The Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2019, organised by Natural History Museum, is open for entries calling on photographers worldwide to put nature in the frame. Whether you’re young, old, professional or amateur, they’d like to see work that raises awareness of the beauty and fragility of the natural world.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year uses photography to challenge perceptions about the natural world, helping to promote sustainability and the conservation of wildlife. Now in its 54rd instalment, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition provides a showcase for the world’s very best nature photography.
We celebrate biodiversity, evolution and the origins of life, and aim to inspire a greater understanding of nature.
We champion ethical wildlife photography. This means we advocate faithful representations of the natural world that are free from excessive digital manipulation, accompanied by honest captions and that display total respect for animals and their environments.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year harnesses the power of photography to promote the discovery, understanding, and responsible enjoyment of the natural world. An image can alter the way we see, think and feel. Whether captured in the most remote wilderness or taken in the intimacy of your own backyard, a truly great image of Nature can change our worldview.
The Competition comprises an Adult Competition open to photographers aged 18 and over, and a Young Competition open to photographers aged 17 and under.
Young Competition categories:
• 10 Years and Under
• 11-14 Years
• 15-17 Years
Images in Young Competition category can range from animal portraiture, action or behaviour, as well as the wider habitats of wildlife, to artistic interpretations of the natural world. They will be judged on their quality, style and originality.
The Adult Competition consists of 16 categories:
• Animals in their Environment
Evoking atmosphere and a sense of place - with the habitat as a major element of the image to convey how an animal is an integral part of its environment.
• Animal Portraits
Revealing the personality of an individual or an intimate group of animals in a thought-provoking or memorable way.
• Behaviour: Amphibians and Reptiles
Revealing active behaviour that adds to our understanding of the nature of a species.
• Behaviour: Birds
Portraying memorable, unusual or dramatic behaviour.
• Behaviour: Invertebrates
Revealing the most interesting or memorable behaviour of any of the multitude of smaller animals without backbones – whether on land, in the air or in water.
• Behaviour: Mammals
Portraying memorable, unusual or dramatic behaviour.
• Plants and Fungi
Conveying the essence of a plant or fungus or portraying its importance or role in its environment or its means of survival.
• Under Water
Revealing life under water, whether portraying a particular marine or freshwater environment, focusing on the behaviour of an animal or placing it within the context of a specific underwater location, always with the aesthetics in mind.
• Urban Wildlife
Focusing on nature’s occupation or cohabitation in a human-dominated environment, whether capturing the magic of the commonplace or the surprise of the unexpected or normally unseen.
• Earth’s Environments
Celebrating the scale and magnitude of Earth’s landforms, the natural forces sculpting them or pure wilderness on a landscape scale, whether seen from the ground or the air.
• Black and White
Illustrating how the graphic nature and tonal range of black-and-white photography can simplify the elements, emphasise the form, create drama or add an emotional element to an image, whatever the subject.
• Creative Visions
Showing familiar subjects in imaginative ways or revealing from an artistic perspective, the patterns, textures and forms to be found in the natural world.
• Wildlife Photojournalism
Investigating the relationship between humans and the natural world. Images can be challenging, uplifting, provocative or revelatory, and should illustrate how our attitudes, decisions and actions impact the natural world.
• Wildlife Photojournalist Photo Story Award
Telling a powerful story, these 6 to 10 images should have both individual quality and combined narrative power. Pictures can be challenging, uplifting, provocative or revelatory and should illustrate how our attitudes, decisions and actions impact the natural world. Enter photo stories of up to 10 images, from which jury will select a maximum of 6 .
• Rising Star Portfolio Award (aged 18 to 26)
Demonstrating style and artistic intent, this portfolio should show a breadth of skill and vision while illustrating consistent quality and include six to ten images of varying subjects or viewpoints.
• Wildlife Photographer Portfolio Award (aged 27 and over)
Displaying a selection of the photographer’s best work, whether the images focus on a specific subject or represent a particular approach. This body of work should be both original and outstanding, and include six to ten images.
Each entrant is allowed a total of 25 entries into the Adult Competition. Please note that entrants to the Wildlife Photojournalist Award: Photo Story may submit between 6 and 10 images from which a maximum of 6 images will be selected by the Jury. Entrants to this category may submit up to 2 photo-stories each. And also the entrants to the Rising Star Portfolio Award and Wildlife Photographer Portfolio Award may submit between 6 and 10 images from which a maximum of 6 images will be selected by the Jury. Entrants to these categories may submit 1 portfolio only.
• 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. • 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.
• Caption information must be complete, true and accurate, and provide the following 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)
• You can enter the same image into more than one category. Black and white images can be entered into all categories.
• You may enter previously published images, but please don’t enter images that have already received an award or recognition in another international photography competition.
• Entrants whose work has been shortlisted will be required to provide the following:
- 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;
- 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.
- Any entry that cannot be authenticated or is not of an acceptable quality will be disqualified.
Original and high-resolution files will be requested from 23 January until 8 February 2019 at 11.30am GMT.
What forms of digital adjustments are acceptable?
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.
What forms of digital adjustments are NOT acceptable?
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.
Entrants are required to report on the natural world in a way that is both creative and honest. Images entered must not attempt to deceive the viewer or misrepresent the reality of nature. Entrants must not do anything to injure or distress any animals or destroy their habitat in an attempt to secure an image.
An independent panel of experts judges will select and award approximately 100 entries from the Adult and Young Competitions.
From those entries selected by the Jury from the Adult Competition, the following awards will be given: Category Highly Commended, Category Winner and Wildlife Photographer of the Year. 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 1 image selected by them from the Category Winner of each of the following multiple image categories: Wildlife Photojournalist Photo Story Award, Rising Star Portfolio Award (ages 18 to 26), Wildlife Photographer Portfolio Award (ages 27 and over). Winners of Special Awards will not be considered for Wildlife Photographer of the Year.
A further 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 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 most popular entries regarded as Special Award Highly Commended.
Ownership of the copyright in all images submitted to the competition will remain with the copyright owner(s).
Winners will be contacted by 25 March 2019.
Entry in the Young Competition is free. Entry in the Adult Competition is 30 GBP.
Who can participate? ⇣
The Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2019 is open to everyone worldwide. The Competition comprises an Adult Competition open to photographers aged 18 and over, and a Young Competition open to photographers aged 17 and under.