Sony is Calling for Female Photographers: Apply for 'Alpha Female Plus' Grant Program

Sony wants more female photographers for its Alpha Female ambassador program, with grants for projects which offer $5,000, a full frame Sony camera and lens, and more.

The diversity of brand ambassadors for major camera brands has been a hot topic for a while. Most recently, Nikon South Africa came under fire — and for good reason — for announcing seven new affiliated influencers, only one of whom is Black, despite more than three-quarters of South Africa being Black.

Sony have started a female specific movement to address any imbalance, and now they are calling for more to apply.

If you're a female photographer or videographer with an idea for a project, you could secure $5,000 in grants, a full frame Sony camera and lens, a year long Adobe Creative Cloud All Apps subscription, one year of Sony PRO Support membership, and the chance to be featured across Sony's many channels.

Interested? Apply here.

Rob Baggs's picture

Robert K Baggs is a professional portrait and commercial photographer, educator, and consultant from England. Robert has a First-Class degree in Philosophy and a Master's by Research. In 2015 Robert's work on plagiarism in photography was published as part of several universities' photography degree syllabuses.

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The winner will probably be someone with a large platform.

I attended Kando last year and was able to meet a lot of their Sony Female Alpha photographers and most of them had actually a really small following but were doing amazing work, so it's not all about the amount of followers you have.

That is actually very refreshing to know.
Brands that only cater to large platforms feels like if "The Voice" had only famous singers already.

Something tells me that it’ll be a women. Just a gut feeling on this...

Fucking, duh.

You seem to like the double dipping. Women are either a majority or they are minority. You cannot have both preferential treatment for being a minority and consider yourself a majority. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

Key word, seem.

You seem to not understand to use of “seem” in the sentence. Perhaps some English lessons may be in order, Mlle Oldenbourg?

That was incredibly rude. English is my 2nd language.

To deny someone who has tremendous ability and skills because you don't have enough of a certain race, gender, or particular religion, is a total copout. You don't get respect through affirmative action. What happened to plane old hard work?

I've been told by several members here that hard work is not a prime reason to hire someone in this day and age. Pleasing the 'offense industry' is the primary reason for hiring. You see, my way of thinking, hire the best to fill the position, is old world think. Best and the brightest? Pftttttttttt! But I'm just old, cranky, and set in my ways, you know, surround yourself and your company with great employees......period.

David, it depends on the job. Today for some jobs you have to be the hard working, best and brightest AND have an ability to have a good media presence to relate to the public.
No one cares if the guy welding your stuff together is a nice guy or gal or not just a good welder. If he is the face of your company it might not work out as well if he or she is an ahole

And the ambassador could turn out to be a similar a hole. I know things are different now. I'm quite happy that I don't have to make personnel decisions anymore. I wouldn't take well to being forced to hire people that didn't suit my needs.

As far as the welder goes, or the sous chef, or the landscaper, or the window washer, you could have the prettiest or most handsome ambassador, but if that person that isn't the ambassador makes a bad weld or the sous chef sends out a chicken breast that is under cooked, that ambassador will make zero difference.

Good work and/or good products aren't enough anymore. I get that, but I'll never agree with it.

You seem to have missed my point that the photographer is a good photographer AND charming...not just a good photographer. Just like you vetted your employees the ambassador is vetted for being a good photog and not an ahole. We all know people like that.

My point is that with a caveat, a large pool of photographers is eliminated. In this case, the requirements are female, good photographer, and charming. My requirements would be good photographer and charming. Again, it goes against the current narrative so I'm just glad it's not me that has to make these decisions.

Very true.

Just like in this case... the best person to market to a racist Chinese audience is a black person... he has talent and is black! Perfect


Sorry bigotry is bigotry and it doesn’t matter what the flavour of the month is. Nor do two wrongs make it right.

SONY is committing the same sort of crime just by exclusion.

Positive discrimination still is discrimination

There exist no such thing as positive discrimination. Just like there is no positive nazism. Putting the word 'positive' in front doesn't change a thing.

