Drone Awards

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Drone Awards, a project of Siena Awards (Siena International Photography Awards) is an international aerial photography awards program. It is judged by an international panel of experts that includes renowned photography experts and editors. The contest was launched in 2018. [1] It is open to all professional and amateur photographers over the age of 18.


Drone Awards was created as a project of Siena Awards (Siena International Photography Awards/SIPA), an international photography contest and monthlong photography, art and culture festival launched each October in Siena, Italy. Siena Awards was created by Luca Venturi as part of the mission of the Art Photo Travel Association, a non-profit organization based in Siena. [2] The primary awards were first presented on October 30, 2015. Drone Award winners are presented at the Siena Awards ceremony in October. In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the awards ceremony was held virtually. [3]

Award ceremony

The awards ceremony takes place in Siena, Italy. On the day of the ceremony, the Drone Awards winners are presented with prizes and the Siena International Photography of the Year and other award-winning images are announced and presented with prizes. Following the awards ceremony, the “Beyond the Lens” photography exhibition honoring the winners opens its doors in Siena. A book featuring all prize-winning entries is published annually in two languages (Italian and English). Aerial film footage from award-winning Drone Awards entries is also featured in “Beyond the Lens.”


The winning entries are selected by a professional jury, including drone experts, photography curators and photojournalists known for their aerial work from among hundreds of entries from around the world.

Winners of the main Drone Awards categories are invited to attend the gala ceremony in Siena in October. The winner with the highest scoring image is named, “Drone Photographer of the Year.” He or she is presented with € 5,000 worth of photography equipment and the Pangea Prize. Category winners are also presented with the Pangea Prize.

An exhibition of winning and commended images, “ABOVE US ONLY SKY” is located each year at the ART INSTITUTE "DUCCIO DI BUONINSEGNA.” [4]

A book of winning entries featuring Drone Award honorees and Siena Awards winners is published each year.

Annual ceremonies and honorees

The 2020 awards ceremony was held virtually on October 25.

· Drone Photographer of the Year: Jim Picôt, Australia [5] · Category Winners – Abstract: Paul Hoelen, New Zealand; Empty Cities - Life Under COVID-19:Tomer Appelbaum, Israel; Nature: Joseph Cheires, Mexoco; People: Alessandra Meniconzi, Switzerland; Sport: Roberto Corinaldesi, Italy; Series: Srikanth Mannepuri, India; Urban: Tomasz Kowalski, Poland; Wedding: Mohamed Azmeel, Maldives; Animals: Dmitrii Viliunov, Russia; Video: Bachir Moukarzel, Dubai; COVID-19 Video: Pablo Barrera, USA.

The 2019 awards ceremony was celebrated at Teatro dei Rinnovati on October 26.

· Drone Photographer of the Year: Jacek Deneka, Poland

· Category Winners – Abstract: Mark Le Cornu, Jersey; Nature: Jeremiasz Gądek, Poland; People: Khan Phan, Vietnam; Sport: JoSon, USA; Wildlife: Florian Ledoux, France; Urban: George Steinmetz, USA

The 2018 awards ceremony was celebrated at Teatro dei Rozzi on October 27

· Drone Photographer of the Year: Florian Ledoux, France

· Category Winners – Abstract: Ovi D. Pop, Romania; Nature: Gabriel Scanu, USA; People: Qinghua Shui, China; Sport: Vincent Riemersva, Netherlands; Wildlife: Adam Barker, USA; Urban: Francesco Cattuto, Italy

Drone Awards in the media



  1. Haridy, Rich. "The winners of the inaugural Drone Awards elevate the art of aerial photography". New Atlas. New Atlas. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  2. Haridy, Rich. "The winners of the inaugural Drone Awards elevate the art of aerial photography". Esquire. Esquire. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  3. "Siena Awards 2020: exhibitions closed in compliance with the new anti Covid-19 regulations". Canale 3. Canale 3. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  4. Cade, DL. "Photo of Shark Swimming in a 'Heart' of Salmon Wins 2020 Drone Awards". PetaPixel. PetaPixel. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
  5. Picheta, Rob (September 30, 2020). "Protests, nature and a world in lockdown are captured from above in this year's Drone Photo Awards". CNN Style. CNN. Retrieved 10 November 2020.

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