2 trophies are awarded: one for the best print (Brian Thwaites Trophy) and the other for the best digital image (MCC trophy for Natural History Digital Images). Print entries must be of NZ Natural History subjects only. Digital entries may be natural history subjects from anywhere in the world. Images that have been previously entered in Open Competitions may be re-entered into the Natural History Trophy Competition. Points will be awarded as per normal graded competitions. The following rules apply to both prints and digitals:
- Subjects shall illustrate untamed animals, birds, and uncultivated plants in their natural habitat, astronomy, geology and phenomena not produced by man. Marine and botanical subjects (including fungi and algae) and naturalised subjects are allowed providing taken under natural and not domestic conditions, NZ examples are deer, black swan, monarch butterfly, briar (not cultivated) roses. Landscapes, photographs of zoo or game farm animals or of any extant zoological or botanical species taken under controlled conditions are not eligible.
- No techniques that add, relocate, replace, or remove pictorial elements except by cropping are permitted. Techniques that enhance the presentation of the photograph without changing the nature story or the pictorial content, or without altering the content of the original scene, are permitted including HDR, focus stacking and dodging/burning.
- Techniques that remove elements added by the camera, such as dust spots, digital noise are allowed. Stitched images are not permitted. Colour images can be converted to grey-scale monochrome. Infrared images, either direct-captures or derivations, are not permitted.