Adult competition | Wildlife Photographer of the Year


Please note that this English Language Version of the competition rules (‘the Rules’) is binding.


(1) The Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition (‘the Competition’) is owned by the Natural History Museum Trading Company Limited (‘the Owners’).

(2) The Competition comprises an Adult Competition open to photographers aged 18 and over, and a Young Competition open to photographers aged 17 and under. Any contact with the Owners regarding the Adult Competition or the Young Competition (unless specified otherwise below) should be via the email address:

(3) Selected entries to the Competition may be displayed in an exhibition at the Natural History Museum (‘the Exhibition’) and/or toured nationally and internationally (‘the Touring Exhibition’), featured online, in publicity materials relating to the Competition, Exhibition and Touring Exhibition, or as merchandising according to the terms hereunder.

(4) The Natural History Museum is a recognised charity in the UK (exempt charity number X23490/3) and the revenues generated by the Competition support not only the continued existence of the Competition but also the Museum’s scientific activities.


(1) Entries must be received by 11.30am GMT on the morning of Thursday 13 December 2018(‘the Closing Date’).

(2) The Adult Competition is open to anyone aged 18 or over on the Closing Date except individuals (and their partners and family) involved in its organisation or judging or employees of the Owners or any official partners, supporters, or sponsors of the Competition.

(3) By entering the Adult Competition, the entrant agrees to maintain the highest standards in all matters relating to the Competition and not to do or say anything that does or might damage the reputation of the Owners, the Competition, the other entrants, or the official partners, supporters, or sponsors of the Competition, the Exhibition or the Touring Exhibition. The entrant acknowledges that entry into the Adult Competition does not grant any rights in any intellectual property rights of the Competition and/or the Owners, and agrees not to use any names, logos or other intellectual property rights of any of them or to make any public statement regarding any of them without the prior written consent of the Owners.

(4) It is the responsibility of each entrant into the Adult Competition to ensure that they have read and will abide by these Rules. By submitting an entry, each entrant agrees to the Rules, that their entry complies with the Rules, and that they will be liable to the Owners and their licensees in respect of any damages or losses incurred as a breach of the Rules by the entrant.

(5) Entrants are not permitted to submit images that:

(i) have been awarded any prize, recommendation or other award in any international competition before 22 October 2018;

(ii) feature farm animals, family pets, and/or cultivated plants;

(iii) portray captive or restrained animals, animal models, and/or any other animal being exploited for profit unless for the purposes of reporting on a specific issue regarding the treatment of animals by a third party;

(iv) have been captured using live bait.

(6) Any entry found not to comply with the Rules at any stage of the Adult Competition may be disqualified, and no refunds or allowances will be made in the event of disqualification and any prizes will be forfeited. The decision of the Owners on all matters relating to the Competition is final and binding. No negotiation will be considered. The Owners reserve the right to amend the Rules and to waive breach of the Rules at their sole discretion, acting reasonably.


(1) Entry must be via

(2) A one-off non-refundable entry fee of £30.00 is required from each entrant.

(3) Each entrant is allowed a total of twenty-five (25) entries into the Adult Competition, such total to include any entries into the multiple image categories listed at (xiv), (xv) and (xvi) below.

(4) The Adult Competition consists of the following categories:

(i) Animals in Their Environment

(ii) Animal Portraits

(iii) Behaviour: Amphibians and Reptiles

(iv) Behaviour: Birds

(v) Behaviour: Invertebrates

(vi) Behaviour: Mammals

(vii) Plants and Fungi

(viii) Underwater

(ix) Urban Wildlife

(x) Earth’s Environments

(xi) Black and White

(xii) Creative Visions

(xiii) Wildlife Photojournalism

(xiv) Wildlife Photojournalist Photo Story Award

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

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

(5) Entrants to the Wildlife Photojournalist Award: Photo Story may submit between six (6) and ten (10) images from which a maximum of six (6) images will be selected by the Jury. Entrants to this category may submit up to two (2) photo-stories each.

(6) Entrants to the Rising Star Portfolio Award and Wildlife Photographer Portfolio Award may submit between six (6) and ten (10) images from which a maximum of six (6) images will be selected by the Jury. Entrants to these categories may submit one (1) portfolio only.


(1) Any breach of the Competition’s Ethics below will constitute a breach of the Rules.

