Terms and Conditions - ZSL Animal Photography Prize

The ZSL Animal Photography Prize 2015 is now open, and the search for animal photographs that can amaze and inspire has begun.

Closing date for adult entries is 1 April 2015. The young person's competition closes 27 April 2015.

We know you’re excited, but before you enter, make sure you have read the competition terms and conditions, rules, category definitions and digital guidelines.

Prizes and benefits

  • Adult winner in each category - £1,000
  • Adult ‘Judges Choice’ Award – an additional £1000
  • Young Persons winner in each category - £250
  • Young Persons Judges Choice award – an additional £500
  • 2 x complimentary tickets to visit the exhibition at ZSL London Zoo.
  • Inclusion in the ZSL Animal Photography Prize 2015 exhibition within the grounds of ZSL London Zoo 
  • Acknowledgement in ZSL’s Wild About magazine and inclusion in the book to accompany the exhibition.
  • Acknowledgement on ZSL’s website, which is viewed by up to 500,000 people every month.

About the Competition

1. The Zoological Society of London‘s Animal Photography Prize is the newest and most exciting animal photography competition in Great Britain, encouraging entries from professional, amateur and young photographers worldwide.

2. The competition is owned by the Zoological Society of London [ZSL], a charity dedicated to the protection of animals and their habitats.

3. The competition seeks to promote conservation, science and education through photographs that inspire, challenge, examine and really capture the essence of animals.

Competition Rules


1. It is up to each entrant to ensure they have read and obeyed the competition rules set out below.
2. By submitting an entry, each entrant agrees to the competition rules and digital guidelines, and that that their entry complies with ZSL’s requirements.
3. Any entry found not to comply with the competition rules will be disqualified.
4. No refunds or allowances will be made in such instances and any prizes will be forfeited.
5. The decision of ZSL on all matters relating to the competition is final and binding. No negotiation will be considered.
6. Proof of age and/or ID may be asked to be provided by finalists.
7. ZSL reserves the right to move entries from a category it is deemed unsuitable for, to a more suitable category.

How to enter

1. Entrants should register at www.zsl.org . A one-off non-refundable registration fee of £15 is required from each adult entrant allowing them to submit up to six (6) images. Payment must be made online using a credit or debit card. Entrants to the Young Persons (under 18 years of age) competition may submit a maximum of six (6) images and will be charged a £5 registration fee.
2. Once payment/ registration has been received, entrants will be sent an entry code via email and will be able to log in and upload images for the competition via the competition website.
3. ZSL cannot be held responsible for emails that do not arrive due to an entrant’s email security settings or restrictions placed by their internet service provider. 
4. The competition is not open to employees of ZSL and their relatives.

What to enter

1. Each entrant may submit a maximum of six (6) images into the competition.

2. No more than one (1) image may be entered into a single category.
3. Images submitted should be innovative and creative, and be relevant to the category entered.

4. Each image should be given a title, which can be as abstract or creative as you like – the title should aim to inspire. It will be displayed alongside it if your image is successful.

5. Black and white images are allowed in any category.

6. Digitally enhanced/manipulated images will be accepted in all categories, as long as a full description of the edits are provided with the submission.

7. Entries must be digital files. Scans of transparencies and negatives are also accepted.

8. For initial entry, all images must be submitted as JPEGs, saved at a high quality level (eg 10 in Photoshop, Adobe (1998) colour space) and must be 1920 pixels on the longest dimension.

9. Entrants must also be able to supply a high resolution file, preferably TIFF, suitable for printing in all media and for inclusion in ZSL’s Animal Photography Prize exhibition, should their image be successful. The high resolution file should match the colour and cropping of the JPEG submitted at entry. This should be 8-bit, Adobe RGB (1998) at 300ppi.

10. Entrants must be able to supply the RAW file, original JPEG, or original transparency or negative for any image short-listed for the final round of judging upon request. Technical specifications will also be requested at this time.

11. Shortlisted entrants who cannot submit their image to the required resolution will not be eligible for inclusion in the exhibition or accompanying publications.

What NOT to enter

1. Any identical or similar image into more than one category.

2. Images blatantly incorrect for a specific category.

3. Images of family pets or domestic livestock.

4. Images of trained animal models or images that depict animals in an undignified or degrading manner.

5. Images that have been placed within any national or international competition at the time of entry.

Ethical Standards

Any breach of the below ethical standards will constitute a breach of the Rules.

1. Entrants must not compromise the welfare of any animals, and should never do anything to injure or distress any animals or destroy their habitat in an attempt to secure an image.

2. Entrants are responsible for ensuring full compliance with any national or international legislation, for example in the case of protected species, governing the country in which the image has been taken and in securing any relevant permits which may be required.

3. Descriptive captions supplied must be accurate and honest.

Judging the competition

1. ZSL will appoint a panel of judges which will include representatives of ZSL and suitably qualified photographic experts.

2. The panel will be required to agree to terms of conduct whilst ensuring the spirit of the competition is maintained throughout.

3. All entries will be judged anonymously: only title information will be relayed by ZSL during each round.

4. Awarded images in each category will comprise Winner and Highly Commended.

5. In the event that any single category is without an image of sufficient merit, ZSL reserves the right to remove the category in its entirety.

6. Only category winners will be considered for the grand title.

7. The grand title of overall winner of the ZSL Animal Photography Prize 2015 will be awarded to the single image judged by the panel to best capture the spirit of the competition.

Competition prizes

1. Entrants who have awarded image(s) will be notified in September and will be invited to attend a presentation ceremony and preview evening.

