Photo Contest Insider Blog


The 2017 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest is Now Underway

May 23, 2017

If you’re a photographer specializing in travel-related photography, then we’ve got exciting news for you. The 2017 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year contest has begun accepting entries and will continue doing so until June 30th – that’s just a few weeks away!

With an incredible line-up of prizes, along with the chance to claim any travel photographer’s most desired and prestigious title, it comes as no surprise that this competition captures the interest of millions of photographers around the world.

“Our Travel Photographer of the Year program is a way to show that our readers are among the world’s best travelers and photographers…We are passionate about visual storytelling and we hope that our contest will inspire our global audience to explore the planet and use photography to tell amazing stories,” explains the Editor in Chief of National Geographic Travel, George Stone.

The contest’s official categories are Nature, Cities, and People, allowing photographers to submit their best images which communicate and portray these notions.

The Mirror: Lake Yogo, called “The lake of Mirror”, sometimes reflects everything in front of you | Photo and caption by Takahiro Bessho / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest

What Prizes will the Winners Receive?

Now for that question we’re sure you’ve all been itching to ask. What official prizes are on offer for those photographers who wow the judges the most?

We’ll start with the most prestigious and sought-after prize of them all. The photographer worthy of first place (and the title of the 2017 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year) receives a 10-day trip for two to the Galápagos Archipelago with National Geographic Expeditions.

Known as “Darwin’s living laboratory”, The Galápagos Archipelago allows visitors to experience “up-close encounters with unique species such as flightless cormorants, marine iguanas, and domed giant tortoises” – in other words, it’s every travel and wildlife photographer’s dream.

The itinerary of this trip is quite flexible, allowing the winner to take advantage of this extraordinary wildlife sanctuary. They will have the opportunity to go on nature walks with local naturalists, swim, snorkel, or explore the waters by kayak, glass-bottom boat or Zodiac. Other highlights of this prized trip include: witnessing incredible interactions between animals in their natural habitat and meeting endangered Galápagos giant tortoises at a National Geographic–supported captive breeding program before observing these creatures in the wild. To read the full, ten-day itinerary of this trip, check out the expedition details here.

Swallows Cave: A freediver swim in the deep of “swallows cave” in Tonga. This cave is settled by more than few thousand fish. They offer you a spectacular ballet when you dive inside. The contrast between the dark of the bottom and the light of the top make bright the fishes like stars | Photo and caption by  Marc Henauer / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest

There’s also great news for those who don’t win the grand prize but still submit an impressive photograph in their category. Each of the three categories (Nature, Cities, and People) will feature three winners, with first place being awarded $ 2,500, second place receiving $750, and third place taking home $500.

It doesn’t just stop there though. All winners will also receive a year-long subscription to National Geographic Traveler magazine, plus all winning photos will appear in an upcoming issue of National Geographic Traveler as well as in an online feature. Imagine having your work reach a global audience of millions; just think about the ways that will elevate your photography career!

You know what they say though – you’ve got to be in it to win it. With entries closing on June 30, 2017 at 12 p.m. EDT, you’ll certainly want to get your most impressive photograph submitted as soon as possible.

How to Enter

Eligible contestants can visit natgeo.com/travelphotocontest to submit their best photos in any or all of the three categories: Nature, People and Cities. The entry fee is $15 (USD) per photo and there is no limit to the number of photos an entrant can submit.

Lost in white: This photo captures the moment that I, along with 3 other Sami reindeer herders become a little lost while migrating with 350 reindeer. They were rounded up from a section of forest around 30kms south of this point. Our goal was to take them, via rivers, northwards to pastures new using the network of rivers and lakes that flow through Sweden. This was taken on Randijaur lake, Jokkmokk, Sweden | Photo and caption by Adam Cunningham-White / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest

What are the Judges Looking for?

National Geographic Travel states: “Each year, photographers around the world send [us] gorgeous images that captivate and astonish. Our judges are looking for photos that tell the story of a place and travel moments that inspire.”

Photographers of all levels are encouraged to submit their most wanderlust-inducing shots to the annual competition, and keep in mind that the goal of travel photography is to take readers around the world to places they might not have been to themselves.

To further explain what the judges are particularly looking for in the winning submissions, the Editor in Chief of National Geographic Traveler magazine, George Stone, states the following:

“Travel is about curiosity, and travel photography is about capturing and sharing that curiosity with the world. Our Travel Photographer of the Year contest surfaces extraordinary visions that inspire us all to get out and explore – with camera in hand.”

The Editors have already begun to showcase some of their favorite submissions on a weekly basis, and you can see some of these featured throughout this article. To see all of the top picks so far, visit the gallery here.

Moss forest: Yakushima is an island full of abundant moss and beautiful water | Photo and caption by Tetsuya Hosokawa / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest

Will you be entering any of your photographs into this prestigious competition? We wish you the very best of luck if you are!


Comments are closed.