Pangolin Photo Challenge 2024 logo

Welcome to the 2024 Pangolin Photo Challenge!

(Please note: The announcement videos for the 2023 Pangolin Photo Challenge will be published starting 28th February 2024)

This time around, we are presenting six challenges with a prize pool exceeding $30,000. Instead of rushing to meet our set deadlines from previous years, you now have until the year’s end to participate in as many challenges as you wish.

In this edition, we have streamlined the competition by eliminating the portfolio requirement for the grand prize. Similar to our previous contest, each image you submit will serve as an entry for a chance to win a Best of Chobe photo safari in a lucky draw just for participating!

All submitted images must be captured in 2023 or 2024 (excluding the Best of 2024, naturally), and please note that this competition is exclusively for amateurs. There is no PRO challenge this year.

Watch the finalist videos from the 2023 Pangolin Photo Challenge

Take the Pangolin Photo Challenge 2024 for FREE!

If you are already a Pangolin Guardian, you are automatically eligible to participate in the Pangolin Photo Challenge 2024. Go straight to step 2 below, entering images as you did last year!!

If you’re not a Pangolin Guardian yet, just complete our Pangolin Guardians online course by selecting Step 1. This course covers details about the four African species and what to do when you see one in the wild.

After finishing the course, your Pangolin Photo Challenge account will be activated, enabling you to submit a maximum of 6 images. It’s that easy…and you will know a whole lot more about pangolins too!

Our 2024 Pangolin Photo Challenges

Bee Eater - Pangolin Photo Challenge

Birds of the World

gorilla portrait Pangolin Photo Challenge 2024

Monochrome Wildlife

Meerkats Pangolin Photo Challenge 2024

Mammal Behaviour

Greeb Pangolin Photo Challenge 2024

Water as an Element

polar bear and cob Pangolin Photo Challenge 2024

Out of Africa

chimpanzee

Best of 2024

What the Judges Are Looking For

Welcome to the Birds of the World round of The Pangolin Photo Challenge. This is a unique opportunity to showcase your artistic talents while drawing attention to the stunning avian life that populates our planet.

This round is all about capturing the beauty, grace, and diversity of wild birds in their natural habitats. From the mightiest eagles soaring high in the sky to the tiniest hummingbirds flitting from flower to flower, we want to see how you encapsulate the essence of these magnificent creatures through your lens.

We are looking for photographs that portray wild birds in an authentic and respectful manner. In order to preserve the integrity of wildlife photography and the well-being of our subjects, we insist that the birds be wild and not captive. Additionally, we strictly prohibit the use of bait in capturing your images. This is a chance to document their natural behaviours and interactions, a candid snapshot of untamed and unspoiled avian life.

Images of birds at permanent water sources like bird baths, ponds, waterholes, etc. are allowed. This does not constitute baiting, in our opinion, as long as the water source is not stocked with fish, e.g., a trout farm or a water hole hide where fish are transported, rather than being allowed to breed naturally.

Useful Video: Bird Photography Tips: https://youtu.be/VSv3gvDLKOY

Welcome to the Monochrome Wildlife round of our Pangolin Photo Challenge. As the name suggests, this round pays homage to the evocative power of black-and-white imagery. It’s time to cast away the vibrant spectrum and delve into the stark and stirring world of those grayscale tones!.

We’re looking for the transformation of wildlife into shades of grey. Can you portray the majesty of an elephant, the grace of a gazelle, or the ferocity of a falcon through light and shadow alone? Can you evoke the primal beauty of nature’s creatures with a stripped-down palette?

We want to see compositions that stir emotions, tell stories, and reveal the undeniable truth of nature—its rawness, its beauty, its struggles, and its victories—all through the stark duality of black and white. Use light, contrast, texture, and form to showcase the essence of your subject without the distraction of colour. Be it the tiniest insect, the mightiest beast, or anything in between, make it shine in the binary elegance of monochrome.

Creativity and originality are key in this round. Show us a new perspective, a different angle, or a fresh way of seeing familiar animals. We encourage the use of different black-and-white techniques—high contrast, low key, high key, and everything in between—to really bring your vision to life.

Useful Video: Black and White editing with Janine – https://youtu.be/-wHe-orCUt0

Welcome to the dynamic and captivating Mammal Behaviour round of our Pangolin Photo Challenge. This round offers you an exciting platform to delve into the complex world of mammal behaviour, capturing extraordinary moments that reflect the intricacies of their lives.

