Weather Channel photography contests are thematic photo competitions with a focus on weather. Initially they were organized by weather channels (hence the name) to attract the public’s attention to their forecast, but nowadays, weather photography competitions are more about photography than meteorology.

So, how can one enter a weather channel photography contest? Well, first, you need a photograph in which a weather phenomenon is the main subject. Although the weather is present in any picture you take outdoors, to be competitive in a weather photography contest, you need a photograph that is all about the weather. Read along to find everything you need to know about getting the best shot and submitting it to a weather channel photography contest.

Prepare for Weather Channel Photography Contests

It helps to have in mind a weather channel photography contest to which you intend to submit your photo. That’s because each photo competition has its rules, and it’s better to follow them when taking the shot rather than forcing your photographs to comply later on. The rules may cover technical and artistic aspects, so pay attention. Here are the best weather channel photography contests to try right now.

Viewbug Weather Photography Contests

Viewbug is the perfect example of an entity that is not a weather channel but organizes brilliant weather photography competitions. Viewbug is an online photography community that offers weather photography contests multiple times a year. This increases your chances to win a prize, keeps you motivated, and provides inspiration for the next photoshoot. 

Furthermore, Viewbug’s weather competitions are less general than others and allow you to focus on a particular subject matter, such as fine weather, cloudy and stormy weather, extreme phenomena, and so on. Check out the winners from previous competitions to make an idea.

While you are at it, check out Viewbug’s nature-related photo competitions as well. Although they may not be specifically for weather photography, your pictures may fit in very well. Sunset Glow Photo Contest, Blue Groove Photo Contest, and Glowing Nights Photo Contest are just a few of the currently open competitions that may catch your attention.

Weather in Focus Photo Contest

The U.S. National Weather Service started a photography contest tradition in 2015 with the Weather in Focus Photo Contest. The competition had four categories that covered professional photography, weather, water, and climate-related photographs, science in action topics, and snapshots.

Since then, the organization has designed photo competitions for students (“Picture Climate Change” Student Photo Contest), amateurs (Get into Your Sanctuary Photo Contest), and professionals (Habitat Month Photo Contest), all focusing on weather, climate change, and the science used to forecast weather, water and climate.

Weather & Radar Photo Contest

Weather & Radar app users can enroll in monthly photo competitions focusing on weather and Earth science. At the end of each month, their editorial team selects the winners who get to be featured on the app and social media channels. 

Weather & Radar Photo Contest doesn’t have strict rules or image specifications. You can upload photos taken with your phone camera or stored using a cloud service or hosting service. As long as a weather-related aspect is the focal point of your shot, you are good to go.

RMetS Weather Photographer of the Year

Royal Meteorological Society organizes an annual weather photography competition that invites professional and amateur photographers from around the world to showcase their best shots. This year, they received submissions from 94 countries, making the job of their expert jury very difficult. The jury includes meteorologists, photographers, and journalists, and the competition aims to discover images that “best reflect the fragility and beauty of our planet.”

RMetS Weather Photographer of the Year has dedicated prizes for professional photographs, smartphone photographs, young photographers, and the public’s favorite. The finalists get to see their photographs published in a calendar.

The Observer’s Weather & Nature Photo Contest

The Observer is a publication, not a weather channel, but still holds a special place for weather photography competitions. They invite you to capture local weather and share your images with the world. The competition is annual, and the prize is in money.

All submissions are published on the publication’s website, so you can check out your competition. And because the theme includes weather and nature photographs, the photo selection is exhaustive. Don’t forget to write a description for your image.

Weatherwise Photography Contest

Weatherwise Photography Contest is a weather channel photography competition for amateur photographers worldwide. It is held annually by the weather magazine Weatherwise.

To submit, you need high-resolution images, the date and location of the photo, and a short description. You can submit up to six images. The deadline is usually by midsummer, so you have plenty of time to prepare for the next year's contest. Winning photographers are rewarded with prizes and see their photos published in the magazine and on social media. They also receive a year subscription to the magazine.

Top Three Tips to Shoot Photos for a Weather Photography Contest

Weather photography is not easy but is full of adrenaline and awe. Just think of storm hunters. So turn your lens to the greatness of nature and be ready to take your next best shot.

To do that, learn to control your camera. Although some weather phenomena last long enough for you to figure out the best camera settings, most of them happen so quickly that it’s impossible to photograph them when you are slow. Practice using the camera in Manual mode because automatic ones won’t get you the dramatic results you need.

Then, choose the right lenses. Often, weather photographers prefer wide-angle lenses to frame as much as possible from the majestic scenery they see. If you look at winning photographs in weather channel photography contests, you’ll see that most of them use a wide perspective.

When it comes to composition, the rule of thirds is your best friend. Most weather phenomena happen in the sky, so you may want to use two-thirds of the frame for the sky and one-third for the ground. You may even reserve the entire frame for the sky. Nevertheless, use the rule of thirds to balance your composition and create a strong focal point. The more minimalist your composition, the more important it is to use the rule of thirds. And keep the horizon straight!

Examples of Great Weather Photos

So, what do winning photos in weather photography competitions have?

To begin with, they have high image quality, clarity, and detail level. They also have a well-balanced composition, with a powerful focal point and enough negative space around it. Winning weather photos bring an awe factor and tell a story. They aren’t just pretty and technically perfect but also have a narrative. 

In addition, great weather photos are realistic and accurate in terms of color and contrast. Even when edited, they still are natural-looking because their purpose is to capture unique natural moments. And nature is very generous when it comes to providing spectacular moments for your photography.


Weather channel photography competitions are a good reason to take out your camera in any weather conditions. Nature provides amazing views regardless of the forecast. So embrace the natural world and learn to see the beauty of it at any time of the day and in any season.


What prizes can I get for participating in a weather channel photography contest?

Each weather channel photography contest has its prizes, so the best way to know is to check their terms and conditions page. In general, you can win money, photography gear (e.g., cameras, lenses, tripods, etc.), gadgets (e.g., tablets, smartphones, etc.), subscriptions, or gift cards. Other prizes include featuring in magazines and on social media or the opportunity to showcase your work in exhibitions, photo books, and calendars.