SATW Bill Muster Photo Awards Rules and Requirements

SATW: Inspiring Travel Through Responsible Journalism.

The SATW Muster Photo Competition is open to all Society of American Travel ‎Writers members.‎

  • All images must have been shot between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2023. Photos do not ‎need to have been published to be submitted. Important: any photos taken before or ‎after these dates will be disqualified, and the Photographer may also be disqualified. Please ‎be prepared if asked to submit metadata that displays accurate capture dates and times.‎
  • A maximum of 20 images can be submitted per member.‎
  • The entry period is June 1 – June 30, 2023. Entries must be received no later than Friday, ‎June 30, 2023, at 5:00 P.M. PDT. Submissions received after this date will not be considered.‎
  • Important: All photos must be named using the requested file naming procedure. Please follow ‎the naming format exactly. Files not named correctly will be disqualified.‎
  • For photographers entering either the Photographer of the Year competition or the Single ‎Subject competition, you can enter one or the other, but not both competitions. If your portfolio ‎is not chosen as a winner in one of these competitions, your photos will automatically be ‎moved into the Individual Category competition and judged there. Photos from a winning ‎Photographer of the Year or Single Subject portfolio can’t simultaneously win an individual ‎category prize. Once a portfolio wins, all those photos are removed from the competition.
  • Photos submitted must not have won a previous Muster award. The only exception is Merit ‎Award winners from previous competitions, which may be re-entered only if they still fit within ‎the two-year time limit.‎
  • A photo that is judged to be too similar to another image (by the same photographer) that has previously won a gold, silver, or bronze award in a previous Muster Photo Competition will be disqualified. This means a photo that shows the same activity or same location, with a similar ‎viewpoint to a previous winning image. Conversely, a photographer who has won a Muster ‎award in a previous year with a photo of, for example, Machu Picchu may submit another ‎photo of Machu Picchu in the following year if the new image is distinctly different from the ‎earlier one and the photo has been taken within the two-year eligibility period.‎
  • Basic photo processing, such as cropping, exposure, contrast, color balance and adjustment, ‎saturation, sharpening, and dust spotting, is allowed. High Dynamic Range (HDR) techniques ‎, where two or more images are blended together realistically, as well as the stitching of two or ‎more images into a panorama, are also acceptable. AI-powered features such as masking and ‎noise reduction are allowed as long as AI is not changing the image by adding or removing ‎elements.‎
  • Images that are not allowed: altering photos by adding or removing objects, backgrounds, or ‎skies; compositing by combining two or more photos with different elements such as a moon; ‎adding colors or textures not in the original capture; and other major alterations that transform ‎the image into something significantly different than the original capture. AI-generated or ‎enhanced images are not allowed in this competition, and submission of even one AI image is ‎grounds for complete disqualification from the competition. Entrants may be asked to provide ‎metadata proving that AI was not used in a photo.‎
  • All photos submitted must be essentially editorial in content. This means that these images are ‎appropriate for a travel publication, book, or website. Photos identified as having been taken in ‎a commercial studio, or perceived by the judges as having been shot primarily for a commercial ‎purpose, such as a product advertising campaign (except destination promotion which is ‎allowed), will be disqualified.‎
  • Photos will be judged with consideration given to subject, composition, lighting, perspective, ‎storytelling, and other aspects that result in a unique, compelling, travel-oriented image.‎
  • The decision of the judges is final. Both judges and the Muster Chair may reclassify entries into ‎another appropriate category at their discretion.‎
  • Winners will be announced at the SATW Annual Convention in Puerto Rico in September 2023.‎

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Special thanks to Nori Muster for producing the Muster Photo Awards video once again, which is always ‎a major highlight of the convention.


Questions? Contact SATW HQ at [email protected].

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