There are so many reasons to enter your best travel and nature photos into competitions: getting your work seen by big industry names, the possibility of great press coverage if you win, and some fantastic prizes too. Awards and contests are prevalent these days, so we’ve picked out some of the best in the business. (Please note that some deadlines are approximate and you’ll need to check updates on the links given)

Classic Tuscan landscape at sunrise, Tuscany, Italy, Europe

National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year Contest

If your work is focussed on nature, this is the competition for you, with fantastic cash prizes and the opportunity to get your work published with National Geographic Magazine. The categories for submissions are: Wildlife, Landscapes, Aerials and Underwater. There is no limit on the number of entries per person.

Deadline: November/December 2018 (check updates on the website)

Prize: $7,500.00 and publication in National Geographic Magazine

Entry: $15 per entry

Japanese macaque (Snow monkey) (Macata fuscata), relaxing in a hot spring, Jigokudani Yaen-Koen, Nagano Prefecture, Japan, Asia

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Now in its fifty-fourth year, Wildlife Photographer of the Year showcases extraordinary animal behaviour and the breathtaking diversity of life on Earth. In the last edition of the competition, winners were chosen from over 45,000 entries by expert judges. Images are awarded for their creativity, originality and technical excellence, and are shown in a prestigious exhibition in the Natural History Museum.

Deadline: December 2018

Prize: £10,000, and inclusion in touring exhibition

Entry: £30

California sea lion bulls (Zalophus californianus) underwater, Los Islotes, Baja California Sur, Mexico, North America

Sony World Photography Awards – Professional Competition

This Professional competition is looking to reward and showcase the world’s most outstanding bodies of work. At the pinnacle of the competition is the title of “Photographer of the Year”, one of the most distinguished and highly regarded awards in photography. There are ten professional categories including Discovery, Landscape, Natural World & Wildlife and Portraiture.

Deadline: January 11, 2019

Prize: $25,000

Entry: Free

Couple enjoying view at a safari camp, Zululand, South Africa

Sony World Photography Awards – Open Competition

Photographers of all ages, backgrounds and experience levels are invited to enter their best single images into the Open competition for a chance to win $5,000 (USD), Sony Digital Imaging Equipment, a trip to London, and be crowned “”Open Photographer of the Year”. The judges are looking to award the best single images from across 10 diverse categories, including Culture, Creative, Landscape, Natural World & Wildlife, Portraiture, Street Photography, and Travel.

Deadline: January 4, 2019

Prize: $5,000

Entry: Free

Colourful houses on Baker street, Brighton, East Sussex, England, United Kingdom, Europe

Audley and The Sunday Times Travel Photography Competition 2018-19

You stand the chance of winning a trip to China, Colombia or Oman with this photo competition for which Audley Travel have teamed up with The Sunday Times. Enter their weekly competition for the chance to win £250 to spend on a camera or photography equipment and see your photograph in The Sunday Times. The weekly winners will then be entered into their competition for the chance to win one of three fabulous travel adventures.

Deadline: Weekly, and the ultimate deadline is Thursday 7th March 2019

Prize: £250 (weekly prize), and trips to China, Colombia or Oman

Entry: Free

Two young boys and their horses play in the ocean in Nihiwatu, Sumba, Indonesia, Southeast Asia, Asia

National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest

Enter this contest with the renowned publisher for a chance to raise your profile as well as win cash prizes. The categories for submissions are Nature, People and Cities. There is no limit on the number of entries per person.

Deadline: May 2019

Prize: $10,000 and publication in National Geographic Magazine

Entry: US$15 per entry

Crocodiles seen from Crocodile Bridge over River Tarcoles, Costa Rica, Central America

CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year

The CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year is open to all professional and amateur, national and international photographers of all ages, and is an international showcase for the very best in environmental photography. The competition encourages entries that are contemporary, creative, resonant, challenging, original and beautiful; but most of all, they’re looking for pictures that will inspire people around the world to start taking care of our environment.

Deadline: July 2019

Prize: £2000 and inclusion in CIWEM’s The Environment Magazine

Entry: Free

A lone weathered tree in amongst the limestone pavement of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom, Europe

International Photography Awards

The International Photography Awards conducts an annual photography competition for professional, non-professional, and student photographers on a global level, creating one of the most ambitious and comprehensive competitions in the photography world today. The IPA recognizes photography’s leading talents who are creating, shaping and defining the world of photography. Categories include Nature, People and Travel/Tourism categories.

Deadline: August 2019

Prize: $10,000 cash prize

Entry: $25-$60

Children from the township of Waitabu perform traditional dance on Taveuni Island, Republic of Fiji.

PDN World in Focus

This annual travel photography contest is hosted by one of America’s best loved photography Magazines, PDN. Enter your best single images of travel portraits, outdoors scenes, local places or spontaneous moments, or submit a photo essay to tell a longer story from your travels. Professional and amateur photographers are judged separately, with two grand-prize packages up for grabs. Categories are Portraits, Landscapes/Nature, Wildlife/Insects, Editorial/Commercial and Photo-Essay.

Deadline: September 2019

Prize: $2000

Entry: Professional: $45, Amateur: $30

Aescher-Wildkirchli Gasthaus at dusk, Ebenalp, Appenzell Innerrhoden, Switzerland

Travel Photographer of the Year

The Travel Photographer of the Year (TPOTY) awards are run by photographers for photographers. This prestigious award offers massive exposure for your work through media activities, books, photographer profiles and exhibitions. TPOTY-winning photographers have had their work showcased around the world: established photographic careers have received a huge boost, new careers have been kick-started, and people who never thought they’d see their photographs in print have had a happy surprise! The last exhibitions programme was visited by an estimated 1.8 million people.

Deadline: October 2019

Prize: Various cash prizes, and inclusion in travelling exhibition

Entry: £15-£30 per entry, depending on category

Horseshoe Bend in the Colorado River, Page, Arizona, United States of America, North America

The Independent Photographer Awards

The Independent Photographer carries out regular monthly contests on different themes, and welcomes submissions from all photographers. Their aim is to bring exposure to talented and unique photographers from all over the world. Whether in aesthetic, narrative, technical or formal terms, The Independent Photographer Awards want to highlight photographers’ creative research and share their best work.

Deadline: Various, see website

Prizes: $2000 cash prizes & global exposure

Entry: $20-$40

Lights of car trails with Sassopiatto in the background, Dolomites, South Tyrol, Italy, Europe

Weekly competitions

The Big Picture Weekly Photography Prize by the Telegraph

The Guardian Reader’s Travel Photography Competition

Ad hock competitions:


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