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Photo Contest

California sea lion framed by kelp beds under water.
Burst California sea lion framed by kelp beds in Monterey Bay, California. Grand Prize Winner for 2019 TNC Global Photo Contest. © Tyler Schiffman/TNC Photo Contest 2019

Announcing the 2021 Global Photo Contest Winners

The Nature Conservancy is proud to announce the winners by category of our 2021 contest. Check out the images that amazed our judges the most—and see the winner of this year’s People’s Choice Award, selected by you!

Subscribe for 2022 Photo Contest Alerts

The 2021 competition may be over—but our global nature photo contest will be back in 2022! Complete the form below to receive an email alert to find out when the contest will open, fantastic prizes, who the judges will be, and more.

Tips for a winning photo

We spoke with a few professional photographers for some tips on how to take great photos out in nature.

Award winning landscape photographer
Ben Goode Award winning landscape photographer © Ben Goode

Tips from Ben Goode

BEST TIPS FOR TAKING PHOTOS OF LANDSCAPES AND NATURE

Composition in my opinion is the most important thing. A well composed photo can sometimes survive bad light, bad settings and even bad editing - A badly composed photo survives nothing. Learn what great light is and don’t settle for less. Having an eye for good light will help your images no end. Try taking a photo of the same scene from afternoon through to sunset and you will see how much of an effect light can have on a scene.

Less is often more! Shoot and edit with that mentality. Leave space around your main subject and don't clutter the frame. It’s like a good pizza... less toppings = more taste.

Try and create a mood and tell a story with your photos. This comes from composition, editing and use of light and shade. Put thought into all three and the chances are you will have an image goes beyond a nice snapshot.

ADVICE FOR SELECTING PHOTOS FOR TNC'S PHOTO CONTEST

Spend time looking through your collection to shortlist a few of your best images. Get a photographer you respect to take a look at your choices and give you advice on what they think might do well in a competition. When choosing image, try and remove personal bias and attachment and look at your photos through critical eyes.

Less is often more! Leave space around your main subject and don't clutter the frame. It’s like a good pizza... less toppings = more taste.

Award winning landscape photographer
Adrian Alford with a camera in hand
Adrian Alford Adrian Alford with a camera in hand © Adrian Alford

Tips from Adrian Alford

Plan your shot – Start by visiting the location and considering angles of light at certain times of day. Phone apps can help you predict the best weather for your shot.

Start early Try getting out of bed in the early hours of the morning. This time of day can reward you with not only beautiful images, but also the magic moments that nature has to offer in terms of sounds.

Research – When photographing wildlife, read up on your subjects. Find out what time of day they eat, what they like to eat, and locations where you might encounter the most activity.

Patience is the key! Waiting for your subject to arrive (or not arrive) can be testing. But trust me, the wait will be worth it!

Above all else, the most important thing is to just grab your camera and get out there and create. By working in nature's elements, good or bad, it will only make you a better skilled photographer as you learn to photograph the best of any situation. As I always say, never stop creating.

Getting the shots you’re chasing can be very satisfying. But the main thing is to not get disappointed if you don’t capture the images you wanted. It only means there is something better coming your way next time.

Nature Photographer and Youtuber

Award Categories

Winning submissions will be selected for the following award categories:

  • One (1) Grand Prize winner
  • One (1) People’s Choice winner
  • Four (4) Category First Place winners, one (1) per category
  • Four (4) Category Second Place winners, one (1) per category

Australian Categories

Winning submissions from entrants in Australia, will be selected for the following award categories:

  • One (1) Australian Grand Prize winner
  • One (1) Australian People and Nature winner
  • One (1) Australian Landscape winner
  • One (1) Australian Water winner
  • One (1) Australian Wildlife winner

Prizes

All award winners may receive mention on The Conservancy’s digital presences, as determined by The Conservancy in its sole discretion. In addition, The Conservancy will award the following prizes:

One (1) Grand Prize winner will receive:

  • $4,000 USD Camera kit or camera kit gift card, as determined by The Conservancy in its sole discretion.

