Smithsonian magazine 18th Annual Photo Contest

Grand Prize winner: $2,500


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. Our 18th Annual Photo Contest is now open for submissions, and we're looking for the best of the best.

There are 6 categories:

• 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.

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


Grand Prize winner: $2,500.
Category winners: $500
Readers' Choice winner: $500


To be eligible for any category, a photograph must have been shot by the entrant since January 1, 2018.

Copyrights & Usage Rights:

You retain your rights to your photograph; however, by entering the contest, you grant the Smithsonian Institution (and those authorized by the Smithsonian) a royalty-free, world-wide, perpetual, non-exclusive license to publicly display, distribute, reproduce and create derivative works of the entries, in whole or in part, in any media now existing or later developed, for any Smithsonian Institution purpose, including, but not limited to, advertising and promotion of the magazine and its website, exhibition, and commercial products, including but not limited to Smithsonian Institution publications. Any photograph reproduced will include a photographer credit as feasible. The Smithsonian Institution will not be required to pay any additional consideration or seek any additional approval in connection with such uses.