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  • Writer's pictureAbdul Qudoos

Best Wildlife Photography Competitions to Showcase Your Passion

Updated: Apr 7


Photo Credit: Johan Willems

That heart-racing moment when a majestic creature steps into view, and you immortalize it with the perfect snap. As a wildlife photographer, you live for those thrilling instances out in the raw beauty of nature.


But what next?


Submit those unique wildlife moments you captured in photography contests. Wildlife photography contests offer the ideal platform to share those unbelievable shots while promoting conservation - and also providing ample opportunities to gain global recognition.


In this article, we'll highlight the best wildlife photography competitions you simply must enter to showcase your skills, expand your reach, and give back to the wild world you admire.


So gear up and let’s get snapping!


1. The Artist Gallery Wildlife Photography Contest


The Artist Gallery is an excellent platform for both amateur and professional photographers to submit their vibrant images of animals in natural habitats. 


While many contests narrowly focus on podium winners, they spotlight a broader range of talent. The top 25 photographs will be exhibited across their website, social media channels, and photo gallery. That means increased exposure and budding recognition for more contestants. 


Participants also receive helpful feedback from the judges, comprised of renowned nature photographers. Implement their advice towards improving your artistic talents and technical abilities over time. 


If you have eye-catching photos of wildlife to share, enter them now here.


Prizes

  • 1st Place: 15% of entry fees

  • 2nd Place: 10% of entry fees

  • 3rd Place: 5% of entry fees


The top three winners will also be interviewed for a blog feature highlighting their work.


Additionally, the top 25 highest-ranked contestants will have their photos displayed across The Artist Gallery’s social media and website, reaching thousands of nature photography enthusiasts. They’ll also receive digital participation certificates.


Entry Fees

  • 1 Photo - $11

  • 3 Photos - $28

  • 5 Photos - $38

  • 10 Photos - $59


Final Takeaway

With accessible entry fees, the ability to submit multiple photos, and incentives like cash prizes, features, exposure, and participation certificates, this wildlife photo contest gives budding and seasoned shooters alike a chance to advance their portfolios.


The top 25 winners, not just the podium placers, get visible recognition too. That makes competition friendlier while expanding your exposure reach. Check out the contest here.


2. Wildlife Photographer of the Year


The Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, run by London's Natural History Museum, is the gold standard that serious wildlife photographers aspire to win.


With a rich legacy spanning over 50 years, this contest draws awe-inspiring entries from professionals and amateurs across 100 countries. Entries selected demonstrate originality, artistic vision, and technical prowess in capturing fleeting moments we rarely glimpse.


Prize Breakdown

  • £10,000 grand title prize

  • Category awards ranging from £1,500 to £2,500

  • The image premiered in an exhibition at the Natural History Museum


Winning this prestigious event can launch careers and reinforce critical environmental efforts worldwide.


Entry Fees

The entry fee is £30 for adults and it’s free for those under 18. Entry fees help fund the competition and support the Natural History Museum's mission.


Final Takeaway

For wildlife photographers pursuing household name status, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition is the ultimate proving ground to validate your talent. Having your work showcased to millions at the iconic Natural History Museum in London also provides unmatched satisfaction.


3. BigPicture Natural World Photography Competition


Presented by the California Academy of Sciences, a renowned scientific and educational institution, this photography event raises awareness for fragile ecosystems in urgent need of conservation.


BigPicture gives you a chance to amplify the conservation messages through a prestigious scientific platform and gain exposure at a renowned institution.


Prize

  • Grand Prize: $5,000 + Recognition Award

  • First Place per Category: $1,000 + Recognition Award

  • Finalists (up to 6 in each category): Digital Certificate of Recognition


Entry Fees

The entry fee for the BigPicture competition is $25 for up to 10 individual image submissions in any category. For the photo story category, which includes 6-8 images, the fee is $15.


Final Takeaway

For photographers who want their work to directly support science-backed conservation efforts, BigPicture provides a meaningful impact. Striking images receive global visibility while spotlighting vulnerable ecosystems.


4. Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards


Founded in 2015, the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards highlights amusing animal antics in candid snaps. This refreshingly lighthearted photo contest embraces humorous encounters between cameras and animals.


By combining humor and wildlife photography, the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards aims to raise awareness about the importance of conservation while providing a platform for photographers to showcase their talents and share the joy of the natural world with a global audience.


Prize

  • A one-week safari in Kenya

  • Social media features with viral reach


Entry Fees

Competition entry and voting mechanisms operate freely without fees to prioritize public engagement. Donations fund operational costs and support partner conservation organizations.


