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What has changed since last year's competition?

Particularly for those who entered in 2018, some changes have been made to the competition. The main changes are:

·                There is a new Portfolio Prize and entrants who submit 6 or more unique photos will automatically be entered.

·                We now allow monochrome images in all categories.

·                We now have minimum dimensions for images (your photos must be at least 1800 pixels wide on the longest side).

·                We now allow birds interacting with objects of human creation in the Bird Behaviour category.

·                Photos that have been commended, shortlisted named as a finalist or otherwise singled out for special mention in any other national or international photo competition are not eligible.

·                We have provided more clarification on the types of entries we expect in the Creative category.

The above is a summary only. Entrants must read and familiarise themselves with the 2019 rules before entering.

Who can enter? Are there age restrictions?

The competition is open to people of any nationality. If you are less than 18 years of age, you may enter ‘Youth’ category but are not restricted from entering the open categories.

Are there restrictions on the bird species for the competition?

You may only submit photos of Australian bird species as listed in Current Version of the Working List of Australian Birds, available from the BirdLife Australia website here: http://www.birdlife.org.au/conservation/science/taxonomy

Are there restrictions on where or when a photo has been taken?

There is no time limit on when a photograph has been taken but it must have been taken in Australia or its offshore territories of Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Ashmore and Cartier Islands, Lord Howe Island, Norfolk Island, Heard Island, Macquarie Island or McDonald Island.

What are the requirements for photographing birds ethically?

Birds must be photographed in a way that does not threaten or cause harm and does not break any laws. In particular, photos using call playback, photos of nesting birds at the nest with young or eggs or photos taken using live baits are not permitted. If a photo appears to have been taken in contravention of these requirements, in a way that may have caused some risk to the bird or may have been illegally taken, it may be disqualified without notice by the Organisers or Judges. More information on Photo ethics can be found on our BirdLife Photography website here:


Are there limits on how many photos I can enter?

Yes, up to 6 photos per category may be entered. For the Youth category, there are no sub-categories and up to 12 photos may be entered.

What are the categories?

There are 6 categories and an additional ‘Youth’ category. The categories are: Bird Portrait, Special Theme (Honeyeaters), Bird Behaviour, Bird in the Landscape, Human Impact, Creative. For the Youth category, any bird photo that would comply with the 6 main category subjects can be submitted. For the 2019 competition, any entrant who submits 6 or more different photos will automatically be considered for our major new Portfolio Prize. Judges will consider an entrant's best photos if more than 6 were submitted.

What are the image submission requirements?

Images must be submitted to the official website as digital files in JPEG format (.jpg or .jpeg) and RGB colour space. Each image must be a maximum size of 6 megabytes and a minimum of 1800 pixels on the longest side.

Is there a cost to enter?

Yes, these have been set to help fund the prize pool, contribute to bird conservation and offset the cost of running the competition. More information can be found here.

Are refunds available?

No but images can be withdrawn or swapped before the competition closes.

What are the prizes?

A prize of AUD$1,000 is offered to the winner of each of the categories except for the Youth category where the prize is AUD$500. Shortlisted entries will not receive cash prizes. In addition there will be a special portfolio prize for the best portfolio of 6 images which judges will select. See the home page for details of this exciting new prize offered by our sponsor Heritage Expeditions.

Are there any prohibitions on what equipment is used?

Yes, images taken with automatically triggered trail cameras or taken from drones are not allowed. Images must be obtained ethically meaning that they must be obtained legally and in a way that minimises any harm to birds or their habitat. Among other things, photos of nests with young or eggs are not permitted, use of call playback is not permitted and use of live baits as an attractant is not permitted.

Are there limits on how much images can be manipulated?

Yes, except for the Creative category where entrants are encouraged to manipulate their images. For all other categories, the image may be a colour or monochrome photograph and must represent the original scene faithfully. Adding, removing or altering parts of an image via cloning, blurring, deletion of elements, painting or similar is not allowed. Cropping and modest adjustments to colour, white balance, tone, lighting levels and curves, shadows and highlights, saturation, contrast, sharpness is allowed. Moderate dodging and burning, removal of dust spots and reduction of image noise is also acceptable. Photographers will need to make their own judgements on these issues as individual advice will not be provided.

Note that any entrant who contacts a judge about the competition or their entries will be disqualified.

Do I have to submit all my photos at the same time?

No, you may upload and change photos at your account on the official website up until the closing date and time. After your entries are ready, you may then submit and pay for them. You can submit individual entries or batches as many times as you like. You will be entitled to a discount once you submit more than 5 entries and a further discount after 12 entries. Any entries submitted at an earlier time and paid for will be counted when the discount is calculated.

Can I change the photos I’ve uploaded?

Yes, but only until the competition closes. Even submitted images can be changed.

How will winning entries be selected?

Entries will be assessed anonymously by a panel of judges with expertise in bird and nature photography. Standard photographic and nature photography criteria will be used by judges such as overall visual impact, aesthetic qualities including composition, originality and technical expertise. Your photos must not contain any identifying watermarks or other information that would allow you to be identified as the photographer. Details of the judging panel can be found here.

What happens to copyright and usage rights on images I submit?

You must own copyright in any image submitted to the competition and you will retain that copyright. The competition rules automatically allow the Organisers and Sponsors to use any image submitted to the competition without payment.

Can I submit a photo that has been submitted to another competition or used in a publication or website?

Any photo that has won an award in any public national or international level competition or been shortlisted, commended or selected for a public list of finalists cannot be entered (except those on photo sharing website that are judged only by peer users of the site). Images that have appeared in books, magazines or websites are allowed provided they have not won a national or international award.

Where can I get more information or ask as question?

Please use the contact link at the bottom of this page.


Photo Credits

Banner by Simon Blanchflower