Birdlife Australia Photography Awards

competition rules

1. The organisers of the Birdlfe Australia Photography Awards (Competition) are BirdLife Australia Limited (BirdLife Australia) and its special interest group BirdLife Photography (Organisers).

2. All persons, including where that person is under the age of 18, their parent and/or guardian, (Entrants) who enter photographs in the Competition must comply with these rules (Rules) to be eligible for shortlisting or award of prizes.

Who may enter?

3. Unless noted otherwise in these rules, entry is open to any person except for the ‘Youth’ category of the Competition where entrants must be less than 18 years old at the date of close of entries. Proof of age may be required at the sole discretion of the Organisers. Persons under the age of 18 years must obtain the consent of a parent or guardian and produce evidence of this if requested by the Organisers.

4. Entrants may be of any nationality.

5. Staff of BirdLife Australia, members of BirdLife Photography involved in organising the Competition, Sponsors listed on the Official Competition Website, any other companies involved with the administration of the Competition or its prizes and judges of the Competition, and their immediate family members, are ineligible to enter.

6. Entrants must pay the listed entry fees for an entry to be accepted and considered. Once an Entrant has submitted and paid for entries, no refunds will be provided.

Submission of entries

7. Entries must be submitted via the official Competition website at (Official Competition Website).

8. Entries open at 8:00 am on Saturday 8 June 2019 Australian Eastern Standard Time and must be received by the Competition closing time which is 11:59 pm on Sunday 4 August 2019, Australian Eastern Standard Time.

The Awards are now closed! Judging by our stellar line-up of judges is underway. Check back here in early november to see the winning images. good luck to our many entrants!

9. Any image entered must not have won an award in any other public national or international competition judged by a judge or judging panel. Images that have won awards in competitions on photo sharing websites and the like that have resulted from rating by peer users of that site are acceptable. For this rule, an award means a first or other numerical placement (eg second, third etc), a commendation, a shortlisting or selection as a finalist provided that award is publicly announced.

10. Entry into the Competition constitutes full and unconditional acceptance of the Rules and any other entry requirements on the Official Competition Website.  

Categories and entry limits

11. The categories for entries are:

  • Bird Portrait. The bird or birds should be the main visual element in the image. There is no strict definition and judges will make decisions about whether they consider an image to be a portrait when determining shortlisting and award of prizes.

  • Special Theme: Honeyeaters. Images must contain one or more Honeyeater species which are defined as all species in Family Meliphagidae. This includes all Australian species with 'Honeyeater' in their common name along with Miners (not the introduced Common Myna), Wattlebirds, Friarbirds and the Australian Chats (including the Gibberbird).

  • Bird Behaviour. Must depict a bird or birds engaging in some type of behaviour. Examples, without limitation, could include feeding, courting, fighting, preening and so on.

  • Birds in the Landscape. Depicts a bird or birds in their habitat. The image can showcase the beauty of a place but the bird or birds must be a recognisable part of the image.

  • Human Impact. Must depict the interrelationship between humans and birds, the negative or positive impact that humans have on birds including the activities being undertaken around Australia to study, conserve and rehabilitate bird species. Images may include captive or pet birds. This should be stated if not clear from the image.

  • Creative. Photographs that are not literal, documentary representation of individual birds or groups of birds but rather are designed to creatively and artistically interpret birds and their behaviours. Entrants may use any technique to achieve their image including in camera and post-camera processing. Without intending to limit an Entrant's creativity, examples of techniques include deliberate blur, multiple exposures, application of filters in post-processing, distortions and collages of multiple images.

  • Youth. Open to photographers aged less than 18 years. Any entry that would fit with the categories outlined above are acceptable but will be combined and judged as a single category.

In addition to the above categories, each attracting an individual prize, there will be a special prize offered for the best portfolio of images (see Official Competition Website for details). To be eligible an entrant must submit at least 6 unique entries. Where more than 6 unique entries have been submitted, judges will consider an entrant's best 6 images when judging the portfolio prize. Entries in the Youth category are not eligible for the Best Portfolio prize.

12. An Entrant may submit up to 6 entries per category with the exception of the Youth category where eligible persons may submit up to 12 entries. The same image may be entered into more than one category as long as the appropriate entry fee is paid. An image submitted twice will attract two entry fees.

Image Requirements

13. Images entered into the Competition must:

  • be of bird species listed in the Current Version of the Working List of Australian Birds, available from the BirdLife Australia website (;

  • in the case of any entry category which requires a particular bird species to be entered, the image must be of that species;

  • be consistent with the definition of the category being entered, which consistency will be determined at the sole discretion of the Competition judges;

  • be of a bird, or birds, not held in captivity or otherwise restrained except for the Creative category or as specifically allowed for the Human Impact category only;

  • be taken within Australian territorial limits and offshore territories of Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Ashmore and Cartier Islands, Lord Howe Island, Norfolk Island, Heard Island, Macquarie Island, McDonald Island; and

  • not have been taken using harmful or unethical practices. In accordance with the ethical guidelines set down by BirdLife Photography, images of birds on nests with young or eggs or images captured using bird call playback to attract birds will not be accepted. More information about these policies can be found at Images taken while using live baits are also not acceptable.

