Adult Competition


If you are planning to submit an image into an adult category of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, please read the following rules.

If you will be 17 years old or under on 7 December 2023, please read the rules for the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.

The competition rules have been translated into 15 languages, read the translated rules here.

Read top tips for entering Wildlife Photographer of the Year from the competition team (PDF).

Please note that any entry to Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition will immediately be subject to these Rules. If entering, you the entrant ("you") must read and abide by these Rules as they create a legally binding contract between you and the Natural History Museum Trading Company Limited.

(1) The Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition ("the Competition") is owned by the Natural History Museum Trading Company Limited ("us" or "we"). We are a trading subsidiary of the body corporate called the Trustees of the Natural History Museum ("the Museum"). The Museum is an exempt charity under UK law. Profit made by us is gifted to the Museum and may be used to support its activities including without limitation further Competitions and scientific research. Any contact with us regarding the Adult Competition or the Young Competition (unless specified otherwise below) should be via the email address:

(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.

(3) To promote the Competition, photographs given Awards by the Jury may be displayed in:

(i) an exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London ("the WPY Exhibition");
(ii) subsequent versions of the WPY Exhibition operated by licensees in any country ("Touring Exhibitions") and
(iii) exhibitions operated by us the Museum or licensees at any venue that feature selected photographs from Wildlife Photographer of the Year competitions ("Related Exhibitions").

The WPY Exhibition, Touring Exhibitions and Related Exhibitions shall together be referred to as "the Exhibitions" in these Rules. Section 8 below sets out the specific license rights regarding the use of photographs given Awards.

(4) The Competition and the resulting Exhibitions may be sponsored by such organisation as chosen by us in our sole discretion ("the Official Sponsor(s)"). In addition, a Touring Exhibition Licensee’s display of the Touring Exhibition may be sponsored by separate sponsor(s) for the duration of that Touring Exhibition if nominated by the relevant Touring Exhibition Licensee and approved by NHM in advance (“Touring Exhibition Sponsor(s)”).

(1) Entries must be received by 11.30am GMT on the morning of Thursday 7 December 2023 ("the Closing Date").

(2) The Adult Competition is open to anyone aged 18 or over on Thursday 7 December 2023 except:

(i) individuals (and their partners and family) involved in its organisation or judging; or
(ii) employees of either the Natural History Museum Trading Company Limited, the Trustees of the Natural History Museum or if known during the entry period then the Official Sponsor(s).

(3) By submitting an entry to the Adult Competition, you agree:

(i) to abide by the Rules and ensure that their entry complies with the Rules;
(ii) to maintain the highest standards in all matters relating to the Competition; and
(iii) that you will be liable to us, and the Museum in respect of any damages or losses incurred as a result of a breach of the Rules by you.

(4) All entries must be the result of photographic process using a camera. You are not permitted to submit photographs that:

(i) feature farm animals, family pets, and/or cultivated plants and fungi;
(ii) breach any of the ethical obligations set out below in Section 4 or Photograph Specification requirements set out below in Section 5.

(5) Any entry found not to comply with the Rules at any stage of the Adult Competition may be disqualified. No refunds or allowances will be made in the event of disqualification and any unreceived prizes will be forfeited and you must return any prize money and fees you have received within 14 days. Where an entry is disqualified, we reserve the right to confirm the entry was disqualified in response to any enquiries. If a breach has occurred, but is discovered after an award, then we may withdraw the relevant entry from any of the Exhibitions and/or related activity and require the return or reimbursement of any prize already received. Any decision of ours relating to the Competition is final and binding. No negotiation will be considered and we will not enter into subsequent correspondence regarding such decisions.

(6) Whilst the information in these Rules is correct, we, in our sole discretion but acting reasonably, reserve the right without prior notice to:

(i) amend the Rules without refund;
(ii) change the prizes in accordance with section 6 (8);
(iii) decide whether any Competition award ceremony will be an event or carried out online only;
(iv) waive breaches of the Rules without refund; and
(v) cancel the Competition and terminate the contracts and licences created by these Rules subject to the refund of entry fees.

(7) We reserve all rights to disqualify your picture if your conduct is contrary to the spirit or intention of the Competition or Exhibition.

(1) Entry must be made via no later than 11.30am GMT on Thursday 7 December 2023.

(2) A one-off non-refundable entry fee of £30.00 is required from each entrant up until 11.29am GMT on Thursday 30 November 2023. From 11.30am GMT on Thursday 30 November 2023 a one-off non-refundable entry fee of £35.00 is required from each entrant.

