NATURE AND HUMANS Photography Competition

Second edition (2024)

Competition Rules

The ADF Foundation for Sustainable Development (, hereinafter the Foundation, or the Organizer, an entity registered in the Registry of Foundations of the Ministry of Justice of the Kingdom of Spain, with the number 2.453, whose purposes have been declared by the Spanish State as of general interest, announces the second edition of the NATURE AND HUMANS Photography Competition, hereinafter the Competition, governed by these rules.

The Competition has fourteen categories: six special categories, six thematic categories, and two additional awards (Young Photographer, and People’s Choice.

The Competition is endowed with more than €13,000 (thirteen thousand euros) in prizes; of which more than €9,000 (nine thousand euros) will be in cash. It is, accordingly, one of the most generous in the Spanish and international circuit.

It will have a jury composed of photographers of great international prestige.

The categories are detailed in Rule 2 and the prizes and sponsors are detailed in Rule 4.

We propose three special categories for photojournalism and conservation (called “Conservation Photography”) which offer 6,000 euros in cash prizes, provided by the Foundation. There are two other special categories, called “The Beauty of the Planet” and “The Beauty of Spain” which are sponsored by WildWatchingSpain. Additionally, in this 2024 edition, we are introducing a new special category, called “Nature, Told by Women”, in collaboration with the international photography magazine MOTHER.

In the 2024 edition, the three special “Conservation Photography” categories will be judged by JoAnne McArthur and Doug Gimesy – two of today’s most internationally acclaimed wildlife photojournalists – with the collaboration of Arturo de Frias, nature photographer and Contest Director.

The special category “Nature, Narrated by Women” will be judged by Melissa Schafer, nature photographer and expedition guide, and director of MOTHER magazine, and by Lianna Nixon, also a nature photographer and expedition guide, with the collaboration of Arturo de Frías.

The six thematic categories – mammals, birds, oceans, other animalslandscape, and creative – are sponsored by SONY, the world’s leading brand of photographic equipment, by two of the best photographic equipment distributors in Spain: Fotografiarte, and FotoRuanoPro, and by the Foundation.


The soul of the competition: conservation

Jacques Cousteau famously said that “human beings only protect what they love, and only love what they know”. At the ADF Foundation we want to ensure that all people – and especially the new generations – make a lifelong commitment to the conservation of nature. Education is key. And we believe that one of the best way to achieve this, is to showcase the immense beauty of our nature, using the universal power of photography. Which is why, in this Competition, we are looking for images:

  • spectacularly beautiful, and/or thought-provoking,
  • that will inspire the viewer with the need to conserve the wonderful nature that surrounds us,
  • that will contribute to environmental education and awareness, and
  • that will help us reflect on the relationship between people and nature.

Although the list is not intended to be exhaustive, here are some examples of conservation-inspiring images:

  • Threatened or endangered species, according to the IUCN.
  • Protected areas, not only the most iconic ones (such as the Arctic, the Amazon…), but also other protected natural spaces that are closer to home.
  • Particularly love-inspiring or motivating scene.
  • Examples, positive or negative, of the sometimes complex relationship between humans and nature.

We encourage, and will especially appreciate, entrants to explain, in the description of their submitted photographs, what they see in their images that inspires and helps nature conservation.

In this 2024 edition we introduce two additional new awards: a Young Photographers Award (for under 18 years old), and a People´s Choice Award.

In this 2024 edition we also have the generous support of FONAMAD (Madrid Association of Nature Photographers), and PANGEA (the largest travel retailer in Spain). 


The NATURE AND HUMANS Photography Competition is open to both amateur and professional photographers of any nationality. Each participant will need to have a valid e-mail address.


The following is a list of the competition categories, starting with the six special categoriesfollowed by the six thematic categories, and the Young Photographer and People’s Choice awards. All the details on prizes can be found on Rule 4.

01 – Special Category “Conservation Photography – Thematic Series”

This category awards a series of six images, with a common, strong conservation theme. The winning series will receive a cash prize of €1,500, and the runner-up series will receive a cash prize of €500. 

02 – Special Category “Conservation Photography – Single Image”

This category awards a single image, with a strong conservation content. The winning image will receive a cash prize of €1,500, and the runner-up image will receive a cash prize of €500. 

