Photo Awards Current Competition & Judging Process


Open now through June 18, 2021

SIGN UP to create a User Account or LOG IN to your existing account to start a contest entry. You will set a username and password for your own personal account to enter all photo contests. "My Account Dashboard" will show up in the top right of the NBP homepage to help manage your account. Your information will be saved for current and future contests. Use the "Dashboard" tool to quickly access your account "Welcome" page to manage your entries, find links to contests, and see deadlines.

For updates on the 2020 NBP Awards see Nature's Best News.


THE NBP JUDGING PANEL ranks each photo and video submitted during three rounds of "blind" judging.

What is blind judging? To ensure fairness, our judges cannot see the photographers’ names in relation to images during review. They will only see the photo and the notes added to each entry. They will then rank the image. The votes are compiled into a report where judges' votes are tallied.

Photographers making it through the initial round are semifinalists. We will email you a "Hi-res Request" Form with instructions on what you need to send us for the second round of review. You will be asked to supply the following:

  • High resolution TIFF files and un-altered RAWs or original JPEGs
  • Complete caption telling the story behind the shot
  • Camera specifications including lenses, accessories, tripod, and head
  • Confirmation that your subject has NOT been baited, lured, staged, or taken in a controlled situation.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Failure to comply with contest rules and supply requested materials on time, may lead to disqualification. Please let us know if you will be traveling, so we may reach you throughout the judging period.



During initial review, images that stand out move to the next round. The Judges are looking for:

  • Good composition
  • Originality
  • Artistic merit

At this time, some images may be eliminated due to factors such as:

  • Main subject out of focus
  • Blown-out highlights
  • Poor composition
  • Bad exposure
  • Too similar to recent winners


Photos moved to this round merit a closer look. Judges now also consider:

  • Technical excellence
  • The story behind the shot

Images with similar subject matter compete with one another in this round. The Judges are looking for:

  • Well-balanced compositions
  • Nothing detracts from the main subject
  • Primary subject is not cut off at the edge of frame
  • New perspectives of familiar topics
  • Sharp focus or blurred by intention
  • Compared to raw image, image has not been over-processed

Images passed through the second round review are selected for the final round. Each semifinalist is now under consideration as a category Winner or a Highly Honored finalist.


This is the most difficult round and most time-consuming. With so many images artistically qualified, the winners are chosen. The Judges will now:

• Examine each high resolution file in great detail and compare to the original file.

• Assess which images will make an outstanding collection together, showing a variety of species, behaviors, and locations.

Ultimately, the Judges reach agreement on the finalists.

All photographers entering the contest will be contacted via email when final decisions are made.

During Nature’s Best blind judging, our judges cannot see the photographers’ names in relation to images. This means we sometimes have multiple images as finalists from a single photographer. Judges will see the notes you add to your entry.

With regret, many excellent images that deserve recognition simply have to be left out due to limits of space in the magazine and the exhibitions. If you have entered pictures that made it into semifinals before, please enter again!

Good luck to one and all!

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Nature's Best®