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Find Your Park National Park Foundation Booz | Allen | Hamilton

Photo Guidelines

Please read the Official Contest Rules here and find Frequently Asked Questions here.

This year's special edition contest commemorates the "Best of the Decade", celebrating photos taken over the last ten years through 2020.


We’re seeking amazing photos from amateur photographers that highlight the best of America's federal public lands and waters in the following categories*:

  1. Adventure & Outdoor Recreation

    Share photos of your favorite activities and adventures highlighting the diversity of exhilarating moments for all that can be experienced on federal lands and waters across the country – from fishing to hiking to skating and more.

  2. Family, Friends & Fun

    Featuring people, of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities, who love to adventure with on public lands and water.

  3. Historical & Cultural

    Spotlighting the multi-faceted and multi-cultural stories of the United States, both struggles and triumphs – from national historical sites and monuments to battlefields and military parks to cultural celebrations.

  4. Scenic, Seasons & Landscapes

    Capture scenic vistas and sweeping landscapes - fall foliage, forests, winter wonderlands, flowers, mountains, deserts, canyons, lakes, seashores, rivers and more.

  5. Urban Playgrounds

    Some of our most exciting sites are in, or just a stone's throw from, America's biggest cities, providing unique opportunities for urban residents (and visitors) to experience the natural, historical, and cultural heritage of our federal lands and waters.

  6. Wildlife

    Take a walk on the wild side with photos of the incredibly diverse array of plants and animals that call federal lands and waters home. Remember to keep your distance and stay safe!

*Please Note: It is not uncommon for photos to fall into multiple categories; however, each photo can only be entered once – so choose your category wisely! An overwhelming amount of entries are submitted to Scenic, Seasons & Landscapes (in 2019 almost 60% of photos were entered into this category!), while great categories like Friends, Family & Fun, Historical and Cultural, and Urban Playgrounds receive fewer entries overall. Each category has such potential, so be intentional and creative when choosing your photo category!

Photo Location

Photos must be taken on the lands or within the facilities of these participating agencies:

  1. National Park Service
  2. U.S. Bureau of Land Management
  3. U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
  4. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  5. U.S. Forest Service
  6. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Photos submitted featuring city or state lands and waters will be rejected.

Photo Timeframe

For the 2020 special edition "Best of the Decade" photo contest, photographs taken between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2020 will be accepted during the contest Promotion Period from June 25, 2020 to December 31, 2020. Winners will be announced Spring /Summer 2021. Photos taken prior to 2010 will be disqualified and any photo submitted outside the Promotion Period will be rejected.

How to Submit?

  1. Submit photos at: www.sharetheexperience.org
  2. Only submit photos you yourself have taken
  3. Photos must be submitted in JPEG format. Please try to ensure submitted photos are 2MB or larger with high resolution (300 DPI) as the winning photos must work in print. Photos less then 2MB will be accepted but may not be eligible to win prizes.
  4. Please ensure you and your photo meet all eligibility requirements by reviewing the Official Contest Rules

Judging Criteria

Photos will be judged on the following criteria:

  1. originality
  2. artistic composition
  3. technical quality
  4. photographic technique
  5. whether the photograph showcases the best of America's recreational opportunities.


  1. The Contest is intended as an amateur photo contest, professional photographers are ineligible to enter and win any prizes.
    1. For the purposes of the Contest, a professional photographer is defined as anyone who (i) is or has been employed full or part-time as a photographer or in a like capacity; (ii) has an established photography business with the purpose of earning a majority of their income (iii) currently or previously identified as a professional photographer.
  2. Legal residents of the 50 United States and DC, and at least 13 years of age or older as of June 25, 2020
  3. Employees or volunteers of the participating agencies and sponsors, and their family members are not eligible to enter.
    1. An Employee/volunteer is considered anyone who has been or will be employed/working as a volunteer by a partner or sponsor during the contest period or was employed/worked as a volunteer during the time the photograph in question was taken.
    2. Employees and volunteers of the participating federal agencies are eligible to enter the Employee Contest

What Not to Do

  1. Do not alter or manipulate photos except for cropping; red eye removal; adjustment of contrast, brightness or saturation. Photo techniques such as HDR or long exposures are accepted. Alteration of the originally captured image should be subtle and nearly undetectable to the untrained eye.
  2. Don't break any laws or rules of federal lands (current agency laws and rules will be considered
  3. Don't do anything unsafe
  4. Don't photograph anything that is inappropriate, indecent or obscene
  5. Don’t submit a photo taken by anyone other than yourself
  6. Don’t include watermarks, writing or symbols of any kind on photos
  7. Don’t submit more than ten (10) photos per month, any photos submitted after this monthly limit has been reached will be rejected
  8. Don’t enter a photo that has previously been designated a winner in a contest or promotion of any kind, including previous Share the Experience Photo Contest years

Above all, please enjoy your experience and remember to share it with us, vote for your favorites and tell your friends!