03 – Special Category “Conservation Photography – Spain”

The three special ‘Conservation Photography’ categories are looking for images that investigate the relationship between the natural environment and us humans. Images can be challenging, uplifting, provocative or revealing, and should illustrate how our attitudes, decisions and actions impact on the natural environment, positively or negatively. Originality will be particularly valued, and that the images help to reinforce environmental awareness. The author has to explain the event being reported in detail, providing concrete data. The judges will have access to this information during the selection phases.

Likewise, the three special ‘Conservation Photography’ categories are the only categories that accept images of animals that are not free or wild: animals in recovery centres, or in situations of economic exploitation (macro-farms, circuses, slaughterhouses, etc.), or similar. They are also the only ones that allow images of lifeless animals (species trafficking, poaching, articles made from animal parts, etc.). Although these three special categories, because of their denouncing content, may lend themselves to particularly harsh or crude images, the Organizers wish to clarify that this will not necessarily be seen as an attraction of the image.

A single image, with a strong conservation content, taken in Spain. The winning image will receive a cash prize of €1,500, and the runner-up image will receive a cash prize of €500.

04 – Special Category “Nature, narrated by Women”.

International photography magazine MOTHER

The photography magazine MOTHER ( HYPERLINK “”; IG @magazine.mother) is a non-profit project of European photographer Melissa Schäfer. Its mission – and the aim of this category – is to showcase “images created by women, that help us to look, that capture wildlife in all its beauty, and that tell stories that inspire change”. The magazine is supported by SONY Europe, and by globally renowned women photographers such as Ami Vitale and Cristina Mittermeier.

Stories submitted to this category must be captured in a series of 10 images. The story must have a title, and must include a text of about 200 words, explaining the story told. The winning story will receive coverage in the magazine, with at least one double-page spread. The text of the winning series may be edited and expanded at the time of publication. 

Women photographers participating in this category agree that their images and text may be used for promotional and editorial purposes by MOTHER magazine, and grant the non-exclusive right to publish the images and text in both physical and digital format. Of course, participating photographers retain the copyright of their images at all times.

This exciting new category, in collaboration with MOTHER, a well-known international non-profit photography magazine, awards a story – narrated through a series of 10 images – about Nature. Images submitted to this category must be in line with MOTHER’s vision (more details in the box below. The winning story will receive a cash prize of 1,500 euros, and will receive coverage by MOTHER magazine in 2025. The runner-up story will receive a cash prize of €500. Both cash prizes are offered by the Foundation.

05 – Special Category “The Beauty of the Planet”.

An individual image, showing the astonishing beauty and fragility of our planet’s animal species. Images submitted in this category must have been taken during an international photography trip organized by Wildwatching Spain, after 1-1-2020.

06 – Special Category “The beauty of Spain”. 

An individual image, showing the astonishing beauty and fragility of Spain’s animal species. The images submitted in this category must have been taken in a photography hide managed by Wildwatching Spain, after 1-1-2020. 

07 – Mammals 

Wild and free-ranging mammals, at any stage of their lives, anywhere on the planet. 

08 –  Birds

Birds in the wild, at any stage of their life and anywhere on the planet. Images of nests will not be accepted under any circumstances.

09 – Oceans 

Underwater images taken in the seas and oceans of our Planet. The animal species portrayed must, of course, be completely wild.

10 – Other animals 

Images of any other wild and free-ranging animal, not included in the categories Mammals, Birds, and Oceans, at any stage of their life, and anywhere on the Planet.

11 – Landscape 

Images of any of the natural paradises still found on our Planet.

12 – Creative  

The images submitted in this category must propose new visions of the natural world that go beyond the obvious. Using a visual language centered on colors, shapes, tones and textures, with a strong emphasis on abstraction and originality, the aim of this category is to seduce, surprise, arouse emotions and help the viewer to surrender to contemplation. 

13 – Young Photographers

In this category we welcome Nature images, with no restrictions on subject matter and content (except, of course, that they comply with the Competition’s code of ethics), taken by photographers who are still under the age of 18 on 1 June 2024.

14 – People’s Choice

The Jury will select a series of images to be submitted to a popular vote, which will take place on the website or on the competition’s Instagram.

During judging, and only with the express agreement of the Jury, the Organizers reserve the right to move entries from one category to another.


