We are delighted to present the official 2018 Photography Shortlist!

Chosen from thousands of submissions, our judging team’s diverse selection showcases extraordinary contemporary and traditional perspectives from across the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

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The 2018 Competition offers bigger prizes than ever before, with over 600,000 AED available to win.


Main – 50,000 AED for each
of the 6 photography categories:

  • People & Life
  • City & Architecture
  • Culture & Traditions
  • Nature & Wildlfie
  • Sport & Leisure
  • Landscapes

Student – 15,000 AED for each
of the 6 photography categories:

  • People & Life
  • City & Architecture
  • Culture & Traditions
  • Nature & Wildlfie
  • Sport & Leisure
  • Landscapes

Prizes for the best photograph taken in:

  • Al Dafrah – 50,000 AED
  • Al Ain – 50,000 AED

People’s choice award to win 25,000 AED


Abu Dhabi: 24 hours in 24 seconds
to win 50,000 AED

People of Abu Dhabi
to win 50,000 AED

Student Art

Writing entries submitted from students
studying inside the UAE – 15,000 AED

Art entries submitted from students
studying inside the UAE – 15,000 AED

Writing entries submitted from students
studying outside the UAE – 10,000 AED

Art entries submitted from students
studying outside the UAE – 10,000 AED

For more information, visit our Facebook page



For the first time in 2017-18, the competition will welcome short video submissions – inviting you to capture the spirit of Abu Dhabi through moving imagery.

We invite filmmakers of all abilities to explore Abu Dhabi and capture the Emirate through a moving image story.

Abu Dhabi: 24 hours in 24 seconds

What could happen in 24 hours in Abu Dhabi?

Your challenge is to tell a visual story of 24 hours in Abu Dhabi, through a video of no longer than 24 seconds.

Your video should be inspired by – and shot in – the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

You might choose just one shot. You might do half day, half night. You might decide to blend multiple shots together. It could be Emirate-wide, or set in one small corner. It could be landscapes; it could be close-ups.

You should consider using a variety of film techniques

(e.g. time-lapse, slow motion, movement etc.)

You have the freedom to tell your story however you want,

as long as your video is exactly 24 seconds long!

The rules:

  • Do not focus clearly on people’s faces
  • Do not include ‘characters’ or ‘scripts’
  • Do not use any unlicensed music

People of Abu Dhabi

People are what makes Abu Dhabi special. We want to meet them.

New for 2017-18, ADTYE invites you to create a short video portrait of a special individual.

In under one minute, your film should give us a glimpse of this person’s authentic self.

You could choose to film your auntie, your professor, or the man you buy groceries from – anyone who is happy to share their face and story with the world*.

Places are part of a person. You could create your film in one location, or roam with your subject through different places and activities that form part of their personality and story.

Everyone has an interesting story to tell – stories that capture the essence of a character. By asking the right questions or simply by listening, you can find the narrative of a person and the role Abu Dhabi has played to them.

You are free to collage together images, clips, voiceovers, live sound, music** etc.

Like each person, each film will be unique.

* For legal reasons, you need permission to film this person. For more information, read our T&Cs.

** For legal reasons, please don’t use unlicensed music in your film.


Entries will be judged across new categories including Landscapes, Nature & Wildlife and City & Architecture, as well as awards specifically for the best Al Ain and Al Dhafrah images.

We invite photographers, both amateur and professional, to capture extraordinary images of Abu Dhabi across six new categories.


People & Life

Abu Dhabi’s spirit is alive in its people – the diverse characters who give the Emirate its unique brand and identity.

This category is for capturing moments of people at work or play, at home or exploring. Whether you choose to focus on your grandmother’s wise old hands, or a group of international dancers, be sure that people and their lives are at the heart of your image.

City & Architecture

Abu Dhabi is home to a range of extraordinary buildings and structures, from historic forts to cutting-edge high-rises.

This category focuses on the varied urban beauty of Abu Dhabi. Whether you choose to focus on the old buildings of the past, or daring structures that look to the future, make Abu Dhabi’s architectural monuments the focus of your photography.

Culture & Traditions

The brand of Abu Dhabi is reflected in its unique culture and the distinctive traditions preserved by its ancestors.

This category invites you to seek out Emirati heritage in contemporary life. You may find inspiration in henna painting, falcon training, or even your family cooking a traditional recipe together.

Your challenge is to showcase how the legacy of Abu Dhabi’s ancestors lives on.

Nature & Wildlife

The Emirate of Abu Dhabi is full of vibrant wildlife thriving in natural environments – from the saltwater mangroves to the bronzed desert dunes.

This category asks you to capture the vitality of Abu Dhabi’s animals – perhaps in the eyes of an Oryx, the leap of a lizard or the dance of a flamingo – and the natural beauty of their surroundings.

Your image should show the world

Abu Dhabi’s natural beauty, through your eyes.

Sports & Leisure

Abu Dhabi has rapidly become a global capital for thrilling adventure, providing opportunities for people to explore exciting possibilities.

This category encapsulates the speed of Formula One, the power of dhows on the waves and whistle of speed across the sand. Your images should showcase the thrills and the fun – in the thick of the action of Abu Dhabi.


Abu Dhabi’s diversity of people is matched only by its diversity of place: From pure northern beaches, to the tranquil oases on the edge of the Empty Quarter.

This category asks you to venture into the desert at dawn, to fly above the mangrove forests and to wander the lesser-seen shores for that perfect picture. Your image should paint a portrait of an Abu Dhabi landscape, showcasing it in all its vast glory.

Winning Criteria

Your images will be assessed by our judging panel on creativity, photographic quality, impact and emotion. Winning images will be those considered to express the brand of Abu Dhabi in a compelling and emotive way.

Beyond the judging criteria, the photography competition also has the following conditions of entry.


  1. Creativity
    The story and how it was captured
  2. Photographic Quality
    Clarity, resolution, focus etc.
  3. Effectiveness in expressing the ‘essence of Abu Dhabi
    How it reflects the spirit of Abu Dhabi and its people
  4. Impact
    Does it immediately catch your eye?
  5. Emotion
    How does it make you feel?


Exclusively for Students

We invite student writers and artists attending educational institutions locally and around the world, to create a piece that represents their understanding of Abu Dhabi.

Inspired by Abu Dhabi

Create an artistic response to the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

This could be a short story or a piece of art such as a painting, graphic art or sculpture.

Try to capture what Abu Dhabi stands for in your piece and include your own personal perspective on the Emirate


Judging will be done remotely. In the case of physical art pieces, you should consider how to photograph your piece in order for it to be judged through our digital platform.

Nominated artists will be invited to the awards ceremony in Abu Dhabi. If the artist would like to see their piece exhibited, it is their responsibility to bring it with them (see Ts&Cs for more information).