Smithsonian is organizing 17th Annual Smithsonian Photo Contest for International Students in the USA. Smithsonian magazine and Smithsonian.com place a Smithsonian lens on the world, looking at the topics and subject matters researched, studied and exhibited by the Smithsonian Institution — science, history, art, popular culture and innovation — and chronicling them every day for our diverse readership.
- 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.
- The Travel category is made possible through the support of The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel. 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, as well as employees of The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel, its parent or affiliate companies as well as 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:
Amazing option for international candidates
User Review( votes)
The following six contest categories are drawn from subjects of special interest to Smithsonian.com:
- Natural World: Animals, plants and landscapes; geological or climatological features; and scientific processes and endeavors.
- Travel: Locales, peoples or activities in the United States and abroad that convey a sense of place.
- People: Portraits and photos of groups or individuals.
- 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.
- Altered Images: Photographs manipulated for artistic purposes by applying digital and/or traditional special effects (i.e., colorizing, toning, collage, photo composites, HDR, etc.).
- 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, 2017
- 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. Minor adjustments, including spotting, dodging and burning, sharpening, contrast and slight color adjustment or the digital equivalents, are acceptable for all categories. 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.
- For a photo in which a person is recognizable, you must secure a model release from the subject or, in the case of a minor, the subject’s parent or guardian and provide it 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) may need to obtain a release from the rights holder and provide it 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.
- Photographs that have won other major photo contests, either online or in print, as determined by the Smithsonian, are not eligible for submission. We define winning as having won a grand prize or 1st, 2nd or 3rd place overall. Photos that violate or infringe upon another person’s rights, including but not limited to the 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.
How to Apply
- Please submit photographs and requested information online through our website at smithsonian.com/photocontest. You may submit no more than 15 photographs per category for a contest total of 90 submissions. In order to be displayed in our online gallery without being stretched or distorted, photographs must be submitted in .jpeg, .jpg or .gif format, edited for the web, at least 2,000 pixels wide and no larger than 10 MB. You must complete a separate form for each photo submitted.
- We do not accept photographs submitted through the email and do not accept more than one contestant per e-mail address. High-quality scans of non-digital photographs are acceptable. Digital photographs should be taken at the highest resolution possible.
- Finalists will be asked to submit an original, unedited digital file or an original negative, print or slide. Original negatives, prints or slides will be returned to finalists. The Smithsonian Institution reserves the right to disqualify incomplete entries and/or contestants who are unable to submit, upon request, a high-resolution photograph of at least 300 dpi at 3,000 pixels on the longest side or an original photo negative, print or slide. Mobile photographs are exempt from this size requirement but must be submitted at their highest resolution upon request.
- The Smithsonian may collect a photograph’s metadata upon entry.
- You retain your rights to your photograph; however, by entering the contest, you grant the Smithsonian Institution (and those authorized by the Smithsonian) a royalty-free, worldwide, perpetual, non-exclusive license to publicly display, distribute, reproduce and create derivative works of the entries, in whole or in part, in any media now existing or later developed, for any Smithsonian Institution purpose, including, but not limited to, advertising and promotion of the magazine and its website, exhibition, and commercial products, including but not limited to Smithsonian Institution publications. Any photograph reproduced will include a photographer credit as feasible. The Smithsonian Institution will not be required to pay any additional consideration or seek any additional approval in connection with such uses.
The contest begins on April 2, 2019. All entries must be received through Smithsonian.com by 5:00 PM Eastern Standard Time on November 30, 2019.
Prizes: Eight prizes will be awarded, as follows:
Grand Prize: $2,500, plus a trip sponsored by Travel category sponsor The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel. Images submitted to all categories are eligible for the Grand Prize.