Just-released shortlists for the Professional, Open and Youth categories in the 2015 Sony World Photography Awards include three Australian photographers.

Gina Alder-Hicks, Zol Straub and Melissa Little have been recognised by the judges for their entries in the Open Architecture, Low Light and Nature & Wildlife categories respectively. The 2015 competition received the highest number of entries in its eight-year history ““ 173,444 images from 171 countries ““ and a 24% increase from 2014.

The judging, which is done anonymously by a panel of experts from the World Photographic Academy, has uncovered inspiring, arresting and thought-provoking work by a wide range of professional photographers and enthusiasts from around the world. See full list of judges and bios here. The Australian National Award winner will be announced on March 17, with the winner to be selected by Australian industry leaders including James Ostinga, Managing Editor, Yaffa Publishing and Mark Galer, Sony Alpha Ambassador.

Those in the awards’ Professional categories will now compete for a $25,000 USD prize and the coveted L’Iris d’Or/ Photographer of the Year title. The recipient, along with the winners of the Professional categories, overall Youth and Student winners plus the Open Photographer of the Year, who receives a $5,000 USD prize, will all be announced at the Sony World Photography Awards Gala Ceremony on Thursday, 23 April 2015. Competition winners will receive the latest digital imaging equipment from Sony.