Frequently Asked Questions
You’ve got questions. We’ve got answers here. Or maybe not. In that class, email other questions and inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- How much does it cost to enter?
- When will the results be announced?
- What are the prizes?
- Who selects the winners?
- Will I be notified if I was NOT chosen as a finalist or winner?
- How many photos can I enter into the contest?
- How do I submit my photograph?
- I’m having trouble submitting my entries, how can I get help?
- Do you accept non-digital photographs?
- Can I enter if I live outside the United States?
- I took a photo five years ago. Can I enter it?
- I share an email address with another person. Can we both enter under the same email address?
- Can I submit a photo on someone else’s behalf?
- Do I need release forms for people in my photo?
- Can photographs be cropped?
- Can photographs be manipulated or enhanced?
- Do you accept black-and-white photographs?
- May I enter the same photograph into multiple categories?
- What size should my digital image be for uploading with the online entry form?
- Will you accept photos with watermarks?
- Will you change the category if you think I put my photograph into the wrong one?
- Is it OK to enter a photograph that has been on my website?
- Is it OK to enter a photograph that has been submitted to other contest sites?
- I’m 17 years old. Can I enter the contest?
- What rights to my photograph do I retain?
- How do I report a complaint about an image?
- Where can I send questions and feedback?
How much does it cost to enter?
It’s $6 per photo entered for 1 – 5 entries. 6–10 entries are 20% off. More than 10 are 30% off. Discounts will automatically be applied when you check out with all of your entries.
When will the results be announced?
Whalebone will first notify the winners, finalists, and honorable mentions via the contact information provided at the time of entry. The grand prize winners, category finalists, and honorable mentions will be announced publicly on our website in late April 2023 via whalebonephotocontest.com, and winners, finalists, and select honorable mentions will be featured in The Photo Issue 2023 available for purchase via shopwhalebone.com
What are the prizes?
- Grand Prize winner for each category: $6,000
- Category finalists: $500
- Honorable mentions: $50
- For full details, see our rules and regulations.
Who selects the winners?
Our esteemed panel of judges will select the grand prize and category winners, along with honorable mentions.
Will I be notified if I was NOT chosen as a finalist or winner?
No. Due to a large number of submissions, ONLY the winners, finalists, and honorable mentions will be notified of their status by April 2023.
How many photos can I enter into the contest?
You can enter as many photographs as you want. The limit does not exist. You may even submit the same photo into different categories if you feel it works for multiple categories.
How do I submit my photograph?
Submit your photographs through our contest platform at whalebone.awardsplatform.com. We do not accept entries submitted through the mail, email, or carrier pigeon.
I’m having trouble submitting my entries, how can I get help?
One of the most common problems is entrants will add entries, but not submit and pay for them thus leaving them “In Process” and not qualified for judging. If you follow the steps below and still have any problems please contact email@example.com for assistance.
Click on each entry (that is still processing/pending) and click Submit Entry:
Then you can click add more entries to cart and it will take you back to keep adding all of your entries (see below) to the cart so you can then checkout and be officially in the running.
Do you accept non-digital photographs?
Yep! In fact, there’s a whole category dedicated to film. You’ll just need to submit high-quality scanned images of any non-digital photographs. Please note, we don’t accept hard copies of photographs.
Can I enter if I live outside the United States?
You absolutely can. However, entities must be uploaded and submitted by 11:59 pm EST on March 10, 2022.
I took a photo five years ago. Can I enter it?
Yes, there’s no time limit on photo submissions.
I share an email address with another person. Can we both enter under the same email address?
Unfortunately, no. We accept one contestant per email address.
Can I submit a photo on someone else’s behalf?
Nope. You must be the sole creator and copyright owner of any photograph you submit.
Do I need release forms for people in my photo?
Technically, yes. For a photo in which a person is recognizable, the entrant must provide a model release from the subject or, in the case of a minor, the subject’s parent or guardian, to Whalebone upon request if the photo is selected as a winner. You can download a sample model release here. If the photo is of a public space with people just in the background and such no release is needed.
Also, if a photo depicts other people’s work (such as sculptures, statues, paintings, and other copyrightable works), you’ll need to provide a release from the rights holder to Whalebone upon request if the photo is selected as a winner. And good news, we have a sample art release form right here. Any photo of the work of others must be depicted as an object in its environment and not a full-frame close-up of another person’s creation.
Can photographs be cropped?
Cropped photographs are eligible.
Can photographs be manipulated or enhanced?
Well, no. Photographs should accurately reflect the subject matter and the scene as it appeared. We do not accept digitally or otherwise enhanced or altered photos. Judges reserve the right to disqualify photographs that have been digitally altered beyond standard optimization (cropping, spotting for dust, reasonable adjustments to exposure, color and contrast, etc.) will be disqualified.
When submitting a photograph, you will have an opportunity to describe any adjustments made to the image. Please be as descriptive as possible.
Do you accept black-and-white photographs?
Yes. Also, color photographs converted to grayscale are acceptable in all categories; however, please make sure that any additional adjustments you make to the image abide by the rules concerning enhancing or altering photographs.
May I enter the same photograph into multiple categories?
Yes, you can enter a photograph into multiple categories for judging. You will need to submit it to each one and pay the entry fee to qualify for judging.
What size should my digital image be for uploading with the online entry form?
Photos should be submitted in one of the following file formats: in a JPG, JPEG, TIF, TIFF, PNG or PDF, and at the size of the original high-quality photograph. Not required, but we recommend submitting a higher-resolution image. Think a minimum of 300 dpi and 3,000 pixels on the longest side. Mobile photographs are exempt from this size requirement but must be submitted at their highest resolution.
Will you accept photos with watermarks?
We do not accept photos with watermarks or descriptive text. However, any photos we share will always include credit information.
Will you change the category if you think I put my photograph into the wrong one?
We trust your instinct and won’t be changing categories of submissions. You may also edit and adjust your entries up until the contest deadline date.
Is it OK to enter a photograph that has been on my website?
Yes, your photograph is eligible for submission.
Is it OK to enter a photograph that has been submitted to other contest sites?
Yes, there’s no restriction on entering across other contest sites even if the photo has won previously.
I’m 17 years old. Can I enter the contest?
Yes, there’s no age restriction for entering the contest. Just make sure the photo you are submitting is yours and you have the right to it.
What rights to my photograph do I retain?
You will retain all rights to any photo submitted by you—including ownership, if applicable. If you submit a photo to the Photo Contest, you grant Whalebone and its related entities and sponsors (such as affiliates and subsidiaries) a royalty-free, non-exclusive right in perpetuity to:
- Display the photo on Whalebone and the Photo Contest submission websites:
- Use and/or share the photo on the Internet, via email, and in Social Media (including but not limited to @whalebonemagazine and its sponsor’s social + website sites) for any purpose.
- Use and/or share the photo in internal and external communications materials including but not limited to websites and web publications, newsletters, and magazines.
- Images will not be used in any other commercial capacity without written approval by the photographer.
- Use, in connection with the Photo Contest, your name, city, state, and country of residence in promotions and other publications.
- Allow Whalebone’s third-party sponsors to share the photo on social media, websites, and email.
- Whalebone will endeavor to credit all photos with the credit “Person’s Name” when the full name is available.
How do I report a complaint about an image?
If you believe a submission is in violation of our contest rules, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our staff will review your report and take the necessary action.
Where can I send questions and feedback?
Please email further questions and feedback to email@example.com. Due to the high volume of emails that we receive, we may not be able to respond to each individual email. Please do not contact us about the status of entries or judging.
Last updated: January 12, 2023