14. Images must be the original and exclusive work of the Entrant, including images submitted for the Creative category where artistic manipulations must not infringe the rights of any third party. Entrants agree to indemnify the Organisers and/or Sponsors against all costs or loss suffered as a result of any claim by a third party arising from the Entrant's photo and/or a breach of these Rules by the Entrant.

15. Images may be colour or monochrome.

16. Images captured with multiple exposures (taken consecutively at the same time at the same location), for example, HDR, focus stacking or panoramas are acceptable provided the image accurately portrays the scene photographed.

17. Images obtained with drones or automatically triggered trail cameras or the like are ineligible. Images taken with a camera triggered by the photographer using a remote control are acceptable.

18. With the exception of the Creative category, images must accurately portray nature. Only manipulation where the integrity of the original subject and scene that was photographed is maintained, is allowed.  Images that have been manipulated by the addition, removal or alteration (for example by painting over, cloning or blurring) of anything in the original subject and scene that were photographed are not acceptable. Allowable manipulations are:

  • cropping;

  • moderate changes to colour, white balance, tone, lighting levels and curves, shadows and highlights, saturation, contrast, sharpness;

  • moderate dodging and burning; and

  • removal of dust spots and reduction of image noise.

19. Images must be submitted as digital files in JPEG format and RGB colour space. Each image must be of a maximum size of 6 megabytes. Images must be a minimum of 1800 pixels on the longest side.

20.  Each image must also:

  • include a description of the circumstances in which the image was captured (including the exact location; whether an attractant such as food was used and if so, of what nature;  any unusual or unnatural conditions in which the image was taken;

  • not contain the name of the photographer in the caption, title or any comments;

  • not contain borders, signatures or watermarks;

  • be obtained lawfully and in a way that minimises disruption to the bird and its habitat.

21. Images that do not meet one or more of the Image Requirements set out in these Rules, or are suspected of the same, will be disqualified from further consideration without notice to the Entrant. The Organisers reserve the right to amend the Rules and to waive a breach of the Rules at their absolute and sole discretion. Failure by the Organisers to enforce any of its rights under the Rules of the Competition at any stage does not constitute a waiver of those rights.


22. Judging will be performed by a panel of judges appointed by the Organisers. Details of judges will be provided on the Official Competition Website. Judging will be based on standard criteria such as overall visual impact, aesthetic qualities including composition, originality and technical expertise. Entrants will be advised of the outcome after judging is completed. Any entrant that contacts a judge while the competition is open or during the judging phase will be disqualified. Entries that have not met or are strongly suspected of not meeting the competition rules will not proceed to the judging phase. The Organisers reserve the right to eliminate from judging entries of low technical quality (for example  poorly focused or exposed images).

23. Entrants whose images are shortlisted in a category by the judges may be required to produce the original unaltered camera image in camera RAW format (or other format, such as unaltered JPEG if RAW was not used) so that compliance with the Rules can be assessed. Failure to supply any original image requested within 2 weeks of such request may result in disqualification by the Organisers. Judges and the Organisers will have sole discretion as to whether an image entered into the competition has been in compliance with the Rules.

24. Entrants who have an image or images shortlisted must treat that information in confidence until advised by the Organisers. Failure to do so may result in such entries being disqualified.

25. In the event that none of the images in a category reach a standard acceptable to the judges, the judges may decide not to award a prize in that category.

Copyright and Usage of images submitted to the competition

26. By entering the competition, Entrants grant to the Organisers and their Sponsors a perpetual, non-exclusive, irrevocable licence to use their  images without payment for any purpose connected with:

27. For the purposes set out in rule 26, above, the Organisers may crop or resize an image. If the Organisers require a higher resolution copy of the image than that originally submitted for the competition, the Entrant will take reasonable steps to supply the same to the Organisers.

28. At all times the Entrant retains copyright in their image and the Organisers will acknowledge that copyright on any image used.

General terms

29. The Organisers will make reasonable efforts to conduct the Competition as outlined in the Rules and on the official Competition website but will not be liable for any loss in the event the Competition is rescheduled, modified (including by changing the Rules), or cancelled, to the extent permitted under Australian law.

30.  All communication with entrants will be via the email address provided by the Entrant during the entry process. The Organisers will not be liable for any loss if contact is unsuccessful due to circumstances outside of the Organisers’ control.

31. All prizes must be accepted as offered and are not transferrable. Any taxes, bank charges or other costs associated with the entrant receiving a prize are the sole responsibility of the Entrant.

32. Unless there has been prior agreement with the Organisers, prizes must be claimed within 6 months of the announcement of winners and if not, will be forfeited.


Photo Credits

Banner by Duade Paton