There is totally positive discrimination... you just don’t understand the meaning of it. Use Google my friend

Thank you for your lack of explanation. Use Google to explain me why this form of discrimination isn't discrimination. Apparently that's to hard because there is no such explanation.

The point of the ambassador program is to market the products. It’s not a photo competition. If Sony thinks they’ll sell more products by getting more women as ambassadors, they should do that. If Sony thinks they’ll sell more products by getting more ambassadors who shoot only photos of cats playing with strings, they should do that too.

This!! ^^

It's just business

I feel discriminated against because I am a male. I know that Sony can do whatever they want - it is their money and their program. But to discriminate against people because of their sex seems wrong. I am being denied an opportunity because I am a man and not a woman. That seems wrong to me.

You can not participate in women sports nor go to the women only bathroom. What is your problem with women only competition that Sony has been running for years?

My problem with it is that there is not a corresponding male-only grant being offered.

There are men-only bathrooms, and there are men's sports, so I am not being excluded from those things. But when it comes to receiving grant money from Sony, it seems that women are being given a decided advantage just because of their sex.

How this is not considered to be sex-based discrimination is beyond my comprehension.

Let me guess, you think all lives matter too?

Yes, of course. Are there any lives that do not matter? Do you think that all lives matter, or only some lives? And do not all lives matter equally, or do some people's lives matter a bit more than others?

Let me guess you have an IQ that can be counted on your fingers and toes. Why is it not shocking a woman thinks there is nothing wrong with discrimination when it benefits women. Why no male only contest?

I completely understand that at times of Me Too and BLM it is easy to assume that corporation is catering to woke culture. But if you look at this competition from a business marketing standpoint it makes perfect sense. Why do you think shooting ranges have ladies nights - women shoot for free? Shooting sports are male dominated but women are half of the population, so if if you introduce women to this fun activity you just double your potential market. Same with photography. From what I understand photography is male dominated, but women are generally more creative than men and are huge market expansion potential to a company that decides to cater to them. Just take a look at how many female Sony ambassadors are listed on Sony Alpha Universe web site and you will understand that Sony marketing does work.


If Sony is doing this purely as a marketing strategy, to make more money, then I am okay with it. But if they are doing it under the pretense that they are doing something out of balance to help compensate for something else that is out of balance - then that is totally wrong, from a moral standpoint.

Two wrongs do not make a right. And when it comes to societal issues, two things out of balance to not balance each other out. One thing that discriminates against one set of people does not balance out something that discriminates against another set of people.

ALL things should be done in a way that does not give any preference to anyone on the basis of sex or race, nor discriminates against anyone on the basis of sex or race. All people should be treated equally at all times, and one wrong does not excuse another wrong .....

..... UNLESS it is being done by a corporation to increase profits. Then they can do as they choose, because it is then an economic issue, and not a social issue. So if this is just Sony trying to generate more income via marketing to a given segment of the market, then I get it and accept it.

There are more male than female Sony ambassadors. If you tried to become one and weren’t picked, it’s not because you’re male.

Has anyone checked how many males are interested in photography versus how many women?

Because the assumption here is that it is 51%:49% and mirrors the population.

I bet you that this isn’t accurate. I also think men are more interested in hobbies that involve gear in general. I’m pretty sure if you look at art domains that involve less gear women may be in the majority. Are there any “male support” agendas in those areas too?


There you go.

Ok. So what? Sony is not an art museum, it’s a company that markets gear. If women Aren’t buying enough cameras, it is perfectly reasonable for Sony to do more outreach to them.

There you go.

Aehm ... I beg to differ ... these Alpha Females aren’t new markets, they are existing clients.

This is about Brand Reputation in current climate

Ok. What’s so bad about brand reputation? It’s a marketing exercise. If Sony thinks they can sell more cameras by doing things like this, then that’s what they should do.

Some things are about general democratic and social principles and not Branding. By the way, it could also backfire...

Marketing is not about general democratic and social principles. It’s about getting people to buy your product. Not that any of this violates any general democratic or social principles anyway. It may violate your own, but those are not generally applicable.

