Photo Competition

May 1 - July 15

Photography Contest

Sponsored by Unique Photo

The Raptor Trust Photography Contest
Sponsored by Unique Photo

The Winners

An Indigo Bunting against a green backgroung

Winner Scott Miller
"Indigo Bunting"

Winner Kent Stuart
"Great Blue

Winner Sergio Introna
"The Final Approach"

Winner Tom Surak
"Short-eared Owl Hunting The Refuge During Golden Hour"

The Judges

Joy Yagid is a documentary style photographer who loves capturing the soul of the moment. She photographs people and birds and has a special place in her heart for Niña, the barn owl. She picked up and camera at 8 years old and hasn’t put it down since. She lives in Maplewood NJ with her family. 

Ashleigh Scully is a highly awarded and accomplished 19 year old wildlife conservation photographer from Morristown, New Jersey. Her goal, through photography, is to help develop empathy for unbeloved and underappreciated wildlife subjects.  Ashleigh aims to create hope and inspiration for future generations. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Entries must be submitted via email. Once you register you will receive a confirmation email with instructions for how to label and send your photos.

No. Only photos of wild birds are eligible for judging in this contest. We also will not accept or consider any photos showing birds in or near their nests.  All photographers are encouraged to practice ethical wildlife photography and should not disturb wild animals or use any type of baiting during their photography. 

All photos must be submitted as .JPG and not be larger than 4 MB.

Please label or “name” your photos according to this system.  If your photo is untilted you can leave the parentheses portion out. 
Example:  For Adrianne Thomas’s submission to Spring Songbirds titled “fly away” you would name the photo (Fly Away) A.Thomas.SNG  
Photo title in parentheses: (Fly Away)
Photographer’s First Initial followed by a period: A.
Photographer’s full last name followed by a period: Thomas.
Three-letter photo category: SNG
         Raptors in Action – RPT
         Wonderful Waterfowl – WTR
         Spring Songbirds – SNG

Yes, but keep digital processing to a minimum, such as color balance, cropping, sharpening and contrast. Do not remove distracting elements, edit your background or foreground. Your photo should reflect what you saw at that moment.

Winners will be announced by mid August on our social media and will be notified by email. 

A Professional is defined as someone who makes more than 51% of their income through photography.  An amateur is defined as anyone who makes less than 51% of their income through photography. 

Yes. While you can only submit 3 photos total, they can each be for a different category or all can be for a single category or any mix you would like. 

Registration will remain open through July 10th. Please contact Shari Stern at or at 908-647-1091 with further questions.

Guidelines and Consent

ELIGIBILITY: Open to all residents of the United States age 18 and older. Best in Show winners must visit New Jersey within 2021 to claim the entirety of their prize. Sponsor reserves the right to verify all eligibility requirements. *Birds must be native to the mid-Atlantic US, photos do not have to be taken in NJ.

CONTEST PERIOD: Contest will open May 1, 2021 at 8:00am EST. Contest will close on July 15, 2021 at 5:00 pm EST. 

HOW TO ENTER: Contestants must submit the electronic form on our website. Upon completion of the form you will be emailed a confirmation with instructions for how to submit your photos. Please be sure your name and email address are spelled correctly. The contest entry fee is $10.  That one time fee allows you to submit up to 3 photos. Contestants may not submit more than 3 photos. 

All photos must be the original work of the contestant and the contestant must be the sole owner of the copyright for each entry. 

GRAND PRIZE JUDGING: Six (6) category winners will be selected from among all eligible entries received by our judges. Two (2) Grand Prize winners, one for Professional and one for Amateur, will be determined from among the category winners.  

WINNER NOTIFICATION:Contest winners will be notified by email or telephone by August 15, 2021. 

PRIZES: A winner for each category will be selected and these six winners will receive a Raptor Trust gift bag. A “Best in Show” photo will be chosen from among the category winners for the Professional bracket and the Amateur divisions. These two winners will receive a private, guided tour of The Raptor Trust and a photo session with some of The Raptor Trust’s educational ambassador birds. 

**ETHICAL PHOTOGRAPHY GUIDELINES: The Raptor Trust and Unique Photo will not accept or consider any photos showing birds in their nest or near their nests. All photographers are encouraged to practice ethical wildlife photography and should not disturb wild animals or use any type of baiting during their photography. 

EVENT SPONSOR: Unique Photo, 123 US-46, Fairfield, NJ 07004, 973-377-2007


Entrant will retain all rights to any photograph submitted.


Entering of photographs constitutes consent for The Raptor Trust and Unique Photo to publish and reproduce the photographer’s name and photo in the Raptor Trust newsletter or on the The Raptor Trust or Unique Photo websites, digital versions or social media pages or in promotional uses relating to the Photo Contest and/or The Raptor Trust or Unique Photo.

By submitting an entry, winners agree to allow use of his or her name, and/or photograph, for promoting this contest without compensation, unless prohibited by law. All photographs remain the property of the photographer and may not be used by The Raptor Trust or Unique Photo except as described in these rules.

By submitting a photograph to enter the Photo Contest, the entrant grants Sponsors a royalty-free, nonexclusive right to:

  1. Display the photograph on any and all Sponsors’ websites and digital publications.
  2. Allow third parties to share the photograph on social media.
  3. Use the photograph on the Internet and in social media to promote the contest and Sponsor businesses.
  1. Use the photograph in Sponsors’ internal and external communications materials, including but not limited to websites and web publications and printed materials and periodicals.
  1. Provide your photograph to other individuals and organizations for use in news stories, newsletters, reports, slide shows, displays, web pages, videos, and the like.
  1. Use, in connection with the Photo Contest, your name, city and state in promotions and other publications.

Sponsors will endeavor to credit all photographs with the caption “Person’s Name” when the full name is available.