2. As part of the prize package, all awarded images will be: 
- Displayed in the ZSL Animal Photography Prize exhibition within the grounds of ZSL London Zoo

- Acknowledged in ZSL’s Wild About magazine, circulated to around 70,000 members of ZSL.
- Included in the ZSL Animal Photography Prize book, released to coincide with the competition.
- Featured on ZSL’s website, which is viewed by an average of 500,000 people a month.

In addition to Rule 2 above:

1. The winner of each Adult Category will receive two (2) complimentary tickets to the presentation ceremony and preview evening in London, a personalised certificate and £1,000 in prize money.

2. The winner of each Young Persons Category will receive two (2) complimentary tickets to the presentation ceremony and preview evening in London, a personalised certificate and £250 in prize money.

4. In addition to Rules 2 and 3 above: 
- The Adult ‘Judges Choice’ overall winner will receive a personalised certificate and £1,000 in prize money.
- The Junior ‘Judges Choice’ overall winner will receive a personalised certificate and £500 in prize money.


1. All entrants agree that if their entry is awarded, they will take part in related publicity and to the use of their name and likeness for the purposes of advertising, promotion and publicity of the competition and exhibition without additional compensation.

Copyright and reproduction

1. Each entry must be the original work of the entrant and must not infringe the rights of any other party.

2. Each entrant must either be the sole owner of the copyright or have secured the written permission of the copyright owner to enter the image into the competition and grants the Owners the rights detailed below.

3. The copyright in all images submitted to the competition will remain with the copyright holder who will be credited in accordance with the competition’s guidelines (eg ©photographer’s name).

4. By entering the competition, each entrant grants to ZSL a non-exclusive irrevocable licence to reproduce, publish and communicate to the public by any means and exhibit their awarded image(s) and copies of their awarded image(s) in all media throughout the world in relation to the competition and the exhibition including but not limited to all use in the context of: 
- Judging the competition.
- Display in the exhibition.
- Inclusion in ZSL magazines and/or similar.
- Inclusion within ZSL’s websites, including within interactive elements associated with the competition and/or exhibition (now known or hereafter created) available for viewing or download from ZSL’s websites.
- Inclusion in promotional, press and marketing materials associated with the competition and/or the exhibition.
- Inclusion in any merchandising associated with the competition and/or the exhibition.


1. Proof of electronic submission is not proof of receipt by ZSL.

2. ZSL regrets that it cannot accept liability for any loss or damage of any image entered into the Competition howsoever caused nor for any other loss or damage resulting there from.

3. ZSL regrets that it cannot accept liability for the misuse of images and/or failure of any third party to comply with the Competition’s credit guidelines.

4. Non-winning digital images entered into the Competition will not be retained, stored or returned by ZSL after the names of awarded photographers are announced.

Data protection

1. The personal data of entrants will be managed by ZSL in accordance with the principles of the Data Protection Act 1998.

2. ZSL will collect personal data about entrants from their registration form and as otherwise provided in order to administer the competition and/or all associated activities.
3. ZSL will use data collected at registration to contact adult entrants about future competitions and the parent/guardian of youth applicants.

Digital Guidelines


To ensure entries submitted comply with technical requirements, please follow the digital guidelines outlined below.
We want entrants to be creative with their entries, but they should always be a truthful representation.
Entries must be digital files. Scans of transparencies or negatives are also accepted.
No allowance will be made for poor quality scans.

Digital specifications

1. For judging purposes: Save a copy of your image as a JPEG, at the highest quality setting (eg quality setting 10 in Adobe Photoshop). The image should be 1920 pixels on the longest dimension and 8-bit, Adobe RGB (1998) at 300ppi. 
2. For proof of authenticity: Your original digital camera RAW files (eg CR2, NEF, ORF etc) will be requested if your image is shortlisted for an award. Original transparencies or negatives will also be accepted. Digital images captured as JPEG are allowed, providing the original un-retouched JPEG is available for inspection. Any work created from more than one original (eg stitched images), must be declared as such, and the original captured images should be available for inspection when requested.
3. For printing and inclusion in the exhibition: a high resolution image (preferably TIFF) will be requested if your image is shortlisted for an award. This should be 8-bit, Adobe RGB (1998) at 300ppi. The ZSL printers will interpolate, if necessary.

Digital adjustment guidelines

  • The image should be a faithful representation of the original scene.
  • Localised adjustments should be used appropriately.
  • Allowances will not be made for poorly colour-managed, over-saturated, or over-sharpened images.

-Some digital adjustment or editing is allowed. 
The objective is to remain faithful to the original experience, and to never deceive the viewer or misrepresent the reality of nature.

Digital adjustments that are allowed:

  • removal of sensor dust spots
  • removal of chromatic aberration
  • removing background noise (in moderation)
  • levels (in moderation)
  • curves (in moderation)
  • colour (in moderation)
  • saturation (in moderation)
  • contrast work (in moderation)
  • shadow and highlights (in moderation)
  • sharpening (including selective sharpening) in moderation
  • cropping in moderation and as long as a suitable high-res TIFF file can be supplied for printing a large exhibition display
  • dodging, burning and toning (in moderation)
  • neutral density gradients (in moderation)
  • removing lens vignetting
  • panoramas i.e. panoramas created from several images that have been taken from the same location and at the same time, and then combined or stitched using digital techniques, and resulting in a wider view than can be achieved with most wide-angle lenses. Stitched images are allowed in all categories.
  • Multiple exposures are only allowed if this is a feature of the camera and the result is one single file. Entrants must state in the caption if their image is a multiple exposure.

Digital adjustments that are not allowed:

  • adding or removing animals, parts of animals, plants, distractions, people etc
  • composites and sandwich shots that add elements
  • images that have been digitally manipulated outside of the allowed adjustments