You’ve been taking amazing photos of celestial objects and you want to share them with the world.
You might even go one step further and want to enter your snaps into a competition.
Why not give it a go?
Entering an astrophotography contest can be a great way to try to get more attention for your images while also being inspired by the competition themes.
Many photography contests have themes that entrants have to bear in mind when taking images which is a great way to make you think out the box and try new things with your camera. Here’s a rundown of some of the best astrophotography competitions and contests.
If you’d like to see a graphical breakdown of the astrophotography contests, we got you covered:
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- 1 Six Astrophotography Contests To Enter
- 2 Four Good Reasons To Enter An Astrophotography Contest
- 3 Related Questions
- 4 Conclusion
Six Astrophotography Contests To Enter
The Photographing Space website runs an “Image of the Week” contest.
If your image gets chosen, it will appear on the Photographing Space website, social profiles, and newsletter. While you’re not guaranteed of any prize, as stated on their website, it is a fantastic way to get some exposure for your astrophotography.
Just make sure that your image meets their requirements. The site is looking for images that are of high quality and have uniqueness, involve an interesting story, or are scientifically relevant.
The judges also want images of deep-space celestial objects, the moon, the planets, wide-field nightscapes, the Milky Way, aurora, star trails, and archival data (such as DSS/Hubble). Your image also has to be recent – it has to have been taken within the last calendar year.
If your image ticks all those boxes, you can submit it here.
Atik Cameras Astrophotography Competition
This is a yearly astrophotography competition run by Atik Cameras. All the photo entries will appear in their website gallery. Some images will be shared on social media profiles where astrophotography is promoted.
Excitingly, some images will even be used in the company’s advertisements. The only catch is that you have to take your pictures with an Atik camera.
Entries are currently open and will be until 17th January 2021. The prize that’s up for grabs for the best image(s) is an Atik 16200 camera, but if you don’t want it you’ll be provided with an opportunity to choose a product you prefer. Sweet!
To find out more and to enter your image, go here.
The International Dark Sky Annual Competition
The International Dark Sky Association runs a yearly astrophotography competition that has different themes every year. This year they had a “Capture the Dark” contest. It’s worth checking their website regularly for news about other competitions and contests.
The “Capture The Dark” competition was the first annual competition run by the association and competition entrants were invited to send images for five categories: Connecting to the Dark, Impact of Light Pollution, Bright Side of Lighting, Youth, and International Dark Sky Places.
Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer Of The Year Award
This annual photo contest has been running for 12 years and takes notice of the best images that are produced by professional and amateur astrophotographers alike. You can enter from anywhere in the world.
In this year’s competition, over 5,000 people entered and the image categories included the moon, aurorae, and skyscapes.
How the competition works is that the best three to five images in every category will receive rewards. You don’t need to use special equipment to take your shots – you just need your trusty camera or phone and have an eye for what makes a beautiful astronomy image.
To find out more about the contest, visit the Royal Museums Greenwich website. You’ll be able to enter the 2021 contest in January 2021, and you should – prize money is valued at £10,00.
Smithsonian Photo Contest
This competition is run by the Smithsonian and it’s been an annual event for 17 years.
If you’re interested in entering the contest, you can enter now – it’s still open until 30 November 2020. You’ll need to submit your entries via this link and you can send a maximum of 15 pictures per category. The categories are as follows:
- Natural world: plants, landscapes, and animals, as well as climatological or geological features and scientific processes and endeavors.
- Travel: People, locales, or activities that convey a sense of place.
- People: Photos and portraits of individuals or groups.
- The American Experience: Objects, activities, and events that connect American people to their cultural heritage or history.
- Altered images: This category is for images that have been manipulated for artistic purposes, such as with traditional and/or digital special effects.
- Mobile: Photos taken with a mobile device (phone or tablet).
There’s a grand prize of $2,500 for the winner, while the winners in each image category will get $500. As a bonus, there’s also a Reader’s Choice prize of $500.
Sky And Telescope
While not a contest, this is a fantastic opportunity to get your astrophotography published in Sky and Telescope, a monthly U.S. magazine.
It accepts amateur astrophotographers’ pictures of celestial objects. Every month, the magazine publishes the best pics they receive.
It doesn’t matter your age, nationality, or level of experience – everyone is encouraged to send their work. You also don’t have to be subscribed to the magazine.
Although this isn’t a competition, there are benefits to submitting images – if your picture is used in the magazine, you’ll be paid for it, unless it features in their monthly gallery (which is great too because it will give you exposure). You can find out more by reading the magazine’s FAQ section.
Four Good Reasons To Enter An Astrophotography Contest
You might be an amateur photographer but that shouldn’t stop you from entering an astronomy photo competition.
As we’ve seen in some competition descriptions in this article, there are contests that are open to people of all skill levels so you definitely don’t have to be a professional. There are good reasons to enter your astrophotography in a contest. Here are some to consider.
It can help you find your purpose
It’s not always easy to know what photos to take or maybe you’re going through a creative rut and your telescope is collecting dust.
Having a contest to work towards can help you to take a chance, do something different with your photography, and even experiment with something new to fine-tune the type of photos you want to take.
You’ll have a deadline to motivate you
It’s easy to lose track of your astronomy hobby when you’re busy with work and other life commitments but that’s unfortunate because it means your passion for astrophotography will be put on the back burner.
By having a competition to work towards, this will encourage you to keep your passion alive and achieve your goal of taking breath-taking images of the night sky.
You can gain exposure
Even if you don’t win the photo contest, that’s not actually the main prize you should be striving to achieve.
If you make the shortlist of finalists, this could still get your image published on the company’s website, social media profiles, or in their newsletter, thus giving you more exposure for your photography.
It will be a great achievement to help you feel even more motivated to continue with your hobby.
You’ll learn a lot
Astrophotography contests are excellent learning opportunities for amateur photographers because they are a great way to be exposed to some of the best and most promising astrophotographers in the country and possibly even the world.
By checking out the other entrants’ images and seeing what pictures made the cut, you’ll be able to learn more about astrophotography and get inspired by what others have achieved.
Will you lose your photograph rights by entering your images into a contest?
This is not necessarily the case, but you have to read the contest’s terms and conditions to be sure that you will retain your rights.
How can you improve your chances of winning the contest?
While you should be practicing your craft as much as possible and learning more about astrophotography, it’s also useful to learn about the contest itself, such as by researching who the judges are and what work they like to see.
If you have some astrophotography pictures you’ve taken that you’re really proud of and want to share with other people who are passionate about astronomy, why not enter a competition or contest?
You could even just submit your images for possible publication in a leading astronomy magazine and get your work out there.
In this article, we’ve featured six of the best beginner astrophotography contests, competitions, or publication opportunities to help you get started.