The practice of any kind of photography requires a strong code of ethics, and in the case of wildlife photography, this requirement is even more important. It is essential to avoid interfering with the behaviour of the animals, and of course even more so to avoid any kind of disturbance, stress or suffering. Animal welfare must always come before obtaining a photograph. 

Therefore, any image for which the Jury can reasonably consider that the welfare of the animal has been compromised will be disqualified.

Furthermore, it is strictly forbidden to submit images obtained using live bait, a practice that the Organizers consider highly reprehensible from an ethical point of view, and which it advises against for all photography and wildlife enthusiasts.

Another essential aspect of the code of ethics in wildlife photography is authenticity and truthfulness. Moderate editing of images is allowed, but no distorted images of wildlife are allowed, except in the “Creative” category. If an obvious intention to deceive is detected on the part of a participant, the Organizers reserve the right to disqualify all images submitted by this person to the Competition.

The competition strongly recommends the Aefona Ethical Decalogue, which can be consulted on the competition website ( For further reference, we also recommend reading the highly valuable resources from the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP), such as “From Wild to Captive: A Call for Ethics in Modern Nature Photography”  ( and “A light touch: Reflections on using additional light when photographing wildlife” (



In total, the Competition offers more than 13,000 (thirteen thousand) euros in prizes, of which more than 9,000 (nine thousand) euros are cash prizes, as follows:

  • Special Category 01 “Conservation Photography – thematic series” The winning series will receive a cash prize of 1,500 euros, and the the runner-up series will receive a cash prize of 500 euros, both offered by the Foundation.
  • Special Category 02 “Conservation Photography – single image” The winning image will receive a cash prize of 1,500 euros, and the the runner-up image will receive a cash prize of 500 euros, both offered by the Foundation.
  • Special Category 03 “Conservation Photography – Spain” The winning image will receive a cash prize of 1,500 euros, and the the runner-up image will receive a cash prize of 500 euros, both offered by the Foundation.
  • Special Category 04 “Nature, told by Women”. The winning story will receive a cash prize of 1,500 euros, offered by the Foundation, and will receive coverage in the MOTHER magazine in 2025. The runner-up will receive a cash prize of 500 euros, offered by the Foundation. 
  • Special Category 05 “The Beauty of the Planet”. The winning image will be awarded a 1,000 euros voucher, with no expiry date, to be redeemed when booking any of the international photography trips offered by Wildwatching Spain.
  • Special Category 06 “The beauty of Spain”. The winning image will be awarded a 500 euros voucher, with no expiry date, to be redeemed when booking any of the wildlife photography trips offered by Wildwatching Spain.
  • Thematic Category 07 – Mammals. The winning image will be awarded with SONY photographic equipment, offered by SONY Spain. The precise equipment to be awarded is still to be confirmed but its RRP will in any case exceed 1,500 euros.
  • Thematic Category 08 – Birds. The winning image will be awarded with a 500 euros voucher to be redeemed for the purchase of photographic material at Fotografiarte, one of the best specialist photographic distributors in Spain.
  • Thematic Category 09 – Oceans. The winning image will be awarded 350 euros in cash, offered by the Foundation. 
  • Thematic Category 10 – Oceans. The winning image will be awarded 350 euros in cash, offered by the Foundation. 
  • Thematic Category 11 – Landscape. The winning image will be awarded 350 euros in cash, offered by the Foundation. 
  • Thematic Category 12 – Creative. The winning image will be awarded a 300 euro voucher to be exchanged for the purchase of photographic material at FotoRuanoPro, one of the best specialist photographic distributors in Spain.
  • Special Prize 13 – Young Photographers. The winning image will be awarded with a set of photography books with a 300 euros RRP, offered by the Foundation.
  • Special Prize 14 – People’s Choice Award. The winning image will be awarded a cash prize of 350 euros, offered by the Foundation. 

Additionally, FotoRuanoPro will raffle among all contestants residing in Spain another 300 euro voucher to be redeemed for the purchase of photographic material. 

In addition, FONAMAD will offer free membership during the year 2025 to all awardees (winning image, honourable mention, or finalist), or a gift of similar value, if the awardees are already FONAMAD members.

RUNNER-UP and FINALISTS. One Runner-Up and at least two Finalist images will be awarded in each of the categories.

All category-winning images and all Runner-Up images may request their corresponding diploma in digital format from the Organizers.

In addition, all category winning images may request a free copy of the printed catalogue of the Competition, which will be published before year-end (international shipping cost not included). 

