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2024 Edition



The Nature Photographer of the Year Contest 2023 is open for nature photographers worldwide, both professional and non-professional, young and old. The competition for the category young photographers is open for youngsters who have not yet turned 18 on June 25th 2023.

Members of the organization of Nature Talks/Nature Photographer of the Year and members of the jury are not allowed to participate. Images that are submitted may be taken all over the world.

Competition rules

All images must be made in unrestricted nature. Images of pets, captive animals and cultivated plants are not permitted. Large grazers and wild animals within extensive grazing or safety fences are considered wild and free.

All images must show respect for the subject and the environment. Images that were made while disturbing or damaging the animal or environment are not permitted. On suspicion of disturbance or damaging nature the image will be excluded from participation.


The Nature Photography of the Year Contest 2023 consists of 12 categories for individual images (adults), a category for young photographers plus the Fred Hazelhoff Award for a portfolio.

Group-Role “Standard” 29 euro
C1 Birds
C2 Mammals
C3 Other animals
C4 Plants and Fungi
C5 Landscapes
C6 Underwater
C7 Natural Art
C8 Man and Nature
C9 Black & White
C10 Animal portraits
C11 Nature of “De Lage Landen”

Group-Role “Young” Free of charge
C12 Youth 10-17 years

Group-Role “Portfolio” 17 euro
C13 Fred Hazelhoff Award (portfolio)

Images in categories 1 to 5 should depict the beauty and significance of animals, plants and their habitat. They can display all sorts of subjects: from details to groups, from portraits to overall views, from action-filled behavior to atmospheric situations, from rare species to common sights, from natural habitats to complete ecosystems.

Category 6 is reserved for images depicting the world under water – these may be plants, animals or habitats in both salt and fresh water environments.

Category 7 is for images that focus on colours and shapes or structure in nature. This category is open to photographs in which the photographer shows his or her individual point of view, aesthetic considerations and photographic experimentation.

Category 8 deals with positive or negative aspects of human interaction with nature.

Category 9 is for Black & White images.

Category 10 is about animal portraits, no matter if it’s a mammal, a bird, an insect or an amphibian or reptile, as long as it’s a striking portrait!

Category 11 Nature of “de Lage Landen” is a special category to highlight the beauty of nature in The Netherlands and Belgium, the so-called “Lage Landen”. Last year the theme was Animals, this year it is Nature. All photos submitted to this category must be of Nature in one of those countries.

Category 12 invites young photographers to enter their best nature images.


C 13 The Fred Hazelhoff Portfolio Award

The Fred Hazelhoff Award is for photographers who send in a coherent portfolio of a minimum of 8 and maximum 12 images. These can be linked in subject or in the photographers style.

Fred Hazelhoff, 15 July 1925 – 31 January 2002, was one of the most influential Dutch wildlife photographers. He is considered the patriarch and founder of modern wildlife photography in The Netherlands. His passion was deer and other large game, but at a later age he mainly photographed landscapes.

Fred Hazelhoff inspired many generations of wildlife photographers and thereby contributed to the development of wildlife photography. Fred was also an inspiration for famous contemporary photographers such as Frans Lanting.

Hazelhoff studied graphic design and photography at the Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague and worked as art director for a number of companies. Fred Hazelhoff’s photography was bought by museums such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and Het Prentenkabinet of the university library in Leiden. His collection is part of the Dutch Photo Museum in Rotterdam.

We are pleased that we are allowed to present this award with the approval of Fred Hazelhoff’s family. Not for just one photo, but for a portfolio. In many categories it is about a single winning image, but this award is about a coherent portfolio in which the photographer shows that he or she is consistent in style and quality.


In each category the jury will determine a winning image, a runner-up and 3 highly commended photos. The winners of a category will receive € 500 in prize money (in cash). The runner-ups will win prizes worth € 250 (in products). The highly commended photographers receive the honor and an encouragement. The winner of the youth category will receive a prize worth € 250 (in products). The runner-up in this category will receive a prize worth € 125 (in products).

The category winner of the Animals of “de Lage Landen” will win a long weekend stay in a Buitenleven vakanties vakantiewoning, a holiday home in a spectacular natural setting!

