NCWF Annual Wildlife Photography Contest

Calling All Amateur Photographers!

North Carolina Wildlife Federation is sponsoring our third annual Wildlife Photography Contest running from May 1st to July 31st. 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 memorable sunset vista in the Blue Ridge Mountains or a picturesque sunrise on Cape Hatteras? Maybe you even caught a wow-worthy photo of your child while fly fishing in a local stream? Submit these memorable photos to share with North Carolinians and be one of five winners in our third photography contest.

Images should highlight the beauty of North Carolina’s nature and wildlife- in your own backyard or the larger backyard of North Carolina’s natural landscapes and creatures. Categories include “Carolina Critters”, “People in Nature”, and “Scenes of North Carolina.” And new this year, there will also be a “Trail Camera” category to submit images taken from your stationary camera traps. Entry donations start at $15 for 12 photos (3 images max. per category)- all proceeds support wildlife habitat conservation and restoration in North Carolina.

Photographs submitted in 2019 and 2020 have been featured on NCWF’s website, social media accounts, quarterly journals, postcards, bookmarks and more. There will be one adult winner per category as well as one overall youth winner (13 years of age and younger). Photos must be submitted electronically. Good luck and get snapping!

Photo Contest Entry Deadline Was July 31st, 2021


The Photos

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

    • Categories include: Carolina Critters, People in Nature, Scenes of North Carolina, and Trail Camera Captures.
    • Photos must be submitted electronically in .jpg or.png format.
    • Entries may originate in any format-including but not limited to 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 which 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 pho[email protected]. We will include winning category pictures on Facebook & Instagram, within our electronic newsletters and in our Journal.

*Note:  Contestants by their entry agree that the North Carolina Wildlife Federation may publish their images in NCWF publications or use 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. This contest is open to amateur photographers only.  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 13 and under age bracket. The winners will have their photo featured in Wildlife Wire, NCWF Journal and more. The judges are made up of the NCWF staff and Board of Directors. Decisions of the judges are final. Notification will be sent by e-mail after judging is complete.


Entries must be received no later than July 31st, 2021. Winners will be notified within 30 days of the contest end date.  Contest winners will be published in the various mediums as previously outlined.

Now that we've got all that straight...get out there and take some great photos!  Good luck!

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.

Trail Cam Captures

Gray Wolf

The Trail Camera Captures category is new for 2021. Did you capture an amazing photo of a bear, deer, opossum, or other game on your trail camera? What about that pesky raccoon that's been getting into your trashcan? Submit your photos of animals or pesky critters you caught on camera.