Official Worldwide National Geographic
International Photography Contest Rules


Sponsor is National Geographic Society, 1145 17th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036-4688, U.S.A. ("Sponsor" or "NGS").


The Worldwide National Geographic International Photography Contest ("Contest") begins December 1, 2009, and ends December 31, 2009. Information on how to enter and prizes form part of these official rules ("Official Rules"). By submitting an entry, each entrant agrees to the Official Rules and warrants that his or her entry complies with all requirements set out in the Official Rules. This is a skill-based contest, and chance plays no part in the determination of winners.

Who May Enter

Contest is open only to those individuals who have been selected as First Place winners in the local National Geographic International Photo Contests conducted by National Geographic publishers in various countries around the world. For a list of participating local contests, visit CONTEST IS VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

How to Enter

Winners of the First Place prizes in each of the three categories of the Local Contests (People, Places, and Nature) (the "Categories") will (subject to meeting the Photograph and Eligibility requirements set forth in these Official Rules) automatically be entered into this Contest with the winning photograph from the Local Contest. The Sponsors of each participating Local Contest will automatically submit the winning First Place photos in each of the three Categories to Sponsor for entry into this Contest. No responsibility is assumed for lost, late, or misdirected entries or for the failure of the Sponsor of a local contest to submit a winning photograph to this Contest. This Contest is closed to all other participants.

Each entry must comply with the following requirements (the "Photograph Requirements"):

    Photographs must be in digital format. The photograph need not be taken with a digital camera; scans of negatives, transparencies, or photographic prints are acceptable.

    Photographs must have been taken within two (2) years before the date of entry and may not previously have won an award in the National Geographic International Photography Contest or any National Geographic Traveler photography contest in the last three years.

    Minor burning, dodging, and/or color correction is acceptable. Hand tinting is acceptable, as is cropping. Fish-eye lenses are acceptable. High dynamic range images (HDRI) and stitched panoramas are acceptable only if the combined parts are all made around the same time. For more information, please read Director of Photography David Griffin's comments on image manipulation. Any changes to the original Photograph not itemized here are unacceptable and will render the Photograph ineligible for a prize.

    Photographs that include sculptures, statues, paintings, and other works of art will be accepted as long as they do not constitute copyright infringement or fraud; entrants must be prepared to provide a release form as described below in "Release." 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 art.

    The photograph, in its entirety, must be a single work of original material taken by the Contest entrant. By entering the Contest, entrant represents, acknowledges, and warrants that the submitted photograph is an original work created solely by the entrant, that the photograph does not infringe on the copyrights, trademarks, moral rights, rights of privacy/publicity, or intellectual property rights of any person or entity, and that no other party has any right, title, claim, or interest in the photograph.

    The photograph must not, in the sole and unfettered discretion of the Sponsor, contain obscene, provocative, defamatory, sexually explicit, or otherwise objectionable or inappropriate content.

The entries in each Category will judged separately, in accordance with the Judging Criteria, as defined below. Any entrant whose photograph does not meeting the Photograph Requirements may be disqualified in the sole discretion of the Sponsor notwithstanding the fact that the photograph was selected as a winner in the Local Contest. Sponsor reserves the right to examine the original photograph/source material in order to confirm compliance with these rules.


If the photograph contains any material or elements that are not owned by the entrant and/or which are subject to the rights of third parties, and/or if any persons appear in the photograph, the entrant is responsible for obtaining, prior to submission of the photograph, any and all releases and consents necessary to permit the exhibition and use of the photograph in the manner set forth in these Official Rules without additional compensation. If any person appearing in any photograph is under the age of majority in their state/province/territory of residence the signature of a parent or legal guardian is required on each release.

If feasible, each entrant should be prepared to provide a signed, written personal release from all persons who appear in the photograph submitted, and/or from the copyright owner of any sculpture, artwork, or other copyrighted material that appears in the photograph entry, authorizing Sponsor and its licensees ("Authorized Parties") to reproduce, distribute, display, and create derivative works of the entry in connection with the Contest and promotion of the Contest, in any media now or hereafter known, including, but not limited to: display at a potential exhibition of winners; publication of a book featuring select entries in the Contest; and publication in National Geographic magazine or online highlighting entries or winners of the Contest.

