The Biggest Photography Contest of the Year

Jun 5, 2018 by Lisa Scarpa

"Share the Experience", literally. The National Park Foundation is looking for amazing photos from amateur photographers that highlight the best of America's federal public lands. They are looking for the official photo that will be featured on the America the Beautiful Federal Recreation Lands Pass for 2020. Every year hundreds of thousands of people participate in one of the longest-running and highest-profile photography contests in America. The contest allows for the visibility of less visible photographers that get to practice and show off their skills immensely! 

This years contest officially opened on May 21st and will be accepting submissions until December 31st. The winners are to be announced in Spring 2019.  There is a $10,000 prize for the first place winner, a $5,000 prize for second place, and a $3,000 prize for the third place winner.

The photos should be pictures of:

  • Adventure and outdoor recreation

  • Historical and cultural

  • Scenic, Seasons & Landscapes

  • Family, Friends & Fun

  • Wildlife

  • Night skies!

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

One of last years winners: Apostle Islands National Lakeshore by Michael DeWitt 

The photos will be judged on:

  • Originality

  • Artistic Composition

  • Technical Quality

  • Photographic Technique

  • Best of America’s Recreational Activities

However, not just anybody can submit their photographs. In order to submit, you must be a legal resident of the 50 United States and D.C. and at least 13 years old. There are always rules on how skilled you are. You must be an amateur, meaning you make less than 20% of your total income from photography. Also, extremely important, the pictures must be taken by YOU.  

Also, the photos must be taken on the lands or within the facilities of the following:

  • National Park Service

  • U.S. Bureau of Land Management

  • U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

  • U.S. Forest Service

  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Grand Teton National Park

One of last years winners: Grand Teton National Park by James Fong 

Denali National Park by  Kevin Gross

One of the last years winners: Denali National Park by  Kevin Gross


Stay updated

Get the latest photographic news and inspiration