Rules of Entry

1. The Promoter

The promoter is Bird Photographer of the Year Ltd, Vicarage Court, 160 Ermin Street, Swindon, Wiltshire. SN3 4NE in association with The British Trust for Ornithology, Nature Photographers Ltd, and Picturk.

2. Eligibility

The competition is global and open to people of all ages and nationalities. Entries submitted by persons under 18 on the date of closure of the competition will automatically be entered for the Cameron Bespolka Young Bird Photographer of the Year Award in addition to the main categories entered.

Employees or agents of Bird Photographer of the Year Ltd, The British Trust for Ornithology, BTO Services Ltd, Nature Photographers Ltd, and Picturk, their families or other persons connected with this promotion (excluding the sponsors) are not eligible to enter. Contributing photographers to the Nature Photographers and BTO images libraries are eligible to enter the competition. Should prospective entrants be in any doubt as to their eligibility, then confirmation from the Promoter should be sought through the ‘contact us’ section.

Entrants under the age of 18 at the closing date of the competition must gain the permission of a parent or guardian to enter the competition. It is the responsibility of each entrant (and the entrant's parent or guardian) to ensure that they have read and will abide by these rules. By submitting an entry, each entrant (and the entrant's parent or guardian) agrees to the Rules, that their entry complies with the Rules, and that they will be liable to the Promoter and their licensees in respect of any damages or losses incurred as a breach of the Rules.

3. Contest Categories

The eight individual competition categories are as follows –

  1. Best Portrait
  2. Birds in the Environment
  3. Attention to Detail
  4. Bird Behaviour
  5. Birds in Flight
  6. Creative Imagery
  7. Garden Birds
  8. Best Digiscoped Image

4. Special Awards

In addition to the Categories there are two Special Awards as follows –

  1. Best Portfolio
  2. Cameron Bespolka Young Bird Photographer of the Year

5 Image Specifications

Entries must be digital files prepared as described below (digital scans of film are acceptable) and uploaded online at No entries will be accepted by email or post. All competition entries should be capable of printing to A4 size requiring a camera that captures images of 6 megapixels and above. JPG/Jpegs to be saved at the highest quality available. Your photographs should be sized at 300dpi with the shortest edge at least 2,500 pixels and saved as JPG/jpegs in sRGB colour space. Any image sharpening and noise reduction should be kept to a minimum, excessive use of either may render the image ineligible.

6. Submission Rules.

All images must have been taken within 5 years of the competition closing date. Photographs of any species of bird taken anywhere in the world are eligible for entry. Entries that have previously won a national or international photography award (including winner, runner-up or highly commended) or are entered into a competition where the results are pending, are not eligible for entry.

With the exception of the Creative Imagery category, Photographers may make reasonable use of digital darkroom techniques which enhance quality but do not distort the photograph. Only cropping, minor burning, dodging and/or colour and levels correction is acceptable and images should be the result of a single frame only. Any changes to the original Photograph not itemised here are unacceptable and will render the Photograph ineligible for a prize. The Promoter reserves the right to request a copy of the original camera file from the entrant, and to eliminate entries where such a request is ignored or where it is suspected that the rules have been infringed.

Although photographs of captive birds are eligible for entry, Entrants are obliged to disclose this information at the point of entry as the judges will need to take the circumstances of the image capture into consideration. Entrants are reminded that they are responsible for obtaining any necessary licences that may be required to photograph protected species or areas. Proof may be requested by the Promoter and entries disqualified where it is suspected the relevant permissions have not been obtained. The use of tape luring and/or the use of live bait to obtain a photograph should also be disclosed at the point of image entry and the Promoter reserves the right to disqualify any entry where they suspect full disclosure has not been made. It is the responsibility of the Entrant to ensure that the relevant permissions have been obtained when photographing on private land.

Please refer to our how to prepare your images section for more detailed guidance.

7. Entrance Fees

An Entrance Fee is required to enter the competition. The competition entry fee is based on the number of competition categories you choose to enter. Each category carries a fixed entry fee that allows anything from 1 to 6 images to be submitted; charges are defined below. This means that you can enter anything from a single image into one category for £10 to 48 images, for £64, into all eight categories (with a maximum of 6 images per category).

