If you are an adventurous soul and nature lover, you might be interested in showcasing your work and gaining recognition. How? Luckily, there is a decent choice of nature photography contests, free and paid, that allow fans, beginners, and professionals to share their passion, connect with other photographers, and demonstrate their best images of wildlife. Not only can you spread your name, but you win a large cash prize. So, in this article, we will talk about 10 wildlife photography contests of 2024 and tell you how you can take part and what you can win.
Deadline: New challenge every week
Prizes: Money / gift cards / cool equipment
Entry Fee: Free
As always, Viewbug has surprised us with its offer: there are 9 photo contests offered at the Viewbug official website in the “nature” category. They include Rough Landscapes, Dear Trees, Mountain Captures, Storm Addiction, Bird Addiction, Reflections in Nature, Dogs and Cats, Snap Your Journey, and Sunset Glow.
If you are someone who travels a lot or loves to take walks in local forests and parks, you may want to share the best moment you have ever caught. Viewbug nature contests encourage photographers to show the beauty of waterfalls, volcanic beaches, untamed forces of nature, animals, or moments from your journeys in wildlife.
Proceed to the Viewbug website, review all the current nature photo contests, pick the one you prefer, and read the terms. Each contest has unique rules and recommendations according to equipment and deadline. Every contest will have two winners – the Grand Jury Winner and the People’s Choice. The winners can expect stunning prizes: equipment, Viewbug Coins, a blog feature, etc. You can also review a gallery with photos of every contest topic. This should inspire you. Sign up and allow the world to see your masterpiece!
Deadline: 5 January 2024, 12 January 2024
Prizes: Money / recognition through exhibitions and publications
Entry Fee: Free / additional payment for submitting more photos
The second nature and animals photo contest worth joining is the Sony World Photography Awards Wildlife & Nature. Notice that this topic exists in both Professional and Open competitions. In Professional Competitions, judges seek artistic images of the natural, material, and physical world. Read the category in its broadest sense – flora, fauna, animals, and nature. The Open Competition has fewer requirements and encourages all photographers to submit images of the natural environment and everything related to the topic.
Head to the Sony World Photography Awards official website, view the list of contests for 2024 and find the Wildlife & Nature category. Click on it, create a profile, follow the rules, and submit your wildlife photos. The Sony World Photography Awards aim to find new talents of the future and provide them with the opportunity to be promoted and exhibited around the world. The winners of the Awards certainly have better chances of developing their careers.
The entry fee is free, but you can opt to submit several images for an additional payment.
Deadline: March, 2024
Entry Fee: £10 for 1 entry
The British Wildlife Photography Awards, or BWPA, is the third annual competition inviting all photographers to celebrate the beauty of British wildlife. If you care about, protect, and value the UK’s natural heritage, this wildlife photo contest is your lucky chance.
English nature is diverse: beautiful gardens and woods in all parts of England, mountains in Scotland, and cliffs and coasts in Ireland. These things make professional photographers’ hearts race and make amateur photographers test their skills.
The categories are Animal Behavior, Animal Portraits, Botanical Britain, Black & White, British Seasons, Coast & Marine, Habitat, Hidden Britain, Urban Wildlife, Wild Woods, Documentary Series, Wildlife in HD Video, and RSPB Young BWPA, which invites photographers starting from 11 up to 17 years old.
The submission process is finished, and the winners will be announced in March this year. There is a massive prize fund waiting for the winners.
Deadline: 7 April, 2024
Entry Fee: €31
This wildlife photo contest has been going on for years. Go to the website and view Winners Gallery from 2020 to 2023. The contest is open to photographers worldwide who want to showcase their skills and win a prestigious award.
Nature TTL Photographer of the Year competition offers several categories, making it easier for a more significant number of photographers. They include Wild Portraits, Animal Behavior, and Urban Wildlife. Underwater, Small World, Landscapes, The Night Sky, and Camera Traps. The Youth Award contest is open to photographers aged 17 years or below.
So, after choosing the category, read about what juries will look for. If you love to interact with the environment, watch animals, take photos of the night sky and stars, and dive deep with your camera looking for beautiful marine animals, this competition can be the right fit for you.
To participate, proceed to the NPOTY official website, click “Enter Now,” and create an account. Read the competition rules carefully and submit photos that comply with the terms.
Deadline: 7 December, 2023
Prizes: Money / Media coverage and public exposure/invitation to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards ceremony /
Entry Fee: £30
The Wildlife Photographer of the Year is a recognized annual wildlife photo contest showcasing outstanding wildlife photography. It is organized by the Natural History Museum in London, UK, in partnership with the BBC Wildlife Magazine. The competition has attracted photographers from around the world, both amateurs and professionals, since 1965. Now, it is your chance to submit your most captivating images of the natural world and win a prize.
There are 25 categories, which is impressive. Some are Animals in their Environment, Animal Portraits, Birds, Oceans: The Bigger Picture, Plants and Fungi, Natural Artistry, Urban Wildlife and Wetlands: The Bigger Picture. Participants can submit a minimum of six and a maximum of 10 photographs.
Not only professional photographers are welcome. The Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest invites photographers ages 18 to 26 to participate in the Rising Star Award. If you are under 18, you can participate in the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.
The winning and shortlisted photographs are usually showcased in a prestigious London Natural History Museum exhibition. The exhibition often travels to different locations worldwide, allowing a global audience to appreciate the stunning images.
There is a fixed entry fee. However, it increases in the last week of the entry period. Unfortunately, the deadline for submitting images has ended in January of 2023, so it is a good idea to keep up with the next on their official site and learn about the new date.