One (1) People’s Choice winner will receive:

  • $1,000 USD Amazon, Mercado Libre or Alibaba gift card as determined by The Conservancy in its sole discretion.

Four (4) Category First Place winners (one (1) per category) will receive:

  • $750 USD Amazon, Mercado Libre or Alibaba gift card as determined by The Conservancy in its sole discretion.

Four (4) Category Second Place winners (one (1) per category) will receive:

  • $500 USD Amazon, Mercado Libre or Alibaba gift card as determined by The Conservancy in its sole discretion.

One (1) Australian Grand Prize winner will receive a prize pack including:

One (1) Australian People and Nature winner will receive a prize pack including:

One (1) Australian Landscape winner will receive a prize pack including:

One (1) Australian Water winner will receive a prize pack including:

One (1) Australian Wildlife winner will receive a prize pack including:

The Official Rules of The Nature Conservancy’s 2021 Photo Contest (the “Contest Rules”)—Australia

Questions and inquiries about Contest Rules can be emailed to photocontest@tnc.org.

VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

ELIGIBILITY

The Nature Conservancy’s 2021 Photo Contest (“Photo Contest”) is open to all professional and amateur photographers, who have reached the age of majority in their jurisdiction of residence at the time of entry. Trustees, Board Members, Employees, interns, or partners of The Nature Conservancy, as well as the immediate family (spouse, parents, siblings, and children) and household members of those employees, are not eligible to enter.

By submitting an entry to the Photo Contest, entrants certify that their participation in this Photo Contest is not illegal or in violation of any law, regulation, treaty or administrative act, and that the laws of their governing jurisdiction of residence at the time of entry do not prohibit or restrict the receipt of any Prize under this Photo Contest.

These terms and conditions, together with the Entry Form, govern the Photo Contest and are intended to be a legally binding agreement.  Entry into this Photo Contest is deemed acceptance of these conditions of entry.  For the purposes of Australian law, this Photo Contest is a ‘game of skill’ and chance plays no part in determining the finalists or winners. 

RESERVATION OF RIGHTS

The Nature Conservancy (“The Conservancy” or “Sponsor”) reserves the right to reject any entry if, in The Conservancy’s sole discretion, the laws of an applicable jurisdiction, including but not limited to the entrant’s jurisdiction of residence at the time of entry, would prohibit or limit The Conservancy from proceeding with the Contest as intended or the consideration or awarding of any Prize would impose additional administrative, tax, operational, or legal burdens on The Conservancy.

Furthermore, individuals residing in any “Excluded Jurisdiction” are ineligible to enter the Photo Contest. Excluded Jurisdiction means any country listed on the US Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Active Sanctions Programs list: https://sanctionssearch.ofac.treas.gov/.

SPONSOR

The Nature Conservancy’s 2021 Photo Contest is sponsored by The Nature Conservancy, 4245 North Fairfax Drive, Suite 100, Arlington, VA 22203-1606 (“Sponsor”, also referred to herein as “the Conservancy”).

ENTRY PERIOD

The Photo Contest begins at 12am GMT on August 1, 2021, and ends at 11:59pm GMT on August 31, 2021 (the “Entry Period”). Entries submitted before or after the Entry Period will not be eligible. Sponsor’s computer is the official time-keeping device for the Photo Contest.

WHAT TO ENTER

Images will be judged on originality, technical excellence, composition, overall impact and artistic merit.

To ensure functionality on our submission platform, please submit files no larger than 4032 x 4032 pixels and no more than 25 MB at the time of entry. High resolution-original files will be requested should an entry make it into the final round of editing to be considered for an award or prize of merit.

All photographs should accurately reflect the subject matter and the scene as it appeared. Photos that have been digitally altered beyond standard optimization (cropping, spotting for dust, reasonable adjustments to exposure, colour and contrast, etc.) will be disqualified.

Entries may originate in any format—including but not limited to digital files, digital prints, color transparencies, color prints, or black and white prints—so long as they are submitted electronically in a .JPEG .jpg, or.png format. HDR images are acceptable.

