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Wildlife Photo Fail Awards


Enter to win a Fujifilm X-T20 camera plus lens and for a chance to win a wilderness adventure of a lifetime to improve your wildlife photography skills!

Wildlife photography can be tough. Hours, days and weeks spent in preparation go out the window when the wildlife we aim to capture has different plans, or technology fails us at exactly the wrong moment.

The highlight reels of the most accomplished photographers (like those of this contest’s esteemed judges, listed below) do little to make us feel better.

But what about all those blunders that never see the light of day? The one that got away…the shot whose back story is far better than the final result? Isn’t it sometimes more about the journey than Instagram bragging rights?

Well, we want to see your near–or total–misses. All those mishaps that, for one reason or another, continue to lurk on your hard drives or in your phone.

Simply share your photo with the hashtag #WildlifePhotoFail on Instagram and we’ll collect all the entries. Our judges will pick one winner who will receive a Fujifilm X-T20 camera with lens and a chance to win a wilderness adventure of a lifetime.* All entries must be posted by Saturday, Sept. 30 to be eligible to win. Only one winner will be selected, but entrants may submit as many wildlife fail photos as they’d like.

The panel of judges, which includes National Geographic photographers and International League of Conservation Photographers members and affiliates, will be looking for particularly unusual or humorous moments or viewpoints that are more the result of chance than meticulous planning. They will also be paying attention to the back story and context–and especially to those images that aim to convey a conservation message.

See entry feed below

Thanks to our Wildlife Photo Fail Awards sponsors:


*In addition to the Fujifilm X-T20 camera, contest winner will receive four entries into GWC’s wilderness adventure drawing. After posting your #WildlifePhotoFail, increase the odds of winning your dream trip to your choice of the Galápagos, Costa Rica or South Africa by directly entering the drawing.

Contest Judges

Karine Aigner
Karine Aigner’s short life reads like a set of novellas. Raised in Saudi Arabia, Karine motorcycled through Vietnam, circumnavigated the globe by ship, taught English in Taiwan, and then there was the time the hyena pups chewed her shoes (while on her feet). For nine years, as the Senior picture editor for National Geographic Kids magazine, Karine used osmosis to suck in all she could about good storytelling and the makings of a “good picture.” In 2011 Karine embarked on a life of freelance photography and picture editing. Karine is an associate fellow with the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP) and her work has been featured in National Geographic Magazine, GEOLino, Nature Conservancy Magazine and BBC Wildlife. Learn more about Karine at karineaigner.com.
Clay Bolt
Clay Bolt is a natural history and conservation photographer specializing in macro and close-up photography who specializes in North America’s native bees. His images and projects have been featured by organizations and publications such as National Geographic, The Nature Conservancy and The National Wildlife Federation. Originally from South Carolina, Clay now lives in Bozeman, Montana where he works as the communications lead for World Wildlife Fund’s Northern Great Plains Program. He is an associate fellow in the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP) and a past president of the North American Nature Photography Association. Learn more about Clay at claybolt.com.
Ronan Donovan
In 2011, Ronan Donovan was researching chimpanzees in Uganda’s Kibale National Park when he made the images that helped him establish a career as a conservation photographer. Ronan recently spent an entire year living inside Yellowstone National Park documenting the live of wolves for National Geographic magazine, and was named one of Photo District News’ 2017 “New and Emerging Photographers to Watch.” A biologist-turned-photographer, Ronan uses his rich understanding of natural history to tell compelling stories that explore the intersection of wildlife and humans through photo and film. Learn more about Ronan at ronandonovan.com.

Morgan Heim
Morgan Heim has been sneezed on by a whale, stampeded by bison and almost mistaken for salmon by hungry grizzly bears, all of which she took as great compliments, considering they let her live to spy on wildlife for another day. With a background in zoology (BS) and environmental journalism (MA), Morgan employs photo and filmmaking techniques ranging from aerials to camera traps and good old-fashioned photojournalism in order to share human stories of the natural world. Learn more about Morgan at morganheim.com.

Jaymi Heimbuch
Jaymi is a writer and photographer based on the west coast. She is the founder and initiative director of the Urban Coyote Initiative, a board member of the North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA), an affiliate with the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP), and is a member of HeARTs Speak. Jaymi’s photography has been published in Sierra Magazine, Bay Nature Magazine, Wild Planet Photo Magazine, National Wildlife Magazine, Mother Nature Network and Discovery Communications websites, among other outlets. Her environmental, wildlife and companion animal writing has been published in a variety of print and online publications, including BBC Wildlife Magazine, Huffington Post and Beautiful Beasties. Learn more about Jaymi at jaymiheimbuch.com.

Sergio Izquierdo
Sergio Izquierdo is a conservationist and wildlife photographer and filmmaker born in Guatemala. He has worked on assignments for National Geographic Latinamerica and the BBC. Five publications of his work from his assignments of National Geographic en Español won the Best Edit award inside National Geographic. His work has been published in different newspapers, TV shows, magazines, documentaries and electronic media around the the world in countries such as Guatemala, the United States, Canada, Iceland, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Brazil, Netherlands, Chile, Bolivia, China among others. He’s currently a member of the International League of Conservationist Photographers (iLCP). Learn more about Sergio at sergioizquierdo.com.

Arnelle Lozada
Arnelle Lozada is a marketing professional and the founder of GoodTravels, a new movement focused on using travel for positive social and environmental impact. Over the years, her visual storytelling and creative writing have captivated a loyal and growing audience, and she aims to use her reach to inspire and activate the curious and eager new generation.


Jenny Nichols
 Nichols is the principal at Pongo Media. Harnessing the power of visual media to tell stories, Jenny works to create films that will act as tipping points in conservation campaigns. Jenny thrives on multidisciplinary projects and collaborates with a dedicated community of photojournalists, filmmakers, writers, illustrators, scientists and conservation organizations. Learn more about Jenny at pongomediaproductions.com.

Krista Schlyer
Krista Schlyer is a freelance photographer and writer living in Washington D.C., and senior fellow in the International League of Conservation Photographers. Krista’s work has appeared in BBC Wildlife, Newsweek, Sierra, High Country News and others. She is the author of three books, including Continental Divide: Wildlife, People and the Border Wall, which won the 2013 National Outdoor Book Award and the Ansel Adams Award for Conservation Photography. Her book Almost Anywhere chronicles a year-long road trip to America’s national park system. Learn more about Krista at kristaschlyer.com.

Joris van Alphen
Joris van Alphen is a photojournalist and filmmaker specializing in stories about nature and people. From camping in the canopy of a fig tree deep in the Amazon rainforest, to diving unexplored coral reefs in the northern Moluccas, Joris has extensive experience working in remote locations under challenging conditions. Growing up with biologists as parents, he embarked on his first field expedition to Africa at the age of three. He went on to study biology himself, but left a career in science to become a full-time photographer and filmmaker. His work has since spanned five continents. He is a fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers and a National Geographic Explorer. Learn more about Joris at jorisvanalphen.com.

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