Best Wildlife Photography Contests To Enter In 2022 | BBC Wildlife

Chase your wildlife photography dreams and enter one of the many fantastic contests out there. It’s a great way to get your work recognized and raise your profile, and can even be the start of a new career.

You may have heard of the prestigious Natural History Museum Wildlife Photographer of the Yearbut there are so many other competitions in the UK and beyond that you’d be forgiven for feeling a little overwhelmed and confused.

That’s why we’ve created this quick and easy guide to the best wildlife photography contests to enter.

Read on to learn more about submission deadlines, entry requirements, previous winners, what the judges are looking for, and how to make your entry stand out from the crowd.

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What better way to kick off this article than with our own photography contest? Admission is free and open to photographers worldwide, aged 18 or over.

The photographer with the winning image in each issue who will receive a prize, provided by the prize provider for the issue in which the image is published. Previous prizes included backpacks, hiking boots, and jackets.

Learn more about submitting photos to the contest, and how to submit images to our photo of the day,

Submission deadline: N/A.


UK Wildlife Photography Awards

‘Seals from above’ was highly commended in the Coast & Marine England category of the British Wildlife Photography Awards 2019 © Josh Jaggard/British Wildlife Photography Awards 2019

Open for registrations now! A celebration of the best of British wildlife, this competition is open to all nature images taken in the UK. Amateurs and professionals of all nationalities are welcome.

It is split into an adult competition and a youth competition – the RSPB Young British Wildlife Photographer of the Year, for people aged 17 or under.

The overall adult winner will be chosen from winners in 12 categories, including Animal Behaviour, Botanical Britain, Coast and Marine and Wild Wood, as well as a Documentary Series category (a sequence of up to six images of any wildlife, habitat or landscape conservation) and one for wildlife in HD video (short films with a maximum duration of 3 minutes).

There is £5,000 up for grabs for the overall prize and £750 for each category. Young participants can pocket a voucher of £750 for the overall prize and a voucher of £250 for each of the three age categories.

Entry to the adult contest starts at £10 for entry and goes up to £40 for 40 entries.

Submission deadline: 19and June 2022.

See images from previous years:


Comedy Wildlife Photography Award

“Guess Summer’s Over” won the Spectrum Photo Creatures in the Air Award in 2021 © John Speirs/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2021

Open for registrations now! The gloriously silly contest that rewards images with a sense of humor was born in 2015 and has since gained global acclaim. From an emperor penguin farting to a turtle flipping the bird, the winners can’t help but put a smile on your face and often get good media coverage.

Admission is free and open to amateurs and professionals alike. There are six categories in total: Alex Walker’s Serian Creatures of the Land (any animal that lives on land, even if it appears to fly!), Spectrum Creatures in the Air (any bird, bat or other flying creature), ThinkTank Photo Junior (any fun image of wild animals under 18), Amazing Internet Portfolio (four images, conveniently connected, that make up a collection), Underwater (any animal that lives in water) and the Video Clip (up to two video clips, each no longer than 60 seconds).

The top prize for the overall winner – the 2022 Comedy Wildlife Photographer of the Year – is a trophy, two ThinkTank photography bags and a week-long safari in Kenya for two with Alex Walker’s Serian, plus prizes smaller for category winners. But the real prizes are the recognition and visibility of your image(s) by people around the world.

‘Ouch!’ was the overall winner of the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards in 2021 © Ken Jensen/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2021

2021 Comedy Wildlife Photographer of the Year was Ken Jensen, who won the coveted prize for his golden silk monkey in Yunnan, China. Entitled ‘Ouch!’, the poor stud looks like he’s getting a wedgy, with a rather pained expression…!

Submission deadline: 1st September 2022.

See images from previous years:


International Nature Photographer of the Year

Now in its seventh edition, this competition is open to all professional and amateur photographers aged 10 and over. In 2021, people from 97 countries participated and 22,000 images were judged. Images can be of wild subjects from anywhere in the world and taken at any time.

In addition to the prestigious overall title of Nature Photographer of the Year 2022 with a prize of €3,000, there are 11 different categories up for grabs with a prize of €500 each, plus a portfolio prize with a prize of 1 €000 and a young NPOTY prize for 10 to 17 year olds. Categories include birds, plants and fungi, underwater portraits and animals.

