BigPicture Natural World Photography Competition

BigPicture Natural World Photography Competition

Deadline: March 1, 2021
Entry Fee: from $15 to $25
Prizes: $1,000, $5,000, participation in the exhibition, certificates

BigPicture is open to all photography enthusiasts and professionals alike worldwide to compete for a chance to win the $5,000 grand prize.

Competition Overview

Now in its eighth year, BigPicture encourages photographers from around the world to contribute their work to this competition that both celebrates and illustrates the rich diversity of life on Earth and inspires action to protect and conserve it through the power of imagery. Chaired by award-winning conservation photographer Suzi Eszterhas, BigPicture welcomes high-quality nature, wildlife and conservation images and is open to all photographers around the world. Enter your work for a chance to win cash prizes and be exhibited at the California Academy of Sciences.


  • Art of Nature
    Abstract expressions of nature and/or science. Life photographed out in nature or under the microscope. Images may include unusual close ups, angles, patterns, motion, or perspectives, black and white photography, and images created using scientific imaging tools. Artistic effects should not be the result of digital manipulations.
  • Aquatic Life
    Marine animals including mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates (like corals and jellyfish) that spend the majority of their time in water. This category includes polar bears.
  • Landscapes, Waterscapes, and Flora
    Captivating images of wild places with a unique perspective, from landscape vistas of forests, deserts and mountains to the micro habitats of plants and other flora. Images may include water environments of oceans, lakes and rivers with images taken above or under water including waves, tide pools and other water scenes.
  • Winged Life
    Birds or flying insects photographed anywhere in the world, in flight, perched or in action. This category includes flightless birds such as penguins, and ostriches.
  • Terrestrial Wildlife
    Animals photographed anywhere in the world. Images may include land-based mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and non-flying insects whether they live in trees or on land.
  • Human/Nature
    Images that depict the efforts of scientists, conservationists, and others working to sustain life on our planet or the complex relationship between humans and nature. Images should illustrate the impacts of humans on the environment and can be either positive or negative impact stories.
  • Photo Story: Out of the Ordinary
    A 4–6 image submission with captions. Extraordinary events are occurring in the natural world—some start in very ordinary ways. A rehabilitated animal takes on a new role as a wildlife ambassador. Ordinary backyards produce unexpected beauty. Unlikely species interact in unfamiliar environments. Rarely-seen plants and animals exhibit surprising characteristics. Basic elements like wind, water, fire, and air act in unanticipated ways. This year’s photo story shows us the world anew. Submitted images must not violate any laws, regulations, or BigPicture rules.


  • The Grand Prize winner will receive $5,000 for the best overall image in the 2021 BigPicture Natural World Photography Competition and be featured in the annual exhibit at the California Academy of Sciences.
  • The first place winners of the seven official categories will each receive $1,000 in cash and also have their winning images featured in the annual exhibit.
  • Up to 6 additional finalists will be awarded a certificate of recognition for each category, with the exception of the Photo Story category.
  • The Photo Story category will have one first place awarded.

Entry Fees

  • $25 for up to 10 single image submissions in any category.
  • $15 for each 4–6 image Photo Story submission.

Entrants are limited to up to 10 image submissions per registered email address and may register an unlimited number of email addresses.


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