NCWF's 5th Annual Wildlife Photo Contest

It’s Time to Get Snapping!

Did you catch an Eastern tiger swallowtail on a tulip tree or an osprey diving over the water to catch its meal? How about a gorgeous sunset vista in the Blue Ridge Mountains or sunrise on Cape Hatteras? Maybe you caught a wow-worthy photo of your child kayaking? 

North Carolina Wildlife Federation is accepting submissions from professional, amateur and youth shutterbugs for our 5th Annual Wildlife Photo Contest. Categories are “Carolina Critters,” “People in Nature,” “Scenes of North Carolina,” and “Pollinators and Insects”. Images should highlight the beauty of North Carolina’s nature and wildlife, whether in your backyard or across the state. 

Entry donations start at $15 for 12 photos (3 images maximum per category). All proceeds support wildlife habitat conservation and restoration in North Carolina. There will be one adult winner per category (professional and amateur) plus one overall youth winner (18 and under). Shutterbugs must submit their images electronically from July 1 through September 1. Photographs submitted in previous contests have been featured on NCWF’s website, social media accounts, quarterly journals, postcards and bookmarks. Good luck, and start snapping those memorable NC photos!


The Photos

No more than three photographs may be entered in each category per person. Color or black and white images are eligible.

    • Categories are: Carolina Critters, People in Nature, Scenes of North Carolina and Pollinators & Insects.
    • Photos must be submitted electronically in .jpg, .jpeg, or .png format.
    • Entries may originate in any format (including digital files, digital prints, color transparencies, color prints or black and white prints) as long as they are submitted as digital files.
    • Photos must meet the minimum size of 1500 pixels width or height, or 5 inches width or height at 300 pixels per inch, or 2 MB file size.
    • Photos must not exceed the maximum size of 2400 pixels width or height, or 8 inches width or height at 300 pixels per inch, or 11 MB file size.

Digital Alterations

All photographs should accurately reflect the subject matter and the scene as it appeared. Photos that have been digitally altered beyond standard optimization will be disqualified. Acceptable are adjustments to color, contrast, brightness and sharpness; removal of dust and scratches; cropping; black and white conversions. Not acceptable are photo composites (combination of two or more photos, not of the same scene); the addition, duplication, deletion or moving of objects in the photos; or the use of artistic digital filters and effects. Examples of artistic filters and effects are watercolor, neon glow, posterizing, stained glass and others that do not show the scene in its natural way.

You, the Photographer

If you are unable to use this form, you may send your entries to us by email with a statement of agreement to the conditions listed above. Please format your file names as indicated above and include your name and email address in the body of your email. Please submit it via email to [email protected]. Feel free to elaborate on the story surrounding the picture by sending an email to [email protected]. We will include winning category pictures on social media, within our electronic newsletters and in our Journal.

*Note: Contestants by their entry agree North Carolina Wildlife Federation may publish their images in NCWF publications or use them on the NCWF website. Credits will be given when images are used.


Entries must be images taken in North Carolina. Captive, domestic and exotic species will not be considered. NCWF staff and board members are not eligible.

Photographers must electronically sign the entry form to be eligible. **Any photos containing people must be entered with a signed photo release form found here.


There will be one $100 winner for each category for adults and one overall winner (combined categories) for the 18 and under age bracket. Winning photos will be featured in Wildlife Wire, NCWF Journal, social media and more. The judges are made up of the NCWF staff and Board of Directors. The decisions of the judges are final. Notification will be sent by e-mail after the judging is complete.


Entries must be received no later than September 1, 2023. Winners will be notified within 30 days of the contest end date.  Contest winners will be published in the various mediums as previously outlined.

Questions? Contact NCWF at (704) 332-5696 or [email protected].


Carolina Critters


Did you catch that osprey diving near the water to find its meal on film? How about the shy deer venturing out in the field to graze? A turkey? A monarch butterfly emerging from its chrysalis? Or those snow geese gracefully taking pit stops on the Albemarle Peninsula? Enter any of these pictures in the Carolina Critters category.

People in Nature

Ladies Kayaking on publics waters

Whether you prefer to birdwatch on a hike in the mountains, kayak through the rivers, or search for shells on our shores, North Carolinians enjoy nature every day by exploring their diverse, beautiful surroundings. Did you capture a moment on camera of your child canoeing for the first time or an image of your spouse observing a creek for some salamanders? Submit your photos of people enjoying their natural surroundings in the People in Nature category. 

Scenes of North Carolina

iStock.13738232.smokeys in fog

Maybe you're more into capturing those gorgeous NC sunrises on the outer banks or sunsets in the mountains? Or perhaps you find the early morning dew on an open field worth photographing. You might find the placement of rocks in one of NC's many rivers to be the best photographic moment you've ever seen. These scenes found in the beauty of NC's landscapes can be entered in the Scenes of North Carolina category.

Pollinators & Insects

North Carolina Pollinators

Since we've had so many submissions in the past of pollinators and insects, we decided to dedicate a category to the topic. Did you capture an amazing photo of a hummingbird, bumble bee, butterfly, or a strange caterpillar on your camera? What about that close up of the house fly's eyes? Submit your photos of your spectacular pollinator and insect photos to this year's contest.