Steps to Enter

The competition is divided into two main classes, the USA Landscape Photographer of the Year Award and the Young USA Landscape Photographer of the Year Award.  To enter Young USA Landscape Photographer of the Year, you must be 18 or under on the closing date of September 15, 2016.

To enter your images, you have to use the image uploader on the website and the payment of entry fees is via PayPal. The fees for anyone aged 18 and under must be paid by a parent or guardian and payment is seen as granting permission for an entry to be made.

There are 7 categories within each of the two classes and up to 20 images may be entered across some or all of these categories.


Our image uploader gives you a lot of control over your entry, so no need to leave everything until the last minute. We know it can be frustrating to get that last minute ‘winning’ image when you have already reached the maximum number of entries so, up until the close of the competition, you can change your personal information, amend captions and replace images.
* NB. Size for initial entry – 2000 px longest length at 72 ppi *

The minimum requirement, for all categories, is that the image must have been taken using a camera with a sufficiently high resolution to allow the image to be reproduced at A4 size or above (at 300 ppi). We recommend that you use a camera of 6 mega pixels or more. Please ensure that your camera is on its highest-quality setting.

You can also submit images that have been scanned from film or negative to all categories.

Images must be of the United States of America but you do not have to be a USA resident to enter - entries are also welcome from overseas entrants.

It is very important that you read the category descriptions – you must make sure that your image is eligible for the category in which it is entered.

You may already have the images that you want to enter in your files. This is fine, as long as they have been taken within the five years immediately prior to the closing date. Images that have been successful in other national/international competitions are not eligible (see Competition Rules #2). IImages taken at the Youth workshops organized for the prize winners of previous competitions are also not eligible for entry.

Images will be viewed by the judges without any accompanying information. The captions will not be shown and images will be judged on their visual interest and impact. No watermarks or signatures should be included and please do not add borders to your images.

Digital Adjustments

Please consider the spirit of the competition when preparing your entry. We want to celebrate the very best landscape photography and allow those viewing the winning images to share the experiences that you felt when you were out in the American landscape.

Classic View, Black & White, Environmental Value, Urban & Special Awards:
Digital adjustments, including High Dynamic Range (HDR) imaging techniques and stitched panoramas are allowed in all categories.  However, the integrity of the subject must be maintained and the physical changes to the landscape is not permitted (removing fences, moving trees, stripping the sky from another image etc).  The organizers reserve the right to disqualify any image that they feel lacks authenticity due to over manipulation.  In the case of an image being disqualified there will be no refund issued and no discussion or correspondence will be entered into.

The only category where digital adjustments are permitted is MY USA.

We will require Raw files or original camera jpegs for shortlisted images.

Selecting your images

Other hints to help you to select your images:


The image should be sharp unless blur is an intentional effect. Please use the best possible camera that you can. The requirements given for camera quality are MINIMUM requirements and the larger the file size you can supply if your image is short-listed, the better. However, this will not change your chance of winning. As long as your image meets the minimum spec, it has an equal chance, but a larger file will mean that your image can be printed at a larger size. If you are shortlisted and asked to supply a high resolution file, please do not upsize your image file in post-production but supply the largest file size that your camera allows.


The use of light is key to a good landscape and the most important thing is that the light is appropriate to the image. There are many different types of ‘good’ light; storm light, early morning light, even flat light can be perfect, depending on the subject.


When editing your images for entry, make sure that you stand back from them and view them as a whole. Is there a tree growing out of the back of a sheep? Is the whole thing on a slant? Would it have been better if you’d moved a few feet to the left? Or held the camera nearer to the ground? There are a lot of factors that contribute to the overall composition of an image, but it should be very obvious when everything has come together and looks right.


This is a tricky one, as it is a very personal thing and hard to define. A good photograph will convey some of the emotion that the photographer was feeling at the time it was taken and a strong emotion, whether good or bad, can lift a picture above the ordinary. It is also a very good idea to seek a few opinions on the images you wish to enter. It can be difficult to assess your own work and be objective as there are always other factors that interfere – it may have been a particularly hard shot to get, you may have waited three days in a rainy camper van – but that does not necessarily make it good, so an opinion from someone who was not there when the picture was taken is invaluable.

