Prepare Your Photos for the National Wildlife Photo Contest

NWF Staff

What type of photos do I need?

Images must be in JPG (sometimes called jpeg), GIF or PNG type. Some cameras or scanners make images into TIF, BMP or PDF files. You'll need to edit those to be the correct type for the system to accept your images.

How small can the photos be?

For the judges to see your photos, they need to be a minimum of 10 x 15 inches dimension at 72 pixels per inch, with a file size of no less than 390 KB (saved at the maximum quality setting).

How big can the photos be?

Please prepare your photos to be smaller than 20 MB in size. You will receive an error message if you try to upload larger files. Files of this size should upload easily without causing a time out.

How can I look up the size of my photo?

Here are two ways of measuring digital photos:

1. File Size: To find your photo's file size, use a a file management system, such as Windows Explorer. File size is often shown in kilobytes or KB. There are 1,000 KB in a megabyte MB, so your files need to be 20,000 KB or smaller. Find where you saved your file and look at the details view. Here's a screenshot showing how it looks in Windows Explorer:

2. Dimensions: To find your photo's dimensions, open it in a photo editing program. From there you can usually choose something like Image or Picture in the top menu, and then Image Properties or Image Size in the dropdown. Here's a screenshot showing how image properties appear in Photoshop. Note how the photo has been sized to the minimum acceptable size for the contest - 10 inches by 15 inches with a resolution of 72 pixels per inch.

Photo dimensions 


How do I edit my photos if they are not the correct file type, size or dimensions?

Here are some free or inexpensive photo editing software options:

Photoshop Express


  • It's free.
  • You can store up to 2 GB of photos at its website for editing.
  • This program doesn't tell you the dimensions of your photo, but if you choose the "Web" option, it will size it properly.
  • You can make prints through Shutterfly.
  • You can connect your accounts on Facebook, Flickr, Photobucket and Picasa.


  • You need to make and remember a login.
  • It takes time to upload large files, depending on your internet connection.
  • You might fill the 2 GB of space, although you can delete old projects and keep going.

Photoshop Elements


  • It costs less than $100 USD.
  • You don't have to upload your photos to a website and make a login.
  • It offers many of the functionalities of full Photoshop for much less cost.


  • You need to have a computer where you can install software.
  • It's not free.



  • It's free.
  • You don't have to upload your photos to a website and make a login.
  • It's easy to find your image dimensions, or to edit the size of the image. You click Image and then Print Size. Choose the unit of measurement to inches. Then type in the number you want and save the photo.


  • You need a computer where you can download the program from the web.
  • There is language on the website that feels technical even though the program is not.
  • When you first open the program, it opens as three separate windows, which can be confusing.

Note for entrants who scan photos from a print:

When you scan your photos, be sure to scan only the photo, not the white space inside the scanner. In past contests, we have received huge files that were mostly white with a photo in the corner the size of a postage stamp. The judges could not see those photos. Scan only the photo or crop off the white area and resize to fit contest dimensions.


    Flickr Icon           Facebook Icon           Twitter Icon           YouTube Icon   
Certify your yard today!