21 award winning photos.

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Elephants on parade: Amateur photographer Daniela White got up close and personal with this group of very curious young wild Asian elephants

Wallflower: A member of Ethiopia's Hamer tribe shows off her brilliantly colourful costume as she poses for Belgium photographer Pascal Mannaerts in Harar, a Muslim enclave in the very Christian Ethiopia

Feather pecker: A flamingo gives herself a good spruce up in this colourful shot by Brazilian wildlife photographer Ricardo Venerando

Having a laugh: Two old friends share a few jokes while smoking their pipes in Vietnam captured by Huu Hung Truong

The deadline for entries for the ten open categories, for amateurs and enthusiasts, is 4 January 2013.  The Professional competition, with 15 categories for serious photographers, will close on 9 January 2013. 

All of the winners and finalists will get to see their work exhibited at Somerset House, in London, between April and May 2013. 

They will also be featured across the WPO website and all winners, as well as a selection of shortlisted photographers, will be published in the annual Sony World Photography Awards hardcover book.

Too cold for me! A group of young boys shiver as they wrap up warm during a snowfall in China

Shutterbug: Nature & Wildlife photographer Raja Sekaran went eyeball to eyeballs to catch this Indian jumping spider before it hopped off

Seat of power: German photographer Philipp Richert wanted to create a timeless and different version of the often seen houses of parliaments in London, England

Victim of circumstance: A weathered old man finds himself at a crossroads in life in this moving portrait by American photographer Andrew Jeric

Diamond in the rough: The demolition of the headquarters of Austrian Airlines is captured by local photographer Sonja Bachmayer

Tough customer: Andy Atkins, lead singer of Christian metalcore band A Plea for Purging, juggles internet sales and live merchandise store before a concert

Eye spy: These unusual housing blocks on the outskirts of Belgrade, Serbia caught the eye of British photographer David Meredith

In the shades: British photographer Simon Boughton decided to get people he met to pose in his old sunglasses for a fun project while on a trip round India

Roar image: Indian photographer Ramees Raja was on a tour at Benergatta national park in Karnataka, India, when this male Lion sauntered up to the truck and lay down under the wheels

Angles and lines: Photographer Ionut Cirja captutres the essence of modern Romania Architecture in this neat black and white photograph taken in the town of Piatra Neamt

Cut and paste: Ireland's Christine Simpson explores the photographic potential of creating surreal melded images from several different shots onto one seamlessly constructed print in this striking wildlife image. This photograph uses an incredible 30 images

Smiles better: Cebula children in China make the very most of a trip in a Jeepney bus as they lark around in fits of infectious laughter

Somefin's happening here: Mexican photographer Christian Vizl says she wants her pictures to be a 'celebration of marine life and the underwater world'

Professional photographers will compete for the coveted title of L'Iris d'Or/Sony World Photography Awards Professional Photographer of the Year 2013, plus a $25,000 cash prize.

Amateur photographers will  contend the Open Photographer of the Year 2013 title, plus $5,000.  All category winners across the awards will receive the latest digital imaging equipment from Sony. 

The shortlist will be announced on 5 February 2013 and the overall winners will be revealed at a glittering awards ceremony in London on 25 April 2013.

All entries to the awards are free via www.worldphoto.org and a new selection of images submitted to the 2013 Open categories are available for publication via the World Photography Organisation press centre ( http://press.worldphoto.org/ ) or Image.net.

Cat's whiskers: Martin Valent from the Czech Republic came face to face with a panther to capture this brilliant image

City living: Some interesting examples of French architecture taken in Paris by photographer Charlene Telhier

Under a night sky: A children's playground in Lova, Turkey takes on a magical quality in this image by local photographer Cemil Seyis

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