Deadline: 1 March, 2024
Entry Fee: $25 for up to 10 single image submissions
BigPicture wildlife photography contest is open to all photographers worldwide, except employees, volunteers, and Board Members of the Academy. The contest encourages photographers to submit captivating images capturing nature and wildlife’s beauty, diversity, and significance.
The competition often includes categories such as Aquatic Life, Terrestrial Wildlife, Winged Life, Landscapes, Waterscapes, Flora, Art of Nature, Human/Nature, and Photo Story: A Matter of Time.
Read the image text list on the official site and follow the rules. By visiting the website, you will see stunning photos from different years demonstrating the rich diversity of life on Earth. Get inspired by photos of the winners from 2014 to 2023 and contribute your work to this year’s competition. The judges are BBC’s Planet Earth and Nat Geo Wild’s photographers, award-winning filmmakers, and famous wildlife photographers.
The winning images of 2024 will be exhibited at one of the most prestigious science institutions in the world in San Francisco, California, USA.
Deadline: 10 January, 2024
Prizes: Money / inclusion in Audubon magazine
Entry Fee: $15 per photo or video in the Professional category / Free for Youth category
Audubon Photography Awards is hosted by the National Audubon Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to bird and wildlife conservation. The competition celebrates and highlights the beauty of birds and the natural world, encouraging photographers to capture striking images that inspire people to appreciate and protect the environment.
There are several categories, including Professional, Amateur, Youth starting from 13 years old, and a Plants for Birds category, which focuses on images showcasing the relationship between birds and native plants.
The jury consists of photographers from the National Audubon Society, environmental photojournalists and biologists, wildlife photographers, filmmakers, and cinematographers. Winning photographs of 2023 will be featured in Audubon magazine and other media outlets.
Visit the Audubon official website to view the guide to Ethical Bird Photography and videography. There is a helpful FAQ section where participants can learn about entry fees and requirements for submitting photos and videos. Also, you will find many useful articles on shooting bird photos and videos.
Deadline: 15 November, 2023
Prizes: Money / equipment / inclusion in annual book
Entry Fee: $25 per image
The International Landscape Photographer of the Year, or ILPOTY, is an annual nature and wildlife photography competition that celebrates the art of landscape photography on a global scale. The competition attracts photographers from various countries and skill levels, showcasing the diversity of landscapes worldwide.
All photographers, professional and amateur, are welcome to take part and show their best work. To participate, you should sign up at the official ILPOTY website and submit at least one photo that matches the requirements and pay. Note that you have to pay per image in this contest. Also, the contest organizations accept every 5th entry for free if registered by a specific date. Since the entry is closed for 2024, consider participating next year.
Deadline: 31 March, 2024
Prizes: Money / published print and online
Entry Fee: $25 for submitting up to 15 photos
The National Wildlife magazine’s 53rd annual photo contest will be open from January to the last day of March 2024, so you still have time to shoot some fantastic pictures and submit them. Entry fees will support the National Wildlife Federation, which is dedicated to saving wildlife species and habitats.
Both amateur and professional photographers are welcome to show their best images of wildlife and wildlands, whether you like to take photos locally or while traveling the world. The following categories are included in this year’s competition: Birds, Mammals, Baby Animals, Wildlife, Landscapes and plants, People in Nature, Nature photos taken with mobile devices, Portfolio (up to 10 nature images of the same theme), and Young Nature Photographers for photographers aged 13 to 17.
The contest rules allow participants to submit up to 15 photos for a decent fee. Once you create an account, you will be offered 4 photo-entry packages. Follow the requirements, submit your best images, and wait for results. In 2024, photos will be judged on originality, technical excellence, composition, overall impact, and artistic merit.
Deadline: 5 January, 2024
Entry Fee: £20 for up to three images
There is still some time to enter one of the most exciting animal photo contests called Underwater Photographer of the Year. The traces of this competition go back to 1965. If marine is your favorite topic, go to their website to view photos of videos from the winners of the year 2023. You will see genuinely inspiring photos of sea life packed with unique visions and ideas.
Choose the category and follow the guidelines. Submit your best images of vibrant underwater life, animals, and their environments that most people do not have the opportunity to see with their own eyes.
The winners and notable entries of the Underwater Photographer of the Year are usually showcased in exhibitions, online galleries, and publications, helping to raise awareness about the importance of marine conservation. So your images will not be just a piece of art but have an educational purpose.
Tips on winning a wildlife photography contest
Winning a wildlife photo contest, especially in a field where you are competing against other strong entries, involves more than just technical skill. Please check the list of a few simple tips that can make a difference:
- Tell a compelling story. Consider the context, behavior, or interaction between the subjects in your photos.
- Focus on conservation themes. Emphasize the conservation aspect and consider how your images can convey a message about the importance of protecting the environment and wildlife.
- Strive to take unique shots. Capture moments or scenes that have yet to be commonly seen or photographed.
- Develop a style. Showcase a consistent style or theme so judges recognize and remember your portfolio.
- Consider the judging requirements. Tailor your submissions according to the jury’s criteria.
Usually, nature photography competitions involve judges with diverse preferences for a fair outcome. Learn about the entry date and deadline in advance to refine your skills, experiment with different approaches, and submit the best shots.
The easiest way to sell your wildlife photo is to check the websites that host national photography contests. Make money by selling wildlife images by checking the Viewbug website. Once at the website, proceed to the Tools, then the Photo Gigs section, and learn how to make money taking photos. Create your own website and promote yourself as a photographer. Check out famous photo stocks and try to sell your nature photos there.