Open to all Photographers Worldwide

BigPicture is open to all photography enthusiasts and professionals alike worldwide to compete for a chance to win the $5,000 grand prize. See eligibility restrictions below.

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The 2024 competition is now closed.

Open to all Photographers Worldwide

BigPicture is open to all photography enthusiasts and professionals alike worldwide to compete for a chance to win the $5,000 grand prize. See eligibility restrictions below.

Competition Overview

Now in its 11th year, BigPicture encourages photographers from around the world to contribute their work to this competition that both celebrates and illustrates the rich diversity of life on Earth and inspires action to protect and conserve it through the power of imagery. Chaired by award-winning conservation photographer Suzi Eszterhas, BigPicture welcomes high-quality nature, wildlife and conservation images and is open to all photographers around the world. Enter your work for a chance to win cash prizes and be exhibited at the California Academy of Sciences.

(New!) Pay-it-forward

This year, you can encourage an undiscovered or unassuming photographer to submit her/his work by paying their submission fee. Just go to the Submit Photos page, provide info, and pay for the number of projects you want to gift. You’ll receive an email voucher to send to the photographer you want to support. Get the voucher!

Entry Fees

Each photographer can enter photos as follows:

$25 for up to 10 single image submissions in any category.

$15 for each 6–8 image Photo Story submission. 2024 photo story theme will be announced when competition opens.

Entrants are limited to up to 10 image submissions per registered email address and may register an unlimited number of email addresses. Payment is made on a secure web page using a major credit card. Entry fees must be received by the competition deadline to be eligible to win. Images are not entered into the competition, eligible for prizes, or made viewable to judges until entry fees have been paid. Entry fees are used to provide the competition prizes and help the Academy in its mission and are non-refundable.

Competition Period

The BigPicture Photo Competition begins at 12:00 am North American Pacific Standard Time (PST) on December 1, 2023 and closes at 11:59 pm North American Pacific Standard Time (PST) on March 8, 2024. Presented by the California Academy of Sciences.


BigPicture is open to all photographers worldwide, except employees, volunteers and Board Members of the Academy (as well as their sponsors) and the immediate families and individuals living in the same household as such employees, volunteers and Board Members. The Academy reserves the right to verify, in its sole judgment, entrant eligibility. Void where prohibited.

Image Rights

Entrants retain ownership and all other rights to submitted photographs subject to the following: By entering the Competition, each Entrant grants to the Academy a non-exclusive, irrevocable license to reproduce, publish, and display submitted images directly relating to the Competition in all media throughout the world in perpetuity. This includes but is not limited to use in the context of the Academy website and social media sites, the exhibition of winning images* at the Academy, and all promotional and marketing materials regarding the Competition and Exhibition. In other circumstances, commercial opportunities may exist for awarded photographers to benefit from the use of their images, such as print sales or merchandise. Where such a commercial benefit is likely to arise, permission will be sought in advance and terms and conditions will be agreed upon with the photographer.

*Winning images include images designated as grand prize, first place, and finalist images.

Additional Information

Full Rules, Terms and Conditions


$12,000 in Cash Prizes to be awarded to the 2024 winners!

The Grand Prize winner will receive $5,000 for the best overall image in the 2024 BigPicture Natural World Photography Competition and be featured in the annual exhibit at the California Academy of Sciences. The first place winners of the seven official categories will each receive $1,000 in cash and also have their winning images featured in the annual exhibit. Up to 6 additional finalists will be awarded a certificate of recognition for each category, with the exception of the Photo Story category. The Photo Story category will have one first place awarded.

Art of Nature

Abstract expressions of nature and/or science. Life photographed out in nature or under the microscope. Images may include unusual close ups, angles, patterns, motion, or perspectives, black and white photography, and images created using scientific imaging tools. Artistic effects should not be the result of digital manipulations.


Marine animals including mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates (like corals and jellyfish) that spend the majority of their time in water. This category includes polar bears.

and Flora

Captivating images of wild places with a unique perspective, from landscape vistas of forests, deserts and mountains to the micro habitats of plants and other flora. Images may include water environments of oceans, lakes and rivers with images taken above or under water including waves, tide pools and other water scenes.


Birds or flying insects photographed anywhere in the world, in flight, perched or in action. This category includes flightless birds such as penguins, and ostriches.


Animals photographed anywhere in the world. Images may include land-based mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and non-flying insects whether they live in trees or on land.


Images that depict the efforts of scientists, conservationists, and others working to sustain life on our planet or the complex relationship between humans and nature. Images should illustrate the impacts of humans on the environment and can be either positive or negative impact stories.

2024 Photo Story:
Unusual Perspectives

A 6–8 image submission with captions.
Artful angles, bird’s eye views, camera traps, remote locales, unique points-of-view: these are some of the approaches to creating a photo story for Unusual Perspectives. Aerial views of migration. Underwater changes in aquatic habitats. Macro moments of the tiniest lives. What does it look like to live traditionally in a remote region of the world—and in harmony with it? This year’s photo story shows how unusual perspectives help bring new insights into our lives on this ever-changing planet.

People of the Whale, a Photo Story by Kiliii Yuyanthe, about the Iñupiaq whaling crew, who live where the vast plain of ice meets the waters of the Arctic Ocean. For the last 2000 years, the Iñupiaqhave stood on the edge of the sea ice, waiting for the migration of bowhead whales.