Smithsonian magazine 19th Annual Photo Contest begins April 1, 2021, and ends November 30, 2021, at 5:00 PM Eastern Standard Time. By submitting an entry, each contestant agrees to the rules of the contest and states that he or she is 18 years old or older.
Who may enter:
The Grand Prize, Readers’ Choice prize, Natural World, Travel, People, The American Experience, Altered Images and Mobile category prizes are open to photographers who are 18 years old or older. Individuals affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution, including employees, emeriti, Regents, trustees, interns, volunteers, fellows, research associates and their immediate families (children, parents, siblings and spouses) and others living in their households are not eligible for any prize. The Smithsonian will determine winners’ eligibility in its sole discretion.
What to enter:
The following six contest categories are drawn from subjects of special interest to Smithsonian magazine:
1. Natural World: Animals, plants and landscapes; geological or climatological features; and scientific processes and endeavors.
2. Travel: Locales, peoples or activities in the United States and abroad that convey a sense of place.
3. People: Portraits and photos of groups or individuals.
4. The American Experience: Events, objects or activities connecting the American people to their history or their cultural heritage; photographs that tell us what it means to be an American and provide a sense of what it is like to live in this country.
5. Altered Images: Photographs manipulated for artistic purposes by applying digital and/or traditional special effects.
6. Mobile: Any photograph taken with a mobile device (phone or tablet).
To be eligible for any category, a photograph must have been shot by the entrant since January 1, 2019. This date applies to all images in a composite. The contestant certifies that he/she is the sole creator and copyright owner of the submitted photograph.
Cropped photos are eligible in all categories. We do not accept digitally or otherwise enhanced or altered photos, except for those entered in the Altered Images category. Minor adjustments, including the removal of sensor dust or scratches on scans of negatives, dodging and burning, sharpening, contrast, toning, slight color adjustment and conversion to grayscale are acceptable for all categories. The addition and subtraction of objects is not permitted except in the Altered Images category. If the judges determine that a photographer has altered his or her photo, they reserve the right to move the photo to Altered Images or to disqualify it. Image composites including HDR and stitched panoramas will be judged as Altered Images.
For a photo in which a person is recognizable, you must be prepared to provide a model release from the subject or, in the case of a minor, the subject’s parent or guardian, to the Smithsonian upon request. A sample model release is available here.
Similarly, entrants whose photos depict other people’s work (such as sculptures, statues, paintings, and other copyrightable works) must be prepared to provide a release from the rights holder to the Smithsonian upon request. When photographing the work of others, it must be as an object in its environment and not a full-frame close-up of another person’s creation. A sample art release is available here.
If the entrant is unable to provide all required releases, the Smithsonian in its sole discretion reserves the right to disqualify the submission, seek to secure the required releases, or permit the submission to remain in the contest.
Photos that violate or infringe upon another person’s rights, including but not limited to copyright, are not eligible.
Photos that contain sexually explicit, nude, obscene, violent or other objectionable or inappropriate content, as determined by the Smithsonian in its sole discretion, are ineligible for all categories of this contest.
photo: Natnattcha Chaturapitamorn – Smithsonian Photo Contest (2019)