CLOSED: The National Geographic Traveller (UK) Photography Competition 2021

The prestigious annual competition is back for its 10th year, with six categories and a selection of fantastic prizes. Have you got what it takes to win?

Published 25 Mar 2021, 14:01 GMT, Updated 5 Jul 2021, 10:02 BST
Ladakh, Northern India

Submit your images in up to six categories to be in the running for incredible prizes and for the chance to see your work in the pages of National Geographic Traveller. Image: The dramatic mountainscape of the Indus Valley region of Ladakh, Northern India, with the 15th-century Buddhist monastery of Thiksey Gompa in the foreground.

Photograph by Annapurna Mellor / National Geographic Traveller

Among the most coveted travel photography prizes in the country, and in its 10th year, the National Geographic Traveller Photography Competition 2021, sponsored by Nikon, is now open for entries. Submit your images — taken in the UK or abroad — in up to six categories to be in the running for incredible prizes and for the chance to see your work in the pages of National Geographic Traveller. This year, the categories are: food & travel, urban environments, people, landscape, wildlife and portfolio. The competition closes on 4 July 2021 at 23.59 GMT. 

Enter your photography from travels at home or afar, now*

The winner of the grand prize will receive a Nikon Z 6II mirrorless camera featuring and 24-70 f/4 lens, worth £2,549 (on the left), while five runners-up will receive a Nikon D3500 SLR camera and AF-P 18-55mm VR lens worth £419 (on the right).

Photograph by Nikon


Grand prize
One grand prize winner will receive a stylish, state-of-the-art Nikon Z 6II mirrorless camera and 24-70 f/4 lens, worth £2,549. Professional-grade features include a 24.5MP FX-format CMOS sensor, dual card slots and 4K video capacity. With a proven track record of photography innovation and impact over 100+ years, Nikon empowers creators to become the best photographers they can be.

Nordic expert Discover the World is offering our grand prize winner a four-night northern lights holiday for two people in Swedish Lapland. This winter wonderland is the perfect setting for a range of thrilling optional activities and prime aurora viewing. Flying from Manchester or London, you’ll spend three nights in a cosy wooden cabin at Brändön Lodge on the edge of the frozen sea before heading inland for a night in one of the individually themed tree rooms at the unforgettable Treehotel.

Runners up
Five runners up will receive a Nikon D3500 SLR camera and AF-P 18-55mm VR lens, together worth £419. A razor-sharp auto focus system and ergonomic grip mean it’s the perfect tool for on-the-go travel photographers.

Enter now for your chance to win*

Nordic expert Discover the World is offering our grand prize winner a four-night northern lights holiday for two people in Swedish Lapland.

Photograph by Discover the World


Evocative visual storytelling is a key tenet of our work at National Geographic Traveller. We’re excited to see how you interpret the criteria for our six categories, and look forward to celebrating and sharing your images later in the year. 

Entrants must be 18 years old or older and be residents of the UK or Ireland. Photographs should have been taken between 1 January 2020 and 4 July 2021. Entries close at 23.59 GMT on 4 July 2021. See Terms and Conditions below for more information. 

Food & travel 
The very essence of a destination can be discovered by diving into its food culture. In this newly created category, we’re looking for images that tell a story from any stage of the journey from field to fork, from dynamic scenes of harvesters, vintners and fishermen at work to rich shots of bustling markets, smoky street food kitchens, chefs at work or grateful diners. Enter now*

Urban environments
No two cities are the same: each urban centre has a personality entirely its own, which in turn shapes the lived experience of its citizens. Your composition should capture something of the spirit of the destination, be it figures moving, ant-like, amid striking architecture; people enjoying recreational spaces; or famous thoroughfares depopulated by the pandemic. Offer us a glimpse into an urban world. Enter now*

Some of the world’s most iconic photos are portraits and it’s no wonder — it’s the encounters we have with people that make our travels truly unforgettable. Travel portraiture seeks out the human stories within a destination, responsibly. And the key elements that go into a powerful shot are a compelling subject and an interesting backdrop in which to frame them. Plus, a little serendipity. Enter now*

Mother Nature can be a generous subject, but capturing her beauty isn’t easy. We want images that showcase the natural world in all its glory, executed with flair, creativity and technique. From vast, panoramic vistas to aerial and drone shots that capture the patterns of a terrain, this category is all about offering unusual perspectives on the world around us — one that is both bountiful and threatened. Enter now*

Witnessing animals in the wild is one of the great joys of travel, and photography has long served to promote the protection of the animal kingdom. But they don’t play by our rules, which makes wildlife photography highly challenging — and rewarding. This category calls for outstanding shots of creatures from air, land and water, be they mammals, birds, insects, amphibians, reptiles or fish. Enter now*

Shooting a full photography feature for National Geographic Traveller involves telling a story through a series of images. Whether Holi Festival in Kerala or surf culture in Devon, your portfolio of up to 10 images of a single destination will tease out different facets of your narrative and create a nuanced portrait of the place. The images will be judged as a cohesive set, in terms of subject and style. For inspiration, check out our archive of In Pictures photo stories online. Enter now*

*External link. This competition is organised by APL Media Limited, publishers of National Geographic Traveller (UK). Any personal data submitted will be processed in accordance with APL Media Limited's privacy policy, available here.