Previously published material for which non-exclusive rights were granted may be entered as long as you maintain the right to grant us a license (see "Your Rights" below). You must be able to disclose when and where the photo appeared previously to The Conservancy upon request.

If you choose to include people in your submission, you are responsible for obtaining the necessary releases from the individuals depicted, and must be able to provide copies of those releases to The Conservancy upon request.

The Conservancy will not accept watermarked submissions.

The following submissions are ineligible:

  • Images of captive animals photographed in zoos and commercial game farms.
  • Photos that violate or infringe upon another person's rights, including but not limited to copyright and photographs of persons without the necessary consent required by law in your jurisdiction. The Conservancy reserves the right to require entrants to submit evidence of the subject’s legal consent to be photographed for the submitted photograph, which may include a signed waiver from the subject or the subject’s legal guardian or representative. NOTE: Waiver requirements vary by jurisdiction, and the entrant is responsible for obtaining a legally enforceable waiver from any photographed subject.
  • Photos that contain sexually explicit, nude, obscene, violent or other objectionable or inappropriate content.
  • Images that involve the willful harassment of wildlife
  • Images taken that cause or caused damage to the environment by the photographer; this includes taking photos from areas where human presence is restricted by authorities or relevant property managers.
  • Images that involve putting any individual or animal in danger.

The Conservancy shall determine entry eligibility in its sole and absolute discretion.

HOW TO ENTER

All images must be submitted though our photo submission website. Digital images that are sent via mail or email will not be accepted. If possible, please embed the photographer’s name and caption information in the photo’s metadata.

The entry forms contain required fields for information about the photo, category to be entered, and contact information for the entrant, including an email address.

Entrants will be asked to provide the following information in the contest entry process:

  • Title of the photo
  • Caption: Describe what we see, where it was taken and the story behind the photograph
  • Country where photo was taken
  • State or province where photo was taken
  • Category: People and Nature, Water, Landscape, or Wildlife

You may enter an unlimited number of photos, but you may not use an agency or automated system to enter.

Sponsor reserves the right to reject any additional entries or entries that do not comply with these Contest Rules. By entering, you indicate your unconditional agreement to, and acceptance of, these Contest Rules and Sponsor’s decisions, which are final and binding. You cannot win a prize unless you comply with all requirements in these Contest Rules.

Entrants may be asked to supplement their submission with more explanation about the photo or to provide a higher resolution version of the photo anytime during the contest period.

SUBMISSION CATEGORIES

A category must be selected when submitting an entry to the Photo Contest. Entries will be considered from the following categories:

  • People and Nature: Recreation, adventure, people enjoying the outdoors
  • Landscape: A sense of place, with or without people
  • Water: Above, below, or in between
  • Wildlife: In the wild or in our backyard

AWARD CATEGORIES

Winning submissions will be selected for the following award categories:

  • One (1) Grand Prize winner
  • One (1) People’s Choice winner
  • Four (4) Category First Place winners, one (1) per category
  • Four (4) Category Second Place winners, one (1) per category

AUSTRALIAN CATEGORIES

Winning submissions from entrants residing in Australia, will be selected for the following award categories:

  • One (1) Australia Grand Prize winner
  • One (1) Australia People and Nature winner
  • One (1) Australia Landscape winner
  • One (1) Australia Water winner
  • One (1) Australia Wildlife winner

JUDGING

Judging for the Award Categories will be conducted by a panel of photo editors to be selected by the Sponsor at its sole discretion (the “Panel”). Photos will be judged by the Panel on originality, technical excellence, composition, overall impact, artistic merit and subject matter relevance to The Conservancy’s Priorities and mission.

The Panel will evaluate all valid entries and make daily selections into a group of Judges’ Favorite images, (“Judges’ Favorites”). All winners, including the People’s Choice winner, will be selected from the Judges Favorites. Judges’ Favorites will appear on nature.org/photocontest by 11:59pm GMT September 3, 2021.