In this round, we’re inviting you to observe, document, and present the fascinating behaviours of mammals in the wild. Be it the intricate courtship ritual, the coordinated efforts of a hunting pack, a mother tenderly caring for her young, or any other mesmerising aspect of mammal behaviour, we want to see it through your lens.

It is important to remember that our subjects must be wild, not captive, and there should be no interference or manipulation in capturing the images. We’re seeking authentic glimpses into the lives of animals as they are in their natural environments.

Creativity and originality are key in this round. Show us a new perspective, a different angle, or a fresh way of seeing familiar animals.

Useful Video: Janine’s Go-To Nature Photography Settings – https://youtu.be/0Qu3wnCtiAU

This round spotlights the incredible diversity of wildlife that thrives in and around water bodies and the beautiful, often dramatic, interplay between water and wildlife.

From the vast oceans and sweeping rivers to quiet ponds and sparkling dewdrops, water is the essence of life. In this round, we’re looking for images that showcase water as an integral part of the scene, be it a habitat, a hunting ground, a playful splash, or a quiet reflection.

The creatures photographed must be wild, not captive, and their natural behaviour should not be manipulated for the shot. Images should be taken ethically, ensuring the welfare of the animals and the integrity of their environment.

Useful Video: High Key is a great option for photographing near water – https://youtu.be/IHnz9NvmK8k

This round is dedicated to wildlife subjects not found on the African continent. As an African-based wildlife photography operator (with global ambitions!) we are intrigued to see images that we would never get in our domain. Any image taken on any continent other than Africa will be accepted.

This can be anything from the tiniest insects, reptiles, and amphibians up to giants. We will accept all manner of bird life too; just ensure they aren’t migrants to Africa!

Remember that we only want to see images of wild animals. Not in captivity, and certainly nothing that involved any baiting or staging!

This round is a celebration of your best work from this year, showcasing the sheer diversity and beauty of the wildlife that graced our planet in 2023.

In this round, we’re inviting you to submit your most compelling wildlife image taken during the year 2024. Whether it’s a tender moment between a mother and her cub, an explosive action shot of a predator on the hunt, an awe-inspiring bird in flight, or an intimate portrait of an elusive creature, we want to see your finest work that encapsulates the splendour of the natural world.

The subjects of your photographs must be wild, not captive, and should be photographed without disturbing their natural behaviour or habitat. Ethical wildlife photography practices are fundamental in this competition, and your adherence to them is non-negotiable.

Challenge Prizes Sponsored By….Us!

Pangolin Chobe Hotel Logo
Pangolin Photo Safaris Logo
Pangolin Voyager Logo

5 x Challenge Prizes (except Best of 2024)

The owner of the best image in each of the 5 challenges (excluding the Best of 2024) will win a 6-night stay for one person at The Pangolin Chobe Hotel* OR a voucher for $2,000 to put towards any Pangolin Photo Safari advertised on this website.

  • 6 nights at The Pangolin Chobe Hotel

  • Twice-daily photo safari activities (boat and land)

  • Photo tuition from the Pangolin Photo Host

  • Cameras, lenses, and memory cards

  • All meals and drinks
  • Valid for stays between December and February (set dates)

  • Airport transfers (if required)

  • Park fees and tourism levies

Best of 2024 and Lucky Draw Winner
The owner of the best image in The Best of 2024 Challenge and the Lucky Draw winner will win a Best of Chobe photo safari for two people worth over $9,000!!!

This prize includes (exact details can be seen here):

  • Airport meet-and-greet
  • Photographic tuition and advice throughout by a Pangolin Photo Host

  • Use of a Canon DSLR camera and telephoto lens (if required), including memory cards

  • 3 nights on The Pangolin Voyager (full board)

  • Twice-daily activities in Chobe National Park on a Pangolin photo boat

  • 3 nights The Pangolin Chobe Hotel (full board)

  • Twice-daily photo safaris (boat and land)

  • All park fees and bed levies, as applicable

  • All meals and drinks

*Please note that the 6-night stay at the Pangolin Chobe Hotel has set starting dates between December and February. We will be happy to arrange extensions before or after this stay to other destinations in the region. If you are not able to join us during this time of the year, you can exchange your prize for a voucher to the value of $2,000 to put towards any photo safari published on our website. The voucher can be used for new bookings only and is not applicable to existing confirmed bookings.