Need inspiration? Discover the winners of the National Geographic Traveller Photography Competition 2020, below.


Eight photography experts will be deciding the winners of our 10th annual competition, from Nikon ambassadors and award-winning freelancers to the commissioning editors of National Geographic Traveller (UK). Discover more about their careers and dive into their portfolios below. 

National Geographic Traveller Photography Competition 2021 judges Becky Redman, Harry Skeggs, Lola Akinmade Åkerström and Annapurna Mellor.

Photograph by National Geographic Traveller (UK)

Becky Redman

Art director, National Geographic Traveller (UK)
Art director for the award-winning National Geographic Traveller and National Geographic Traveller Food titles, Becky was previously Time Out London's senior designer and a freelance designer for NME — so she’s got an eye for a striking image. Born and raised in Detroit, she’s been a Londoner for 16 years. Follow @beckyredman

Harry Skeggs

Award-winning wildlife photographer
The multiple award-winning wildlife photographer’s passion for the natural world has taken him to over 90 countries to capture the beauty of some of the most enigmatic animals. Considered one of the world’s leading fine art nature photographers, Harry has worked with industry leaders including National Geographic and Nikon. Animal welfare underpins his work: Harry is proud to support conservation collective GenerationTusk as a founding member and donor. Follow @harryskeggs

Lola Akinmade Åkerström

Award-winning freelance photographer
The Swedish photographer has won awards for her striking visual storytelling. Her work has graced the pages of National Geographic Traveller and The Guardian, as well as commercial campaigns for the likes of Dove and Mercedes-Benz. She’s the 2018 Bill Muster Travel Photographer of the Year and you can find her work in the National Geographic Image Collection. Follow @lolaakinmade

Annapurna Mellor

Award-winning travel photographer
Shooting for titles including National Geographic Traveller and Lonely Planet, Annapurna’s award-winning photography focuses on people, culture and religion. She’s travelled the globe in pursuit of fantastic images and has a particular fascination for India and the Himalayan region — although her heart will always be in Yorkshire. Annapurna is a previous category winner of the National Geographic Traveller Photography Competition. Follow @annapurnauna

National Geographic Traveller Photography Competition 2021 judges Alex Stead, F Dilek Uyar, Cathy Harlow and Oliver Puglisi.

Photograph by National Geographic Traveller (UK)

Alex Stead

Award-winning Nikon photographer
With over one million social media followers, London-based Nikon photographer Alex Stead has built a global reputation for vibrant and authentic travel imagery. His work is driven by his passion to capture the essence of the places he explores. Over the past seven years, Alex has been to around 60 countries, producing photos and videos for clients. Follow @alex_stead

F Dilek Uyar

Award-winning freelancer photographer
Based in Turkey, the 2017 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year has built a career upon her talent for capturing striking portraits and dynamic urban spaces. Her style blends travel and documentary, and social issues sit at the heart of her work. Recent plaudits include prizes in the International Photography Awards 2020 and the Sony World Photography Awards 2021. Follow @fdilekuyar

Cathy Harlow

Guide and photographer, Discover the World
Working as a specialist tour guide for over 30 years keeps Cathy at the cutting edge of adventure tourism and travel photography. She’s documented backcountry trails in Greenland, searched for rare reptiles in Madagascar and shot the Northern Lights in Norway and Iceland. “My job is all about promoting a sensitive approach to photographing people and places, through meaningful interactions,” she says. Follow @discovertheworlduk

Oliver Puglisi

Picture editor, National Geographic Traveller (UK)
With over 10 years’ experience across publications including Time Out, Vogue, GQ and High Life, Oliver has found his home as picture editor at National Geographic Traveller. He works with the industry’s best travel photographers — as well as nurturing up-and-coming talent — to illustrate the brand’s written features, from city guides to safari features. Follow @ollypuglisi

Submit your images in up to six categories to be in the running for incredible prizes and for the chance to see your work in the pages of National Geographic Traveller. Image: Lioness in a sandstorm, by photographer Diana Knight. Shortlisted in the wildlife category of the National Geographic Traveller Photography Competition 2020.

