Adult competition | Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Frequently Asked Questions

Entry enquiries

How do I enter the competition?

Please enter via our online entry site:

Do I need to register?

If you've entered in the past six years, you're already registered with us so just follow the steps below:

1. Either Register for an account or sign in with your registered email address and password.

2. Pay the competition entry fee via your dashboard.

3. Select the categories you would like to enter, and upload and save your files.

Are there any age restrictions?

The Adult Competition is open to anyone aged 18 or over on 12 December 2019.

Do I have to pay to enter?

The entry fee for the Adult Competition is £30.00, increasing to £35.00 in the last week of the entry period (from 11.30am on Thursday 5 December 2019 to 11.30am (GMT) on Thursday 12 December 2019).

If you register and pay the entry fee prior to 11.30am on Thursday 5 December you will avoid the fee increase. We suggest entering early to avoid any last-minute delays or technical issues. Entries cannot be accepted once the deadline has passed.

Payment must be made through the online entry system with a credit or debit card.

Please visit

Why do I have to pay?

The Natural History Museum is a registered charity and a scientific institution, working to inspire a love for the natural world and create advocates for the planet. Through its unique collection and unrivalled expertise it is tackling issues such as food security, eradicating diseases and managing resource scarcity. Income from entries to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition are a vital source of income, helping to fund the smooth running of the competition (which receives over 45,000 entries every year), to retain the rigour and high standards of its judging process, the production of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition and global projects for the competition, such as taking the winning images to environmental conferences and events. Wildlife Photographer of the Year income also funds the Museum’s pioneering scientific research, education and conservation work.

Why are you increasing the price for the last week?

Wildlife Photographer of the Year exists to showcase the very best nature photography, and to utilise the emotive power of photography to empower people to protect the planet and the species we share it with. We have ambitions to increase the impact of Wildlife Photographer of the Year by reaching new audiences and raising awareness for vulnerable species and global environmental issues. Taking the exhibition to international conferences, conservation events and new territories that haven’t yet seen or experienced WPY images will help us to achieve this, and any additional revenue generated from the fee increase will support these ambitions. We also receive a high volume of entries in the final week of the entry period, so we are keen to encourage photographers to enter earlier in the process, helping them to avoid the potential stress associated with entering the competition very late in the process. Entrants who register and pay the entry fee prior to 11.30am GMT on 5 December will avoid the additional £5 cost.

How many entries can I submit?

You may submit a total of 25 entries in the Adult Competition.

How many images may I submit per category?

You may enter up to 25 images in all categories other than the following, which have different requirements:

Wildlife Photojournalist Story Award

Rising Star Portfolio Award (ages 18 to 26)

Wildlife Photographer Portfolio Award (ages 27 and over)

For these three categories, you may submit a minimum of six and a maximum of 10 images.

Entries into these categories count towards your 25 images in total.

Can the same image be entered into more than one category?

Yes, you can enter the same image into more than one category

How do I know if my submissions have been received?

Once your files have been uploaded and saved, they are automatically included in the competition. You can see the images you've entered by clicking on the 'View your entries' tab from your dashboard.

Can I change my selection of entries once they have been uploaded?

Yes, you're able to sign in, delete or add new files right up until the competition closes at 11.30 GMT on the morning of Thursday 12 December 2019.

Why can't I 'drag and drop' my files into the uploader?

Not all website browsers support 'drag and drop' functionality. You can upload your files by clicking on 'Add files' and then selecting them from your file browser window. Once you've selected your files, click 'Open' and watch them appear in the upload box. Please select 'Start upload' to add your files to the category.

Is there a time limit on when images must have been taken?


In which categories can black and white images be entered?

Black and white images can be entered into all categories

Can I enter an image that has been previously published?

Yes, you may enter previously published images, but please don't enter images that have already received an award or recognition in another international photography competition.

How do you define a captive animal?

Unless illustrating an issue regarding the treatment of animals by a third party, images of restrained animals or captive animals cannot be entered. Full disclosure of all information relating to how, when and where the image was taken should be included in your image caption. The Jury will then ascertain whether the species featured is, as far as reasonably possible, living a free and wild existence.

How is the competition judged?

We appoint a panel of judges and a chair to evaluate all entries. Each submission is reviewed anonymously. Judging comprises two rounds. During the second round, images will undergo an authenticity check to ensure the entry complies with our rules and ethics. The panel will be looking for photographic excellence, artistic merit, relevance to themes of biodiversity and sustainability, freshness of composition, technical proficiency, innovation, narrative form and ethical practice, so this should be reflected in all submissions

Are all submissions eligible for the title Wildlife Photographer of the Year?

All Category Winners are considered for the title. The Jury reserves the right to also include for consideration one (1) image selected by them from the Category Winner of each of the following multiple image categories:

(i) Wildlife Photojournalist Story Award

(ii) Rising Star Portfolio Award (ages 18 to 26)

(iii) Wildlife Photographer Portfolio Award (ages 27 and over)

Submission enquiries

How should I prepare my files for submission to the competition?

Digital files must be submitted as JPEGs, saved at a high-quality setting of at least 8 in Photoshop, Adobe RGB (1998), and at 1920 pixels along the longest dimension. No borders, watermarks or signatures should be included.

What forms of digital adjustments are acceptable?

