Forests offer us an array of benefits: They provide oxygen and absorb pollution from the air that we breathe, filter more than half the water we drink and are home to more than 80 percent of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity. They’re also pretty nice to look at!

That’s why, in commemoration of our 140th anniversary in 2015, we started our annual photo contest — in hopes of awarding recognition to photographers who capture the beauty of our planet’s forests.

Contest Dates

The 2016 Forests in Focus Photo Contest is closed to submissions. Meanwhile, continue taking your photos per the criteria below and please check back in summer 2017 for next year’s information.

What We’re Looking For

The contest is open to amateurs and professionals. Photographers must be the ones to submit the photo(s), to which they own all rights. This year, we are taking entries for the following categories:

  • Forest Landscapes
  • Big, Beautiful Trees
  • Forest Wildlife
  • Forest Recreation
  • Green Cities

You can submit up to 3 photos per category and 10 in total. They must be in digital format, taken at the highest resolution possible — at least 300 dpi at 3,000 pixels on the longest side.

Need inspiration? Check out last year’s winners!

Selecting the Winners

A panel of judges will select one Grand Prize winner, five Category Winners and up to four Honorable Mentions. American Forests’ editorial staff will choose 10 photos to upload to our Facebook page, where followers will vote on their favorite photos. The photo with the most likes after the designated voting period will be awarded People’s Choice. Prizes for each selection are below and will also include products from some of our amazing partners, including WeWood, S’well, Reveal and Uncommon Goods!

  • Grand Prize (1)
    • Photo featured on the cover of a 2017 issue of American Forests’ award-winning magazine.
    • Highlight in photo essay in the Winter/Spring 2017 magazine issue.
    • Photo featured in gallery on americanforests.org.
    • Feature in Loose Leaf blog post.
  • Category Winners (5)
    • Highlight in photo essay in the Winter/Spring 2017 magazine issue.
    • Photo featured in gallery on americanforests.org.
    • Feature in Loose Leaf blog post.
  • Honorable Mention (up to 4)
    • Photo featured in gallery on americanforests.org.
    • Feature in Loose Leaf blog post.
  • People’s Choice (1)
    • Photo featured in gallery on americanforests.org.
    • Feature in Loose Leaf blog post.

Winners will be announced to the public in fall 2016 and contacted personally beforehand.

Photo Release

By participating in this contest, all entrants grant American Forests a non-exclusive, non-transferable license to use, publish and/or display the selected photos on American Forests’ website and social media channels, in American Forests magazine, in the Big Tree 2017 calendar and/or any other media resource extending beyond the duration of the photo contest indefinitely. Nothing in the granting of this use conveys any intellectual property rights to American Forests, which will not reproduce, distribute, sell, license, assign, transfer or convey to any person, business or corporation any of the requested materials provided.

Any Questions?

If you have any questions about the contest, your entries, the prizes or anything else, please email us at info@americanforests.org.

Good luck!