(3) The entry fee is waived for applicants from the following countries during WPY60 if they can provide evidence of residency on request: Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Brunei, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cayman Islands, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Curaçao, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Laos, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Rwanda, São Tomé and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore , Sint Maarten, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Martin, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Sudan, Suriname, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turks and Caicos Islands, Uganda, Uruguay, Venezuela, Vietnam, Virgin Islands (U.S.), Zambia, Zimbabwe.

(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) Under Water;
(ix) Urban Wildlife;
(x) Natural Artistry;
(xi) Oceans: The Bigger Picture;
(xii) Wetlands: The Bigger Picture;
(xiii) Photojournalism;
(xiv) Photojournalist Story Award;
(xv) Rising Star Award (ages 18 to 26); and
(xvi) Portfolio Award (ages 27 and over).

(5) You can submit a maximum of twenty five (25) photographs in total regardless of how many of the above categories you submit entries for. This includes:

(i) between six (6) and ten (10) photographs for the Photojournalist Story Award per story. You may submit up to two (2) stories only to this category. A maximum of six (6) images will be selected by the Jury per story.
(ii) between six (6) and ten (10) photographs to the Rising Star Award from which a maximum of six (6) images will be selected by the Jury. You may submit one (1) portfolio only to this category; and
(iii) between six (6) and ten (10) photographs to the Portfolio Award from which a maximum of six (6) images will be selected by the Jury. You may submit one (1) portfolio only to this category.

(1) Any breach of these Ethical Requirements below will constitute a breach of the Rules.

(2) Your photographs must report on the natural world in a way that is creative, honest and ethical:

(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; and
(iii) photographs must not portray captive, restrained, manipulated animals, animal models, taxidermy animals, and/or any other animal being exploited for profit. The only exception is when reporting on a specific issue regarding the treatment of animals by a third party, in which case you must make clear that the animal was captive, restrained, a model or a taxidermy animal.

(3) You must not do anything to injure or distress an animal or damage its habitat in an attempt to secure a photograph. This includes flying (or flying a drone) too low or noisily over an animal and taking photographs at nests using wide angle lenses although telephoto lenses are permitted. An animal’s welfare must always come first.

(4) You are responsible for ensuring full compliance with any applicable national or international legislation (including in relation to drones) and for securing any relevant permits (which, in the case of human portraits, will include the subject’s permission) and which must be made available to us if we request it.

(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 us to review. The Jury will favour non-baited photographs.

(6) If we suspect that an entry has been achieved through cruel or unethical practices, including the use of live or irresponsible bait or in any way in breach of these Rules, the entry will be disqualified and we reserve the right to report you to the applicable authorities.

(1) Photographs must have been shot within the past five years. The capture date must be after October 2018 and evidenced on request.

(2) Your entry must be uploaded in JPEG format. High-quality scans of transparencies or negatives are also acceptable.

(3) For all categories, photographs 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. The Jury will not consider photographs that have borders, watermarks or signatures.

(4) If your photograph is shortlisted for the final round of judging you will be required to provide the following:

(i) RAW files (eg .ARW, .CR2/3, .NEF, .ORF, .PEF etc), or original untouched JPEGs (with a range of ‘before’ and ‘after’ original untouched JPEG files); 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.

(5) Any entry that cannot be authenticated or is not of an acceptable quality will be disqualified. We reserve the right to ask you to supply a range of ‘before’ and ‘after’ original files for any photograph that requires further authentication.

(6) Other than those set out in section 5(7) below, digital adjustments are permitted providing that they comply with the Competition’s principles of authenticity i.e. they do not deceive the viewer or misrepresent the reality of nature, or what was originally captured by the camera - 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, lens distortion and vignetting), HDR, stitched panoramas, and “stacking” - photograph stacking and combined for the purposes of; focus stacking, exposure blending, noise reduction or lengthening exposure if taken at the same location at approximately the same time (as a continuous sequence) or within the Natural Artistry category only as multiple exposures in-camera.

(7) For the avoidance of doubt the following digital adjustments are not permitted: 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 or AI generated photographs or images. If any post processing method adds new image content to the photograph via AI algorithms or by manual intervention, the resulting photograph/image will have contravened these Rules.

(8) Caption information must be complete, true and accurate, and include a description setting out what is happening in the photo, why the photo is meaningful, the behaviour observed; background story; exact location, the year the photo was taken; if bait was used, and if so, of what nature (see section 4.5); and if the species is of scientific interest. Photographers are encouraged to provide informative but concise captions for the Jury – a maximum of 2,500 characters.

(9) You must not include your name in the caption or on the photograph itself. You must not include your name in the file data i.e. owner, copyright or creator fields. If you are not able to remove your name from these fields we will do this.

(1) A panel of experts comprising a chair and judges ("the Jury") will be appointed by us to select and award approximately one hundred (100) entries from the Adult and Young Competitions combined.