Digital adjustments including tone and contrast, burning, dodging, cropping, sharpening, noise reduction, minor cleaning work (e.g. removal of sensor dust or scratches on transparencies/scans, removal of chromatic aberration), HDR, stitched panoramas, focus stacking, and multiple exposure taken at the same location at the same time (as a continuous sequence – seconds or minutes apart), are permitted providing that they comply with the Competition's principles of authenticity so do not misrepresent the reality of nature.

What forms of digital adjustments are NOT acceptable?

The following digital adjustments – but not limited to these – are not allowed: adding, moving or removing objects, animals or parts of animals, plants, people etc; the removal of dirt, highlights, backscatter, bubbles, debris and similar; composites, painting the foreground / painting out the background.

Why do you request the RAW file, original JPEG, original transparency or negative for all categories?

To check that any adjustments made to the image comply with our rules.

Why do you not accept DNG files, unless DNG is the native RAW file format of the camera?

If the original file has been converted to the DNG format, we're unable to check if any digital adjustments made fall within the competition rules.

If you've converted your original file to DNG, but have embedded the original RAW in the DNG during this process, you'll be able to extract it and submit it as proof of authenticity.

What happens if I'm not able to provide any RAW files, original JPEGs, original transparencies or negatives, when requested?

Your entry will be withdrawn from the competition.

What size file is required if my image is successful?

For images being printed in the exhibition, you must be able to supply a high resolution file, preferably TIFF, suitable for printing in all media and for inclusion in our exhibition. This should be 8-bit, Adobe RGB (1998) at full resolution. Please do not upscale. Files must not exceed 500MB.

If my original transparency is requested, when will it be returned?

If you're successful, we may keep your original transparency until October 2020. If you're not successful, your transparency or negative will be returned to you by May 2020.

How do I prepare my images to meet the submission requirements for all categories?

(i) Duplicate or make a copy of the image (keep the original file as this will be needed for authentication). Clear tags, such as ratings and labels.

(ii) Insert image information into the Caption field:

In Adobe Photoshop or Photoshop Elements: File>File Info>Description.

In Adobe Lightroom: Library Module under the Metadata Tab>Caption field – complete caption and title fields. Clear tags such as rating and labels.

In Apple Aperture: Show Inspector (I) and select Metadata Tab->General->Caption.

In Phase One Capture One: Metadata tab in Toolbar>IPTC-Content>Description.

You must include:

  • description (species name and exact location; background story; behaviour observed, if any bait was used, and if so what nature (see Rule 4.5); if the species is of scientific interest)
  • EXIF details should be kept intact (eg camera, lens, exposure)

You must NOT include:

  • your name in either the caption or image title, or on the image itself

(iii)   Set the Colour Space to Adobe RGB (1998). Preferably use a calibrated monitor - allowances will not be made for poor colour managed or corrected images.

In Adobe Photoshop: Edit>Convert to Profile>Adobe RGB (1998), under options the Engine should be set to Adobe (ACE), the intent to Perceptual or Relative Colormetric. Use Black Point Compensation should be checked and Use Dither should be unchecked.

In Adobe Lightroom: the colour space setting can be found in the Export Dialogue under File Settings, simply choose Adobe RGB (1998).

In Apple Aperture: in the export preset, set the Colour Profile to Adobe RGB (1998) and tick the Black Point Compensation.

In Phase One Capture One: Output tab in Toolbar>Process Recipe>Basic>ICC Profile, choose Adobe RGB (1998).

(iv) Make any digital adjustments required and permitted within the competition rules.

(v) Save as a TIFF. This should be 8-bit, Adobe RGB (1998) at full resolution and a sufficient file size to be reproduced in all media and exhibitions if successful.

(vi) Open the TIFF above and make a copy. Resize the copy to 1920 pixels on the longest dimension.

In Adobe Photoshop: Image>Image Size>set the longest dimension to 1920 pixels. Make sure that the check boxes for Constrain proportions and Resample image are checked and that the method is Bicubic. Please ignore the resolution field.

In Adobe Lightroom: In the export dialogue under Image Sizing, check the box for Resize to Fit. From the dropdown, select Width and Height, set W: 1920 H: 1920 pixels.

In Apple Aperture: Create an Export Preset in the Export Dialogue File->Export->Version, select Edit from the Export Preset list. Click on the + in the bottom left corner of the Export Preset dialog. Name your export preset, and then set the image format to JPEG. Tick Include Metadata. Set Size To: Fit Within (Pixels) and set both Width and Height to 1920 pixels.

In Phase One Capture One: Output tab in Toolbar>Process Recipe>Basic>Scale, choose Width and Height and set to 1920 x 1920.

(vii) Save the file as a JPEG at a high-quality setting of at least 8 in Photoshop (this is the image that will be judged - there is no set requirement for how to name your file).

In Adobe Photoshop: File>Save As> select jpg and set the quality.

In Adobe Lightroom: in the Export Dialogue under File Settings select jpg and set the quality to 100, leave the Limit File Size to box unchecked. Export.

In Apple Aperture: in the Export Preset set the image quality.

In Phase One Capture One: Output tab in Toolbar>Process Recipe>Basic>Format, choose JPEG and Quality at minimum 80.

Who do I contact if I still have a question?

Please email us at and we'll be happy to help.