Photographers Sought for Indiana, Naturally: A Nature Photography Competition

Posted by The Nature Conservancy/Indiana and the Arts Council of Indianapolis ; Posted on 
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Photographers Sought for Indiana, Naturally: A Nature Photography Competition


Indiana, Naturally: A Nature Photography Competition
sponsored by The Nature Conservancy/Indiana and the Arts Council of Indianapolis

Deadline to Apply:

Sunday, June 27, 2021, by midnight, EDT

The Arts Council of Indianapolis and The Nature Conservancy/Indiana invite artists to submit photographs and photo-based artworks highlighting the natural beauty of Indiana, to be selected through a competition format for consideration for display at the Indianapolis International Airport for a three-month period beginning in August 2021.


Release of Call to Entries:  Thursday, May 27, 2021
Submission deadline: Sunday, June 27, 2021, by midnight, EDT
Finalists announced: by July 2, 2021
Delivery of framed work ready to install:  August 8, 2021
Exhibition: August 9 – December 10, 2021
Pickup of artwork:  December 11, 2021

Details for shipping, delivery and pickup will be sent to artists selected for exhibition. The Nature Conservancy and the Arts Council of Indianapolis reserve the right to adjust any deadline(s) as a result of causes beyond their control.


Except as otherwise provided, the competition is open to professional and amateur photographers based in the U.S. regardless of citizenship, so long as the laws of their jurisdiction allow participation and they are able to comply with the rules and procedures of this competition. Employees of The Nature Conservancy, the Arts Council of Indianapolis, and the Indianapolis Airport Authority, and the immediate families of such employees, are not eligible to participate

Photographers must be age 13 or older. Due to copyright licensing requirements and other laws, applicants under age 18 must have a parent or legal guardian available to co-sign the application form and to authorize participation and any applicable agreements.

Applicants must be able to prepare digital files according to the guidelines below and fill out an online entry form, which includes uploading the image files. Applicants must also have reliable access to a valid email address for communication with competition officials.

By submitting an entry to this competition, entrants certify that their participation in this competition is not illegal or in violation of any law, regulation, treaty or administrative act, and that the laws of their governing jurisdiction of residence at the time of entry do not prohibit or restrict any of the rights granted herein, including licenses to photography and artwork.


All submitted artworks must be photographs or photo-based images or artworks. All photographs must have been shot within the past five years (2017-2021).

The photographed location must be within the State of Indiana.

The Nature Conservancy’s preserves in Indiana should be strongly considered as subjects for entries. All other things being equal, greater preference will be given to images taken at TNC preserves. From the bison and expansive prairie landscapes at Kankakee Sands to the inspiring forests at Big Walnut and Hitz-Rhodehamel Woods, you can easily find a Conservancy preserve near you here:

If you choose to include people in your submission you are responsible for obtaining a signed “model release” from each person depicted, and you must provide properly signed copies of any model release to the Arts Council of Indianapolis if you are selected to participate in the exhibition.  A sample model release can be found here:

Applicants may not submit images that involve the harassment of wildlife, damage to the environment by the photographer, putting any person or animal in danger or the impression of such, or infringing upon the rights of any other person.


There are three competition divisions, which will be adjudicated separately.

Adult Professional: Limited to individuals who make their primary living from the pursuit of photography (commercial or artistic), whether it is nature photography or another form.

College or graduate students majoring in a photographic discipline must enter in the Adult Professional category. Art majors without an extensive photography background may choose to enter either in the Adult Amateur or Adult Professional categories.

Adult Amateur: Individuals age 18 or older, or age 16-18 and having graduated from high school, who do not pursue photography for their primary living. College students who have taken one or two undergraduate-level courses in photography, but who do not major in art or photography, should enter in the Adult Amateur category.  Art majors without an extensive photography background may choose to enter either in the Adult Amateur or Adult Professional categories.

Youth: Individuals aged 13 to 17 at the time of application and having not yet graduated from high school.

Please do not hesitate to email the competition director BEFORE SUBMITTING if you have a question as to the appropriate division under which you should enter. In addition, you may be asked for further information in order to establish your qualification for a particular division if it is not clear from your application materials.