Contest Prizes

The First Place winner in each Category will receive a trip to National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C., for himself or herself for five (5) days and four (4) nights on dates to be specified by Sponsor, in early 2010, including round-trip coach-class air transportation to and from the major airport closest to winner’s home, hotel accommodations for four (4) nights, an awards ceremony, a U.S. $50 gift certificate to the National Geographic store, and U.S. $460 in spending money. Trip will be arranged by Sponsor and must be taken on the dates specified by the Sponsor or the prize may be forfeited in whole or in part at the Sponsor’s sole discretion. Spending money, transfers, meals (other than as specified), transport to and from departure point, travel documentation (such as passports and visas), insurance, items of a personal nature, and all other expenses are not included and are the responsibility of each winner. Frequent flier points may not form part of the prize. Winners may be required to present a valid credit card at the time of check-in at hotel accommodation. Approximate retail value (ARV) of each prize is U.S. $2,000. The prize trip may not be combined with any other offer and is subject to booking and flight availability. Regulations and conditions may apply. By accepting the prize, winners represent that they understand that travel, whether in developed or remote areas and whether by plane, automobile, boat, raft, or other conveyance, or by foot, on land or water, and in the air, contains some inherent element of risk of accident, illness, injury, loss or death, which may be caused by negligence, forces of nature, wild animals, or other agencies, known or unknown. Winners represent that they recognize that such risks may be present at any time before, during, and after the trip. In order to be considered a winner and partake of the enjoyment of this trip, potential winners must be willing to accept the risk and to confirm their acceptance of such risk in writing at sponsor’s request.

Potential winners shall be required to sign and return within seven (7) days following an attempted notification, an Affidavit, Declaration or Certificate of Eligibility, Liability Release, and where legally permissible, a Publicity Release and Warranty of Ownership and License in which entrant warrants that he/she is the owner of the Photograph and grants Sponsor the right to use the photograph in any and all media without any additional compensation.

    No prize transfer, assignment, or substitution by winners permitted. If a prize (or part of a prize) is unavailable, the Sponsor, in its discretion, reserves the right to substitute the original prize (or that part of the prize) with an alternative prize of the equal monetary value and/or specification, unless to do so would be prohibited by law.

    If for any reason whatsoever a winner does not take the prize (or any part of the prize) on the dates and times stipulated by the Sponsor, then the prize (or that part of the prize) will be forfeited by the winner and neither cash nor kind will be awarded in lieu of the prize (or that part of the prize).


Contest consists of one (1) round of evaluation for each Category. A panel of National Geographic experts ("Judges") will evaluate all eligible entries based on the following criteria ("Judging Criteria"): (1) Creativity 50%; (2) Photographic quality 50%. In the event of a tie, the tied entries will be resubmitted to the Judges for a rejudging between the tied entries alone. In the event that a tie remains after the rejudging, the entry with the highest score in the creativity criteria will be declared the winner. Winners will be notified by email on or about December 31, 2009. In each Category, the Judges will select a First Place winner. First Place winners will receive the prizes identified above. Decisions of the Judges are final and binding.


By entering the Contest, all entrants grant an irrevocable, perpetual, nonexclusive license to Authorized Parties to reproduce, distribute, display, and create derivative works of the entries (along with a name credit) in connection with the Contest and promotion of the Contest, in any media now or hereafter known, including, but not limited to: display at a potential exhibition of winners; publication of a book featuring select entries in the Contest; publication in National Geographic magazine or online highlighting entries or winners of the Contest. Entrants consent to the Sponsor doing or omitting to do any act that would otherwise infringe the entrant’s "moral rights" in their entries. Display or publication of any entry on an Authorized Party’s website does not indicate the entrant will be selected as a winner. Authorized Parties will not be required to pay any additional consideration or seek any additional approval in connection with such use. Additionally, by entering, each entrant grants to Authorized Parties the unrestricted right to use all statements made in connection with the Contest, and pictures or likenesses of Contest entrants, or choose not to do so, at their sole discretion. Authorized Parties will not be required to pay any additional consideration or seek any additional approval in connection with such use.

Limitation of Liability

By entering this Contest, all entrants agree to release, discharge, and hold harmless National Geographic Society and its partners, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising agencies, agents and their employees, officers, directors, and representatives from any claims, losses, and damages arising out of their participation in this Contest or any Contest-related activities and the acceptance and use, misuse, or possession of any prize awarded hereunder.

