Welcome to Nature's Best Photography


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Join Nature’s Best Photography for a 20-year retrospective of our finest moments and tribute to talented nature photographers around the globe. Since our launch in 1995, we have viewed hundreds of thousands of images from photographers at every level of experience, young and old, professionals and amateurs alike. This vast library of photographic achievement reveals an everlasting collection of nature’s finest moments and the extraordinary men and women behind the lens. Our 20-year Anniversary Celebration will include:
• Special Edition Publication
• Historic Overview of Nature Photography
• The largest NBP Smithsonian Exhibition yet 
• New International Alliances and Partnerships
• Video Documentaries

The editors of Nature’s Best Photography magazine invite all photographers to enter the 2015 Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smithy Rice International Awards competition. The category Winners and a selection of Highly Honored photographs will be displayed in the annual Awards Exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC, one of the most widely respected and highly visited museums in the world. All finalists will be published in the 20-Year Anniversary Special Windland Awards Edition for 2015 of Nature’s Best Photography magazine, on sale at the museum shops and on our website.

For each entry fee of $25 US dollars (no foreign checks), you may enter a total of 20 images. You may start as many entry pages as you like for $25 each. Entries are judged on technical quality, originality, and artistic merit. Follow the guidelines, rules, and categories listed on the ENTRY PDF.

Prepare your images: Save COPIES of your photographs as low-resolution ".jpg" image files no larger than 500K at 72 ppi. The size will vary, it could be approximately 1000 pixels on the longest side. FOR VIDEOS: Save a still jpeg to represent your video and send us a link to Youtube or Vimeo or film on your website or mail in a thumb drive.
Upload your photos and follow the instructions on the form.

After entering online: Photographers whose images pass into the next rounds for judging will be required to supply high-resolution files (and RAW files if available), a more complete caption and camera specifications before the final judging. Failure to supply requested materials will lead to disqualification. PLEASE NOTE: Information on how to send us your highest resolution and RAW files will be emailed to you if the judges want to see your images for further review (see below).

Or send entries by mail. Follow the directions on the entry form and send your entries postmarked no later than the deadline. Mail your entry to our new address:

1930 Isaac Newton Square, Suite 200
Reston, VA, 20190 USA
OFFICE PHONE: 703-467-9783

IMPORTANT NOTE: All photos must accurately reflect the subject matter as it appeared in the viewfinder. Nothing should be added to an image, and aside from dust spots, nothing should be taken away. Normal processing of RAW image files and minor adjustments to color and contrast are acceptable, as is minimal cropping. HDR and focus stacking are permitted as long as all manipulation is disclosed upon entry. Entrants must not infringe on the rights of any other photographer or person, or submit images that involve the willful harassment of wildlife or damage to the environment by the photographer. Failure to comply with all of the contest provisions will lead to the disqualification of your entry.

All contest entries are judged on technical quality, composition, originality, and artistic merit. During the preliminary round of judging, obvious negative factors will instantly eliminate an image from the competition: such as the main subject being out of focus, blown-out highlights, poor compositions, or bad exposures. Another way to be removed from consideration is to present images that are just like the ones we have already selected. We want to see fresh images that reflect your talent. When you try to make your photographs unique in some way, you increase your chances of moving to the next round. Once a photograph has entered the second round, it has been judged technically sufficient to merit a closer look at the composition, artistry, and the uniqueness of the image. The second round is also where images that are similar in subject matter compete with one another. During the second round, we look for particularly striking images that stand out. Compositions are well-balanced, all of the elements that are in the image add to it, and nothing detracts. The primary subject is kept away from the edge of the frame. Horizons are level. No artificial light has been added unless it is well-controlled, such as fill flash or bounced natural light that leaves the image looking as it appears in nature. Images that excite our senses and offer new ways of seeing familiar topics quickly rise to the top. Images that pass the review during second round reach the final round. Technically these are all fantastic shots, whether razor sharp or blurred by intention. The compositions are strong and dynamic. The images can stand alone and capture the imagination or emotion of the viewer. At this point, each photograph is capable of being selected as a winner.

The final round is the most difficult round. With so many images technically and artistically qualified to win, we must finally chose the winners. At this point we examine each original transparency or high-resolution file in great detail, taking into consideration which images seem familiar, and which ones seem new, fresh, or different. Ultimately the judges reach agreement and settle on the finalists. With regret, many excellent images that deserve recognition simply have to be left out due to lack of space in the magazine and in the exhibitions.

Our prizes vary from contest to contest, but if your image is selected it will be published in our high-quality print magazine and you will receive exposure if you are selected to be featured on websites such as: Smithsonian, Ocean Portal, MSNBC, Discovery, Wall Street Journal, Divers Alert Network, Audubon, and others. We want to see your best shots and share them to help motivate a deeper appreciation of the natural world through the art of photography. Good luck! The Editors

*Nature's Best Publishing LLC is not responsible for damage or loss incurred during shipment to or from our offices. **Entrants must not infringe on the rights of any other photographer, landowner or other person. Photographs involving willful harassment of wildlife, destruction of habitat or property are unacceptable. ***Failure to comply with contest guidelines will lead to disqualification.

COPYRIGHT: Photographers own their own copyright and enter Nature's Best Photography Awards competitions of their own free will. As a condition of having a photograph selected as a winning image, photographers agree to a non-exclusive transfer of worldwide rights allowing Nature's Best Publishing, LLC (NBP) the following uses including, but not limited to: publishing the image(s) in upcoming issues of Nature's Best Photography magazine; hanging the image(s) in public exhibitions; and displaying the image(s) on the NBP and other websites; and using the image(s) to promote Nature's Best Photography competitions. Non-exclusive allows the photographer to market the image as they choose. NBP does not restrict future sales of the image, rather NBP enhances opportunities to market the photograph as a Winner in a very prestigious competition. Many photographers have found their sales to increase based in part on their participation in NBP award competitions.