Once entries close on 13 June 2021, images will be shortlisted by staff of Australian Photography and Capture.

A panel of leading photographers will judge the shortlisted entries. In the event of a tie for first or second place, the relevant images will be returned to the judges for an additional round of voting.

The results of The Mono Awards, presented by SanDisk, will be announced in Australian Photography (September 2021 issue) and Capture (August-September-October 2021). Announcements will also be made in September 2021 at australianphotography.com, capturemag.com.au and themonoawards.com.au.

Following the winners' announcement, People's Choice judging will begin. This will be conducted on the Australian Photography Facebook page in late September. Voting will be open for approximately two weeks. Images in the Top 30 from each category – People, Places and Animals – will be eligible for People's Choice. The image with the most likes in its category will be declared the People's Choice winner in that category when the voting period closes.

The judging panel for The Mono Awards, presented by Sandisk, will be announced in April 2021.

Last year's judging panel included the following photographers.

Anthony McKee

Anthony McKee is a Melbourne-based writer and social documentary photographer. In 2014 he was named AIPP 2014 Australian Documentary Photographer of the Year. He has also won awards for his landscape photography. He has judged professional and amateur photography awards on both sides of the Tasman and in 2013 was made an Honorary Fellow of the NZIPP for his services to photography. He is a regular contributor to Australian Photography magazine.

Lesley Downie

Lesley Downie has been a full-time professional photographer since 1992, and today is an AIPP Master of Photography with six Gold Bars. Early photographic endeavours were in stage and entertainment , as well as travel and magazine articles. Since the early 90s, she created a significant and very successful wedding and portrait business based in Brisbane.

After retiring from weddings, she has concentrated on Travel and Documentary imagery, Events, and Sport, including international and local triathlons, cycling events, and canoe outrigging. Lesley has been a member of the AIPP since 1996, and a judge at both the AIPP Queensland and Australian Professional Photography Awards since 2000. She has been an AIPP mentor for emerging wedding/portrait photographers in Queensland and a Folio Assessor.

Her commitment to excellence across multiple genres of photography over many years has seen great success with local, national, and international awards being received. Participation in joint exhibitions and projects over the years shows no signs of abating.

Natalie Grono

Natalie Grono is an award-winning photo artist and photojournalist based in the Northern Rivers region, NSW. She has a Bachelor of Arts (Communications) and her photography work blends a foundation in journalism with a strong aesthetic appeal. Natalie’s works have been exhibited in many of Australia’s top photography prizes and she has received numerous awards including winning the Olive Cotton Award for photographic portraiture, People’s Choice Award of the National Photographic Portrait Prize, and a Walkley award for Excellence in Photojournalism. Her work has been widely exhibited and published, and is held in public and private collections.

Douwe Dijkstra

Douwe Dijkstra is a professional senior graphic designer based in Sydney. Born and raised in The Netherlands, he relocated downunder in 2003 and now calls Australia home. Photography is a strong passion for Douwe and he picked up his first camera at the age of 12. Over the years his hobby has evolved from taking family snaps with his grandfather’s camera, to creating black and white fine art in the digital age. Douwe prefers to shoot in monochrome as he simply finds it easier to capture the essence of a scene in black and white: colour is just a distraction. He won the black and white category of the 2015 Photographer of the Year.

Matt Palmer

For conservation-focused photographer Matt Palmer, photography is a compulsion and obsession. Throughout his career, which began as a graphic designer, he has photographed everything from portraiture, sports, travel, weddings, and more. He even spent 13 years documenting live music, including some of the world's biggest musicians such as Metallica, Pearl Jam, TOOL, and Nick Cave as well as many up-and-comers.

His documentary project on Muay Thai fighters, presented in black-and-white, won him AIPP Australian Sports Photographer of the Year in 2014 and is currently the subject of an ongoing book project. Matt's black-and-white portraiture project, Faces of Islam, has also received international coverage and will be donated to the Islamic Museum of Australia. In the search for more stories, Matt hiked through bushfire affected areas in Tasmania in 2019 creating the ASH project, which culminated in winning AIPP Australian Professional Photographer of the Year, as well as the landscape category.

Matt also is a judge for numerous photography competitions, a mentor, and an ambassador for Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, producing photography to support the rehabilitation of Tasmanian native wildlife.

Jackie Ranken

Jackie Ranken is an Australian born, multi-award winning landscape/art photographer who has lived in New Zealand since 2004. She has over thirty five years’ experience within the visual arts and has been an international awards judge since 2002.

She combines her art practice with teaching and is a presenter in workshops and seminars internationally. Her passion is the creation of multi-layered narratives via in camera multiple exposures and intentional movements. Allowing play and serendipity into her creative process gives her personal freedom to break rules and push the so-called boundaries of traditional image making processes.

Since 2001 she has won many prestigious photography awards which have culminated in making her a Grand Master of both the Australian and the New Zealand Institutes of Professional Photography. She is a Canon Master and EIZO Ambassador.

Alex Cearns

Dogs Today Magazine in the United Kingdom calls Perth based photographer Alex Cearns “One of our greatest dog photographers in the world.” Alex is the Creative Director of Houndstooth Studio based in Perth, Australia, and specialises in capturing portraits that convey the intrinsic character of her animal subjects. 

She photographs for engaged pet lovers, corporate brands in Australia, the USA and the UK, and for around 40 Australian and International animal charities and conservation organisations. Her images have been published extensively across international media, in books, magazines, billboards and advertising campaigns.  Alex is the recipient of over 250 awards for photography, business and philanthropy and in 2019 was awarded an Order Of Australia for services to animal charities through photography. Inspiring others with her joy of working with animals, Alex’s philanthropy and passionate advocacy for animal rescue has earned her high regard among Australia’s animal lovers and a strong following on social media. She is an ambassador for Tamron, Profoto, BenQ, and Spider Holster and is considered an influencer in photography, business and pet industry communities.

She regularly judges photography competitions and presents at events. Alex lives with her partner, two rescue dogs, and rescue cat in Perth, Western Australia.

John Crawford

A craftsman, with an impeccable eye for composition and detail, John is equally at home shooting with his Canon or iPhone, lately more so the latter. His bewildering range of subjects includes commerce, architecture, portraits, in locations ranging from Tokyo to Taranaki, reflecting his deep passion for design, form, animals and the unexplored.

In addition to a steady stream of commercial work, John also shares his thinking and experience with artists and like-minded photographers across the world as a teacher and keynote speaker. (Don’t attend if you’re easily offended. Do – if you’re looking to understand what it takes to transform the easily-missed into the must-see.) 

John is a Fellow of the NZIPP and a long time judge of the NZIPP Iris Awards. His work has been exhibited in New York, Bogota and Los Angeles.