National Geographic Society assumes no responsibility for any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, or delay in operation or transmission; communications line failure; theft or destruction of or unauthorized access to Contest entries or entry forms; or alteration of entries or entry forms. NGS is not responsible for any problems with or technical malfunction of any telephone network or lines, computer online systems, servers or providers, computer equipment, software, failure of any email entry to be received on account of technical problems or traffic congestion on the Internet or at any website, human errors of any kind, or any combination thereof, including any injury or damage to entrants’ or any other persons’ computers related to or resulting from participation or uploading or downloading of any materials related to in this Contest.

In the case of entrants who are Australian or U.K. residents, the preceding two clauses do not operate with respect to any implied condition or warranty the exclusion of which from these Official Rules would contravene any Australian or U.K. statute or cause any part of these Official Rules to be void.


THIS CONTEST IS VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Entrants agree that this Contest shall be governed by and subject to the laws of the District of Columbia and the forum for any dispute shall be in the District of Columbia, United States of America. To the extent permitted by law, the right to litigate, to seek injunctive relief, or to make any other recourse to judicial or any other procedure in case of disputes or claims resulting from or in connection with this Contest are hereby excluded, and any entrant expressly waives any and all such rights. Certain restrictions may apply. Entries void if the Sponsor determines the photograph to not be an original, or if the entries are illegible, incomplete, damaged, irregular, altered, counterfeit, produced in error, or obtained through fraud or theft.

By entering, entrants also agree (a) to be bound by these Official Rules; (b) that the decisions of the Judges are final and binding with respect to all matters relating to the Contest; and (c) if the entrant wins, that Sponsor may use the winning photographs and each winner’s name, photograph, likeness, and/or voice in any publicity or advertising relating to the Contest or future promotions without compensation or approval (except where prohibited by law). All federal, state/provincial/territorial, and local taxes, fees and surcharges and taxes (whether foreign or domestic, and including income, sales, and import taxes) on prizes are the sole responsibility of the prizewinner. In the event that the selected winner(s) of any prize is/are ineligible, cannot be traced or does/do not respond within ten (10) days to a winner notification as required by the "Contest Prizes" Rules above, or refuses/refuse the prize, the prize will be forfeited, and Sponsor, in its sole discretion, may choose whether to award the prize to another entrant.

The Sponsor reserves the right to verify the validity and originality of any entry and/or entrant (including an entrant’s identity and address) and to disqualify any entrant who submits an entry that is not in accordance with these Official Rules or who tampers with the entry process. Failure by the Sponsor to enforce any of its rights at any stage does not constitute a waiver of those rights.

Right to Cancel or Suspend Contest

If for any reason the Contest is not capable of running as planned, due to infection by computer virus, bugs, worms, trojan horses, denial of service attacks, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes beyond the control of NGS that corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, or proper conduct of this Contest, NGS reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to disqualify any individual(s) who tamper with the entry process, and/or to cancel, terminate, modify, or suspend the Contest. If Sponsor elects to cancel or terminate the Contest, Sponsor will not retain any rights to the submitted photographs.

Winners List

Entrants are responsible for complying with these Official Rules. Winners’ names will be available online at after December 31, 2009. Alternatively, for names of winners send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to National Geographic Society, International Photo Contest, Attention: Cynthia Gbetibouo, National Geographic Society, 1145 17th Street N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036-4688. (Residents of Vermont and Canada need not include return postage.)

Data Privacy

Entrants agree that personal data, especially name and address, may be processed, shared, and otherwise used for the purposes and within the context of the Contest and any other purposes outlined in these Official Rules. The data may also be used by the Sponsor in order to verify the participant’s identity, postal address, and telephone number or to otherwise verify the participant’s eligibility to participate in the Contest. Participants have the right to access, review, rectify, or cancel any personal data held by Sponsor by writing to Sponsor at National Geographic Society, International Photo Contest, 1145 17th St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036-4688. Personal data will be used by Sponsor and its affiliates exclusively for the purposes stated herein.

NOTICE TO INDIVIDUALS: REMOVAL FROM MAILING LIST: Any individual (or other duly authorized person) may elect to exclude the name and address of that individual from all lists used by National Geographic Society to mail skill contests or sweepstakes. To elect to have an individual’s name excluded from all such lists, submit a removal request in writing to: National Geographic Society, International Photo Contest, Attention: Cynthia Gbetibouo, National Geographic Society, 1145 17th Street N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036-4688. This notification system may be used to prohibit mailing of all skill contests or sweepstakes by National Geographic Society to such individual.