The Environmental Photographer of the Year Award

Nikon, WaterBear, and CIWEM have launched the search for The Environmental Photographer of the Year 2021. Now in its 14th year, this annual competition provides an international platform to raise awareness of the environmental issues that put our planet at risk. The award celebrates humanity’s ability to survive and innovate and showcases thought-provoking images that call attention to our impact.

The competition is free to enter for all ages. Professional and amateur photographers alike are invited to submit their most provocative, emotive and captivating environmental photography. Participants will be competing for cash awards and prizes across 8 categories, and for the top award of The Environmental Photographer of the Year 2021.

Competition categories

The Environmental Photographer of the Year supports the urgent calls to action of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, recognising the intricate interconnected nature of development, poverty reduction, equality, security and climate action and the unprecedented effort from all sectors of society required to address the defining issues of our time.

Environmental Photographer of the Year

The top award will be granted to a single image that furthers people’s understanding of the causes and effects of environmental change and social inequality, highlights solutions to the climate and ecological emergency, and inspires us to live sustainably.

The winning photographer will receive:

  • £10,000 cash prize and award certificate
  • A spread and interview in CIWEM’s The Environment magazine
  • A profile on the WaterBear platform
  • Feature on Nikon Europe’s website
  • & more

Young Photographer of the Year

In partnership with Nikon, this award showcases the best in environmental photography through the lens of young photographers aged 21 and under.

The winning photographer will receive:

  • Nikon Z Camera + 3 Nikon lenses
  • A profile on the WaterBear platform
  • Feature on Nikon Europe’s website
  • An interview in CIWEM’s Environment Magazine
  • & more
Additional prizes and feature opportunities are awarded in the following categories:

The Resilient Award

Together with the Resilient Foundation, this category showcases the impact of storytelling through photography. The award will be presented to a single image that incorporates a compelling narrative that educates, spreads hope, and inspires action.

The Resilient Foundation was born in response to a lack of action around the rapidly changing climate. The foundation brings the power of inspirational storytelling to the most critical issues of our time.

Environments of the Future

This award chronicles environmental change due to humanity’s impact and provides a glimpse into our future. Photographs will demonstrate the resilience of people and environments facing adversity and rising to the challenges of environmental destruction, energy security and the conservation of our natural resources.

Sustainable Cities

This category calls attention to our built environments and the communities and animals that inhabit them, featuring smart and resilient cities, transport, waste, and the connections between nature, society, and infrastructure. Photographs will include environmental solutions from engineering, design, materials, and structures.

Climate action

This award explores sustainable environmental and economic development and demonstrates the human connection to the natural world and our actions to preserve it. Photographs will highlight the natural and social value of the environment, affordable clean energy, and innovative adaption and mitigation approaches to environmental change.

Water and Security

Examining the intricate relationships between access to clean water and sanitation, gender equality and security this category explores our ever-increasing demand for water and the role of equality in every aspect of water management from water scarcity to flooding.

People's Choice

This is the public’s chance to vote for the top environmental photograph of 2021. Voting will take place online and a single People’s Choice award will go to the majority favourite. The winner will join the 2021 jury winners and be featured in The Environmental Photographer of the Year exhibition.

Submit your best work for a chance to win! Please visit The Environmental Photographer of the Year official page here for more details about how to submit.