Smokies Through the Lens Photography Contest

Carolyn Slay - 2021 WWW Winner

2023 Best in Show – Created by Theresa Williams

The most up-to-date rules are on this page.

Submissions are Closed.

Scroll down to the bottom of this page for the submission form. Submissions must be made on one entry form. Multiple entries will be discarded, and the last one will be used.


Submissions end at midnight, Sunday, January 7th, 2024.

Submit early: if there are technical difficulties there is time to overcome them. Any submissions that are not properly uploaded by the deadline for any reason will not be accepted.

For all the information on the event, go to


Images will be displayed during Wilderness Wildlife Week, January 22-25, 2023, at The Ramsey Hotel & Convention Center in Pigeon Forge from 10 AM to 6 PM daily.


This contest aims to encourage participants to enjoy nature’s beauty and share their experiences through photography.

  1. Images must be submitted according to the following instructions:
    1. Photographs must be the original work of the exhibitor and cannot feature pets or have people as the main subject.  Entries cannot be posed portraits or studio photographs.
    2. No images with any part using Artificial Intelligence is allowed.
    3. Personal identification or text of any type is not allowed in the photo.  This includes, but is not limited to, a quote, title, photographer’s name, logo, etc.
    4. No individual may enter more than two images per category, with a limit of seven total entries.
    5. No image may be submitted into multiple categories.
    6. Photographs entered in any past Wilderness Wildlife Week Photography Contests are not eligible for reentry.
  2. The photographer must allow the City of Pigeon Forge and Wilderness Wildlife Week usage of submitted images to be displayed and used at the Wilderness Wildlife Week event, promotion for the contest, and/or exhibition on their website. The photographer retains ownership of the images.  Winning images will potentially be printed for display during Wilderness Wildlife Week.
  3. The images will be judged on color-calibrated monitors and displayed at Wilderness Wildlife Week, potentially on HD TVs.
  4. Images specifications (questions on image preparation should be sent to Douglas Hubbard at
    1. Image files submitted for judging should be as high a quality as possible and capable of being printed from a minimum of 8”x10” print size up to a maximum of 16” X20”.
      1. The file size should be as large as possible but not exceed a maximum of 15 megabytes. NOTE: Files are to be in JPG format.
      2. Only digital images will be entered and judged.
    2. The digital file name should be the title of the entry. For Example, Abrams Falls.jpg, Bear.jpg, Walker Sisters Cabin.jpg
    3. The first (1st), second (2nd), and/or third (3rd) place winners may be printed and mounted for viewing. Note: The submitted image file should be able to print a suitable 8×10 print or larger.
    4. When necessary, adjustments will be made to generate the best print possible.
  5. It is up to the photographer to upload appropriate images and correctly categorize them by subject criteria per the rules. Poor quality images or miscategorized images may negatively affect the judging of your pictures and/or may preclude winning submissions from being printed and displayed.  Wilderness Wildlife Week volunteers may or may not contact entrants about questionable submissions. If you are contacted, you may resubmit.
  6. Entry Acceptance and Judging:
    1. The decisions of the panel of judges will be final.  Entries will be judged on theme, artistic merit, presentation, and technique. This includes but is not limited to proper categorization, image quality, composition, presentation, sharpness, and white balance, among other aspects.
    2. The City of Pigeon Forge reserves the right to reject any entry for any reason, including those that fail to follow the contest rules and theme or any entry whose subject matter may be deemed by contest officials to be unsuitable for exhibition in a family environment or is deemed to put Pigeon Forge and/or Great Smoky Mountain National Park in a negative light.
    3. Entries will be judged in the category designated by the entrant, so choosing the most appropriate category for your entries is crucial.
    4. Acceptance for display does not necessarily imply approval for judging.
    5. No black and white images in any category except black and white.
    6. Image editing is allowed; however, over-sharpening, over-saturation, or over-editing will be considered in the judging.


Category   Subject
Scenic Views of Great Smoky Mountains National Park   Any broad view image of land within Great Smoky Mountain National Park. The photograph may have people or human-made objects, but they must not be the dominant subject of the picture.
Wildlife of Great Smoky Mountains National Park   Any wildlife subject within Great Smoky Mountain National Park (no pets, posed subjects, or studio photographs).
Black & White Images of Great Smoky Mountains National Park   Any subject or scene related to nature, wilderness, or wildlife within Great Smoky Mountains National Park (no pets, posed subjects, or studio photographs) in black and white.
Manmade Landmarks  of Great Smoky Mountains National Park   Entry must be of a humanmade Great Smoky Mountains National Park landmark (such as the Walker Sisters’ Cabin, John Oliver Cabin, John Cable Grist Mill, Tyson McCarter Place, Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery, etc.).  The entry can be from any season (fall, winter, spring, or summer).  Artistic interpretations are welcome.
Macros of Great Smoky Mountains National Park   Any close-up image must be taken within Great Smoky Mountains National Park.



First Place: $50 + Ribbon    Second Place: $30 + Ribbon    Third Place: $20 + Ribbon     

One Best of Show Ribbon, along with $50, will be awarded to the image the judges deem to have the best overall image quality, representing the spirit of wilderness and wildlife found in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  All first-place winners in all categories are eligible for the Best of Show award.  The image awarded Best in Show, 1st Place, 2nd Place, or 3rd Place winners may be included in Wilderness Wildlife Week promotions.  An image file of sufficient print quality must be given to the City and its representatives once the contest and judging are complete.  Failure to do so will result in the forfeiture of this honor.

All qualified images will be digitally displayed during Wilderness Wildlife Week, along with the winning photos, which will potentially be printed and displayed.

NOTE: Winners will be announced by presenting them on TV screens during the event and no sooner. They are to pick up their ribbons, checks, and potential printed images at the informational front desk at the Wilderness Wildlife Event by Wednesday, January 24, 2024, or make arrangements with Cheryl at


When filling out your name, please capitalize only the first letter.

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After submitting, scroll back down here to see if it took it.


If you have any questions or concerns, please read everything below. If you still have problems contact Colby McLemore at or (865) 924-1455. Do not e-mail images as they will not be processed- use the link above.