The 2020 National Wildlife Photo Contest is Closed.

General Questions

The National Wildlife® Photo Contest (NWPC) is open to all photographers worldwide who are at least 13 years of age, except employees and board members of NWF, their immediate families and individuals living in the same household as such employees and board members. NWF reserves the right to verify, in its sole judgment, entrant eligibility. Entrants 13 to 17 years of age MUST enter only the Youth Category (described below) and MUST obtain verified parental or guardian consent prior to entering the NWPC.  Entrants 18 years or older must enter the General Category, and are prohibited from entering the Youth Category.
No, we invite entrants from all over the world to enter.

Opens: January 15, 2020

Closes: March 29, 2020

NWF anticipates notifying winners by mid October 2020.  A selection of the winning photographs and honorable mentions will be published in the December-January 2021 issue of National Wildlife® magazine, which comes out in mid-November 2020. All winning images will be published on the magazine's website.

The National Wildlife Federation greatly appreciates when photographers choose to donate some of their images. These donations help support our mission to protect wildlife and habitats. If you wish to donate image(s) to the National Wildlife Federation for use in furthering its mission, please check the appropriate box for each image during the uploading process. By donating the image(s) to NWF, donor assigns NWF a joint ownership interest in image(s) under Copyright laws. You retain all right and title to the image(s) as a joint owner. By checking the box and agreeing to donate the image(s) to NWF, you agree all writing and signature requirements under the law are satisfied. NWF greatly appreciates all image donations, which will be used to support NWF’s charitable mission. Click here for further explanation.

Grand Prize: Cash Prize of $5000 and a Tamron 100-400mm Di VC USD lens, with thanks to Tamron, proud supporter of the 2020 National Wildlife Photo Contest.

First Place: $500.00 for the winner in each category.

Second Place: $250.00 for the winner in each category.

Honorable Mentions: Each will receive a National Wildlife Federation calendar.

All winning images will be published on our web sites and promoted throughout NWF's social media channels.

CATEGORIES: Photographers must enter each image in one of the following categories. The same photo cannot be entered in more than one category. Judges reserve the right to switch images to other categories.

  • Birds: Portraits and behavior
  • Mammals: Portraits and behavior
  • Baby Animals: Portraits and behavior of young animals of any species
  • Other Wildlife: Portraits and behavior (includes underwater life, reptiles, amphibians, insects, spiders and more)
  • Landscapes & Plants: Scenic views and native plants from backyards to wild places
  • People in Nature: People enjoying the outdoors or connecting with nature and wildlife
  • Youth category for nature photographers age 13-17
  • NEW Mobile: Nature, wildlife and people outdoors photographed with a mobile device (phone or tablet)
Yes, students age 13-17 are eligible to enter the National Wildlife Photo Contest through our partnership with Eco-Schools USA. Please see our photo contest page for educators and students for further information.

Entry Step-By-Step

Click here to download.
(After the download, the PDF entry guide may be in your "Downloads" or "My Dowloads" folder in your computer.)

Questions About Entries

Technical requirements: Camera-made digital images or scans of slides or prints must be uploaded as jpg files. There is a maximum file size of 50 megabytes per image. Images should be in either sRGB or RGB format.

What photos qualify: We are looking for striking color and black and white images of nature—on land, in the air and beneath the water’s surface—from anywhere in the world. These images may show animal behavior, portraits of wildlife in natural habitat, plant life, natural landscapes, or people interacting with nature.
"Upload" is to select an image from your computer and send it to the photo application/entry page and complete relevant information about the photo. "Submit" is the final stage to send the image to be judged. Please note that photos are not actually entered into the contest or made viewable by others or sharable until you submit your entry and it shows 'Accepted' on your Entries & Payment page. Submitted entries cannot be edited or deleted.
To replace an incomplete image you don't want, and it has not been submitted, click on the image's Entry Title and replace it with a new description and upload a new image. After a photo has been submitted, it will be marked 'Accepted' and it can not be edited nor deleted. However, if an entry has not been submitted, it will be marked as either 'Incomplete' or 'Complete' and photo information can be edited and categories switched. Please do not delete the first entry associated with the entry fee or the account will show an unpaid balance.
Do not include photographs of pets or domestic animals. Images of captive animals photographed in game farms or roadside zoos, or animals from these facilities photographed elsewhere with handler’s control, will be disqualified.