Personally I don’t have any problem with groups (women, minorities, LGBT etc.) that have traditionally been disadvantaged getting some benefits that I don’t every once in a while. If it helps generate interest in real cameras, so much the better. We need more people buying and shooting real cameras in order to keep the R&D money coming, and if Sony thinks it can get that by marketing to women, good for them.

If you’re not winning any photo contests, it’s because you’re not good enough, not because this particular one isn’t open to you.

Women are not disadvantaged though. They are a majority and in the West most of them are actually white and very privileged.

Black men are disadvantaged
So are Black women
And LGBT 🏳️‍🌈

Let’s not conflate things.

Let’s question for one minute whether (white) women have it just as bad as the Black man on the street. It won’t hold a second.

It’s a neat trick, the victim narrative, to become even more privileged

Women aren’t disadvantaged? Seriously? Where did you come from, r/incels?


What happens if your gay? Or trans?

Oh here we go, upset male photographers whining that females are getting the attention and recognition. Photography is extremely male dominated and most of the opportunities go to male photographers, who are considered more "professional" or more "experienced", as a woman you have to constantly prove yourself and play the game that's rigged from the begging. So yes, we need these kind of competitions, we need the companies to care about diversity. Also from what I know, female alpha program focuses on female photogs who shoot genres that are super male dominated, like sports, journalism, wildlife, etc, so it makes even more sense.
You might not realize your provilage as a male photographer ( especially if you are also white) but it doesn't mean that it's not there. And you you can maybe.. I don't know... try to apply for pretty much any other photography competition out there. ..


I appreciate that you took time to write a thoughtful response to me. Thank you.

I have never encountered any policy that said that as a male I am being given preference, nor have I ever encountered any kind of contest or funding that was designated for men only.

So you are right - I have never seen any actual evidence that I have any special privilege as a male. If this privilege is there, I have never been aware of it. Perhaps there is some kind of deferential treatment going on in which men are preferred and given opportunities that are not given to women. If this is the case, then it must be being done behind the scenes, in a way that is not documented or declared, because never have I seen any such preference being officially extended to male photographers, and singling them out for their gender.

I am interested in seeing how you would answer the questions that I asked of you about all lives mattering. You asked me a question about that, and I responded with a forthcoming, direct answer. I cannot imagine that any caring human would look at ANY human life and say, "that one doesn't matter." So yes, of course all human lives matter. So again I ask you:

Are there any lives that do not matter?

Do you think that all lives matter, or only some lives?

And do not all lives matter equally, or do some people's lives matter a bit more than others?

I am telling you as a female photographer who has been doing this for 11 + years, yes male photographers have a privilege in this field. It's not even up for a debate, it's a fact! Just look at amount of ambassadors in any brand and see the ratio of women to men.
I am not going to discuss any further, I already stated my opinion.

But you didn't answer, what is wrong with All Lives Matter?

I get treated like shit, with endless condescending remarks any time I would try to purchase gear. I now do it online only, because at least the online cart doesnt constantly ask "You know what this does, right?" "And, you know how to use this?" "What kind of photography do you even do?"

I get that all the time too... has nothing to do with your genitalia but mostly with arrogant shopkeepers who would rather be successful photographers ...

Heard of confirmation bias?

Happens to all of us.

Here a classic riddle:

During WWII the Allies tried to figure out how to make planes more resistant to enemy firepower.

This is what they did:

They looked at where planes were most shot at and reinforced those areas. But it didn’t do any good.

In came the mathematician and said they should do the opposite, because those are the planes that did come back. Those that didn’t come back probably got shot at where these ones didn’t.

It’s the same with these endless victim narratives. I get it for minorities... but women are in a MAJORITY. It is highly unlikely that you are being treated so incredibly different to a male who comes in the same shop.... we also have to constantly prove that we know what we are talking about!


Men always want to put each other down. Prove they’re better. It’s the way we are.

Of course when challenged they turn and run. So typical of today's SJWs. I get so sick of all these people who want equality of outcome and not willing to do the work.

I wonder if you ever considered that there are more men in these groups because there are more men in the industry by their choice, of course not. You have to do the math and not just make unverified statements.

There is so much wrong with "All Lives Matter" I don't know where to begin to tell you!!!!

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