Within each division, photographers may submit up to 3 images in each of the following categories, for a total maximum submission of 12 artworks:

  • Landscape
  • Plant life
  • Wildlife in natural habitat
  • Artistic

All photographs should accurately reflect the subject matter and the scene as it appeared. Photos that have been digitally altered beyond standard optimization (defined as removal of dust, cropping, reasonable adjustments to exposure, color and contrast, etc.) and are entered into a division other than “Artistic” will be disqualified. Multiple exposures that have been combined to produce a single high dynamic range image are acceptable. Images that do not meet these requirements may or may not be judged, as determined by the judging panel in its sole discretion.

Digital montages, significantly recolored or enhanced images, images with special visual effects or filters, composite or collaged images, photo-based mixed-media works, or multi-panel images of any kind are allowable but must be submitted in the “Artistic” category.

Each category will be adjudicated separately. Judges reserve the right to independently recategorize a submitted image during the selection process without notifying the artist. To avoid this, please contact the competition director BEFORE SUBMITTING if there is a question about which category is appropriate for a particular image.

Images will be judged on originality, composition, overall impact and artistic merit. The 5-judge panel will be announced after the final date for contest submissions. The Arts Council of Indianapolis and The Nature Conservancy, upon recommendation from the judging panel, shall determine winner eligibility in their sole and absolute discretion.  Whether any artwork will actually be displayed at the Indianapolis International Airport shall be in the sole and absolute discretion of the Indianapolis International Airport Authority.  All decisions are final.


Images selected by the jury panel will be displayed without regard to division or category. If approved for display, they will be mixed together for maximum aesthetics and placed, at the organizers’ discretion, in one of three locations within the Indianapolis International Airport.

One of these locations is behind the security line and is not accessible by the non-travelling public.

Images selected for exhibition in the Landscape, Plant Life, and Wildlife categories must be delivered matted and framed. Framed sizes must be a minimum of 8” x 10” (or 10” x 8”) and must not exceed 24” x 32” (or 32” x 24”). Mats should be neutral in color with white, off-white or black preferred. Mat widths must be a minimum of 1-1/2 inches all around. Frame color should be plain silver or (preferred) black metal or dark/black wood. Framed photographs must arrive with D-rings or a solidly attached wire on the back, or must provide a full-width channel in a metal frame, ready for installation. Sawtooth-type hangers are not acceptable. Arriving artworks that are not consistent with these presentation guidelines may be excluded from the final exhibition without notice to the selected artist.

For images selected for exhibition from the Artistic category, competition organizers will discuss the proposed presentation individually with the submitting artists.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  All artworks will be displayed in glass display cases, and reflections from the case glass can distract viewers from appreciating the artwork. To minimize reflections it is preferable, therefore, to ship or deliver framed artworks without any type of glazing—i.e., do  not use glass or acrylic sheet in your presentation. More details on this suggestion will be sent to accepted artists.


The judging panel will designate “Best Of” recognition for each division and category, for up to 7 possible recognized images selected from those identified for display. In addition, a special “Nature Conservancy Award” will be granted to recognize the most evocative portrayal of a Nature Conservancy site in Indiana, without regard to division, and the artwork will be featured on The Nature Conservancy’s website. It is possible for one image to receive both a “Best Of” award and the Nature Conservancy Award. Additional images may receive “Juror’s Award” recognition at the discretion of the jury panel.

The Nature Conservancy will stage a “People’s Choice” award competition via Facebook during the run of the exhibition. A set of images will be featured each week and “likes” will be collected to determine the award winner. More details will be sent to the artists whose work has been selected for exhibition.

No cash or monetary prizes will be given.

Copyright and License

The photographer retains full copyright to his or her photographs or photo-based images. However, upon submission of photographs or photo-based images, the entrant grants royalty-free, nonexclusive, perpetual licenses, to the Indianapolis Airport Authority, The Nature Conservancy, and  the Arts Council of Indianapolis in order  to:

Use the photographs or photo-based images, without compensation to the artist, on the organizations’ respective websites and in news releases, which may then appear in print or on third party websites, for the purpose of publicizing the resulting exhibition, any of the Indianapolis Airport Authority’s activities, any of The Nature Conservancy’s or the Arts Council of Indianapolis’ activities, and future competitions.

Use the photographs or photo-based images, without compensation to the artist, in any of the organizations’ respective communications.