Your next decision is to choose a category for each image you wish to enter. There are FIVE categories and TWO special awards, as described below. You can enter the same image in more than one category and/or special award. Flick through our galleries and you will see some of the stunning images that have won and been classified in each category since the Awards began.

Environmental Value

For photographs that illuminate environmental issues facing the United States today. Images should be innovative, powerful and authentic.

This is a new category for 2016. The only guideline for this category is that entries must relate to an environmental issue. How that is accomplished is entirely up to you!

As with all categories, don’t forget images must be of the USA and taken in the last 5 years.

Environmental Value



This is the category where you can give your creativity free rein, as digital manipulation is allowed. We are looking for creative images that sum up what the USA means to you.


Black & White

Literal or abstract monochrome images of any landscape subject in the United States of America and these may be in panoramic format if desired. Tints are allowed, as are B&W images converted from colour originals.

Black & White

Classic View

The United States of America has some of the most dramatic and recognizable landscapes in the world, from the beauty of the National Parks and the Plains of the Midwest to the crashing waves of the Oregon coast and the sands of Death Valley. This category is for images that show the USA landscape at its best.

Classic View


Over 80% of us live in urban areas and the fast-paced, changing environment of American towns and cities is perfect for photographers. You can enter all your urban pictures in this category – cities, towns, day, night, detail or skyline.

Urban view

Life in the Landscape, The Digital Photography Review Special Award

Samuel Feron - Thoughts

Timothy Aiken - Shasta Sunrise

DPReview is the most popular, dedicated, enthusiastic distal photography site and is renowned for its original and unbiased content, it provides insightful features a vast digital camera database, timeline, forum, reviews and some terrific photography which can be seen through user galleries. In 2007, Digital Photography Review was acquired by Amazon.

As key supporter of the USA Landscape Photographer of the Year awards, DPReview will be among the first to announce the results and to feature successful images from the 2016 awards.

To celebrate this relationship we are pleased to offer this award for the best images which convey how people interact with the American landscape.

The prizes for this special award (adult and youth) is a one day master class with founder and judge of USA Landscape Photographer of the Year and world renowned photographer Charlie Waite. Details to be advised.

Entries in all categories will be eligible, with the shortlist being decided by the primary selection & interim judging panels. The final decision will be made by representatives of Digital Photography Review.

Digital Photography Review

Life in the Landscape, The Digital Photography Review Special Award

Wild Landscape, The Future Publishing Award

Denis Hocking – Bison, All alone in Yellowstone

Paul Rojas - Magic Mushrooms

Future is world-renowned for its blend of investigative journalism along with insightful features and reviews across several Photography publications including Digital Camera World , Photo Magazine and Professional Photographer Magazine to name a few.  To celebrate this new relationship, we are pleased to offer this award to submit your view of the wild American landscape, from the Alaskan Fords to the Grand Canyon and everywhere in between!  These may be taken on an expedition, road trip or camping adventure.

As well as a complimentary 12 month subscription to Digital Camera World magazine  the winners (adult and youth) will receive a master class with award winning journalist and photographer Benedict Brain, these master classes will also be written about in Digital Camera World magazine. Details to be advised.

Future plc

Wild Landscape, The Future Publishing Award

* Image size for entries – 2000 pixels along the longest length *

For your initial entry, all images should be jpegs with 2000 pixels along the longest edge at 72 ppi.

This means that your images will need to be resized before being uploaded, as the files from your camera or your scans will be too big. The upload page will not accept images that exceed the maximum size allowed.

When resizing your image, it is very important that you do not save the smaller file over your master original. Please save at quality level 10 in Adobe Photoshop or an equivalent level in other software packages.

File names are for your reference purposes only and so the naming protocol (see panel on right) is suggested rather than required. All images will be cross-referenced, by us, with a unique identifying number. However, please avoid the use of very long file names or the use of unusual characters as this can prevent image upload from proceeding.

Our image uploader means that you have control over your account. If you upload the wrong image…or change your mind…you can replace it up until the closing time of midnight on the September 15, 2016

Please make sure that you keep copies of the resized image and, more importantly, that you keep the original, high-resolution image safe. Once the pre-judging stage has been completed, we will contact those on the shortlist for the larger file, which you will then have 7 days to supply. We will also request the RAW file or original camera jpeg for shortlisted images.

Resizing your images