Earth Photo is an innovative competition and exhibition developed jointly by Forestry England and the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) which reflects the organisations’ common interest in enabling a better understanding of the world around us through our complementary disciplines of the Environment and Geography. Earth Photo will focus on photographs or films which describe one of the following subjects; People, Place, NatureChanging Forests and A Climate of Change – introduced to mark COP26, The UN climate change summit in Glasgow, due to be held in November 2021. The best image in each category will be awarded £250 each.

We believe that photography has a profound national and international influence and that a picture is worth a thousand words; images continue to influence public understanding of the world around us and convey meaning and emotion beyond the barriers of language.

Earth Photo’s main objective is to reveal the story behind the pictures: informing, entertaining and engaging audiences of all kinds and encouraging conversations to begin about their subjects. Earth Photo will enable the viewer not only to appreciate a single or group sequence of images, but also to understand the ‘back story’ to a picture.


The Earth Photo exhibition will be open at the Royal Geographical Society, London between 28 June and 30 August and within the forests of Forestry England.


First Prize: A special prize will be awarded to one outstanding photographer.

Winners will also be selected for each of the categories and awarded £250 each:

  • People
  • Place
  • Nature
  • Changing Forests
  • A Climate of Change

A prize will also be awarded for a Short Film.

The overall Earth Photo 2021 Winner and all the other prize winners will be announced during the exhibition at the Royal Geographical Society, London. One of the world’s finest collections of photography, artwork and mapping which records over 500 years of travel, people, place and geographical discovery from the 1480s to the present day.


The exhibition and awards will be selected by an expert panel of selectors from the fields of Photography, Film, Geography and Environment. The selection panel of distinguished photographers, curators, geographers, environmentalists, and writers are listed below. The panel will be chaired by the award winning photographer, Marissa Roth.

A full list of selectors will be announced shortly.

Marissa Roth

Photographer and Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society

Katie Burton

Editor, Geographical Magazine

Sean Gallagher

Photographer and filmmaker

Simon Norfolk


Amy Frascella

Director Colour & Materials Jaguar & Land Rover Design

Ted Soqui


Basil Pao


Andrew Stringer

Head of Environment and Forest Planning, Forestry England

Fredi Devas

Photographer and producer of the Cities episode of Planet Earth II

Dr Michael Pritchard FRPS

Director, Education and Public Affairs, Royal Photographic Society


The competition is open to all professional and amateur, national and international photographers of all ages. Entrants are invited to submit up to 10 still photographs or films. All entrants must ensure that the quality of their entries meets the competition’s criteria as stated in the Rules and Guidelines

We understand that the coronavirus pandemic will have impacted photographers and potentially limited their body of work. We have therefore decided that submitted photographs do not need to have be recent or been completed after a certain date

Entry is by online submission through this website, and deadline for entry is by 5pm (BST) on Tuesday 4 May 2021. All entrants are asked to ensure they have read all Rules and Guidelines before entering.

The competition’s overall themes and categories are People, Place, Nature, Changing Forests and A Climate of Change.

This could include but not exclusively images representing:

  • Human connection to the natural world
  • Sustainable environmental and economic development
  • Natural and social value of the environment
  • Biodiversity
  • Health and well-being connected to the environment
  • Extreme events and environmental destruction – flooding, drought, deforestation and other weather extremes
  • Adapting to the effects of a changing climate
  • Resilience and Innovative solutions
  • Natural resources – security and conservation
  • Human resilience and facing adversity

In addition to the photography categories there is also a prize for short films between 5 seconds and 5 minutes long. Please see Help & FAQs section for further guidance.

Please provide a CV (2 x A4 sides maximum) and a short statement about yourself and your submitted images/films. If selected for exhibition, the organisers will ask you for a more detailed description for the catalogue and publicity purposes.


An Entry Fee of £15 will be charged to each entrant for up to 10 images.


At the first stage, entrants are asked to submit up to 10 still photographs or films and a completed entry form. All entries must be in line with the Digital Specifications as detailed in the Rules and Guidelines. The judges are looking in particular for pictures that show the dynamic link between environmental and social issues in a way that makes us think differently about the world around us. The categories are People, Place, Nature, Changing Forests and A Climate of Change.  Individual entries will be judged anonymously, and the judges will concentrate on looking for the following five qualities in submitted entries:

  • Impact – does it illustrate immediate, subtle or resonant messages?
  • Creativity – is it unusual, thoughtful, beautiful, subversive or ironic?
  • Originality – is the subject treated differently and is the subject matter new?
  • Composition – consider the perspective, balance, clarity of meaning and focus of statement
  • Relevance – consider current environmental issues
  • Technical quality – consider clarity, focus, lighting, exposure and colour

All entrants will be informed if they have been selected for exhibition by Tuesday 25 May 2021, by email. All finalists will be contacted by the exhibition organisers regarding further details for providing final exhibition quality image or film files, and further details about the exhibition dates and events. See Digital Specifications section of Rules and Guidelines for further information. Stills images will be checked for proof of authenticity.


Tuesday 4 May 2021, 5pm (BST)Deadline for entries
Tuesday 25 May 2021Results announced
Friday 4 June 2021Deadline for high res images and work details
26 and 27 July 2021 (further August dates to be announced)Indoor exhibition at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), London
Monday 28 June – Sunday 19 September 2021Outdoor exhibition at Dalby Forest, North Yorkshire
Monday 4 October – Sunday 19 December 2021Outdoor exhibition at Moors Valley Country Park and Forest, Dorset
Monday 20 December 2021- Sunday 24 April 2022Indoor exhibition at Grizedale, Cumbria

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