Provide the photographs or photo-based images, without compensation to the artist, to other individuals and organizations for use in news stories, newsletters, reports, slide shows, displays, web pages, and the like, including posting to TNC’s Facebook page for the purpose of operating the “People’s Choice” competition.

Use, in connection with Indiana, Naturally, your name, city, state, and country of residence in promotions and other publications.

Keep the files provided, and to archive the photographs and photo-based images on CD or in other electronic forms, so that they can be used to support the sponsoring organizations and be properly credited.

The Nature Conservancy, the Arts Council of Indianapolis, and the Indianapolis Airport Authority shall endeavor to credit all photographs with the caption “© [Artist’s Name]”

How to Apply

Fill out the submission form at

You will need to provide:

  • Your legal name, and any preferred artist names you work under
  • Your contact information (land mail address, email address, and phone number; social media handles optional)
  • Images:
    – You may upload up to 12 examples of your work to the application form.
    – Image files should be individual JPG/JPEG, PNG, BMP, TIF, or PSD images The image resolution should be 72ppi/dpi (minimum 1900 pixels on the shortest side) Not sure how to do this?  Try   or
    – Do not exceed 1MB in file size per submitted image.
    – Any aspect ratio is acceptable. Please submit ONLY the photographic image; there should be no indication of a mat or frame in the submitted file. Please do not include any visible text, signature or watermark.
    – Name your images files according to the following format:
    – Title_of_Work.jpg (Example: Cardinal_in_Snow.jpg)
    – OPTIONAL: Brief photograph description

Legal Conditions

By entering this contest (“Competition”), you agree to all of the terms and conditions relating to this contest and you are responsible for understanding your rights.

By entering, participants agree to indemnify, defend and hold harmless the Indianapolis Airport Authority (“IAA”), The Nature Conservancy (“Conservancy”), the Arts Council of Indianapolis (“Arts Council”), their respective subsidiaries, affiliates, directors, officers, employees, attorneys, agents and representatives, from any and all third party liability for any injuries, loss, claim, action, demand or damage of any kind arising from or in connection with the competition (collectively, “Losses”), including without limitation any third party claim for copyright infringement or a violation of an individual’s right to privacy and/or publicity right. The Competition is void where prohibited by law.

Each entrant in the Competition (each an “Entrant”) is responsible for ensuring that he or she has the right to submit the photos that he or she submits to the Competition per these rules. You agree that any and all disputes that cannot be resolved with the Arts Council and the Conservancy, and causes of action arising out of or connected with this Competition, shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, before a court of competent jurisdiction located in the State of Indiana which court shall apply the laws of Indiana without regard for rules of conflicts of law. IN ANY SUCH DISPUTE, PARTICIPANT SHALL NOT BE ENTITLED TO ANY PUNITIVE, SPECIAL, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL  OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION ATTORNEYS’ FEES, OR ANY DAMAGES OTHER THAN PARTICIPANT’S ACTUAL OUT-OF- POCKET EXPENSES (IF ANY) ASSOCIATED WITH PARTICIPATING IN THE COMPETITION. YOU HEREBY WAIVE ANY RIGHTS TO HAVE DAMAGES MULTIPLIED OR INCREASED. The Arts Council’s, the IAA’s, and the Conservancy’s web sites are provided “as is” without warranty of any kind, either express or implied.

Neither the IAA, the Arts Council, nor the Conservancy is responsible for any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by web site users or by any equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Competition, or by any technical or human error that may occur in the processing of submissions to the Competition, including but not limited to any misprints or typographical errors. The IAA, the Arts Council, and the Conservancy assume no responsibility for any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation or transmission, communications line failure, theft or destruction or unauthorized access to, or alteration of, entries. Neither the IAA, the Arts Council, nor the Conservancy is responsible for any problems or technical malfunction of any telephone network or lines, computer equipment, servers, providers, computer on-line systems, software, or failure of email on account of technical problems or traffic congestion on the Internet or at any web site, including injury or damage to participant’s or to any other person’s computer related to or resulting from participating or uploading images or information in Competition.

If, for any reason, the Competition is not capable of completion as planned, including but not limited to, any reason of infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures or any other causes beyond the control of the IAA, the Arts Council, or the Conservancy that corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity or proper conduct of the Competition, the Arts Council and the Conservancy reserve the right at their sole discretion to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Competition.


Email Kate Oberreich at  Please allow 48 hours for a response.


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