Smithsonian 16th Annual Photo Contest

Deadline: 30 November 2018
Open to: photographers who are 18 years old or older
Award: grand prize 2,500 USD


What does an award-winning photograph look like? It can range from an captivating portrait of a family member to a moon-drenched landscape to movement captured at just the right time. The 16th Annual Photo Contest is now open for submissions. The six contest categories are:
Natural World: Animals, plants and landscapes; geological or climatological features; and scientific processes and endeavors.
Travel: Locales, peoples or activities in the United States and abroad that convey a sense of place.
People: Portraits and photos of groups or individuals.
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.
Altered Images: Photographs manipulated for artistic purposes by applying digital and/or traditional special effects (i.e., colorizing, toning, collage, photo composites, HDR, etc.).
Mobile: Any photograph taken with a mobile device (phone or tablet).


The Grand Prize, Readers’ Choice prize, Natural World, Travel, People, The American Experience, Altered Images 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.

Read the contest Rules and FAQ.


Eight prizes will be awarded, as follows:

Grand Prize: 2,500 USD

Category Winners: The winners of each of the six categories will receive 500 USD.

Readers’ Choice: The winner of the online Readers’ Choice award will receive 500 USD.

How to apply?

Please submit photographs and requested information online through the 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 the online gallery without being stretched or distorted, photographs must be submitted in .jpeg, .jpg or .gif format, edited for web in sRGB color space, at least 2,000 pixels wide and no larger than 10 MB. You must complete a separate form for each photo submitted.

For more information please visit the official website.