(2) Entrants are required to report on the natural world in a way that is both creative and honest:

(i) entries must not deceive the viewer or attempt to disguise and/or misrepresent
the reality of nature;

(ii) caption information supplied must be complete, true and accurate.

(3) Entrants must not do anything to injure or distress an animal or damage its habitat in an attempt to secure an image. This includes flying (or flying a drone) too low or noisily over an animal – an animal’s welfare must come first.

(4) Entrants – including those using drones – are responsible for ensuring full compliance with any applicable national or international legislation and for securing any relevant permits that may be required (which, in the case of human portraits and recordings, will include the subject’s permission) and which must be made available on request by the Owners.

(5) Live baiting is not permitted, neither is any means of baiting that may put an animal in danger or adversely affect its behaviour, either directly or through irresponsible habituation. Any other means of attraction, including bird seed or scent, must be declared in the caption for the Jury and Owners to review. 

(6) If the Owners suspect that an entry has been achieved through cruel or unethical practices, including the use of live or irresponsible bait, the entry will be disqualified and the Owners reserve the right to report the entrant to the applicable authorities.


(1) Submissions must be in digital format but the original entry does not need to have been taken on a digital camera. High quality scans of transparencies or negatives are also acceptable.

(2) For all categories, 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.

(3) Entrants whose work has been shortlisted will be required to provide the following:

(i) RAW files (eg .CR2, .NEF, .ORF, .PEF etc), original untouched JPEGs, and original transparencies or negatives, will be required for authentication. DNG files are only permitted if this is the native RAW format of the camera;

(ii) High resolution files (preferably TIFF) required for printing should be 8-bit, Adobe RGB (1998) at full resolution, and match the colour and cropping of the JPEG submitted at entry. Please do not upscale. Files must not exceed 500MB.

(4) Any entry that cannot be authenticated or is not of an acceptable quality will be disqualified.

The Owners reserve the right to ask any entrant to supply a range of ‘before’ and ‘after’ original files for any image that requires further authentication.

(5) 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 in-camera 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 that they do not deceive the viewer or misrepresent the reality of nature.

(6) 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.

(7) Caption information must be complete, true and accurate, and provide the following:

(i) description (behaviour observed; background story; exact location; if any bait was used, and if so, of what nature; if the species is of scientific interest)

(8) Entrants should not include their name in the caption or on the image itself. EXIF details should be kept intact (eg camera, lens, exposure etc).


(1) An independent panel of experts comprising a chair and judges (‘the Jury’) will be appointed by the Owners to select and award approximately one hundred (100) entries from the Adult and Young Competitions.

(2) During judging, and with the express agreement of the Owners, the Jury reserves the right to:

(i) move entries from one category to another where applicable and appropriate;

(ii) not award any entry within a category in the manner described in Clause 6 (3) below;

(iii) remove a category in its entirety.

(3) From those entries selected by the Jury from the Adult Competition, the following awards will be given:

(i) Category Highly Commended

(ii) Category Winner

(iii) Wildlife Photographer of the Year

(4) Only Category Winners will be considered by the Jury for Wildlife Photographer of the Year. 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 Photo Story Award

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

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

(5) Winners of Special Awards will not be considered for Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

(6) A further twenty-five (25) images from the Finals of the Adult Competition and the Young Competition will be selected by the Natural History Museum and made available to the public for three (3) months for an online vote. These entries will be specially promoted including via social media and through any print or commercial partners of the Owners. The entry with the most votes will receive the Lumix People’s Choice Special Award, with the next four (4) most popular entries regarded as Special Award Highly Commended.

(7) Successful entrants will be notified in strict confidence. It is a condition of entry that the entrant does not disclose the details of any shortlisted or winning entries to any third party.

(8) The list of prizes is available on the website. They are non-transferable. The Owners reserve the right to substitute the whole or part of any listed prize with an alternative of equal monetary value (but the entrant shall not have any right to demand this). Please note that the prizes must be claimed within one year of the Award Ceremony or will be forfeited (including any right to receive any substitute prize).


(1) All entrants agree that, if their entry is selected by the Jury, they will participate in related publicity and agree to the use of their name and likeness for the purposes of advertising, promotion and publicity of the Competition and/or the Exhibition and Touring Exhibition without additional compensation.