It costs €29 to enter a standard category and €17 for the wallet price.

If you register before 7and In May 2022, you can then join a free live masterclass from award-winning photographer and jury member Tin Man Lee on Zoom where you can glean some tips on how to win.

Winners will be announced at the annual Nature Talks Photo Festival on the 12thand and 13and November 2022 in the Netherlands, and will also be exhibited at the festival.

the overall winner from 2021 was Terje Kolaas from Norway, with his breathtaking drone of thousands of pink-footed geese taking flight above the pure, snow-covered landscape of the Trondheim Fjord wetland system.

Submission deadline: 12and June 2022.


Wildlife Photographer of the Year

‘Etna River of Fire’ won the Earth Environments category of Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2020 © Luciano Gaudenzio/Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2020

Did you know that this world famous photography competition was born in Animals magazine in 1965, which later became today’s magazine BBC Wildlife magazine? The publication hoped to highlight and encourage wildlife photography, which was a new field at the time.

Today, the competition is organized by the Natural History Museum and the annual exhibition of images of the winners is very popular with the public, photographers and wildlife enthusiasts.

The adult contest is open to anyone worldwide over the age of 17 and all category winners will be considered for the grand title of Wildlife Photographer of the Year. There are many categories to choose from. The 13 individual image categories include animals in their environment, behavior: amphibians and reptiles, plants and fungi, and photojournalism. Multiple image categories, in which you can submit 6-10 images, include Photojournalist Story Award, Rising Star Award (18-26) and Portfolio Award (27+) ).

There is also a Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year with three age categories: 10 and under, 11-14 and 15-17. Images can cover any aspect of wildlife and the natural world, and the winner in each age category will be considered for the overall prize.

The competition entry fee for adults is £30, although this is waived for residents of certain countries to encourage diversity. There is no fee for the youth contest

Laurent Ballesta won Wildlife Photographer of the Year in 2021. The French underwater photographer’s whimsical and atmospheric image features camouflaged groupers spawning in the dark ocean of Fakarava in French Polynesia.

If your interest is piqued, we have a fantastic and informative article on how to win Wildlife Photographer of the Year, in which the chairman of the jury and former BBC Wildlife editor Roz Kidman Cox reveals what sets an entry apart.

Deadline for submission: usually in December of each year.

See images from previous years:


Bird Photographer of the Year

‘Floral bath’ won gold in the Bird Behavior category of the Bird Photographer of the Year 2021 © Mousam Ray/Bird Photographer of the Year 2021

A contest celebrating all things avian and open to everyone.

There are eight categories, including Best Portrait, Birds in the Environment, Bird Behavior, and Urban Birds. Additionally, there are three special awards: Portfolio Award (up to 6 images as a collection), Video Award (a two to five minute video of one or more birds) and Conservation (up to 6 images as a collection). as collections that tell a story of conservation).

There is an entry fee – £6 for 1 entry, £15 for 5 entries, £25 for 10 entries, £40 for 20 entries, £50 for 30 entries or £60 for 50 entries.

‘Dipper on shopping trolley’ won gold in the Urban Birds category of Bird Photographer of the Year 2021 © Terry Whittaker/Bird Photographer of the Year 2021

Those under 18 can enter the Young Bird Photographer of the Year competition, which is split into three age groups and is free.

In terms of prizes, the overall winner will take home £5,000, and there are smaller prizes for category winners (gold, silver and bronze) and special prizes including Swarovski binoculars, an Olympus camera and £500 in cash.

Deadline for submission: 20and December 2021.

See images from previous years:


And a few more wildlife photography contests to consider in 2023…

Underwater Photographer of the Year

‘Giants of the night’ was the overall winner for Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022 © RafaelFernandez Caballero/Underwater Photographer of the Year 2022

Deadline for submission: usually early January.

See images from previous years:

Sony World Photography Awards – Natural World & Wildlife Category

One of the winning images in the Wildlife and Nature category of the Sony World Photography Awards 2022 © Milan Radisics/Sony World Photography Awards 2022

Deadline for submission: usually early January.

European Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Deadline for submission: usually early March.


Main image: “Chest Bump” received high praise at the 2019 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards @Thomas Mangelsen
Jackson/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2019

Stewart C. Hartline