9th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest

What are the hallmarks of a winning image in Smithsonian magazine’s photo contest? Technical quality, clarity and composition, but also a flair for the unexpected and the ability to capture a picture-perfect moment.

Enter photographs in any of our five categories—Altered Images, Americana, the Natural World, People and Travel—and compete to win cash prizes as well as the opportunity to have your work printed in Smithsonian magazine and exhibited in the Smithsonian Institution. After reviewing the contest rules and list of frequently asked questions, you will be fully prepared to enter the contest.

The contest is open until December 1, 2011 at 2:00 PM EST. On a weekly basis beginning April 4, Smithsonian judges will post the best of the incoming entries in the Editors’ Picks portion of our web site. Finalists will be announced on March 1, 2012. Good luck to everyone!

Fifty finalists will be selected, ten for each of the five categories.

Smithsonian will notify the 50 finalists by February 28, 2012. From these 50 finalists, five category winners and a grand prize winner will be selected. The entries of all finalists will be published on the magazine’s Web site on March 1, 2012. At that time, readers can vote online for one readers’ choice winner. The winning entries will be published in the print edition of Smithsonian magazine during summer 2012.


The grand prize winner will receive a Smithsonian Journeys trip to Yosemite National Park, or the wholesale cash equivalent (approx. $3,000).

Category winners will be awarded $500.

Readers’ choice winner will be awarded $500.


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