A powerful eruption illuminates the slopes of Mexico’s Colima Volcano on December 13, 2015. I was in the town of Comala when I suddenly saw incandescence above the volcano’s crater and started shooting. Seconds later, a powerful volcanic explosion expelled a cloud of ash particles and a massive lightning bolt illuminated most of the dark scene. It was one of the most exciting moments of my life.
You are the next National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year. Sound big? It is.
Every year, thousands of talented photographers join the National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year contest for a chance to be named a grand prize winner. From astounding scenes of awe-inspiring lands to electric cities vibrating with life, and elusive human moments captured in an instant, the competition brings together pictures from around the world.
Curious how to stand out from the crowd? Recent National Geographic winners share their top tips for entering a photo contest.
1. SEND A MESSAGE.
A powerful image without a clear message would be a wasted opportunity and won’t transcend [in a contest]. Send a strong statement with your images, create awareness of a social or ecological issue, and take part. —Anuar Patjane, 2015 Grand Prize Winner
2. BE PROUD OF YOUR WORK.
Be absolutely proud of the work you are submitting. You may just have a gut feeling about a photo you took and you cannot articulate why you love it, but you should submit it. —Tarun Sinha, 2017 Third Place Winner
3. CHECK OUT THE COMPETITION.
Take a good look at the work of top photographers from around the world. Take pictures of the subjects you want to cherish. What you should not forget—is awe and respect for your subjects. —Hiromi Kano, 2017 Second Place Winner, Nature
4. BE PREPARED TO FAIL.
With some successes and a lot of failures, I realized that as a photographer who frequently enters into different contests, I must accept the fact I will fail most the time. It is a complex process—of first being able to get your best shot, then to communicate the context to judges, and hopefully to convince them that your shot is one of the best and most unique they have ever seen. And above all, be prepared that many other photographers are doing the same as you did. —Anthony Lau, 2016 Grand Prize Winner
To see more amazing photography and throw your hat in the ring, visit the 2018 Travel Photographer of the Year at natgeo.com/travelphotocontest to enter. Win up to $10,000, be published on @natgeotravel Instagram, and be named the 2018 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year.