Photography Contest Categories

Curious about the photography contest categories at Wondering where your stunning photo fits best?

Each submission to the BetterPhoto contest is an opportunity to showcase your work within a specific category. Our contest is designed to be engaging, enjoyable, and competitive. Use the guidelines below to find the best fit for your photo.

First Things First: Important Note

Random categories evolve monthly, featuring both broad "umbrella" themes and more precise subjects. To stay current and choose wisely, visit the current monthly themes page for this month's specifics.

Nature & Landscapes

December 2001 Photo Contest Grand Prize Winner - Lake Tarawera, New Zealand
© Mike Hollman
July 2002 Photo Contest Second Place Winner - Sheepscot Village
© Guy Biechele

Our vast category spans landscapes, sunsets, urban and rural vistas, seascapes, and more, capturing the outdoor splendor of our world.

Preference is given to broad, sweeping views. More intimate nature scenes, such as close-ups of flora or fauna, may fit better elsewhere.

Explore breathtaking Nature and Landscape Photography.



December 2002 Photo Contest Grand Prize Winner - Screecher
© Donna Eaton
August 2000 Photo Contest Second Place Winner - Spirit Eagle
© W.J. Shattil
November 2000 Photo Contest Grand Prize Winner - Lone Wolf in Aspen
© Darwin Wiggett
September 2002 Photo Contest Second Place Winner - American Moon Moth
© Bob Jensen

From pets to wildlife and everything in between, this category celebrates animals in all settings.

These photos can include pictures of pets - dogs and puppies, cats and kittens, birds, reptiles, amphibians - as well as photos of wildlife, zoo life, farm / domesticated animals, and even insects.

Discover inspiring Animal Photography.



October  2000 Photo Contest Second Place Winner - Shattered Dreams
© Donna Rae
October  2000 Photo Contest Second Place Winner - Oh No!
© Monika Sapek
December 2000 Photo Contest Second Place Winner - Cowboy
© S°ren Skov
September 2001 Photo Contest Second Place Winner - Curious
© Colleen Walsh

Our People category documents the human experience across all stages of life and activities.

These include pictures of people in all walks of life - parenting and family, children, cute baby pics, couples and relationships, models / fashion, people engaged in fun outdoor activities, etc.

This is all about decisive moments captured through the lens.

Explore the vibrant tapestry of human emotion and connection in our past contest winning people galleries. From the tender dynamics of family life, the innocence and joy of childhood, to the elegance of fashion, our collection celebrates the richness of people in every setting:

We invite you to share your own snapshots of life. However, please pay attention to the following important guideline:

Model Releases Required: For every recognizable person in your photographs, a signed model release is necessary to comply with our Contest Terms & Conditions. This ensures the privacy and rights of the individuals depicted are respected.

This category includes:

See stunning People Photography.

Important: as according to the Contest Terms & Conditions, be sure you have signed model releases for any recognizable people in these photos.

Elements of Design

May 2002 Photo Contest Second Place Winner - Patterns of Nature
© Bob Garas
November 2002 Photo Contest Grand Prize Winner - Under The Neon Lights
© Heather McFarland
October 2002 Photo Contest First Place Winner - Drying Out
© Robert Anderson
July 2002 Photo Contest First Place Winner - Scoops of Sun
© Anupam Pal
May 2004 Photo Contest Second Place Prize Winner - Fast56
© Peter Wilson
September 2000 Photo Contest Second Place Winner - Staying Focused
© Leslie JanÚ

Focusing on the fundamental elements like line, shape, and texture, this category is for photos that turn the ordinary into extraordinary through composition and perspective.

This category does not include: Digital illustrations or extreme digital modifications.

Graphic design illustrations made in a program like Adobe Illustrator and extreme digital creations do not belong in this category. Here we are looking for the elements of design - line, shape, pattern, etc.

Instead, think of that softly curving line leading to an interesting subject off in the distance.

Or a pattern of trees planted in a perfect line, leading out into a foggy distant background.


We are also looking for images that demonstrate cool photographic techniques, such as bokeh and motion blur.

