Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest 2023 (Up To $2,500 Award) – APPLY NOW

Applications are currently ongoing for the Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest 2023.

In the past two decades, the annual photo contest by Smithsonian magazine has received over 470,000 submissions from readers. These captivating images have taken us to remote corners of the world, capturing extraordinary moments and introducing us to fascinating people and landscapes.

Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest 2023
Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest 2023

You can explore these breathtaking photos from photographers hailing from almost every country. Use the search function to browse images based on location and topic, and find inspiration from photographer portfolios.

Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest 2023

The contest focuses on six categories that align with Smithsonian magazine’s particular interests:

  • Natural World: This category includes animals, plants, landscapes, geological or climatological features, as well as scientific processes and endeavors.
  • Travel: Here, you will find images representing locations, people, or activities in the United States and abroad that convey a strong sense of place.
  • People: Portraits and photographs showcasing groups or individuals are featured in this category.
  • The American Experience: This section centers around events, objects, or activities that connect the American people with their history and cultural heritage. The photographs aim to depict what it means to be an American and provide insights into living in the country.
  • Artistic Images: This category highlights visuals that utilize photography as a creative and imaginative medium to express ideas or concepts. Images in this category may be manipulated using photo editing software or other techniques.
  • Drone/Aerial: Any photograph captured using an unmanned aerial vehicle, commonly known as a drone, is eligible for this category. Additionally, images shot from planes or helicopters are also accepted.

Who Can Enter For The Contest?

To be able to enter the contest, you must meet  the following requirements:

  • The Grand Prize, Readers’ Choice prize, and category prizes (Natural World, Travel, People, The American Experience, Artistic Images, and Drone/Aerial) are open to photographers aged 18 and above.
  • Individuals associated with the Smithsonian Institution, including employees and their immediate families, are not eligible for any prizes.
  • Entrants must have taken their photographs since January 1, 2020, and must be the sole creator and copyright owner of the submitted image.
  • Cropped photos are accepted in all categories.
  • Minor adjustments, such as sensor dust removal or sharpening, are allowed. However, significant alterations are not permitted except in the Artistic Images category.
  • HDR images and stitched panoramas will be categorized as Artistic Images.
  • Photos generated using Artificial Intelligence (AI) are not allowed.
  • A model release or permission from the subject is required for recognizable people, and a release from rights holders is necessary for photos depicting copyrighted works.
  • Failure to provide the required releases may result in disqualification or the submission being subject to obtaining the necessary releases by the Smithsonian.
  • Photos must comply with all federal, state, and local laws.
  • Photos that infringe upon someone else’s rights, including copyright, are not eligible.
  • Photos containing explicit, obscene, violent, or inappropriate content, as determined by the Smithsonian, are ineligible for all categories of the contest.

Judging Criteria

  • The evaluation of photo entries will be based on several factors including creativity, quality, originality, how well it aligns with the prompt, and its overall impact.

Prizes Attached To The Contest

The competition will grant prizes in the following manner:

  • Grand Prize: A cash prize of $2,500 will be awarded to the overall winner.
  • Category Winners: Each winner in the six different categories will receive a cash prize of $500.
  • Readers’ Choice: The winner of the Readers’ Choice award, determined through online voting, will also receive a cash prize of $500.
  • Additionally, winners may have the opportunity to receive non-cash prizes alongside their cash awards.

If the relevant laws prevent the Smithsonian from giving a photographer the monetary reward and/or any non-monetary reward, the Smithsonian may grant the prize solely in recognition.

How To Apply For Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest 2023

Would you like to find out if you are interested and meet the qualifications? Please click on the given link to commence your application.

For answers to some of your questions concerning the contest, click on the Contest  F&Q.

For further details about the Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest visit Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest  Official website.

Application Deadline

November 30, 2023.



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