Last year’s 13th prize winner – Cluj-Mănăștur Calvaria Church, by Pan loan

I am not a the world’s best photographer. Do you want my images anyway?

Yes we do, very much. The aim of the competition is not just to celebrate the work of our top photographers, important though that is. Even more important for the Wikimedia movement (Wikipedia and its sister projects such as Wikimedia Commons) is to get more people involved in contributing and sharing freely-usable images for the sake of us all. Making people realize that they can choose for their photos to lie on the shelf or on a computer disk, unused and unseen, or to have them published under a free licence, and made available for everyone, anywhere in the world.

If you are a beginner, check out the common errors to avoid.

Wikipedia already has a photo of all my local listed buildings. Why do you want more?

A single image of a building can give a general overview, but little else. Our aim on Wikimedia Commons is to collect as many educationally-interesting images as we can, not only to provide variety of choice for anyone who needs a general photo of the building, but also to capture differing aspects. So, if you see that your favourite listed building already has a high-quality image on Wikipedia that you can’t improve upon, don’t worry. Rather than uploading a less-good duplicate, concentrate on something slightly different. For example, all of the following are of real interest to us:

  • Photographs from different angles or with different perspective
  • The building in its wider environment
  • Rear and side views (and preferably all of them)
  • Architectural details, from large scale to small detailing features
  • Interior shots (where permission can be obtained)
  • The outbuildings, if any
  • Views under different lighting conditions or at different times of the year
  • The building in use, for example during a fete, or open to visitors
  • Older semi-historic images, provided that you personally took the photograph
  • Artistic images

Last year’s 10th prize winner – Vakil mosque Panorama, by Mohammad Reza Domiri Ganji

Avoiding problems

  • Please be respectful and considerate to your fellow photographers, and to
  • Some of the buildings to be photographed may be private residences; please be especially respectful in these cases – do not continue to take photographs if asked to stop by the occupier.
  • If you are photographing building interiors, stop straight away if you are asked to do so.  Some places prohibit interior photography, but in others you may be allowed to continue if you ask for permission.
  • Do not trespass on private property (it is perfectly OK, though, to take photographs of a privately-owned building while standing in a public place such as the street).
  • Try to avoid taking photographs in which individual people appear prominently. You may not be able to avoid people entirely, for examples at tourist attractions, and where you have to you can include crowds or groups of people provided they are not a main part of your image.
  • Where possible avoid photographing vehicles, and particularly vehicle numberplates.

Copyright issues

  • Please do not upload photographs of posters, noticeboards, signs, modern murals, or anything else having text or two-dimensional images that might be copyright-protected. That applies even to text or images that are in a public place and that everyone else is taking pictures of. Ancient wall paintings in churches are fine, as are photos of stained glass windows of any date.

Photographers’ rights in the UK

You can download a useful free guide in pdf format here.

Questions? Please leave a message on the FAQ page and we will be happy to help.