Photograph by Diana Knight / National Geographic Traveller

(Correction: an earlier version incorrectly stated 'photographs must have been taken within two years of the date of entry'. Photographs must have been taken between 1 January 2020 and 4 July 2021 in order to qualify for the competition.

In addition, we stated that entrants may 'submit a photograph in one the six categories'. Entrants may submit one entry in each of the six categories, making for a total of six entries. We apologise for any confusion caused.)


By participating in any promotion, entrants are deemed to have accepted these rules and the specific directions/terms and conditions applicable to the relevant promotion, as well as any terms and conditions pertaining to a relevant third party.


The Promoter is APL Media Limited, Highgate Studios, 53-79 Highgate Road, London NW5 1TL.


There are five (5) runner-up prizes, each consisting of one (1) Nikon D3500 SLR camera and one (1) Nikon AF-P 18-55mm VR lens, together worth £419. The prize includes delivery to the UK or Ireland.

The grand prize consists of a four-night Northern Lights holiday for two people in Swedish Lapland worth £4,500. Plus, a Nikon Z 6II mirrorless camera and 24-70 f/4 lens, together worth £2,549, including delivery in the UK or Ireland.


The four-night Northern Lights holiday includes: three (3) nights’ full-board accommodation at Brandon Lodge; one (1) night accommodation, including dinner and breakfast, at Treehotel; all transfers in Sweden; and return economy class flights between Heathrow, Stansted or Manchester and Lulea.

The grand prize excludes: travel insurance; the cost of any passports, visas, or travel documentation required for the prize winner to travel to Sweden; airport transfers between the prize winner’s home and the departure airport; personal spending money; tips; and any food, drink or activities not mentioned in the prize description. Any additional taxes, costs and expenses incurred during the trip will be the responsibility of the prize winner.

The prize is subject to availability for travel between 3 January and 10 February 2022; 1 and 31 March 2022; 3 January and 10 February 2023; or 1 and 31 March 2023.

Travel insurance isn’t included but is a condition of travel.

Discover the World’s usual booking conditions apply:

It’s the winner’s responsibility to check all visa, passport, travel insurance and health requirements are fulfilled.

The prize must be booked at least 60 days in advance of the intended date of travel, but the winner should book as early as possible to secure availability

The prize is subject to availability and is non-exchangeable, non-transferable and non-refundable. The prize for this competition will be given to the winner as set out in the terms and conditions; the winner must accept the prize in that form. There’s no cash alternative; no alternative will be offered.

In the event of cancellation by the winner, for whatever reason, no alternative prize will be given.

The prize provider and promoter retain the right to substitute the prize with another prize of similar value in the event that the original prize offered isn’t available.

The promoter will not be held liable for a prize if it doesn’t reach the winner for reasons beyond its reasonable control.

The winner uses the prize at their own risk.

The promoter shall not be liable in any way for any failure, liability or breach by any third party in connection with this competition or prize and accepts no responsibility for any loss, property damage or personal injury suffered by the winner relating to this competition or the prize, except in the case of death or personal injury caused by the promoter’s negligence or fraudulent misrepresentation and, so far as permitted by law, the promoter and its associated companies and agents exclude responsibility and all liabilities arising for reasons beyond its control, including any act or default of any third-party supplier.


To enter the Photography Competition, entrants must submit their photographs using the entry form available at:

Only online entries will be accepted.

The competition closes at 23.59 GMT on 4 July 2021. All entries must be received before this time. Entrants may enter each category once, making for a total of six entries.

Entrants may submit a photograph in each of the following categories: Food and travel, Landscapes, People, Portfolio, Urban environments, and Wildlife.

Photographic entries must be under 10MB and .jpg format. All submissions must be the entrant’s own work, and they must own the copyright to any photographs entered.

Photographs must have been taken between 1 January 2020 and 4 July 2021 and may not previously have won an award in any National Geographic photography contest. Only minor burning, dodging and/or colour correction is acceptable, as is cropping.

Where a person is the main focus of the image, entrants must ensure they have either a model release form or the permission of the subject to enter their image into this competition. This applies only where the person featured is the main focus of the image, and not to street photography. The promoter reserves the right to request this and disqualify any entrants who can’t show proof of permission, if requested.

The winner will be notified by email within 60 days of the competition closing. The winner will be contacted using the email address provided at the time of entry. Once notified, the winner must reply within 10 days. If the selected winner is unreachable, ineligible, disqualified or fails to claim the prize within 10 days of notification being sent by the promoter, that winner automatically forfeits the prize.


