American Forests’ annual photo contest is an opportunity to showcase a wide array of forest scenes — from large wilderness areas to city parks — that are just as beautiful and diverse as the people who live among, enjoy and depend on them. Images submitted should convey the powerful role these forests play in making our world more beautiful, healthy and prosperous.

The 2024 Forests in Focus Photo Contest is now closed.


The 2024 Forests in Focus photo contest will accept submissions in the following categories:

Forest Landscapes

These images could be views of vast wilderness or highlight the intricacies of the forest floor, ultimately showing the wonder of forests. This category definitely focuses on depth: How many aspects or layers of the forest can you capture?

Big, Beautiful Trees

Photos in this category should strive to depict the essence of a big, beautiful tree, displaying the splendor to be found in breathtaking trees. We particularly love towering, old, gnarled ancients — though we’re definitely open to up-and-comers, too.

Forests and People

One of the best parts of forests is that we get to experience them! This category is for stunning photos of humans interacting with forests in rural or urban areas, through recreation or work.

Forest Wildlife

Managing to capture wildlife in action is the mark of a truly skilled and patient photographer. These images depict nature as it lives in the wild and our urban forests. All wildlife submissions must be of animals in the wild. Photos of animals in captivity will not be considered valid entries.

Cityscapes Splendor

This category focuses on images that depict the importance of trees to people in cities. From providing shade to walkers, runners and playground goers to gracing the skylines with touches of nature, these images creatively illustrate where urban meets nature.

Forest Close-Ups

Focusing on the smallest details sometimes reveals a larger truth. Photos in this category concentrate on up-close shots and tight framing to capture the beauty and wonder of our forests in a personal way.

Nature as Art

Sometimes beauty lies in surprising places. Sometimes it takes a certain eye to find it. Creativity is the key to this category, which seeks photographs that depict nature in inventive ways.

Aspiring Photographers

Are you an aspiring photographer in high school? Or do you know one? This category is for the next generation to show that they’re truly ready to take on the world. (Category is open to students in grades 9 through 12; see below for additional details.)

How To Enter

The 2024 Forests in Focus Photo Contest submission period is now closed.

To enter our 2024 Forests in Focus Photo Contest, you will follow the detailed instructions listed in this section.

  • On the pop-up, please review the “user agreement” and check the box before clicking “Start Uploading.”
  • Enter your full name and email address* in the respective fields. In the “What are you uploading” field, please enter “Photo Contest”.
  • In the file uploader, drag and drop or browse your computer files for the photos you wish to enter. You may upload all photos, up to the contest limit of 10, at one time. To enter information for each photo, please select the circle to the left of each individual photo before adding your Metadata. In the right-hand section titled “Metadata,” please enter the following information:
    • In the “Description” field, enter a detailed description of your photo, and the category for which you are entering it.
    • In the “Creator” field, enter your desired photo credit and if applicable, your Instagram handle for tagging purposes. Example: ‘Jane Doe (Instagram: @JaneDoe)’.
    • In the “Date Created” field, enter the date the photo was taken.
    • In the “Location” field, enter the location at which the photo was taken.
    • Click the green “Upload” button.
    • When the upload is 100% complete, click the “Finish” button.

Entrants will receive an automated confirmation email once their photos have been submitted.

*All entrants must enter their email address in order to be contacted should their submission win. All entrants will be automatically added to American Forests’ email distribution list but can unsubscribe at any point.

Grand prize winning photo of two grey herons with one bringing the other some material to build their nest

2023 Forest in Focus Grand Prize Winner “A Lover's Gift" by Alyssa Hussey

Selecting the Winners

A panel of judges will select one Grand Prize winner, one winner for each of the eight categories and up to four honorable mentions. Also, American Forests will choose four photos to upload to FacebookInstagram and Twitter, where followers will vote on their favorite photos. The photo with the most combined likes after the designated voting period wins the People’s Choice award. Prizes for each selection are below and will also include a one-year subscription to American Forests’ magazine and products from some of our amazing partners.

Grand Prize (1)

Category Winners (8)

  • Highlighted in photo essay to be published in the summer 2024 American Forests magazine.
  • Photo featured in gallery on

Honorable Mention (up to 4)

  • Limited mention in photo essay to be published in the summer 2024 American Forests magazine.
  • Photo featured in gallery on

People’s Choice (1)

  • Photo featured in gallery on
  • Photo featured in Last Look in the summer 2024 issue of American Forests magazine.

Judging Criteria

Photos will be scored based on the following weighted criteria: 1. originality (30%); 2. technical quality (30%); and 3. artistic merit (40%). Photos with the highest cumulative score in their respective categories will take home the prize.