(1) Each entry must be the original work of the entrant and must not infringe the rights of any other party.

(2) The entrant must either be the sole owner of the copyright in the entry(s) submitted or have secured the written permission of the copyright owner or any joint owners of copyright to submit the entry(s) into the Competition. A copy of any such written permission must be supplied to the Owners on request.

(3) In the event that an entrant is not the sole copyright owner of the entry(s), the entrant agrees to notify the Owners at the date of submission, providing the names of all copyright owners.

(4) Ownership of the copyright in any entry submitted to the Competition will remain with the copyright owner(s). The photographer will be credited (eg © photographer’s name). The photographer agrees that the Owners will not be liable to the photographer in the event of inadvertent omission of the credit.

(5) By entering the Competition, the entrant grants to the Owners a non-exclusive, irrevocable licence to reproduce, publish, exhibit and communicate to the public, by any means and in all media throughout the world any entry. This licence is granted only for use in relation to the Competition, Exhibition and Touring Exhibition, which shall include (with the right to sub-license where necessary) - but will not be limited to - any of the following uses:

(i) the process of judging the Competition (including the public vote);

(ii) display during the awards ceremony, Exhibition, and Touring Exhibition;

(iii) publication in other magazines or print media which the Owners (or their official partners, supporters, or sponsors) may produce;

(iv) publication on relevant parts of the Owners’ website, including within interactive elements available for viewing or download;

(v) in publicity materials (including social media).

(6) All entries selected for the Exhibition are intended for inclusion in the annual Portfolio Book and possibly the Highlights Book, for which the photographers will be paid the Owners’ standard fee. Images selected for the Lumix People’s Choice Award may be included in the Highlights Book, for which the photographers will be paid the Owner’s standard fee.

Other commercial opportunities may exist for photographers to benefit from the use of any entry selected by the Jury. Where such a commercial benefit is likely to arise, permission will be sought by the Owners in advance. Examples include:

(i) publication on the cover of the Portfolio Book

(ii) inclusion in merchandising associated with the Competition, Exhibition and/or Touring Exhibition

(iii) third-party licensing

(7) Awarded submissions may be used by the Owners for the purposes of promoting the Competition, Exhibition and/or Touring Exhibition from the date of notification of awarded submissions until the end of the Touring Exhibition and thereafter the Owners may keep the awarded submissions within an archive (electronic or otherwise) provided that, should the submissions be used in connection with the Competition, Exhibition and/or Touring Exhibition after the period of five (5) years following the notification of awarded submissions, permission will be sought from the entrant and from the entrant’s parent or guardian if the entrant is aged under 18 on the date on which permission is sought.


(1) Proof of electronic submission is not proof of receipt by the Owners.

(2) The Owners cannot be held responsible for emails that do not arrive due to an entrant’s email security settings or restrictions placed by their Internet Service Provider. Entrants must ensure that their settings accept emails from,, and

(3) The Owners regret that they cannot accept liability for any loss of or damage to any entry submitted into the Competition howsoever caused or for any other loss or damage as a result.

(4) The Owners regret that they cannot accept liability for the misuse of images and/or failure of any third party to comply with the Competition’s credit guidelines.

(5) Non-awarded digital entries submitted into the Competition will not be stored or returned by the Owners after the names of awarded photographers are announced.

(6) Except where expressly stated elsewhere in the Rules, the Owners regret that, to the fullest extent permitted by law, they cannot accept any liability for any loss or damage suffered by any entrant in relation to the Competition or the use of any prize.


(1) The personal data of entrants will be managed by the Owners in accordance with data protection legislation.

(2) The Owners will collect personal data about entrants (and the entrant’s parent/guardian where applicable) at the time of registration, and as otherwise provided in order to administer the Competition and/or all associated activities.

(3) If an entrant (or the entrant’s parent or guardian where applicable) elects on entering the Competition to give a donation to the Natural History Museum and Gift Aids their payment, their personal data will be passed on to HM Revenue & Customs for the purposes of claiming Gift Aid. This personal data may be stored by HM Revenue & Customs for the purposes of financial auditing.

(4) Entrants will be asked at the time of registration if they would like to join the mailing list administered by the Owners to receive Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition news and related information. The contact details supplied will be used accordingly. 

(5) Entrants may contact the Owners at any time to update their details and/or preferences regarding permitted use of their personal data.