The head judge is Becky Redman, art director of National Geographic Traveller (UK).

All entries will be moderated by the art director, who’ll compile a shortlist of top entries in each category.

The National Geographic Traveller (UK) team will send the shortlist of entries to each independent judge. The independent judges will in turn select their three top entries for each of the six categories. The art director will then collate the judges’ votes to determine the winners.

There will be one winner from each of the six categories. Five category winners will be selected as runners-up and each will receive a runner-up prize. One category winner will be selected as the grand prize winner and will receive the grand prize. The grand prize winner may be selected from any category.

Independent judges will be announced by 1 August 2021. Winners will be notified by email by 5 October 2021. Decisions of the judges are final and binding.

The promoter’s decision in this competition is final and legally binding and no correspondence will be entered into.


Entrants must reside in the UK or Ireland and be aged 18 or over.

Employees and agents of APL Media Limited (APL) or any company connected with the production or distribution of a promotion or any of their associated companies are not eligible to take part in the applicable promotion, nor are their relatives or members of their families or households.

Entrants can enter the competition only as specified in these terms and conditions.

The winner may be required to provide the promoter with proof of identity before receipt of any prize. The form of proof of identity required will be at the sole discretion of the promoter. Failure to produce sufficient evidence as to identity may result in disqualification.

No entries from agents, third parties, organised groups or entries automatically generated by computer will be accepted. No incomplete, illegible or corrupted entries will be accepted.  Failure to comply with any of these terms and conditions (including instructions) will disqualify any entrant from taking part in the competition and the entry will be invalid. The promoter retains sole discretion to refuse entrants the right to enter if it feels that these terms and conditions aren’t being complied with or for any valid and justifiable reason.

The promoter reserves the right to disqualify any entrant and/or winner and/or amend these terms and conditions at any time in its absolute discretion.


No purchase is necessary for entry in the competition.

Any entry made giving another person’s (or a false) name or other dishonest information will be disqualified.


Publicity may be given to the shortlisted and winning entries. By entering this Prize Promotion, each of the entrants agree to the use of their name and entry without compensation, for the Promoter’s promotional and marketing purposes.

Entrants also agree to allow National Geographic Partners and National Geographic Traveller (UK) to publish their photos in the magazine, on National Geographic websites worldwide and on the National Geographic Traveller (UK) social media channels. The winning entries may also be used by National Geographic Traveller (UK) and the competition sponsors in marketing material relating to the competition for up to two years. Winners must co-operate fully for publicity purposes if so required. Entrants must own the copyright to any photographs entered. Entrants will retain copyright to the photographs.

All personal data submitted by an entrant in connection with this competition is submitted voluntarily. All personal data collected from entrants will be used by the promoter for the purpose of administering the competition, and by entering this competition, entrants consent to the promoter using this information to contact them in respect of the prize.

Entrants may consent to receiving National Geographic Traveller (UK) email newsletters containing the latest travel features, events, competitions and offers by ticking the relevant box on the entry form.

If, at a later stage, an entrant wishes to withdraw their consent to receive such materials, please select the ‘unsubscribe’ link, which can be found on the National Geographic Traveller (UK) newsletters. Further information about how the information gathered will be held is available from the promoter’s privacy policy.

Entrants may also consent to receiving direct marketing communications from National Geographic partners and/or the prize providers by ticking the relevant boxes on the entry form. If entrants consent to such marketing, their information will be processed in accordance with the privacy policies specified with the relevant tick box on the entry form.

Entrants are under no obligation to consent to emails or direct marketing material and this in no way affects entrants’ eligibility to still enter the competition.

By entering into this competition, entrants consent to their personal data being passed outside the EU for the purposes of processing and storing on the promoter’s servers for the purpose of administering the competition.


An entrant indemnifies the promoter, its agents, employees, representatives, associates, affiliates, parent and subsidiary companies against any and all claim, losses, costs, damages, liability and expenses arising out of the entrant’s breach of any of these terms and conditions.

By entering this competition each entrant expressly releases the promoter, its affiliates, agents, employees and directors from any claim, action or demand arising out of or in connection with the competition or their prize, if any.

The promoter reserves the right to modify these rules, suspend or discontinue the competition at any time, including without limitation where it’s deemed necessary to do so due to circumstances beyond its reasonable control or if it can’t be guaranteed that the competition can be carried out correctly for technical or legal reasons or if the promoter suspects that any person has been manipulating the administration of the competition or has acted unethically in any other way.

The determination and decision of the publishers and the promoter on all matters shall be final and no correspondence will be entered into.

The laws of England and Wales govern these terms and conditions.

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