Pangolin Photo Challenge 2024
This year’s Pangolin Photo Challenge is simpler and easier to enter than years gone by, and it’s still free to enter!!!

There are going to be six challenges in total, and you can enter up to six images. You don’t need to enter an image in each challenge; you can spread your submissions across whichever challenges you like. The maximum number of images will be 6 for the 2024 challenge. We don’t have a portfolio prize this year. Every image will be judged on its own merits!

Don’t forget: Every image that you enter will count as a ticket in the grand prize draw at the end of the year, so you can win a photo safari just by entering!

For details on what the judges are looking for, please see the separate section on this page.

To create a Pangolin Photo Challenge account, all you need to do is register and complete our Pangolin Guardian online course. This two-part course will not only teach you a few things about pangolins that you might not have known but also share some guidelines on how to enjoy an encounter with a wild pangolin.

It’s a very short and engaging course (suitable for all ages and taking around 15 minutes), and once completed, not only will you become an official Pangolin Guardian, but you will also receive 6 image credits for the Pangolin Photo Challenge. Click here to register for the course now!

Images must be taken in 2023 or 2024 (except for the Best of 2024, which is for images taken this year only), and we have detailed rules in the neighbouring section.

Who can enter?
The competition is open to all amateur photographers aged 18 or over from any country in the world, with the following three exceptions:

  • Employees of Pangolin Photo Safaris and their immediate relatives or household.
  • Photo tour leaders, and qualified (full-time or freelance) field guides and trackers. If you are any of these, then you may not enter.
  • Professional wildlife photographers who generate more than 20% of their annual income from activities related to wildlife photography, eg Stock images, selling prints, hosting seminars and classes, etc

The Pangolin Photo Challenge 2024 is divided into six challenges: Birds of the World, Monochrome Wildlife, Mammal Behaviour, Water as an Element, Out of Africa, and Best of 2024.

When you have completed the Pangolin Guardians course, you will be issued 6 entries to The Pangolin Photo Challenge. You can use these credits in any way you like. One per challenge, or all in one. Its up to you.

Image Submission
The image submitted to the Pangolin Photo Challenge must adhere to the following conditions:

The submitted image must have been taken in 2023 or 2024 (except for the Best of 2024 Challenge, which must have been taken in 2024). The metadata of the file will be inspected to ensure qualification. The capture date will be published on the website along with the image. Please make sure that when you export your image from your editing programme of choice, you select to include the Meta (aka Exif) data with the image. This contains your settings for the display.

You may not enter any images that were submitted in the 2023 Pangolin Photo Challenge. Repeat images will not be considered.

All images should be a faithful representation of the original scene in the natural world. The subject should be wild, not captive. The scene should not be staged for photography. Composite images will not be allowed (except for night photography images). Post-production adjustments can be used, but excessive use will count against the image’s overall standing with the judges.

The judges may request the original image file for review when the shortlist has been completed. This will precede their judgement and declaration of the challenges and portfolio winners and runners-up.

Please note. An image that has previously won a national or international nature photography competition prior to The Pangolin Photo Challenge will NOT be considered. If chosen as a winning image and later found to be in contravention of this rule, it will be disqualified.

The judges reserve the right to refuse photos that they deem unsuitable at their discretion. The image must be the sole property of the submitter and have no third-party publishing rights or restrictions attached to it.

The image must have been taken by the submitter. Your images must be submitted as jpeg files without a watermark. The platform that we use will place a standard watermark on your image to protect it and also allow for the image to be judged anonymously.

The judging process is conducted blindly, so all watermarked images will be rejected. Once the winners have been selected, the competition organisers will delete all the submitted images from their servers or cloud-based storage.

The owners of the winning images give permission for their images to be used for the purposes of promoting the Pangolin Photo Challenge. All entrants give permission to Pangolin Photo Safaris to display their image on the Pangolin Photo Safaris website and social media channels.

Obviously, no AI-generated images will be allowed. If suspected, the judges will be asking for RAW files as well as images taken before and after a sequence.

Editing: Do’s and Don’ts

Do:

  • Adjust your image in post-production, but don’t get carried away. Adjustments in exposure, contrast, white balance, sharpness, and local adjustments are allowed. AI denoising is allowed with restraint!
  • Cropping is fine, but make sure that it is not in some strange shape or cropped too small so as to lose image quality.
  • Turning your image from colour to black and white (or similar) is fine.
  • You may remove sensor spots from the image.
  • We will allow for HDR manipulation and focus stacking as long as they are used with restraint.
  • Panoramas are allowed.

