Call for entries for Smithsonian photo contest

Deadline 30 November 2017


Smithsonian magazine is accepting submissions for its annual photo contest. Professional and amateur photographers can enter this contest.

Contestants can submit up to 15 photos to each of the following categories: the natural world, travel, people, the American experience, altered images and mobile photos.

The grand prize consists of US$2,500. Each category winner, along with the readers’ choice winner, will receive US$500. The best photo in any of the categories taken with a mobile device will receive US$500.


Who may enter

The Grand Prize, Readers’ Choice prize, Natural World, Travel, People, The American Experience and Mobile category prizes are open to photographers who are 18 years old or older. Individuals affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution, including employees, emeriti, Regents, trustees, interns, volunteers, fellows, research associates and their immediate families (children, siblings and spouses), and others living in their households, are not eligible for any prize. The Smithsonian will determine winners’ eligibility in its sole discretion.


What to enter

The following six contest categories are drawn from subjects of special interest to


1.     Natural World: Animals, plants and landscapes; geological or climatological features; and scientific processes and endeavors.


2.     Travel: Locales, peoples or activities in the United States and abroad that convey a sense of place.


3.     People: Portraits and photos of groups or individuals.


4.     The American Experience: Events, objects or activities connecting the American people to their history or their cultural heritage; photographs that tell us what it means to be an American and provide a sense of what it is like to live in this country.


5.     Altered Images: Photographs manipulated for artistic purposes by applying digital and/or traditional special effects (i.e., colorizing, toning, collage, photo composites, HDR, etc.).


6.     Mobile: Any photograph taken with a mobile device (phone or tablet).


To be eligible for any category, a photograph must have been shot by the entrant since January 1, 2015.


How to enter

Please submit photographs and requested information online through our website at You may submit no more than 15 photographs per category for a contest total of 90 submissions. In order to be displayed in our online gallery without being stretched or distorted, photographs must be submitted in .jpeg, .jpg or .gif format, edited for web, at least 2,000 pixels wide and no larger than 10 MB. You must complete a separate form for each photo submitted.


Finalists will be asked to submit an original, unedited digital file or an original negative, print or slide. Original negatives, prints or slides will be returned to finalists. The Smithsonian Institution reserves the right to disqualify incomplete entries and/or contestants who are unable to submit, upon request, a high-resolution photograph of at least 300 dpi at 3,000 pixels on the longest side or an original photo negative, print or slide. Mobile photographs are exempt from this size requirement, but must be submitted at their highest resolution upon request.


For more information and to apply, visit the official website.