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Wildlife Photo Contest Big Four

There are few things that can match the sheer unadulterated thrill of entering a wildlife photo contest and actually winning something.

Having your wildlife photographic efforts recognised by your peers is a great bonus to what is already a very rewarding and enjoyable pastime. And the prizes you can win aren't half bad either.

I've set up a list of the top four wildlife photo contest opportunities that are available presently for you to showcase your best wildlife pictures in.

They are ranked according to reputation and the collective wisdom of wildlife photographers gleaned from forums, magazines, photography websites and word of mouth...

1. Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year

This is the 'big daddy' of all wildlife photo contests. If you win this one you can justifiably claim that your wildlife photo is the best in the world (at least for a year that is). There are 11 categories to enter your pictures into.

Young photographers can also enter - there are three age groups: 10 years and under, 11-14 years, and 15-17 years.


If your image is judged to be the most striking of the competition you will receive £10,000 and and a whole lot of prestige which you could probably parlance into monetary terms (or you could just enjoy being nr 1) because this competition carries real weight in the wildlife photography industry.

Each category winner will receive £500 and each runner-up £250. Special Award winners will receive £1,000 and each runner-up £500.

The overall Young winner will receive £500 and a day's tailored masterclass with a leading nature photographer. Each Young category winner will receive £250 and each runner-up £100.

The winning and commended photographs appear on the National History Museum's website, in the BBC Wildlife Magazine and publications worldwide. There is also a major exhibition at the Museum that tours worldwide throughout the year.

Duration and number of entrants:

This nature photography contest occurs only once a year and the closing date is normally the end of March.

More than 40,000 entries from over 90 countries have been received so you can expect stiff competition.

Organisers and Sponsors:

Organised by the Natural History Museum in London, UK and BBC Wildlife Magazine since 1964.

The current title sponsor is Veolia Environnement and is also supported by ARKive.

Specific Entry Requirements:

Professional and amateur photographers from across the globe can enter online. Adult entrants will be asked to cough up £20 per photograph entered but young entrants' participation is free.

Find out more about this prestigious wildlife photo contest...

2. National Geographic Photo Contest

Photos can be entered into three different categories: people, places and nature.


Each of the three category winners receive US$2,500 and have their photograph published in the National Geographic Magazine. The overall grand prize winner receives an additional US$7,500 as well as a trip to National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C., to participate in the annual National Geographic Photography Seminar.

Duration and number of entrants:

In 2010, 16 000 photographs were submitted from over 130 countries.

Organisers and Sponsors:

National Geographic Society.

Specific Entry Requirements:

Photographs must be in digital format and each entry will cost you US$15.

Find out more...

There is also a Kids Contest with great prizes for children photographers aged 6-14.

3. Nature's Best Photography Awards

Contests and Prizes:

Picture of the Week Online competition: winning images will be featured on their website for one week and receive a free one-year subscription to Nature's Best Photography magazine.

The Annual Windland Smith Rice International Awards: the winners of each awards category and a selection of highly honoured images are displayed to millions of visitors in a popular annual exhibition at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC.

Organisers and Sponsors:

Nature's Best Photography magazine in alliance with the prestigious Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (USA).

More info about these contests

4. The Getaway Gallery Photographer of the Year


An overall winner is chosen from all the monthly submissions that make the grade and will earn that photographer a 7-night stay for two people at a secelction of Savari Adventure Co. camps in Namibia worth R47,000 (approx. US$6,715).

Second prize is two nights for two at both Mashatu Game Reserve (Tuli Nature Reserve, Botswana) and MalaMala Game Reserve (Mpumalanga, South Africa) worth R28,500 and third prize is two nights for two at Shishangeni Private Game Lodge (Kruger National Park, South Africa) worth R12,980.

A Nikon Sporter 10x50 binoculars worth R2,278 will also be awarded to each of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize winners.


Monthly entries with the award winning photographs chosen and published in January.

Organisers and Sponsors:

The Getaway magazine based in South Africa.

Specific Entry Requirements:

Only photographs taken in Africa and its islands will be considered because the contest is aimed primarily at promoting amateur photography in Africa.

Find out more...

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