Open To All Photographers Worldwide

BigPicture is open to all photography enthusiasts and professionals alike worldwide to compete for a chance to win the $5,000 grand prize. See eligibility restrictions below.


Competition Overview

BigPicture encourages photographers from around the world to contribute their work to this competition that will both celebrate and illustrate the rich diversity of life on Earth and inspire action to protect and conserve it through the power of imagery. Chaired by award-winning conservation photographer Suzi Eszterhas, this competition welcomes high-quality nature, wildlife and conservation images and is open to all photographers around the world. Enter your nature, wildlife and conservation images for a chance to win cash prizes and be exhibited at the California Academy of Sciences.


Entry Fees

Each photographer can enter photos as follows:

$25 for up to 10 single image submissions in any category

$15 for 1 Photo Essay submission (3-5 images)

There are no limits to the number of times you may enter the competition. Entrants are limited to up to 10 single image submissions per registered email address and may register an unlimited number of email addresses. Payment is made on a secure web page using a major credit card. Entry fees must be completed by the competition deadline (March 31, 2016) to be eligible to win. Images are not entered into the competition, eligible for prizes, or made viewable to judges until the contest fee is paid. Entry fees are used to provide the competition prizes and help the Academy in its mission and are non-refundable.


2016 Competition Divisions of Entry


Terrestrial Wildlife

Animals photographed anywhere in the world. Images may include land-based mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and non-flying insects whether they live in trees or on land.



Things With Wings

Birds or flying insects photographed anywhere in the world, in flight, perched or in action.



Landscapes, Waterscapes & Flora

Captivating images of wild places with a unique perspective, from expansive landscape vistas of forests, deserts and mountains to the micro habitats of plants and other flora. Images may include water environments of oceans, lakes and rivers with images taken above or under water including waves, tide pools and other water scenes.



Aquatic Life

Marine animals including mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates that spend the majority of their time in water.



Art of Nature

Abstract expressions of nature and/or science. Life photographed out in nature or under the microscope. Images may include unusual close ups, angles, patterns, motion, or perspectives, and images created using scientific imaging tools. Artistic effects should not be the result of digital manipulations.




Images that depict the efforts of scientists, conservationists, and others working to sustain life on our planet. Images should illustrate the impacts of humans on the environment and can be either positive or negative impact stories..



2016 Photo Essay: Coral Reef

A 3-5 image submission with captions. This year’s photo essay theme focuses on one of the greatest ecological challenges of our time: protecting the world’s coral reefs. Photo stories should highlight the exquisite life that coral reefs support, or illustrate our complex relationship with these intricate ecosystems—from restoration to exploitation.



Competition Period

The BigPicture Photo Competition begins at 12:00 am North American Pacific Standard Time (PST) on January 1, 2016 and closes at 11:59 pm North American Pacific Standard Time (PST) March 31, 2016. Presented by the California Academy of Sciences.




BigPicture is open to all photographers worldwide, except employees, volunteers and Board Members of the Academy (as well as their sponsors) and the immediate families and individuals living in the same household as such employees, volunteers and Board Members. Academy reserves the right to verify, in its sole judgment, entrant eligibility. Void where prohibited.


Image Rights

Entrants retain ownership and all other rights to submitted photographs subject to the following: By entering BigPicture, each entrant grants to the Academy a nonexclusive, irrevocable license to reproduce, publish and display submitted images in all media throughout the world directly in relation to the Competition, including but not limited to use in the context of the Academy website and social media sites, the exhibition of winning images at the Academy, and promotional and marketing materials regarding the Competition and Exhibition for the period of five (5) years. Commercial opportunities regarding an image, will be negotiated with entrants separately.

*Winning images include images designated as grand prize, first place, and finalist images.


Additional Information

Full Rules, Terms and Conditions