All category-winning images and all Runner-Up and Finalist images will be published in a gallery on the Competition’s web platform ( and in the printed catalogue of the Competition. In addition, the Foundation and the other sponsors may also publish these images on their websites and social networks (see Rule 13 about Copyright).

The delivery of each award is a direct responsibility of each sponsor. The Organizers will put winners and sponsors in contact, so that the delivery takes place promptly. Some prizes will be subject to withholding tax in accordance with current tax legislation, especially for Spain residents. The prizewinners must provide their full name, tax address and tax ID number in order to collect the prizes.

The Foundation would like to thank all the sponsors and collaborators for their generosity and support.

The Organizer does not rule out adding new prizes to those mentioned above, which, if appropriate, will be duly announced and published on the Competition’s web platform and on the social networks of the Foundation (@fundacion_adf) and the Competition (@natureandhumansphoto).

Also, the Organizer reserve the right to substitute the whole or part of any listed prize with an alternative of equal or higher monetary value.


A non-refundable entry fee of 25 euros will be required from each entrant, regardless of the number of photographs submitted. 

FONAMAD members are invited to participate in the Competition for a reduced entry fee of 15 euros.

The Organizer can, at any point in time, extend the reduced entry fee of 15 euros to the members of other photographic associations. This will be announced and published on the Competition’s web platform and on the social networks of the Foundation (@fundacion_adf) and the Competition (@natureandhumansphoto).

The entry fee will be paid by credit card or PayPal, following the instructions on the Competition’s web platform.

Entrants under 18 years of age can participate free of charge. They must have the relevant authorisation from a parent or guardian. They must not have reached the age of 18 by the 1st of June 2024. In order to participate free of charge, they must email previously the Organizer at and provide ID proof of age.


Participation is exclusively digital, through the Competition’s web platform:

Photographs must be submitted in JPG format and must contain their metadata or Exif data. This data is automatically encrypted and cannot be seen by the judges at any time, so it is not a problem if the metadata includes the authorship of the image. Images must be submitted without frames, signatures or watermarks.

IMPORTANT: the JPG image must have a minimum of 3000 pixels on its longest side and a resolution of 300dpi. The maximum size limit for each image is 100Mb.

Entrants may, at the time of submitting their photographs to the competition, also submit the RAW file of each image. This is voluntary at the time of submitting the JPG, but entrants might choose otro do so, in order to avoid having to submit the RAW if their entry is chose for the final phase of judging (moment in which, submitting the RAW image becomes compulsory).

Each entrant may submit a maximum of 30 photographs and is free to choose the distribution of the images among the categories. 

The same photograph may not be entered in more than one category.

In the case of photographs that reach the final phase of judging, the Jury may request any clarification it deems appropriate about the image to ensure compliance with the rules. Failure by the participant to respond will result in the disqualification of the photograph.

Originality is important to us. The jury will take into account in its deliberations if any of the images submitted have won a first prize (absolute winner or category winner) in any of the main Spanish or international competitions if this fact has been made public by the closing date for participation in this Competition(10 September 2023 at 11.59 p.m.).

Each image must be accompanied by a caption, comment or description*.

(*) IMPORTANT NOTE: The description of each image shall include a brief comment by the entrant explaining why the image inspires conservation, in line with the comments in the opening remarks these rules. Failure to include this comment may result in the disqualification of the image.

The photographs uploaded to the Competition’s web platform will initially remain as “provisional”  and may be modified or deleted at any time until the participant decides to close his/her participation, or on the closing date of the Competition, at which time the images submitted will be considered as definitive.

For the avoidance of doubt: with the exception of the three special categories “Conservation Photography”, only images of free and wild animals will be accepted. If the the wild animal has been manipulated in any way, or its behaviour has been induced or influenced in any way (including the use of bait, seeds or scent), this must be explained in as much detail as possible in the description of the image.

Images that do not comply with these rules, themes and categories (very especially, what is said in Rule 3 Code of Ethics) will be disqualified from the Competition.


Only moderate processing and digital adjustments of the original photograph are allowed: adjustments to brightness, contrast, saturation, levels, curves, colour cast, etc. In any case, the adjustments must not fundamentally alter the appearance of the original image.

Moderate cropping is also allowed, provided that the resulting JPG exceeds 3000 pixels on its long side without interpolation.

