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Photo Contest Rules

Photo submissions will be accepted for WTA's Northwest Exposure Photo Contest from August 17 - October 17, 2023.

2023 Northwest Exposure Official Rules

Washington Trails Association’s annual Northwest Exposure Photo Contest gives photographers the chance to highlight the people and sights found on Washington's trails. Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place in the main contest categories alongside a grand prize. One winner will also be selected from each of the two bonus categories. Winners will be also be featured in our annual calendar and online.

Contest Rules

An official entry form must be completed for each photograph submitted. The photo submission form will become available on August 17 when the contest opens.

All photos must be taken in Washington state and comply with Leave No Trace. This also includes having dogs leashed if they are visible in the image. Images must be taken from a trail and drone/aerial photography is currently not accepted.

Main Categories

Photographers may submit one photo in each of the following main categories:

  • Trailscapes: Winding trails and the incredible landscapes they take you through. 
  • Hikers in Action:  In camp or on trail, capture the experience of people enjoying the outdoors. Photographer must have permission for photo to be published from any person whose face is shown in the photo.
  • Flora and Fauna: Woods, wildflowers and all things four-legged and furry! Share your best photos of Washington's native plants or animals found while out on trail—from pikas to bears, from trilliums to lupine. Images of captive animals photographed in game farms or roadside zoos will be disqualified. Please give wildlife plenty of space.
  • Trail Family: Show us the faces of the people you love to hike with. Photographer must have permission for photo to be published from any person whose face is shown in the photo.

Bonus Categories

Photographers may submit any number of entries to the following bonus categories:

  • Instagram: Show us how you hike by following @washingtontrails and using the tag #nwexposure2023. See special Instagram rules below.
  • East of the Cascades: Show us where you hike on the east side of the Cascade Mountains! This category accepts photos of landscapes with our without hikers, though the landscape should be the prominent feature. Photos must be taken on the east side of the Cascade Mountains, not within the range itself.

The contest is open to all photographers except for Washington Trails Association employees, contest judges and their families. WTA reserves the right to verify, in its sole judgment, entrant eligibility. Photographs must be taken in Washington. Photographs will be judged on originality, technical excellence, composition, overall impact and artistic merit. Awards will be selected by a panel of judges and all decisions are final.

Entries must be submitted electronically via the submission form when it becomes available on August 17.

  • Submit digital photos in JPEG format only. Higher resolution photos are encouraged.
  • All entries are due no later than 11:59pm on October 17, 2023.
  • One submission is allowed per category.
  • Winners will be notified by email. WTA is not responsible for lost or damaged prizes.

Bonus Category rules

Instagram: The Instagram category is judged the same as the main categories, though entrants are allowed to enter as many photos as they would like in this category. This is an open category for all hiking related photos. We ask that entries follow the same guidelines as other categories in that photos follow Leave No Trace principles and are taken from a trail or in camp. To enter, follow @washingtontrails and tag your hiking photos with #nwexposure2023 between August 17, 2023 and October 17, 2023.

East of the Cascades: Similarly to Instagram, the The East of the Cascades category is judged the same as main categories and highlights the beauty of the central and eastern side of Washington state. All photos must be taken on the east side of the Cascade Mountain range, not within the range itself. Areas that are deemed to be within or west of the Cascade Mountains will be disqualified. There is no limit on allowed entries for this category, though the entry form must be completed for each submission.

Terms of use

All entrants agree to allow Washington Trails Association to publish any submitted photograph in its magazine, website or other materials to help support WTA's mission to promote and protect Washington’s trails and wildlands.

Photos entered are bound under a non-exclusive license, which means you still retain ownership of your image and can use it how you would like. WTA will never sell your image, but your photos may be used in our promotional materials to help us with our work. WTA credits photographers for all image usage on our website and printed materials. 

Photographers must have permission for photos to be published of any person whose face is shown and recognizable in their photos. Photographs submitted must be taken by the photographer entering the photo.