Judging of the Australian Categories will be conducted by a panel of photo editors to be selected by The Conservancy at its sole discretion (the “Australian Panel”). Photos will be judged by the Australian Panel on originality, technical excellence, composition, overall impact, artistic merit and subject matter relevance to The Conservancy’s Priorities.

The Australian Panel will evaluate all valid entries and select winners for the Australian categories from entrants residing in Australia only.

All judging decisions are final. Please do not contact us about the status of entries or judging.

PEOPLE’S CHOICE WINNER

One (1) People’s Choice winner will selected by the public from among the Judges’ Favorites published on nature.org by 11:59pm GMT September 3. Subject to Sponsor’s reservation of rights to reject any entry, the People’s Choice winner will be determined by online voting from the Judges’ Favorites selections.

PEOPLE’S CHOICE VOTING PERIOD

Voting for People's Choice begins at 12:00am GMT on September 4, 2021, and ends at 11:59pm GMT on September 15, 2021 (the “Voting Period”). Votes submitted before or after the Voting Period will not be eligible. Sponsor’s computer is the official time-keeping device for the Photo Contest.

RESULTS

All winners of Award Categories will be announced on nature.org/photocontest by 11:59pm GMT on September 30, 2021. The Conservancy will notify the winners via the contact information provided at the time of entry.

All winners of Australian Categories will be announced on natureaustralia.org.au/photo by 11:59pm GMT on September 30, 2021. The Conservancy will notify the winners via the contact information provided at the time of entry.

To request a winners list by mail, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope with your request to The Nature Conservancy, Photo Contest, 4245 N Fairfax Dr. Suite 100, Arlington, VA 22203. Requests must be received by October 1, 2021.

PRIZES

All award winners may receive mention on The Conservancy’s digital presences, as determined by The Conservancy in its sole discretion. In addition, The Conservancy will award the following prizes:

One (1) Grand Prize winner will receive:

  • $4,000 USD Camera kit or camera kit gift card, as determined by The Conservancy in its sole discretion.

One (1) People’s Choice winner will receive:

  • $1,000 USD Amazon, Mercado Libre or Alibaba gift card as determined by The Conservancy in its sole discretion.

Four (4) Category First Place winners (one (1) per category) will receive:

  • $750 USD Amazon, Mercado Libre or Alibaba gift card as determined by The Conservancy in its sole discretion.

Four (4) Category Second Place winners (one (1) per category) will receive:

  • $500 USD Amazon, Mercado Libre or Alibaba gift card as determined by The Conservancy in its sole discretion.

One (1) Australian Grand Prize winner will receive:

One (1) Australian People and Nature winner will receive:

  • Total Value: $498.95 AUD

One (1) Australian Landscape winner will receive:

  • Total Value: $498.90 AUD

One (1) Australian Water winner will receive:

  • Total Value: $498.95 AUD

One (1) Australian Wildlife winner will receive:

  • Total Value: $493.90 AUD

Prize values estimated and subject to applicable currency exchange rates, in The Conservancy’s sole discretion.

To the maximum extent permissible by law, all winners are responsible for paying any taxes and any and all other costs and expenses associated with claiming the awards, including but not limited to customs fees, taxes, and any other administrative costs, if applicable. If the prize value equals or exceeds $600, prior to the award of any prize the winner will need to complete, sign and return an IRS W-9 form and/or any applicable tax forms for awarding the prize in the winner’s jurisdiction. Any prize details not specified above will be determined by Sponsor, in its sole discretion. A prize may not be transferred and must be accepted as awarded. A winner may not request cash or a substitute prize; however, Sponsor reserves the right to substitute a prize with another prize of equal or greater value if the prize is not available for any reason, as determined by Sponsor, in its sole discretion.

ADDITIONAL LOCAL CONTESTS AND LOCAL PRIZE INFORMATION

In the Conservancy’s sole discretion, you may also be entered into The Conservancy’s local contests automatically as applicable based on your jurisdiction. To the maximum extent permissible by law, these Contest Rules apply, and any additional rules for local contests, including local prizes, are available here:

POTENTIAL WINNER REQUIREMENTS

Except where prohibited, a potential winner may be required to complete and return an affidavit of eligibility, including proof of age and liability/publicity release within 10 calendar days. If a potential winner fails to return these documents on time, an alternate potential winner may be selected in his/her place.