The removal of dust particles from the sensor is allowed. Corrections for lens distortion and optical aberrations are also allowed. Adding or removing anything from the image, cloning, or similar image manipulations are not allowed. Submitted images must always be a true representation of nature.


In order to verify compliance with the stipulations of Rule 7, all images in the final phase of judging will be checked by comparing the JPG file submitted to the competition with the original RAW file. Any image for which the original RAW file is not provided within the required deadline will be disqualified. DNG files will only be accepted as RAW files if this is the original file from the camera or drone.

The technical shooting parameters will be automatically extracted from the data embedded in the image file, so they do not need to be detailed and must be present in each JPG photograph submitted.


The most important dates of the Competition are:

  • 24th May 2024 – Opening of the submission period of the Competition.
  • 4th August 2024 (23:59h) – Deadline for submission of photographs.
  • 12th August 2024 – RAW file request for the shortlisted images.
  • 25th August 2024 (23:59h) – Deadline for submission of RAW file.
  • Until 15th September 2024 – Jury deliberations, voting rounds, and final decision.
  • Last days of September 2024 – Announcement of winning images (except the People’s Choice Award).
  • October-December 2024 – The People’s Choice Award is announced. The Organizers will contact the winners and the sponsors to arrange the delivery of awards. The Organizers will send the competition catalogue in PDF to all participants. Online award ceremony, if applicable. 

In principle, the deadline for submitting photographs will not be extended. The Organizers may decide to grant a short extension only in very special circumstances. Sufficient publicity will be given to this decision, on the competition website, and on the Competition’s social networks (IG: @natureandhumansphoto). This could lead to a slight variation in the rest of the dates.

An online awards ceremony may be organized with the aim of raising awareness about the Competition and the winning images to as wide an audience as possible.


The Jury is made up of photographers and/or nature and conservation experts of ample national and international prestige. Their names and a brief biography will be published on the competition website. 

The members of the Jury will make their assessments of each image individually through the Competition’s web platform and without knowing the authorship of the image at any time.

All decisions shall be taken collegially by the Jury, and shall be final. 

Neither the members of the Jury, nor the Director of the Competition, nor their close relatives, are allowed to participate in the Competition.


The Competition Organizer might contact all entrants using the following email address: We recommended all entrants to include this address in their email contacts, in order to avoid communications being blocked by security and anti-spam systems.

Entrants with questions or comments of a technical nature or suggestions, can also contact the Director of the Competition, Arturo de Frías, at the same email address


Special collaborators of the competition are: FONAMAD (Association of Madrid Nature Photographers), Viajes de Autor SL, through its brand, PANGEA The Travel Store, Grávalos Aplicaciones Gráficas and NCJ Media Solutions.


All entrants must be the sole copyright holders of the submitted photographs and are fully responsible for ensuring that no third party rights exist in the works submitted. Therefore, the entrants shall be liable to the Competition and to the Organizer for all financial burdens that may arise in favour of third parties as a result of actions, claims or disputes arising from the entrants’ failure to comply with these obligations.

Both the Foundation and the sponsors and special collaborators of the Competition may make and store copies of the awarded photographs (Winner, Runner-Up and Finalists) for reproduction, in digital or printed format, in exhibitions, projections or publications, including their inclusion, temporarily or permanently, on the Competition’s website or on their webpages and social networks. The Foundation, as well as the sponsors and special collaborators of the Competition may also use awarded photographs for the future promotion of the Competition by any means, including social networks.

The entrants retain all rights to the images submitted and assign only the non-exclusive right of publication and only for the aforementioned purpose. Any image published by The Foundation, sponsors or special partners of the Competition must indicate the name of its author in a clearly legible form.


All participants declare that they have read and understood the conditions of use and the privacy and security policy contained in the “Legal information” section of the Competition website, expressly accepting them.


All entrants must abide to these Rules. Participation in this competition implies full acceptance of each and every one of these Rules, as well as of the Jury’s decision, which shall in all cases be final. The Foundation, as the Organizer of the Competition, may also resolve any circumstance not foreseen in these Rules, and its decision shall also be final. The Rules shall be governed by and interpreted in accordance with the laws of Spain and the parties submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Madrid courts.


In the unlikely case of discrepancy, the Spanish version of the Competition Rules will prevail.


Version finished on May 24th, at 14h CET.