£10 One image (single category)
£18 One category (up to 6 images)
£26 Any two categories (up to 12 images, with no more than 6 images per category)
£34 Any three categories (up to 18 images, with no more than 6 images per category)
£40 Any four categories (up to 24 images, with no more than 6 images per category)
£46 Any five categories (up to 30 images, with no more than 6 images per category)
£52 Any six categories (up to 36 images, with no more than 6 images per category)
£58 Any seven categories (up to 42 images, with no more than 6 images per category)
£64 All eight categories (up to 48 images, with no more than 6 images per category)

Under 18s Discount: A 50% discount on the above entry fees is applicable for those entrants under 18 as detailed in 2 above, proof of age may be required.

'Early Bird’ Discount: All entries submitted and finalised prior to midnight GMT on 30 September 2015 will attract an early entry discount of 30% off the entrance fee.

8. Competition Opening and Closing Dates

The opening date of the competition is midnight on Friday 21 August 2015 GMT. The closing date for entries is midnight on Saturday 9 January 2016 GMT.

9. Prizes

Each of the category winning photographs will receive a prize as stated in the category descriptions. The category winners will go forward to the final judging round where a single image will be chosen and the title of ‘Bird Photographer of the Year’ will be presented to the winning photographer together with a further cash prize of £5,000. A separate prize of £2,000 will be presented to the photographer with the best portfolio of images as judged by our panel of experts. A portfolio will comprise a selection of 6 of the highest scoring images from a single photographer, demonstrating consistency of skill and technique. In addition to entry to main competition categories, all entries from entrants 17 or under (as defined in 2 above) will automatically be entered into the judging process for the title of 'Cameron Bespolka Young Bird Photographer of the Year’. The Young Bird Photographer of the Year will receive a pair of Swarovski CL Companion 8x30 binoculars and a day out birding with BTO staff member Paul Stancliffe. Please refer to our Prizes page for further information.

Winners will be notified following the completion of the final judging process and will be formally announced at the prize ceremony to be held at the 2016 Rutland Birdfair or alternative time and venue at the Promoter's discretion'.

10. Competition Judging

The initial judging will take the form of two elimination rounds scored online by a large panel of experts, producing a shortlist of images in each of the Categories and Special Awards. The Category winners and runners-up will be decided upon by the judging panel and the Category winners will then go forward to a final round of judging where the 'Bird Photographer of the Year' will be decided, together with the 'Cameron Bespolka Young Bird Photographer of the Year'. The winner of the Portfolio Award will automatically be generated through the online judges scoring system. Please refer to our Judges page for more information on the Judging panels. The Judges decision is final and binding in all matters and no correspondence will be entered into.

11. Copyright and permissions

All imagery MUST be the total and exclusive work of the submitting photographer and may not include any element that is the copyright of another. The Copyright for each image entered will remain with its respective photographer. By entering the Competition and submitting your photograph(s), you hereby grant the Promoter, its sponsors and their hosting partner Picturk a non-exclusive, irrevocable license to use your photograph(s) for any purpose connected with the Competition, including (but not limited to), promoting the Competition within printed and online media, the inclusion within printed and digital versions of the Competition book, the inclusion within printed and digital versions of the Competition calendar and other merchandise, display at exhibitions, use in press, promotional and marketing materials, social media networks and for the promotion of any future photographic competition in both print and online media. All images will be credited to the photographer where used. A tick box is provided at the point of image entry that when ticked permits the BTO to use your images within their own image library for the purposes of editorial and promotional content. The supply of your images is optional and no payment will be made for their use.

12. Liabilities

The promoter is excluded from liability for any loss, damage or injury which might occur to the winner arising from his or her acceptance of the prize. The entrant will indemnify the Promoter for all liabilities, including legal costs, in relation to any action or complaint taken by any third party against the Promoter in relation to the entrant’s photograph(s).

13. General

The promoter reserves the right to amend these Terms and Conditions. These Terms and Conditions shall be governed by English law. When a photograph is submitted and entry finalised, the entry cannot be changed or edited. All images not short listed for the final stages of the competition will be deleted at the end of the competition. Once submitted, no images may be withdrawn from the competition and no refund will be given. Entry to the Awards shall be deemed full and unconditional acceptance of the terms & conditions