Natural History Museum’s prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition opens for entries

  • The world’s biggest wildlife photography competition 
  • A global showcase for nature photography and photojournalism
  • The 2020 competition marks its fifty-sixth year 
  • Open to photographers of all ages and abilities 
  • Opening for entries on Monday 21 October 2019 
  • Closing on Thursday 12 Dec at 11.30am GMT

The world’s most prestigious wildlife photography competition is launching its annual global search for the best and most creative images of nature. Submissions for the Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition will open on Monday 21 October 2019, closing at 11.30am GMT on Thursday 12 December 2019. Photographers of all ages and abilities will be able to enter their best photographs at

The competition revealed its 2019 winners at a glittering awards ceremony at the Natural History Museum last week. Yongqing Bao of China took the grand title with a unique and unforgettable image depicting a battle for survival between a Tibetan fox and a marmot, whilst New Zealand’s Cruz Erdmann was crowned Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year for his ethereal picture of a glowing squid. 

Judged by a panel of industry-recognised professionals, images are selected for their originality, artistry and technical complexity. Writer and editor Rosamund ‘Roz’ Kidman Cox OBE returns as Chair of the Jury whilst wildlife and conservation filmmaker and naturalist Shekar Dattatri (India), conservation photographer Jamie Rojo (Mexico) and the Natural History Museum’s Director of Science, Dr Tim Littlewood join the international judging panel. More jury members will be revealed soon.   

Dr Tim Littlewood says: ‘The jury’s role is to deliver a collection of the year’s finest wildlife images, whilst ensuring the selection process is fair and transparent and that our ethics and rules are upheld. There has never been a more crucial time to move hearts and minds with beautiful, truthful and impactful nature photography, so judging the competition is both a privilege and a huge responsibility. We hope the images we select will inspire not only the next generation of photographers, but the next generation of scientists, conservationists and advocates for the natural world.’ 

The competition’s range of categories spans the diversity of the world’s flora and fauna, from stunning plant photography, landscapes and animal portraits to ground-breaking photojournalism. The Rising Star Portfolio award recognises outstanding work from emerging photographers aged 18 to 26, and the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition celebrates photography from children aged 17 and under.The 2019 competition attracted over 48,000 entries from 100 countries.

Entrants get the chance to take centre stage at a glittering awards ceremony at the Natural History Museum, London, where they will celebrate beneath the Museum’s star specimen, Hope the blue whale. Winning images will reach an audience of millions in the international touring exhibition and limited edition hardcover book, which is translated and sold across the world. The overall winner and young winner will receive a substantial cash prize. 

For full details on competition rules and prizes and to enter visit


  • See images from the latest winners and find out more about the competition at
  • Entrants to the adult competition may enter up to 25 images for a £30 fee, which increases to £35 in the final week of the entry period (Entrants aged 17 and under may enter up to 10 images for free. 
  • Rules and categories are translated into 12 languages: Chinese, Japanese, Russian, French, Arabic, Finnish, German, Korean, Polish, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese (Brazil)
  • The winners of the fifty-fifth Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition were announced on Tuesday 15 October 2019. The exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London is open until 31 May 2019. 
  • Wildlife Photographer of the Year was founded in 1965 by BBC Wildlife Magazine, then called Animals. The Natural History Museum joined forces in 1984 to create the competition as it is known today. The competition is now run and owned by the Natural History Museum. 
  • The Natural History Museum exists to inspire a love of the natural world and unlock answers to the big issues facing humanity and the planet. It is a world-leading science research centre, and through its unique collection and unrivalled expertise it is tackling issues such as food security, eradicating diseases and managing resource scarcity. The Natural History Museum is the most visited natural history museum in Europe and the top science attraction in the UK; we welcome around five million visitors each year and our website receives over 850,000 unique visitors a month. People come from around the world to enjoy our galleries and events and engage both in-person and online with our science and educational activities through innovative programmes and citizen science projects.

Media contact

For access to high-resolution images or to arrange interviews with photographers or spokespeople, please contact Zoë Summers at the Natural History Museum Press Office.

Tel: +44 (0)20 7942 5106

Mobile: +44 (0) 7799 690151

Email: k


Twitter: @NHM_WPY

Instagram: nhm_wpy

Hashtag for the 2020 competition: #WPY56

About the author

RANDY OLSON’s 27 National Geographic magazine projects have taken him to many countries in Africa, the Siberian Arctic, Abu Dhabi, American Samoa, Austria, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Dubai, Guyana, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Kamchatka, Newfoundland, Pakistan, Palmyra, Republic of Georgia, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, and the South Pacific.
National Geographic Society published a book of his work in their Masters of Photography series in January 2011. Olson was the 2003 Magazine Photographer of the Year in the Pictures of the Year International (POYi) competition, and was also awarded POYi’s 1992 Newspaper Photographer of the Year—one of only two photographers to win in both media in the largest photojournalism contest operating continuously since World War II. While working at The Pittsburgh Press, Olson received an Alicia Patterson Fellowship to support a seven-year project documenting a family with AIDS, and a Robert F. Kennedy Award for his story on problems with Section 8 housing. He was also awarded the Nikon Sabbatical and a grant from the National Archives to save the Pictures of the Year collection.
Melissa Farlow and Randy Olson are photojournalists in the documentary tradition. Their work has taken them to 50 countries over the past 20 years. Even though they are published in LIFE, GEO, Smithsonian and other magazines, they have primarily worked on 50 projects for the National Geographic Society. They normally work individually, but have co-produced National Geographic magazine stories on northern California, American national parks, and the Alps. They photographed the southern United States for a book by Collins Publishing and have collaborated on over 70 books by various publishers.