Photo Contest: Rules, Terms and Conditions

The Nature Conservancy invites photographers to enter its 2013 Digital Photo Contest. You must read the following rules, terms and legal conditions before submitting any photos! Click here to read the legal conditions.

Past Photo Contest Winners

PHOTO: Sandhill Crane © Jim Ridley, Lake Moraine © Maurice Welsh, Sea Lion Pup © Francisco Laso, Scottsdale, Arizona © Marc Gottlieb, Turtle © Don Whitebread.

The Nature Conservancy 2013 Digital Photo Contest (the "Contest") is open to ALL photographers at least 18 years of age, except employees of The Nature Conservancy and the immediate families of such employees. The contest is open to all participants regardless of residence or citizenship, so long as the laws of their jurisdiction allow participation.


We are looking for striking digital images to celebrate people and nature – and their important connection to each other.

Your images should highlight the diversity of life on Earth, including portraits of wildlife in natural habitat, animal behavior, the relationship between people and nature, plant life, weather, and seasons.

We are especially interested in images that showcase the wide range of habitats across our planet, including:

  • Forests
  • Grasslands
  • Fresh Water - lakes and rivers
  • Deserts and arid lands
  • Marine – coral reefs, oceans and coasts

Please do not include photographs of pets or domestic animals. Images of captive animals photographed in zoos and commercial game farms are also prohibited, however photos from state and national wildlife preserves are allowed.

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 Nature Conservancy upon request. Entrants must not submit images that involve human nudity, the willful harassment of wildlife, damage to the environment by the photographer, put any individual or animal in danger, or infringe on the rights of any other photographer or person.

All photographs should accurately reflect the subject matter and the scene as it appeared. Photos that have been digitally altered beyond standard optimization (removal of dust, cropping, reasonable adjustments to exposure, color and contrast, etc.) will be disqualified. Multiple exposures that have been combined to produce a single "High Dynamic Range" image are acceptable. Images that do not meet these requirements may or may not be judged at the judging panel's sole discretion.

Photo captions must accompany all submissions, and should include the subject of the image, the location the image was taken, and the name of the photographer(s). Please clearly label animals as wild in digital caption information to assist judges in determining eligibility.


All images must be submitted though our new and improved photo submission website. Complete all required fields, including name, email and other information about your photo submission.

You can select an image directly from your computer desktop, or submit images from Flickr, Facebook and Instagram for consideration in the contest. Digital images that are sent via mail or email will not be accepted.


To ensure eligibility for the contest all entries must have a resolution of 6 million pixels or greater (6 megapixels) to be made available upon request. Images that do not meet this standard can still be judged, but may not be honored as a finalist in the competition (at the judges sole discretion) if the photographer is unable or unavailable to provide the proper resolution when asked.

Resolution can be calculated by multiplying the pixel width of the image with the pixel height. For example, a photograph taken with a 6-megapixel camera set for the highest resolution and best quality produces images approximately 2832 pixels by 2128 pixels, which are acceptable under the rules (2832 x 2128 = 6 million).

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. Previously published material for which non-exclusive rights were granted may be entered as long as you still 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 Nature Conservancy upon request.

Submissions may be watermarked if desired, but the watermark should be inconspicuous enough to not interfere with the judging of the photo. A watermarked photo might not be honored by the competition (at the judges sole discretion) if the photographer is unable or unavailable to provide a pristine, watermark-free version of the image when asked.

Images will be judged on originality, technical excellence, composition, overall impact and artistic merit. The judges are a panel of Nature Conservancy staff members familiar with photography and responsible for selecting images for various Nature Conservancy printed and online marketing and membership materials.

The Nature Conservancy shall determine winner eligibility in its sole and absolute discretion. All decisions made by the judges are final.


Online entries can be uploaded starting 12:01 pm Eastern Standard Time on June 10, 2013. Deadline for submitting entries is 11:59 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time on September 9, 2013.

Entrants may be asked to supplement their submission (such as a paragraph about their photo, the highest resolution version of their photo, or a watermark-free version of their photo) anytime on or after October 1, 2013.

Finalists will be announced in November 2013. Public voting for the grand-prize winner will be held for at least a two-week period to begin after the finalists are announced and to end no later than December 16, 2013. Grand Prize Winner and Runners Up will be announced in early January 2014.

The Nature Conservancy reserves the right to adjust any deadline(s) as the result of causes beyond its immediate control.


The judging panel will select approximately 50 photos to be the contest’s Finalists and Honorable Mentions. The general public will select the Grand Prize Winner by popular vote from a pool of Finalists determined by the judging panel. There is a limit of one vote per person.

The grand-prize winner's image will be printed on the cover of the 2015 Nature Conservancy calendar. Other finalist images will also be featured throughout the calendar. All entrants featured in the calendar will receive a copy of the calendar.


Your photographs help The Nature 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. You only grant The Nature Conservancy rights (as described below) to your photograph if you are honored by the competition as an honorable mention, finalist, runner up or grand prize winner. Before you are formally honored by the competition, The Nature Conservancy will contact you to confirm that you wish to grant us rights to your image as described below.

If your photograph is formally honored by the competition as an honorable mention, finalist, runner up or grand prize winner, you grant The Nature Conservancy a royalty-free, nonexclusive right, in perpetuity, to:

  • Use the photograph on the Internet in support of our mission.
  • Use the photograph in The Nature Conservancy’s non-commercial communications.
  • Provide your photograph to other individuals and organizations for non-commercial use, TNC-related use in news stories, newsletters, reports, slide shows, displays, web pages, and the like.
  • Use, in connection with the Photo Contest, your name, city, state and country of residence in promotions and other publications.
  • Keep the files provided, and to archive the images on CD or in other electronic forms, so that your photos can be used to support our mission and be properly credited.

As conditions of this permission, The Nature Conservancy shall credit all photographs with the caption "© Person's Name" when the full name is available.


Questions and inquiries about contest rules can be emailed to

RSS Feed  ShareThis
Join The Nature Conservancy on:
  • Find us on Facebook
  • Flickr
  • Twitter