Park Pics FAQs


Banner of winning photos from 2022


As long as my photo is taken somewhere in San Mateo County, can I enter it?

Although there are lots of great parks and open spaces in San Mateo County, the only photos that are eligible for this contest must be taken in one of the 24 County-operated parks that are open to the public. The most common disqualification in our contests is submitting photos taken in other parks, so double check the list if you’re not sure!


How many pictures can I enter? And, can I enter more than one photo in the same category?

Each individual entrant can submit a total of 3 images. The photos can be entered in the same category if that’s your preference or you can mix it up.


I only have a camera on my phone. Can I still enter?

Absolutely. You’re not alone! If your photo meets the specifications, you can enter a photo taken on any equipment.

Images should be submitted in .jpeg, .jpg or .gif format, at least 2,000 pixels wide (or tall if a vertical image) and no larger than 10 MB. Please submit your image at the highest possible resolution (but no larger than 300dpi). We will not consider submissions that do not meet these guidelines.


Can more than one person in my household enter?

Yes, the more the merrier! However, each household member must use their own email address for the submission, and each person may still only enter up to 3 total images.


If I’ve entered your contest before, can I enter again?

We would love you to enter again! There is no limit as to how many of our contests you can enter, as long as you meet the requirements for your photos.


I took a great photo this past spring. Can I submit it?

All photos need to be taken during the stated contest timeframe of December 21, 2023 through March 25, 2024. Why? We plan to run the contest every year during different seasons to curate a bank of images that show off the parks throughout the year. So, this year, it’s the “winter” season (more or less)! The second most common disqualification in contests is submitting photos taken outside the stated timeframe.


Do I have to live in San Mateo County to enter?

No, as long as your pictures are taken in one of the 24 San Mateo County Parks you can enter.


I can’t make the submission form work. How do I get help?

If you’re having difficulties, please let us know! Email Leslie Holzman at


Which category is the most competitive?

That’s hard to say, but in our first 2 contests, the Landscapes & Waterscapes category received the most entries, followed closely by Up Close with Nature.


What kind of photographs are you looking for?

We are looking for photos that reflect the diversity of our County parks, including the plants, wildlife, scenic attributes and the ways in which the parks are experienced by visitors. We seek photos that accurately reflect the subject matter without digital alteration beyond standard adjustments. So, resist the urge to try out fancy filters! We will feature photos from the contest in our social media, website, e-newsletters, print newsletters and possibly other publications in the form of notecards, calendars, brochures, etc.

Judges will specifically be looking for photos that reflect:

  • originality (such as unique perspectives, rarely captured moments)
  • technical excellence/photo quality (such as focus, depth of field, exposure)
  • artistic merit (such as composition, lighting, framing, perspective, use of color)
  • overall impact/general appeal (that might inspire, tell a story, evoke an emotion)
  • appropriate content (not depicting invasive species, harmful behavior, offensive material, etc)

What comes next after the March 25 deadline?

A panel of judges will review all the eligible submissions and recommend finalists for each category. We hope to notify all entrants of the finalist selections in early April. Then, in mid-April, a gallery of the finalist photos will be posted on our website and the public will be invited to vote for the People’s Choice award. The People’s Choice award will be decided by public vote. The panel of judges will select the other category winners. We hope to announce all winners in May.


Ready to enter? Go to our entry form and get started!




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