50 award. Judges will select a grand prize winner who will be awarded an additional $100. We will also post the finalists on social media and offer an additional $50 prize for the “most liked” image. Winning entries will be printed and displayed in SGS and may be used in printed materials and/or online.

Cropped photos are eligible in all categories. Note: Digitally or otherwise extensively enhanced or altered photos, should be entered in the Altered Images category. Minor adjustments, including spotting, dodging and burning, sharpening, contrast and slight color adjustment or the digital equivalents, are acceptable in all categories.

For a photo in which a person is recognizable, you should secure a model release from the subject wherever possible. If the individual is a minor, you will need parental or guardian consent.  Releases are generally not required from people who are identifiable in a photograph of a street or public place provided that the photograph is reasonably related to the subject matter and the identifiable people are not the focus of the photograph. A sample release can be found here.

Click here to see last year's winning photographs.

Time lapse video

Produce a short (two-minutes or less) time lapse video showcasing the student experience in Stanford Global Studies.  How can you use this medium to generate outstanding imagery?  Videos can be taken on campus or abroad, capturing a beautiful nature scene, engaging with other cultures, or recording episodes from life as an SGS and/or Stanford student e.g. global cityscapes, cultural performances, or events.

Depending on the number of entries, judges will select one grand prize winner who will receive a $100 award.  Additional winners may be selected, each receiving a $50 award.

MP4 and MOV files are preferred for quality, although other formats will be accepted.  Here's a couple of examples:

How to enter

Submit one photograph or video per submission using the submission form. For each, include the following:

  1. Your full name, contact information, and degree major
  2. The SGS program you are affiliated with
  3. Category of entry (photos only)
  4. Photo/video title
  5. Short description of your photo or video (what/who, your connection, when and why the photo/video was taken, etc.)
  6. The city, state, or country where the photo was taken

Multiple entries are permitted, but a new entry form will need to be completed for each submission. Photographs must be in a .jpeg, .jpg, .tiff, or .png format that is at least 1 MB in file size and no larger than 10 MB. Please submit the highest-resolution image you have within these guidelines. MP4 and MOV files are preferred for video submissions.

Please label your files with the following format: full name_photo title_country or region_2018.fileformat (i.e. sarah jones_sunset in the serengeti_africa_2018.jpg). 

NOTE: By entering the contest, entrants grant Stanford University a royalty-free, world-wide, perpetual, non-exclusive license to display, distribute, reproduce, and create derivative works of the entries, in whole or in part, in any media now existing or subsequently developed, for any educational, promotional, publicity, exhibition, archival, scholarly, and all other standard purposes.  Any photograph or video reproduced will include credits as feasible.  Neither SGS nor Stanford University will be required to pay any additional consideration or seek any additional approval in connection with such uses.

Entry deadline

Entries must be received by 11:59 pm on Wednesday, April 11, 2018


Judging will take place in April, with results posted early in May, 2018.


Contact Julie Tatsukawa,, 650-724-8932