Enter the competition

Find out everything you need to know about entering photos into the adult categories of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition and submit your photos.

The Wildlife Photographer of the Year 57 competition is now closed for entries

Thank you to all who have taken part this year. We'll be in touch in January if you've made it to the Final Round, and in March with the results.

Good luck!

Read on for information and tips to help you with your entry into the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. Be sure to also read the rules before submitting your photos.

If you are new to the competition or don't already have a competition account, you will first need to set up an account on the entrant's portal.

The entrant's portal will become available on 19 October 2020.

The entry fee for the Adult competition is £30.
The cost increases to £35 in the last week of the entry period, from 11.30am on 3 December 2020.

This fee is only payable through the online entry system.

Entering the competition early will help you avoid any last-minute delays such as technical issues and stress. By registering and paying the entry fee before the final week, you will also avoid the additional £5 cost.

Entries will not be accepted after the closing date of 10 December 2020 (11.30am GMT).

Why is there an entry fee?

Income from entries to the competition are vital in helping to fund the smooth running of the competition, the production of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition and global projects such as taking the winning images to environmental conferences, events and museums around the world.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year exists to showcase the very best nature photography and to use it 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.

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. Wildlife Photographer of the Year income also funds the Museum's pioneering scientific research, education and conservation work.

Before submitting photos to a competition category, be sure to read the rules.

You 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.

Your images must report on the natural world in a way that is both creative and 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) images must not portray captive, restrained, or 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.

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.

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.

Entries 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. Please do not include borders, watermarks or signatures.

Once your files have been uploaded and saved through the entrant's portal, they are automatically included in the competition. You will be able to log in to add or delete images up until the competition closes.

If your image is selected for the Final Round of judging you will need to provide a RAW file, original untouched JPEG (with a range of ‘before’ and ‘after’ original untouched JPEG files available on request), original transparency or negative so the judges can check any adjustments comply with the rules. If you cannot supply these, your entry will be withdrawn from the competition.

If you provide an original transparency or negative, we may keep it until October 2021. If you're not successful, your transparency or negative will be returned to you by May 2021.

Unless DNG is the native RAW format of your camera, DNG files will not be accepted as we will be unable to check if any digital adjustments made fall within the competition rules. However, if you have embedded the original RAW in the DNG during the conversion process, you'll be able to extract it and submit it as proof of authenticity.

You will also need to supply a high-resolution file suited to printing in all media. A TIFF file is preferred.

This should be 8-bit, Adobe RGB (1998) at full resolution. Please do not upscale.

Acceptable digital adjustments

A limited number of digital adjustments to photos are permitted providing they comply with the competition's principles of authenticity and so do not misrepresent the reality of nature. These include:

  • tone adjustments
  • contrast adjustments
  • burning
  • dodging
  • cropping
  • sharpening
  • noise reduction
  • minor cleaning work (such as the removal of sensor dust or scratches on transparencies/scans, or the removal of chromatic aberration)
  • HDR
  • stitched panoramas
  • focus stacking

Prohibited digital adjustments

The following digital adjustments are not allowed - please note this is not a complete list:

  • 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 or painting out the background

You can submit a total of 25 photos to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, across multiple categories. The same image can be submitted to more than one category.

There is no time limit on when a photo had to be taken to enter it, and photos can have been previously published.

Colour and black and white images can be entered into all of the categories.

It is against the competition’s Rules to submit images that have received an award, prize or recognition in another international photography competition before the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition opening date of 19 October 2020. This includes as a winner, runner-up, commended image, honourable mention or other similar commendations.

Preparing an image for submission

Follow these step-by-step instructions to ensure your files meet the entry requirements.

1. Make a duplicate of your image. Keep the original file as it will be needed later for authentication.
In the duplicate, clear tags such as ratings and labels.

2. In your editing software, insert image information into the caption metadata field. You must include:

  • a description: the background story, a description setting out the behaviour observed, the exact location, any use of bait and of what nature (see rule 4.5), and whether the species is of scientific interest
  • EXIF details - such as camera, lens and exposure - should be kept intact

Do not include:

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

3. 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.

4. Make any digital adjustments required and permitted within the competition rules.

5. 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.

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

7. 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.

You may find helpful tips for following these steps in your software's help pages. Some popular software past entrants have used include:

We appoint a panel of judges and a chair to evaluate all entries. Each submission is reviewed anonymously. Judging comprises two rounds. During the final round, images will undergo an authenticity check to ensure the entry complies with our rules and ethics.

The panel will be looking for originality, narrative and ethical practice.

All Category Winners are considered for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year grand title.

The Jury will also include for consideration one (1) image selected by them from the Category Winner of each of the following multiple image categories:

  • Photojournalist Story Award
  • Rising Star Portfolio Award (ages 18 to 26)
  • Portfolio Award (ages 27 and over)

Find out more about the panel.

Contact the competition team

On this page we have provided the answers to our frequently asked questions.

If we haven't answered your particular question here, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition team are happy to answer any queries you have about entering the competition.

Ask a question