In addition, from the 13 category winners the jury will choose one overall winner who may call him- or herself Nature Photographer of the Year 2023. Next to the category prize, the overall winner will receive a prize to the value of € 2500 (in cash). In total the overall winner will get € 3000 in prize money (in cash)!

All awarded images will be shown in the exhibition at the Nature Talks Photo Festival. After this the exhibition will be traveling through The Netherlands and Belgium.

Besides all these prizes, there is the Fred Hazelhoff Award for the best portfolio. The winner of this category receives a sum of €1000 (in cash) as well as a trophy.

The award ceremony will take place during the Nature Talks Photo Festival 2023 on Saturday the 11th of November 2023.

Registration, participation fees and entry deadline

Images can be sent in until June 25th 2023 23:59 hrs (GMT). Images can only be sent through the https://naturephotographeroftheyear.com website.

You must select the Group-Role you wish to participate in by the registration form. You could take part in more than one “Group-Role” by using a different e-mail address for every “Group-Role”.

–    Group-Role “Standard”: categories C1 to C11. Images can be uploaded after the amount of 29,00 euros has been paid online
–    Group-Role “Young”: category C12. Young photographers do not have to pay to enter the competition; they should not be 18 years on June 25th, 2023.
–    Group-Role “Portfolio”: category C13. Images for this portfolio category can be uploaded after the amount of 17,00 euros has been paid online for the Fred Hazelhoff Award.

In total, 20 images may be submitted in for categories 1 – 11 with no maximum per category. Young photographers may send in 5 images maximum.

For the Fred Hazelhoff Award 8-12 photos may be submitted.

Please include your mobile phone number in the field ‘Contact Phone’, when registering including your international extension number for international calls so +31, or +1, +91 and so on.

Images that have already received prizes or awards in prestigious international competitions or have repeatedly been published in leading nature magazines or wildlife magazines are excluded from this competition. It’s up to the jury to decide on this.

Permitted are images from digital cameras (digital images) as well as high-quality scans of transparencies and negatives. Analog images will not be accepted.

After a pre-selection, the jury will check the authenticity of digital images by referring to the original image files. In the case of scans, the original analog transparency or negative can be consulted.

As original image files, we accept all RAW files (e.g. *.NEF, *.CRW, *.CR2, *.PEF) and original JPEGs. Only JPEG and DNG files straight out of the camera are accepted as originals.

Permitted editing techniques

The following editing techniques are allowed:

-    General adjustments, such as contrast, saturation, sharpness, white balance, shadows/highlights, digital graduated grey filter and local adjustments (such as dodge and burn) and removal of vignetting, only if done with moderation and retaining the original character of the image. It’s up to the jury to decide on this.
-    Removal of chromatic aberrations and lens distortion.
-    Removal of sensor spots.
-   Cropping, as long as you keep a high-resolution image with at least 3000 pixels on the longest side.
-    Multiple exposures provided the image is constructed inside the camera itself
-    Panoramas straight out of the camera or stitched with software outside the camera are both allowed on the condition that individual photos are shown to the jury when demanded
-    HDR manipulation and focus stacking via software outside the camera, provided these techniques are used with moderation and do not compromise the natural character of the image. It’s up to the jury to decide on this.
-    Black and white rendition.

The following techniques are not allowed:

-    Addition of elements in the image.
-    Removal of elements in the image other than sensor spots or disturbing elements bigger than 3 % of the image.
-    Frames, watermarks or names in the photos. The jury will exclusively judge photos that are anonymous and show no name or personal watermark in the image.
-    Overall, manipulated images that are clearly exaggerated will be disqualified. It’s up to the jury to decide on this.


We don’t like fraud. So we also use software to help us checking not allowed techniques. Our Competition management will receive the consultative service from IRCC for final decisions of juries about images who are selected in the finals. Last year 2 years we did, but also this year's edition we will use this software to help the judges to see if images are ok.

File requirements

Preview images (the initial uploads) must be 1920 pixels on the longest side (moderate sharpening allowed) and the JPG file must weigh a minimum of 125kb and maximum of 2000kb (2MB).

High resolution and RAW files must be available at the jury’s request. These must be suitable for large format printing (e.g. 80 x 120 cm) and must have Adobe RGB or sRGB colours. Do not interpolate and only use moderate sharpening.