Dont:

  • Add anything to the image in post-production.
  • Use effects like frames or canvas mimicry.
  • Include a watermark on the image, as the judging is done blind.
  • Remove any object in the image that would constitute more than 5% of the image (except for sensor spots).

We acknowledge that editing software has become increasingly sophisticated at removing elements from images (in fact, Sabine made a video about it here). We would not advise using this technology too enthusiastically, as we will be requesting the original image, and a drastic elemental removal would count against you in a tight contest.

Baiting
No images that have used live or dead bait when capturing the image will be allowed in this photo competition. If the judges suspect that a subject has been coerced, baited, or harassed, the image will be disqualified from the competition.

To clarify, we do not consider photographing a bird or mammal drinking or bathing in a permanent water source (waterhole, man-made lake or reservoir, garden pond, or birdbath) to be a baiting scenario. If the body of water has been stocked with fish, for example, for the purposes of capturing images of birds fishing, we would consider this to be baiting. This includes hides where fish are replenished regularly, rather than a natural breeding ground for the fish. If you are not sure, then please email us at challenge@pangolinphoto.com with information on the scenario in question so we can make a judgement call.

Agreement of Participation
By entering an image into this photo competition, you agree to and are bound by the rules set out above. Entrants agree to have their names added to the Pangolin Photo Safaris email newsletter database. This will be the primary method of communication and updates.

Judges
The judging of The Pangolin Photo Challenge will be carried out by the Pangolin Photo Hosts and Directors, as well as guest judges selected for their skill and expertise in the field of wildlife and landscape photography. The judges’ decision is final, binding, and non-negotiable.

Can I enter more than one image in a Challenge?

When you enter, you will be given 6 credits, which you can use as you see fit. You can use one per Challenge or enter them all at once in one Challenge. It’s entirely up to you.

How old can the image be?

The image must have been taken by you in 2023 or 2024 (except for the Best of 2024 challenge, which must have been taken this year). We don’t want images taken before January 1, 2023.

What format should my image be in?
We have had to set a file size limit of 10 MB and 1920 pixels along the longest edge as we have to upload all the images and make them downloadable by the photo hosts in Botswana, where the internet access is not very robust. The file type should be jpeg.

Why can’t I submit images with my watermark?
The judges of the photo challenge are the Pangolin Photo Hosts based in Botswana, along with our guest judges, and to be fair to all entrants, they will be judged blind.

What will happen to my images after the contest ends?
As soon as the competition ends, we will delete all the images that were submitted.

Can I enter if I am a professional photographer?
All amateur wildlife photographers can enter with the following exceptions:

Employees of Pangolin Photo Safaris and their immediate relatives or household.
All professional wildlife photographers, photo tour leaders, full-time (or freelance) field guides, and trackers.

Due diligence will be performed if deemed necessary. The decision to allow or disallow the image resulting from this investigation will be for the directors of Pangolin Photo Safaris to make. This decision will be final and binding. Negotiations or discussions will not be entered into. If an image wins a challenge (or the portfolio prize) and it is later discovered that the photographer is deemed to be in contravention of the rules, then the prize will instead be awarded to the runner-up in the same challenge. The judge’s decision is final.

I can’t upload my image. Can you help?
If you are struggling to upload your image or enter the competition, please email challenge@pangolinphoto.com, and we will assist where we can.

What if I cannot travel before the safaris and vouchers expire?
All of the safaris and photo safari vouchers must be redeemed for travel before the 31st of December 2025. If you are not able to travel before that time, we will exchange the safaris for vouchers to spend on Hosted Pangolin Photo Safaris in Botswana. The 6-night stay at the Pangolin Chobe Hotel awarded to the winner of a Challenge will be exchanged for a $2000 voucher for travel in 2025 and beyond. No expiry date.

The main Best of Chobe Prizes must be taken in either 2025 or 2026; otherwise, they will exchange vouchers to the value of $4,000 per prize.

Will you be showing all the images in one place?

Yes. The system we are using allows all the images to be viewed again after they have been entered. They are also searchable by the name of the photographer. In addition to that, the system also displays the settings used by the photographer to help you better understand how the image was taken.