(2) The Jury will consider the photographs according to judging criteria comprising originality, narrative and ethical practice. The Jury will strongly favour photographs that have not already been awarded in other similar international competitions (i.e. winner, runner-up, commended, honourable mention etc). The individuals on the Jury will be set out on the Competition website here.

(3) During judging, and only with our express agreement, 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 section 6(4) below; or
(iii) remove a category in its entirety.

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

(i) Category Highly Commended;
(ii) Category Winner; and
(iii) Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

(5)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) photograph selected by them from the Category Winner of each of the following multiple photograph categories:

(i) Photojournalist Story Award;
(ii) Rising Star Award (ages 18 to 26); and
(iii) Portfolio Award (ages 27 and over).

(6) We want to encourage and reward wildlife photography that inspires hope and positive action for the natural world. To celebrate the 60th anniversary the jury will award a Special Prize, within the 100 winning images in any category, to recognise a conservation success, a story of hope and/or positive change.

(7) A further twenty-five (25) photographs from the Final Round of the Adult Competition and the Young Competition will be selected by the Jury 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 of our print or commercial partners. The entry with the most votes will receive the People’s Choice Special Award, with the next four (4) most popular entries being Highly Commended. However, the winner of the People’s Choice Special Award will not be considered for Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

(8) If you are successful, you will be notified in strict confidence. It is a condition of entry, any Award and any prize that you do not disclose the details of any shortlisted or winning entries to any third party.

(9) The list of prizes is available on the website. They are non-transferable. We reserve the right, at our convenience, to substitute the whole or part of any listed prize with an alternative of equal monetary value or equal publicity value (but you shall not have any right to demand this). Please note that the prizes must be claimed within one year of the notification of success, or where it is a prize with a fixed occurrence date then up to one (1) month prior to that occurrence date, or in each case it will be forfeited (including any right to receive any substitute prize or publicity).

(1) You agree that, if your entry is selected by the Jury, or by the public as part of the People's Choice Special Award, you will participate in reasonable amounts of related publicity and agree to the use of your name and likeness for the purposes of advertising, promotion and publicity of the Competition and/or the WPY Exhibition and/or any Related Exhibition without additional compensation.

(1) Any photograph you submit to the Competition must either be:

(i) your original photograph captured on camera; or
(ii) an original photograph captured on camera by a photographer but submitted by you on behalf of the photographer, in which case you must inform us of the name of the photographer, and on request by us must provide written confirmation from the photographer that you are entitled to act on their behalf and that they fully accept and are bound by these Rules themselves.

(2) You must either be the sole owner of the copyright of the photograph(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 us on confirmation to you that your photograph has been shortlisted for an Award.

(3) Ownership of the copyright in any entry submitted to the Competition will remain with the copyright owner(s).

(4) In consideration for the chance to win an Award for an photograph you submit to the Competition, you hereby grant to us and the Museum the right to reproduce, publicise and exhibit that photograph in any medium (including but not limited to physical copies, electronic copies and on social media) to enable it to be judged for an Award by the Jury or a public vote.

(5) Only with regards to any photograph you submit that wins an Award, in consideration for the Award and without need of further payment unless stated otherwise, you hereby grant us, the Museum, and if necessary organiations acting on either of our behalves, the right during the Licence Period to:

(i) reproduce and exhibit the photograph in any of the Exhibitions in print or digital format;
(ii) use the photograph in any medium (defined at clause 8(12)) to publicise and promote any of the Competitions or Exhibitions, without further payment unless stated in clause 8(5)(v) below;
(iii) sublicence the Official Sponsor(s) to use the photograph to promote and celebrate the Competition or WPY Exhibition and their relationship to them in any medium (defined at clause 8(12));
(iv) sublicence the Touring Exhibition venue or operator (a "Touring Exhibition Licensee") to print or organise printing of your photograph for exhibition in their Touring Exhibition venue, exhibit your photograph in their Touring Exhibition in print or in digital format and use your image to publicise and promote their Touring Exhibition in any medium (defined at clause 8(12)) with a right for the Touring Exhibition Licensee to further sublicence their Touring Exhibition Sponsor (if approved by NHM) to use the photograph to promote and celebrate the Touring Exhibition and the Touring Exhibition Sponsor’s relationship to it in any medium (defined at clause 8(12)) during the period of that Touring Exhibition; and/or
(v) print and publish your photograph in the annual Portfolio Book or the Highlights Book. Any decision to use such right shall be at the Museum’s discretion but if used then the Museum shall pay you the following fee: portfolio front cover £250.00; portfolio back cover £150.00; co editions front cover if not used already on UK edition £120.00; co editions back cover if not used already on UK edition £75.00; Highlights front cover £150.00; individual photographs £75.00 (may be used in both the Portfolio and Highlights for the one fee); Portfolio, Rising Star and Photojournalism stories £375.00 per collection.

