We invited a panel of esteemed nature photographers, writers, and photo editors—chaired by award-winning wildlife photographer Suzi Eszterhas—to judge and select from this year's competition entries.

“BigPicture has become one of the most prestigious nature photography contests in the world. Every year, the judging panel has the privilege of seeing thousands of exquisite images from all corners of the globe, so many of which just blow your mind.”

—Suzi Eszterhas, BigPicture Jury Chair

Suzi Eszterhas

Jury Chair
San Francisco, CA

Suzi Eszterhas is an award-winning wildlife photographer who is best known for her work documenting newborn animals and family life in the wild. Her photographs have been published in over 100 magazine cover and feature stories. She has 21 books in print and another three in progress. A dedicated conservationist, Suzi lends her images and expertise to help raise funds and awareness for several environmental organizations around the globe. Suzi is also the Founder and Executive Director of Girls Who Click, a nonprofit dedicated to encouraging young women to enter the male-dominated profession of wildlife photography.

Diana Caballero Alvarado

Mexico City, Mexico

Mexico City-born Diana Caballero Alvarado is an accomplished photographer and graphic designer whose work is deeply rooted in nature and conservation. Ever since childhood she has been drawn to the natural world, cultivating a special connection to the behavior and  biology of animals.An emerging member of the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP), Diana has done design work and collaborations with large  and small businesses alike—as long as their goals were centered in environmental education and conservation projects. Diana is a collaborator with and mentor for Girls Who Click, as well as a member of the Alianza Mexicana de Fotografía para la Conservación.

Gunjan Menon

Vancouver, Canada and Delhi, India

Gunjan Menon is an award-winning conservation filmmaker and National Geographic Storytelling Explorer from India. She is the Founder and Director of ‘Beyond Premieres’ which specializes in impact-driven films and supports filmmakers wishing to create tangible impact through their art. A mentor to emerging filmmakers and scientists in Asia and Africa, Gunjan has led workshops and seminars worldwide on conservation filmmaking and science communication. Her first film, The Firefox Guardian (2018) garnered over 40 awards and nominations worldwide, including being shortlisted for a student BAFTA. She is currently directing and presenting a series about backyard wildlife in addition to two documentaries highlighting lesser-known species like rusty spotted cats and freshwater turtles. Her work has been broadcast on Nat Geo Wild, Disney+ Hotstar, Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, BBC Earth, and Netflix.

Susan Middleton

San Francisco, United States

Susan Middleton is an acclaimed artist, photographer, author, educator, and Guggenheim fellow. Blending art and science, she specializes in the portraiture of rare and endangered animals, plants, sites, and cultures; she has worked extensively with National Geographic and currently servesas research associate at the California Academy of Sciences. Her most recent book, Spineless: Portraits of Marine Invertebrates, the Backbone of Life (Abrams) received top reviews from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Guardian. Middleton’s photograph of the plastic stomach contents of a young albatross was selected by National Geographic as one of the “50 Best Photographs” published in their 125 year history. Her work is represented in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Art and the National Academy of Sciences. 

Cristina Mittermeier

Vancouver Island, Canada

One of the most influential female photographers in the world, Cristina "Mitty" Mittermeier began her career as a marine biologist in her native Mexico. Soon after, she discovered the power of imagery in ocean advocacy work. Today, she is an internationally recognized National Geographic photographer, public speaker, and founder of The International League of Conservation Photographers. In 2014, she co-founded SeaLegacy, a non-profit organization that uses strategic communications at the intersection of art, science, and conservation to protect and rewild the ocean for the benefit of biodiversity, humanity, and climate within our lifetimes. She is the recipient of many prestigious awards, including the Smithsonian Conservation Photographer of the Year Award and the Imaging Award for Photographers Who Give Back. She was named one of the 100 Latinos Most Committed to Climate Action.

Sophie Stafford

Bristol, UK

Sophie Stafford is a passionate conservationist and charity communication consultant who has judged many of the world’s nature photography competitions. As Editor of BBC Wildlife Magazine, she judged and co-managed the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition for nearly 10 years. She has traveled the world to join the juries of natural history photo contests, and has been part of the BigPicture team since its inception in 2014. Sophie is an affiliate of the International League of Conservation Photographers, and reviews and judges photography for a myriad of natural history magazines that she produces for international conservation charities, as well as for bioGraphic.

Ami Vitale

Missoula, Montana

Ami Vitale is a Nikon Ambassador, National Geographic photographer, writer, filmmaker and speaker who creates unique stories which amplify the work of communities on the front lines of grassroots conservation. Ami was recently named Conservation International's 2022 Innovators Fellow. In 2022, she received prestigious prizes from both the Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service and the Lucie Humanitarian Award. Instyle Magazine named Ami one of fifty Badass Women, a series celebrating women who show up, speak up and get things done. In addition to numerous philanthropic efforts, she is the founder and Executive Director of Vital Impacts, a non-profit that uses art to support conservation and mentor the next generation of environmental journalists. She is also a founding member of Ripple Effect Images, an organization of renowned female scientists, writers, photographers and filmmakers working together to create powerful stories that shed light on the hardships climate change causes to women and the programs that can help them.