Final Takeaway

For photographers who appreciate that vital awareness often blooms from seeds of joy, Comedy Wildlife celebrates priceless imagery revealing our human connectedness across all species great and small.


5. Bird Photographer of the Year


As suggested in the title, Bird Photographer of the Year specifically celebrates avian photography’s technical prowess and awe-inspiring beauty.


Produced annually, this competition invites bird photographers worldwide to submit entries reflecting unique bird behaviors, surprising new angles on common species, or exclusive views of endangered rarities.


The Bird Photographer of the Year contest advances bird conservation efforts, using stirring photography to inspire greater ecological awareness.


Prize

  • £3,000 grand prize

  • Category awards from £100 to £500

  • Bonus equipment/voucher giveaways

  • Funds supporting bird protection initiatives


Entry Fees

  • £10 for 1 entry

  • £15 for 5 entries

  • £25 for 10 entries

  • £40 for 20 entries

  • £50 for 30 entries

  • £60 for 50 entries


Final Takeaway

For bird lovers behind the lens looking to contribute to preservation efforts through impactful imagery, the Bird Photographer of the Year contest offers enriched meaning layered beyond art for art's sake alone.


6. GDT Nature Photographer of the Year


With €33,500 in prizes, GDT European Nature Photographer of the Year stands among the most lucrative contests for photographers worldwide.


Presented by the German Association for Nature Photography, this esteemed competition invites entries that span terrestrial, aquatic, botanical, and aerial photography capturing European landscapes and species.


Prize

The winner will receive 3,000 EUR, a free ticket to the International Nature Photography Festival 2024 in Lünen, a certificate, and an exhibition catalog.


Entry Fees

The entry fee is 35 EUR irrespective of the number of images submitted.


Final Recommendation

For seasoned nature photographers able to capture European landscapes and species, GDT’s well-funded competition provides lucrative payouts and far-reaching visibility advancing careers to the next level.


7. National Wildlife Photo Contest


The National Wildlife Photo Contest, now in its 53rd year, is a prestigious competition that celebrates the beauty and diversity of wildlife. The contest places a strong emphasis on conservation and ethical photography, ensuring that the well-being of animals is honored and respected.


The contest welcomes submissions from both amateur and professional photographers, encouraging them to share their best images of wildlife. With nine diverse categories, including Birds, Mammals, Baby Animals, etc, photographers have ample opportunities to showcase their skills and creativity. 


Prize

  • Grand Prize: $5,000 cash and the Nature's Witness Award

  • Portfolio Prize: $750 cash

  • First Place (each of the 8 subject categories): $500 cash

  • Second Place (each of the 8 subject categories): $250 cash

  • Honorable Mentions: Certificate of distinction and a National Wildlife Federation calendar


Entry Fees

  • 15 photographs for $25

  • 10 images for $20

  • 1 image for $15


Final Takeaway

By entering the National Wildlife Photo Contest, photographers not only have the chance to gain recognition for their work but also contribute to the important cause of wildlife conservation. The contest's commitment to ethical photography and its support for the National Wildlife Federation's mission makes it an excellent opportunity for photographers.


8. Nature Photography Contest


The Nature Photography Contest stands as an inspiring international competition designed to artistically showcase the magnificence of the natural world while underscoring the urgent need for its preservation.


This inclusive contest provides a vibrant platform for photographers of all levels to contribute diverse expressions of nature's splendor through stunning images.


But it moves beyond celebrating artistic excellence - this competition enables participants to powerfully emphasize the importance of protecting fragile habitats and raising awareness around intensifying environmental threats.


Prize

  • €100 to €1,000 tiered contest rewards

  • Global exposure and recognition


Entry Fees

The entry fee for The Nature Photography Contest is €10 per photograph. This fee helps the contest cover its costs and a part will be donated to onetreeplanted.org.


Final Takeaway

For dedicated photographers seeking to build portfolio credentials backed by an internationally recognized platform, the Nature Photography Contest delivers broader opportunities unlocked through a spirit of open participation.


Final Words

Did you spot a favorite contest among these world-renowned events? From majestic landscapes to intimate wildlife portraits, the possibilities stretch as far as the imagination.


Keep in mind that photography competitions enable important conservation outcomes too. Images spotlighting threatened habitats and species build critical awareness for vulnerable ecosystems worldwide.


Lift up your camera with passion and purpose as we honor this fragile home we all share. The right image captured at the perfect instant can shift attitudes, inspire action, and ultimately harvest change.


Now is your time to contribute towards positive movement ahead. Let's celebrate all creatures great and small! Our lenses reveal meaningful stories worth sharing with the world.



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