Captive animals photographed in major zoos, wildlife research facilities or rehabilitation centers are acceptable. Clearly label these animals as captive in the Subject box when uploading and provide details in the Story box.

Human-made objects (such as roads, bird feeders, wildlife signs, etc.) may be included in a photo as long as that object was in the environment as you took the photo, and not added to the image digitally after.
There is no time limit as to when a photo was taken to be eligible for the National Wildlife Photo Contest.
Previously published photos may be entered; however, please include information on when and where the photos appeared. Winning photos from other competitions may also be entered, but include the name of the contests and the years they won. Such information is informative only and will not influence judges’ decisions.
Yes. Acceptable adjustments are: color, contrast, brightness and sharpness; removal of dust and scratches; cropping; black and white conversions; and use of HDR (high dynamic range), where multiple exposures of the same scene are combined for a greater tonal range. Not acceptable are photo composites (combination of two or more photos, not of the same scene); the addition, duplication, deletion or moving of objects in the photos; or the use of artistic digital filters and effects. Examples of artistic filters and effects are watercolor, neon glow, posterizing, stained glass, and others which do not show the scene in its natural way.
Yes. Your photo can be watermarked. It is recommended that the watermark not interfere with the scene of your photo.

Registering or Reseting User ID and Password

If you forget your user ID or password, you can retrieve it here.

Technical Difficulties Uploading Photos

No, you may upload some of them and then return to the upload more at a later time. After a photo has been submitted, it will be marked 'Accepted' and it can not be edited nor deleted. However, if an entry has not been submitted to be judged, it will be marked as either 'Incomplete' or 'Complete' and photo information can be edited and categories switched.
You may enter as many photos as you wish at the below photo-entry package rates. Only check and money order will be accepted. Please do not send cash. Make payment out to National Wildlife Federation. Send mailed or shipped entries to National Wildlife Photo Contest, 11100 Wildlife Center Drive, Reston, VA 20190, USA.

  • Enter one photo for $15
  • Enter up to 10 photos for $20
  • Enter up to 15 photos for $25 (BEST VALUE, includes free one year digital subscription of National Wildlife)
Each photograph must be numbered and accompanied by a completed submission form. Please do not send a cover letter. Negatives, transparencies or digital files must be available for all prints, but please do not send them until contacted. Prints may be mounted, but print and/or mount size must be no larger than 11x14 inches. Sandwich prints between cardboard, wrap with a rubber band and enclose in a mailing envelope. Do not use tape.  Receipt of packages cannot be acknowledged and packages will not be returned. Download the submission form: General Entrant; Youth Entrant.
First and foremost, save a backup of the originals. Software such as Photoshop, Photoshop Elements and Microsoft Office Picture Manager will help you resize and save copies of your images. Look for resize or adjust size in the menus. There are also a number of online resources for resizing photographs.
Accepted entries cannot be deleted. Images that have the status of either "Completed" or "Incomplete" can be deleted or modified. To modify an entry click on the entry's title to open its Photo Details page and replace old photo information and upload a replacement photo, then resubmit it as a new entry.
There are a few indicators on your Entries & Payment page.

  • Accepted: Denotes a successful submitted image. Entry cannot be edited or deleted.
  • Completed: Denotes entry needs to be submitted to the judges by clicking on the “Submit” button, this will turn the status to “Accepted”.
  • Incomplete: Denotes the entry’s application form is not completely filled out, click on the entry’s title to open and fill out missing information on the Photo Details form.  Then Submit the entry to be accepted.
  • Instead of deleting an incomplete image you don't want, click on the image's Entry Title and replace it with a new upload.

Didn't find your questions here? Please do not hesitate to contact us.


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