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Join One of the Biggest U.S. Photo Contests of the Year

Join One of the Biggest U.S. Photo Contests of the Year

Every year, through Share the Experience, hundreds of thousands of people have the opportunity to participate in one of the longest running and highest profile photography contests. The contest for 2018 just recently opened, and will be accepting submissions until December 31, 2018, but there's no time like now to join in fun.

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 contest opened on May 21 and will be open until the end of the year and the winners will be announced in Spring 2019. This contest is for so much more than imagery of America's national parks. Suggested submission categories include the following:

  • Adventure and outdoor recreation
  • Historical and cultural
  • Scenic, seasons, and landscapes
  • Family, friends, and fun
  • Wildlife
  • Night skies

In order to enter the contest you must be a legal resident of the 50 United States and D.C. and at least 13 years of age. You must be an amateur photographer (less than 20 percent of your total income can come from photography), and photographs must be taken by you and you must have the rights to the image.

Let your imagination go crazy here, because you can take pictures in just about any location and it will fit the paradigm for acceptance. Photos must be taken on the lands or within the facilities of the following participating agencies (this covers so much of what's out there that you'd be hard pressed to take a good outdoors shot that wouldn't count):

  • 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

I participate in this contest every year simply because it's just a lot of fun. Besides, you never do know, your image might just be the one that gets printed on next year's annual parks pass and seen by millions upon millions of people. Also, because of the sheer numbers of submissions which are shared and published on the website each year, Share the Experience has become a great source of inspiration for me simply because I can go browse all these amazing shots to come up with ideas of where to travel to next. If you're not already involved with it, I'd recommend at least taking a look for yourself and enjoying the submissions that have already been shared so far.

For guidelines, official rules, and frequently asked questions, make sure to visit the contest website.

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Color Thief's picture

First of all, it is either dirty or lazy to make the rules of .docx file download rather than just publishing them on the web. And in the docx file you will, predictably, learn this is a rights grab:

"By entering, entrants (parent/legal guardian if entrant is a minor in his/her state of residence) grant a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, perpetual license to the Sponsor and Sponsor’s authorized partners, to edit, adapt, make derivative works from, broadcast, publish and otherwise use any or all of the descriptions and/or photograph(s) submitted, and may use them for advertising, promotional and/or any other purpose relating to Sponsor’s charitable mission or the promotion of Public Lands, in any and all media now or hereafter devised worldwide in perpetuity without additional compensation, notification, or permission, unless prohibited by law. "

NOTE: this is JUST BY ENTERING, not only finalists or winners — EVERY ENTRY. This means that almost all entries are granting a broad collection of rights to their work in exchange for precisely nothing.

John MacLean's picture

This was the first thing I was going to look for in the rules. Thanks for saving me the time. It's a constant reminder that no contest is worth it anymore.

Alex Armitage's picture

"You must be an amateur photographer"
Awww boooo. Well Count me out.
"less than 20 percent of your total income can come from photography"

Rex Jones's picture

Hahahaha, exactly!!

michael buehrle's picture

so for 18k they get to keep thousands of images for unlimited use ? sounds like a good deal for the parks. i bet they will have a bunch of great ones too. i think i'll pass. i bet we will see an article in about a year how a photographer had their pic "stolen" and want money but did not read the rules first.