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

Please note, only photos taken on the lands, waters or within facilities of the participating federal agencies are qualified. Photos submitted featuring city or state lands and waters will be rejected.


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

Outdoors for All

Demonstrate how public lands welcome and connect us all by highlighting the diversity of locations, activities, and visitors. This category spotlights people, of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities, exploring and enjoying the spectrum of experiences available at our public lands and waters.

Everyday Adventures

Englebright Lake

An incredible experience doesn’t require visiting an iconic destination. Adventure can be found in the everyday. Discover new places and capture activities and imagery from lesser-known public lands and waters across the country.

History & Heritage

train at golden spike NHS

From monuments and battlefields to re-enactments and cultural celebrations, this category is meant to showcase the rich history and diversity of the United States and the special places and traditions that preserve and promote them.

Scenery & Seasons

Bridger Teton National Forest

The scenic vistas, sweeping landscapes, and beautiful flora of public lands can be found in far-off locales or closer to home than you think - capture fall foliage, forests, winter wonderlands, flowers, mountains, deserts, canyons, lakes, seashores, rivers and more.


fox at simpson springs pony express station

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

Night Skies

Vermillion Cliffs National Monument at night

Starlight and starbright, capture the magic of a night out under the stars. Slow the shutter speed down and see what develops! Remember to stay in designated areas and follow all guidelines about hours for visitation.

*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 Scenery & Seasons, while great categories like Outdoors for All and History & Heritage 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, waters, 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 2023 photo contest, photographs taken between January 1, 2021 and December 31, 2023 will be accepted during the contest Promotion Period from June 15, 2023 to December 31, 2023. Winners will be announced Spring /Summer 2024. Photos taken prior to 2021 will be disqualified and any photo submitted outside the Promotion Period will be rejected.

How to Submit?

  1. Submit photos at:
  2. Photos must be submitted in JPEG format. Please try to ensure submitted photos are high resolution (minimum 5 MP (megapixels)) as the winning photos must work in print. Note: To calculate your megapixels, multiply the X (width) by the Y (height) of your image.
  3. 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 anyone who meets one or more of the following criteria: (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 15, 2023
  3. Employees or volunteers of the participating agencies and sponsors, and their family members are not eligible to enter.
    1. Ineligible employees/volunteers include official volunteers of the Federal Recreation Agencies, part-time or seasonal employees, and former employees of the Federal Recreation Agencies employed within two years of the start of the contest, and those who will become employees during the contest period or those who were 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 and tell your friends!