About the competition

History of the competition

The first of the best. David Attenborough presents the 1965 Wildlife Photographer of the Year, C V R Dowdeswell, with his award. © Topfoto


The Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition dates back to 1965, when the BBC Wildlife Magazine was called Animals and there were just three competition categories with about 500 entries. 

Even then, it was a leading event for nature photographers. It grew in stature over the years, and in 1984, the Natural History Museum became involved to create the competition as it is today.

Now thousands of entries are received from almost 100 countries around the globe. There is a major exhibition at the Museum that tours worldwide throughout the year. Winning images appear on this website, in BBC Wildlife Magazine and in international publications. As a result, the photographs are seen by millions of people.