YOUR RIGHTS

Your photographs help The Conservancy protect Earth’s amazing diversity of wildlife, people, plants and habitats. Thank you for helping to further our mission through your photography.

You will retain all rights to any photograph you submit—including ownership if applicable.

If you submit a photograph to the Photo Contest, you grant The Conservancy and its related entities such as affiliates and subsidiaries a royalty-free, non-exclusive right in perpetuity to use the photograph submitted for any purpose, including but not limited to:

The Conservancy will endeavor to credit all photographs with the credit "Person's Name" when the full name is available.

PRIVACY

The Conservancy respects an individual’s right to privacy and that individual’s right to control how information held on their behalf is used. Personal information collected by The Conservancy, from you, will be used to keep you up to date with our work by disseminating information via email, mail, SMS or telephone. This may include newsletters, appeals or other information. Please contact us should you wish to alter or delete any of these methods of contact. Please see our privacy policy or contact our Privacy Officer on australia@tnc.org or (03) 8346 8600 for full details on how we handle your personal information.

GENERAL CONDITIONS

In the event that the operation, security, or administration of the Photo Contest is impaired in any way, Sponsor may, in its sole discretion, either: (a) suspend the Photo Contest to address the impairment and then resume the Photo Contest; or (b) award the prize(s) from among the eligible entries received up to the time of the impairment. Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to disqualify and seek damages from any individual who tampers with the operation of the Photo Contest, violates these Contest Rules, or acts in a disruptive or unsportsmanlike manner. Sponsor’s failure to enforce any term of these Contest Rules shall not constitute a waiver of that provision. Proof of sending any communication to Sponsor by mail shall not be deemed proof of receipt of that communication by Sponsor. In the event of a dispute as to the owner of an online entry, the authorized account holder of the e-mail address used to enter will be deemed to be the owner. The Photo Contest is subject to federal, state, and local laws and regulations and is void where prohibited.

RELEASE AND LIMITATIONS OF LIABILITY

By entering, to the maximum extent permissible by law, you agree to release and hold harmless Sponsor, their respective parent, subsidiaries, affiliates, and each of their respective officers, directors, employees, and agents (the “Released Parties”) from and against any claim or cause of action arising out of participation in the Photo Contest, use of the photograph or associated data (including personal data), or receipt or use of any prize, including, but not limited to: (a) unauthorized human intervention in the Photo Contest; (b) technical errors; (c) printing errors; (d) late or undelivered mail; (e) errors in the administration of the Photo Contest; or (f) injury or damage to persons or property. You waive the right to claim any attorneys’ fees and any damages whatsoever, including, but not limited to, punitive, consequential, direct, or indirect damages.

E-SUPPORTER

When you enter, there will be an opt-in to become an e-supporter of The Conservancy. This includes special event invitations, digital messages, text and a monthly e-newsletter. You may cancel and unsubscribe at any time following the unsubscribe instructions provided via those channels.

PRIVACY AND PUBLICITY

Any information you submit as part of the Photo Contest will be used in accordance with Sponsor’s Privacy Policy. By submitting such information, you expressly consent to the Conservancy’s Privacy Policy. The information you provide when you enter is provided to Sponsor. Except where prohibited, you consent to Sponsor’s use of your name in any list of winners (if applicable) and/or for promotional purposes in any media without further payment or consideration.

DISPUTES

You agree that any and all disputes, claims and causes of action arising out of, or connected with, the Photo Contest or any prize awarded shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, and exclusively by the appropriate court located in Virginia. All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Contest Rules, your rights and obligations, or the rights and obligations of Sponsor in connection with the Photo Contest, shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of Virginia, without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules (whether of Virginia or any other jurisdiction), which would cause the application of the laws of any jurisdiction other than Virginia.

QUESTIONS

Questions and inquiries about Contest Rules can be emailed to photocontest@tnc.org.