(6) Other commercial opportunities may exist for you to benefit from the use of any entry selected by the Jury. Where such a commercial benefit is likely to arise, we will seek your permission in advance and provide you with an appropriate licence. Examples include:

(i) inclusion in merchandising associated with the Competition, or any of the Exhibitions, other than within the Portfolio Book and Highlights book; and
(ii) third-party merchandise licensing.

(7) The Licence Period shall:

(i) commence on the date you are notified of your Award and continue for a period five (5) years; and
(ii) after such period:

a. the Museum shall retain archive (electronic or otherwise) copies of the photographs; and

b. the Museum and the Touring Exhibition Licence shall retain (electronic or otherwise) copies of promotional or commercial materials created to publicise, promote or commercialise the Competition or Exhibition but in both cases must seek your permission if we or they wish to use the photographs for any further purpose.

(8) We, the Museum and any organisations sublicensed under section 8(5) will, credit you, or (if different) the photographer, when using a photograph in accordance with these Rules. However, you agree, that we will not be liable to you, or (if different) the photographer, in the event of inadvertent omission of that credit.

(9) You must ensure that:

(i) any photographs you submit have been taken with the consent of:
a. anyone who is identifiable in that photograph; or
b. the consent of their parent/guardian if they are under 16, and
(ii) those individuals have been advised:
a. that the photograph may be submitted to the Competition; and
b. that their photograph may be used in accordance with these Rules.

(10) You acknowledge that entry into the Competition does not grant any rights in relation to any names, logos or other intellectual property connected to or owned by us, the Museum or the Competition. You agree not to make any public statement using such names, logos or other intellectual property without our prior written consent.

(11) We will remind the public that copyright to the Exhibition photographs remains with the photographers and we will not directly encourage members of the public to post photos of Exhibition photographs on their personal social media accounts. However, you acknowledge that neither we nor the Museum, nor the Touring Exhibition Licensees are realistically able to prevent this from happening. You waive any right you may have (if any) to bring a claim against us, the Museum or the Touring Exhibition Licensees as a result of a failure to prevent members of the public taking or sharing photos of Exhibition photographs.

(12) The term "any medium" when used in clause 8(5) shall include but not be limited to any print, book, magazine, NHM’s stakeholders communication, digital media, applications or social media channels.

(13) We reserve the right without prior notice to disqualify an entry, or remove a photograph from any Competition or Exhibition, if in our sole discretion, but acting reasonably, we deem our display to be criminal or infringing any third party’s rights.

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

(2) We cannot be held responsible for emails that do not arrive due to your email security settings or restrictions placed by your Internet Service Provider. You must ensure that your settings accept emails from and

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

(4) Except where expressly stated elsewhere in the Rules and to the fullest extent permitted by law, we will not be liable for any loss or damage suffered by you in relation to the Competition, the use of your entry in accordance with these Rules or the use of any prize. This exclusion shall include but not be limited to liability for any loss of or damage to any entry, liability for the misuse of photographs; and/or failure of any third party licensee to comply with the credit obligations in these Rules.

We will collect personal data about you (and your parent/guardian where applicable) at the time of registration, and as otherwise provided in order to administer the Competition, the Exhibitions and/or all associated activities. For more information about how we and the Museum process personal data please see our Privacy Notice here

We shall not be in breach of these Rules nor liable for delay in performing, or failure to perform, any of its obligations under this Rules if such delay or failure result from events, circumstances or causes beyond its reasonable control. In such circumstances, we shall be entitled to a reasonable extension of the time for performing such obligations. If the period of delay or non-performance continues for 1 week, we may terminate the contract created by these Rules with you by giving you 14 days' written notice.

These Rules and any other webpages or documents incorporated into them constitute the entire agreement between you and us and supersedes and extinguishes all previous agreements, promises, assurances, warranties, representations and understandings between them, whether written or oral, relating to its subject matter, including but not limited to any advertising or promotional materials. You agree that you shall have no remedies in respect of any statement, representation, assurance or warranty (whether made innocently or negligently) that is not set out in these Rules. 

Other than rights expressed as applying to us, the Museum, the Official Sponsor(s), the Touring Exhibition Sponsor(s) or Touring Exhibition Licensees, the contract and licence created by the entrants submission in accordance with these Rules does not give rise to any third party rights under the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 to enforce any term of these Rules.

The Rules shall be governed by and interpreted in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and the parties submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English and Welsh courts.

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If you are planning to enter Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year, please read the young competition rules before submitting your images

Read the rules