Not a single reference to the photographers name must be found on the images or in the file name.

Files names

    File names must begin with a category number C1, C2, C3 etc. and the title of the photo.
    File names must not contain any special characters (e.g. “#” or “<>”) or punctuation (e.g. “!”, “?” or “.”).
    No umlauts, these must be replaced by “ae”, “oe”, “ue”. Spaces must be replaced by underscores ( _ line at the bottom).
    File name extensions must be separated by a dot (.) and may not be any longer than 4 characters.

An example of a good file name: C2_Fox_and_young.jpg

5. When a special technique was used, the file name must be expanded with an “S” for scan, “MF” for multiple exposure, “HDR” for a High Dynamic Range technique, “P” for Panorama photos and “FS” for Focus Stacking.

An example of a good file name: C5_Woods_in_Spain_P-HDR.jpg (Panorama and HDR photo)

Photos of animals who have been limited in freedom or in movement during or after taking photos must be indicated by a capital “C” (=captive).

Example: C2_Bat_C.jpg

Uploading your images to the contest

You will find the corresponding form to upload your images at your personal dashboard after loging in at the contest. To upload your photos please just follow the indications for each field shown at section “Upload a photo to the contest”.

Very important: when a special technique was used, you should mention this technique at the field called “Additional Info” that you will find in the web form to upload your image. Please mention in that field: “HDR” or “Multiple Exposures” or “Panorama Photos” or “Focus Stacking”.

You do not need to detail all shooting data, as our system automatically extracts certain parameters related to the Exif shooting data embedded in the image file fields. Among these data/aforementioned fields, the name of the author of the photograph will remain hidden for jury members for obvious reasons.

Note that you can submit your photos under ‘provisional status’ and you could modify or eliminate them at any moment until you decide to close your participation. At the closing date of the contest all images will automatically change into the definitive status.

Contact and inquiries
Nature Photographer of the Year Contest

Nature Photographer of the Year
Boegbeeld 18
1671 TB Medemblik
The Netherlands
+31345 246009

Number Chamber of Commerce – 66589711

VAT number – NL856621584B01

To address any inquiry to the Competition Manager of the Nature Photographer of the Year 2023, please refer to contest@naturephotographeroftheyear.com

Copyright and rights of usage

By entering the competition, the photographer confirms that the entered photograph is his / her original work and that the photographer is the sole owner of the copyright. The photographer is personally responsible if the rights of a third party have been violated. The consequences hereof will be for the photographer only, the organization of the competition is not responsible.

The organization has the right to use images for marketing purposes of the Nature Photographer of the Year Contest and the Nature Talks Photo Festival (also future editions), in exhibitions, in flyers, on websites and social media, but when doing so will always list the photographer’s name. The photographer maintains copyright of his or her image at all times and can exploit this freely; he or she will, however, not ask any compensation of the organization of the competition for the usage of the image.

By entering the competition, the photographer agrees to the possible inclusion of his or her image in a digital show during the Nature Talks Photo Festival 2023, of course the name of the photographer will be mentioned in the show. If a photographer does not wish to have his or her photograph included in a show, he can make this known in a mail to contest@naturephotographeroftheyear.com; the organization will respect this wish.


The NPOTY 2023 Jury consists of the following people:
Marco Gaiotti (Italy) Chairman
Gheorghe Popa (ROM)
Tin Man Lee (USA/China)
More names will follow soon

Closing remarks

Entries that do not comply with all or a part of the rules or the Nature Photographer of the Year Contest in terms of content, technically or any other aspect will be excluded of the competition.

The jury decides in case of images where the competition rules are unclear. The decisions of the jury will be conclusive. Legal procedures against the organization or individual members of the jury are not possible. By entering images to the Nature Photographer of the Year Contest the participating photographer agrees with the above-mentioned competition rules.

During our online Nature Talks Photo Festival on the 11th of November 2023 in the Netherlands we will announce all the winners. The winners will also be part of a photo exhibition on the festival before it will be traveling through the Netherlands and Belgium.

So enter the contest now and, send in your awesome photos, do a bit for nature and we will show your amazing images to the world!