Hard x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy was applied to investigate the diamond-metal Schottky barrier heights for several metals and diamond surface terminations. The position of the diamond valence-band maximum was determined by theoretically calculating the diamond density of states and applying cross section corrections. The diamond-platinum Schottky barrier height was lowered by 0.2 eV after thermal annealing, indicating annealing may increase carrier injection in diamond devices leading to photoconductive gain. The platinum contacts on oxygen-terminated diamond was found to provide a higher Schottky barrier and therefore a better blocking contact than that of the silver contact in diamond-based electronic devices. © 2012 American Institute of Physics.