View amazing Abstract Photos, Photography Techniques, and Pictures of Graphics Elements of Design.


Techniques / Digital Darkroom

July 2002 Photo Contest Second Place Winner - Seattle in Open Hands
© Daniel Biggs
May 2004 Photo Contest First Place Winner - A Touch of Color
© Jessica Hughes
April 2004 Photo Contest First Place Winner - Watercolors
© Adam Cowart
April 2004 Photo Contest First Place Prize Winner - Baliol College Oxford
© David Wilkinson
This category is appropriate for images greatly altered in post-processing, as well black and white or infrared images (even if done in camera), or digital art. It can be images created or drastically altered in software like Photoshop, Lightroom, Topaz, etc - or it could be demonstrating some in-camera technique that greatly alters the look of the scene. It might be: This category is NOT for:
See additional creative examples of Digital Darkroom and Photos Made in software like Photoshop


Travel & Place

November 2002 Photo Contest Second Place Winner - Palm Sunrise
© Patricia Marroquin
This category includes images that express the joys and adventures of travel photography, showcasing place as an important part of the photo. Note: if you enter a photo into this category, it's a good idea to include the place name in the title or description of your photo.

This category can include landscapes, outdoor scenics, nature images, urban landscapes, seascapes, cityscapes, people, details... any subject you might encounter while traveling, as long as the photo expresses a sense of PLACE. If the photo could have been taken anywhere, it doesn't belong in this category.

This category is NOT for:
See more beautiful examples of Travel and Place Photography



May 2004 Photo Contest Grand Prize Winner - Spent
© Heather McFarland
April 2004 Photo Contest Second Place Prize Winner - Bundle of Purple
© Monika Sapek
We are looking for really interesting, unique, and beautiful pictures of flowers in this category. They can be shot outdoors, photographed in the studio, or in an arrangement on your kitchen table... and at any angle of view.
See more WOW examples of Flower Photography


Details & Macro

July 2002 Photo Contest Grand Prize Winner - Starfish Reflections
© Piper Lehman
Getting in close is the name of the game for this category. We welcome pictures of small details that suggest a larger story. This is also the place for MACRO photographs. (Note: a macro image of a flower is better placed in the Flowers category, unless it is so close that it becomes abstract and looks little like a recognizable flower).
See powerful examples of Details and close-up photography



August 2001 Photo Contest Grand Prize Winner - Red Engine
© Cathy Gamlen
May 2004 Photo Contest Second Place Prize Winner - Viva
© David Andrade
This category is for: This category is NOT for:
See even more amazing examples of Transportation, Architecture, and Industrial Photography


This is the place for any image that doesn't fit into one of the other nine categories. If you have an photo that you love (that doesn't seem to fit into the other categories), enter it into this category. Please do not put photos into this category that could fit into another category. See more stunning examples of Nature and Landscape Photography

Final Thoughts

The contest is open to all photographers, regardless of skill level.

In the end, a photo may fit into more than one category. For example, a landscape with strong lines leading up to a person, that you photographed in Tibet, might reasonably get categorized in Nature & Landscapes, People, Elements of Design, or the Travel & Place category.

But remember... you can only enter a particular photo into one category per month. You cannot enter a photo repeatedly in various categories. Carefully analyze your photo, compare to previous winners, and then choose the most fitting category.

What We Do Not Take Into Account

As long as the subject matter fits, the following kinds of images can be categorized in any of the above categories - we do not separate the contest entries based on the following criteria:

Note on Digital Manipulation

Although digitally manipulated entries are allowed, we ask that you note the digital techniques used to create the picture in the description of your photo. The judges do not discriminate against digital images but do appreciate when the contestant openly shares that such digital editing has occurred.

These categories are intended to help you enjoy the photo contest. They are not written in stone and are considered suggestions more than rules. We reserve the right to determine when a photo fits or does not fit into a particular category.

So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and give it your best shot. When you are ready, enter today.

Or... read the Photo Contest Guidelines to learn more about how to win a photo contest.