The 2024 Members' Calendar Photo Competition is here!

Over the last four years, this member-exclusive competition has produced some remarkable images for our calendar, distributed to over 100,000 households throughout Victoria and beyond.

This year, we invite you to visit all four of our great zoos to capture eye-catching photographs of our animals. For your photos to be qualified, please remember:

  • No human-made objects in the photo (fencing or human themselves). Please ensure the animal is the feature
  • Photos with watermarks will not be accepted 
  • Nothing can be removed, adjusted or added to your original photograph 
  • Black and white photos will not be accepted 
  • Submit images in landscape format
  • Each member can submit:
    • Maximum of three photos per zoo, with a maximum of twelve photos in total
    • If you submit more, only the first three per zoo (twelve total) will be accepted and any further will be ineligible
  • Submit one image per form
  • Visit all four zoos to enter the maximum twelve photos

Here are some great tips from our resident Zoos Victoria Photographer Jo! 

Timing is everything

A great time to see the animals at their most active is during daily keeper talks. The animals also tend to be more active earlier in the day and late in the afternoon (avoid the hottest part of the day). 

Check out the animal talks times now for Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Open Range Zoo, Healesville Sanctuary and Kyabram Fauna Park

Find a backdrop

Make sure the animal is the main focus of the image. Pay attention to your background, try to avoid distracting items such as human-made objects (i.e. fencing), distracting foliage or other animals. You can change your position, angle of view or you can find a great angle for your background and wait for the animal to move into that space. 

The main focus

Try to ensure you have an animal’s eye in focus in your photographs. In many cameras, you can choose your focus point, if you can do so, put this chosen point over the animal’s eye in the frame to use it as your focus point. Some cameras even have a handy setting called ‘animal eye focus tracking’. 

A way to separate your subject from its surrounds is to use a shallow depth of field – this is where the subject is in focus and the foreground and background are out of focus. You can do this by using the largest aperture (such as F2.8 or 4) possible in ‘Manual’ or ‘Aperture Priority’ settings on your camera. If you do not know how to do this, consult your camera manual or set the camera to portrait mode as it will have a similar effect. 

Tools of the trade

You do not need to have the biggest zoom lens or professional quality gear to get great photos. You can use anything from a camera phone up to a DSLR. 

If you do have a zoom lens, don’t forget that details of animals such as close ups of feathers, eyes or patterns of fur can be just as impactful as an image of a whole animal in its environment. Without a zoom you can concentrate on showing animals in their habitat, larger groups or head to places such as the butterfly house, the reptile house or lemurs where you have the chance to see the animals at close range. 

Shoot to the brief

The annual Zoos Victoria calendar is in a horizontal format, so when shooting, try to frame using a landscape (horizontal) framing, or leave enough space in a portrait shaped image for cropping.  As much as we love our visitors, this calendar is all about the special animals in our care, so no people please! If you catch great expressions, fun antics, interesting behaviours and animals in their habitat you have a great chance. 

Leave no trace

Just remember photographing animals takes patience, please respect the animals and also fellow zoo visitors. Never bang on exhibit glass or raise your voice to try and get an animal to react.  Take your time and give yourself more chance to enjoy the animals, their behaviour and your photography. 

Photo details

One photo per submission with a maximum of 12 submissions*refer to T & C’s

Terms & Conditions

  • Entries must be registered via 
  • Entries closes on 30 June 2024
  • Entries received via email or any other means other than the above website will not be accepted
  • Each entry must include your name, email address, member number, contact phone number, and the zoo where the photograph was taken, and the animal must be selected
  • One image per registration
  • Maximum of three photos per zoo (Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Open Range Zoo, Healesville Sanctuary, and Kyabram Fauna Park) with a maximum of twelve photos per member
  • Entrants with multiple photos will be required to submit a registration for each photo
  • Maximum 4MB per submission 
  • Hi-Res version no less than 5MB must be available and provided by the winners on request. The image must have minimum dimensions of 297 x 210mm with 300dpi or the approximate equivalent of 2480 x 3508 pixels
  • The judges decision is final
  • View full terms and conditions here