Photographer of the Year 2020: Open for entries

Entries are open for the annual New Zealand Geographic Photographer of the Year—the country’s most popular, prestigious and richest photography competition. There’s more than $5000 in cash up for grabs, and a voyage with Heritage Expeditions.

Written by      

Put down that smartphone, and dust off your SLR… entries for the 2020 New Zealand Geographic Photographer of the Year are now open. The country’s richest and most popular photographic event, Photographer of the Year encompasses a competition, exhibition, audience voting and awards night. Win a share of $5000 cash, a voyage with Heritage Expeditions, public notoriety, industry back-slaps and the envious stares of your peers, all on one stage.

Categories include Resene Landscape, Progear PhotoStory, Electric Kiwi Wildlife, Lumix Society and Aerial. Photographers keep copyright—this isn’t a rights grab.

The Nikon Photographer of the Year 2020 will be picked from all entrants, as will the Young Photographer award, for entrants under the age of 25 on September 30, 2020. All photos must have been shot after January 1, 2019 (except PhotoStory, after Jan 2018) and within New Zealand territory—including New Zealand-administered Pacific and Antarctic dependencies. A maximum of 18 entries per entrant over the five categories—so 12 images and one set comprising four to six images in the Photostory category. All entrants will have a crack at the People’s Choice award, voted on by the general public. Full terms and conditions here.

Entries close midday, Wednesday 15 July, 2020—don’t leave it to the last minute!

Enter Photographer of the Year 2020


To cover the costs of the competition, there is a $25 entry fee, payable with a credit card, and entrants can enter as many photographs as competition terms allow. Every entrant receives a free six-month subscription to—2000 stories, 10,000 images and 250 hours of streaming natural history documentaries. (If you already have a digital subscription it will be extended by six months.)


Read full terms and conditions

Read tips on how to win



Chosen from amongst all entrants, the winning portfolio demonstrates skills, consistency and creative insights that make for quality visual storytelling. It rewards originality and competence across all the images entered, and the ability to reveal a fresh perspective on our land or people.


The young photographer is chosen from all entrants under the age of 25 on September 30, 2019, and like Photographer of the Year, the quality of the entire portfolio of entered images is considered.


Visitors can vote on finalist images at the Photographer of the Year exhibitions in Auckland and on the New Zealand Geographic website. Public votes are tallied across the exhibition season in time for the awards night.


A special award that recognises special vision in the use of colour where it contributes to the success of the image. This award is chosen from amongst all entrants.



Showcase the wonders of New Zealand—its mountains, wetlands, coasts and plains. The judges will be looking for attention to light and drama.


Capture New Zealand’s flora or fauna in its natural environment. We are looking for images that exude life and show behaviour or adaptations that make the animal or plant unique.


A set of four to six images. Judges will be looking for the quality of the images overall, as well as how they work together to tell a story.


This category celebrates the traditions and relationships of all New Zealanders. The winning entry will be an image that captures our identity as a people.


The aerial category celebrates the art of aerial photography, be it from planes, helicopters or drones. Judges will be looking for images that defy the old visions from above and bring innovation and new perspectives of our landscapes and life.