Winning 1st Place in The World’s Largest Photo Competition! By Andrew Suryono

Winning 1st Place in The World’s Largest Photo Competition!

By Andrew Suryono

Hello Readers, My name is Andrew Suryono. I won 1st place in this year’s Sony World Photography Award, Indonesia National Award. Below is my winning photo, “Orangutan in The Rain.”


This year 173,444 images was submitted from 171 countries, making Sony’s photography contest the largest in the world. Winning 1st place in this competition means a lot to me. Not only because this is the largest photo competition in the world, but also this is my first ever international award. I’m an avid reader of Steve’s site. I sent an email to Steve asking his permission to share my experience from winning the competition with you and he replied to me with a resounding YES in less than 5 minutes.

I’m super excited to share my experience with you here. Here we go! I’m sure many of you already have a question in mind: “What’s the prize of winning this competition, Andrew?” Did I read your mind correctly? 🙂 Sony gave me a Sony A7s, a Carl Zeiss 24-70mm lens and a flight ticket to London (return). They also took care of my hotel accommodation, meals and transport during my 5 days stay in London. During this trip, Sony organized a photography tour where I can try all kinds of Sony’s new camera and lenses. I tried the Carl Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 lens, the Sony 28mm f/2 lens and the Sony 90mm Macro lens. Sony also did a photo exhibition to showcase of all the winners’ photos and finally end it glamorously with a gala dinner for the awarding ceremony. Here’s a picture of me holding the trophy during the Gala Dinner ceremony.


On top of all that, I got tons of publication requests. My winning photo was featured in big sites such as CNN, National Geographic, Huffington Post, Daily Mail, The Telegraph and many more. I view photography as my hobby and I never thought I could make it this far. Hopefully my winning photo and achievement can inspire you or at least light up your day!

Until then, take care! If you want to learn more about me, feel free to visit me at: My Blog: My Photo Gallery:


  1. Congratulations! Well deserved and an inspiring share. Proves humans do not have a monopoly on intelligence or creativity!

  2. Hi Andrew, and amazing photo! and a well deserved win. Could you share with us how you managed to take this picture? we could learn a lot from you!

    • Sure thing Kevin! However, it’s pretty long for a comment. Maybe I’ll contact Steve and do another guest post on how I took that photo. Stay tuned!

  3. How wonderful! Both your story and your awesome image! Inspirational on all levels! Intelligence is not unique to humans! 🙂

  4. Superb. Many congratulations. And just wow, what an experience the Awards ceremony was as well.

  5. Congratulations!!! This is a breathtaking and very beautiful photograph. This really is « nature at its best ». Well done. Beautiful and very original, refreshing and fun. Thanks for sharing!

  6. I am very excited for you! What a great experience and accomplishment. You caught a great moment and it portrays to me to use the simple things of life to get out of the rain literally and physically. Love the photo!!

  7. Congratulations! Your photo says a lot. We are not the only ones on earth who are sometimes not in the mood for being wet. She or he is at least more intelligent than I. If I were, I would try to find an umbrella instead of the leaf in the rainy jungle.

  8. Well done Andrew on your award. This is richly deserved. It is nice to hear a “good news story” about what can be achieved through photography and you sound like a genuine enthusiast. An inspiration for us all.

  9. Fantastic achievement! Fantastic photo! Well done and well earned Andrew!!

    • They don’t look at the camera that you use. You can use any camera for the contest. They judge solely by looking at the photo.

      One of the guy from the judging panel told me that they print out the photos and hid all the information including who the photographer is and what camera they use. Then they pick the winners.

    • Thanks, Scott. The 35mm 1.4 is a super SHARP lens. Loved it. BUT and this is a big but: it’s big heavy for a prime lens. If it were smaller and lighter, I’d buy it in a heartbeat.

  10. Congratulations.
    Would you mind sharing if you retained the full rights of your photo, and got some licences fees from the feature in the mentioned media?

  11. Congratulations, Andrew. A well deserved award for a great image. Nice to see an “amateur” win a prestigious award. Well done!

  12. If I were you, I would put that little Orangutang in your Will!! What a fantastic shot. Keep shooting Andrew.

  13. Well done!

    I’m interested did you (and all other entrants) give away the rights of the photo to Sony on entering, or can you still License it out to publications like the ones mentioned, and others???

    • No. The competition doesn’t ask you to give away the rights of the photo. All rights still belong to me 100% and I can still license it out to other publications. I would completely avoid photo contest that ask you to give away rights. Stay away from those.

    • Great question. I was wondering the same thing. Contests are tricky. You enter and often it becomes the right of the brand to use your image royalty free. You get trophies and recognition. They get money from using your photo to promote their brand. Is it an honor or a scam? I am torn.

      • Hi David, see my previous comment. Be sure to read the terms and conditions before joining any competition. There are plenty of competition out there that lets you retain the rights of your photograph. Generally, the bigger the competition, the more likely they are to let you retain your rights.

  14. That is a great and fun image. Well deserved win, and a very good prize package. Thanks for sharing.

    • It was fun shooting this image and being able to share it with you. Yes, the prize package was good although I wished I can get the Sony a7R II now… probably they’ll give that this year in the competition 🙂

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