Texas Forest Trail Region

Participant in the Texas Historical Commission's
Texas Heritage Trails Program

2014 Photo Contest

Enter Here: Submissions will be accepted through June 27-July 27, 2014 at 11:59 pm (Central Standard Time).

The Texas Forest Trail Region (Forest Trail) is a nonprofit organization that exists to promote East Texas through heritage tourism, historic preservation, educational services & advertising & marketing. We're looking for unique, full color or black and white photos that capture the essence of East Texas culture, heritage, events, people, nature, art, landscapes and architecture. This contest is intended to raise awareness of the area as a travel destination.



By entry the photographer accepts these criteria, rules and conditions.
  1. Participation: The contest is open to all U.S. residents at least 18 years of age, except staff and board members of Forest Trail and the immediate families of such staff and board members.

  2. Eligibility of Photos: All photos must be the original work of the Entrant. Use of a photo from other sources/people is not allowed and will be disqualified. Entry must be submitted by a single individual; no joint/group entries. Entries that have been previously published or have won another contest are ineligible.

  3. Location of Photos: Images must be taken within the 35-county Forest Trail Region. Counties Include: Anderson, Angelina, Bowie, Camp, Cass, Cherokee, Franklin, Gregg, Hardin, Harrison, Henderson, Houston, Jasper, Jefferson, Marion, Montgomery, Morris, Nacogdoches, Newton, Orange, Panola, Polk, Red River, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Shelby, Smith, Titus, Trinity, Tyler, Upshur, Walker, and Wood

  4. Date Photographed: Photos must be taken June 1, 2011 or later. A date when the images were taken, including month and year must accompany official entries.

  5. Number of Entries: An individual Entrant may enter a maximum of three (3) photographs in the contest.

  6. Entry Fee: There are no entry fees for participating in the contest.

  7. Entry Deadline: All entries must be submitted online between 11:59 pm on June 27, 2014 through 11:59 pm on July 27, 2014 (Central Standard Time). A direct link to the submission site will be posted on the Forest Trail website at

  8. Content: Photos that are deemed obscene, vulgar, sexually-oriented, hateful, threatening, or otherwise violate any laws are strictly prohibited. Entries determined to be inappropriate or unsuitable by the sponsor will be disqualified.

  9. Authenticity: The entry must depict the subject or location as it appears in real life; entry cannot use props or software to dramatically change the actual appearance of the image.

  10. Model & Property Releases: By submitting a photograph, the Entrant acknowledges and agrees that he or she has obtained sufficient written consents from recognizable people or locations appearing in an entry. Such consent, authorizes both Entrant and the Forest Trail to publish and use the photograph. Written consent must be retained by the Entrant and may be requested by the Forest Trail. (View photo release examples:

  11. Disqualification: An entry that does not follow the rules or category guidelines will automatically be disqualified.

  12. Release Of Liability: The Forest Trail and/or its employees involved in the contest will not be held liable for missing, mislabeled, or non-displayed photographs.

  13. Copyrights: Entrants will retain all rights and ownership to any entry and are not restricted in the future use of their images. Forest Trail and its agents shall credit images with the Entrant’s name whenever possible.

  14. Display & Future Rights Use Rights: By submitting an entry to the contest, the Entrant grants the Forest Trail a nonexclusive, royalty free license, in perpetuity, to display, reproduce, distribute, publish, and create derivative works of the entry, in any medium, without compensation,.

  15. Photograph Evaluation - All images will be judged on originality, technical excellence, composition, overall impact and artistic merit, and support for the mission of Forest Trail. Image eligibility, submission eligibility, and winner eligibility will be determined by the Forest Trail in its absolute discretion.

  16. Judges: Judges are Forest Trail staff, board or partner members, sponsors and volunteers. Judges will determine awards for “Best in Show” and “Sponsored Categories.” All decisions are final. The general public will select “Fan Favorite” by popular vote via Facebook following the July 27 submission deadline.

  17. Awards: Being awarded Fan Favorite Winner or a Sponsored Category Winner does not preclude an Entrant from winning the Grand Prize award or other honor determined by the judges. All decisions are final.

  18. Announcement of Results: Winners will be posted after August 4, 2014 on Forest Trail social media and website




  1. Submission of Photographs: All photographs will be submitted in electronic format using the official online submission site. A direct link to the submission site will be posted on the Forest Trail website at at 11:59 pm Central Standard Time on June 27, 2014. Submissions will be accepted through 11:59 pm Central Standard Time on July 27, 2014. Entries submitted using alternate methods or received before or after the submission period, will not be considered for the competition.

  2. Format: All photographs must be submitted in jpg format.

  3. File Size: Criteria for judging includes photo quality. Please provide photos of the highest available resolution up to 12 MB. Suggested Resolution: 3 megapixels or above between 200-300 pixels per inch. Print Size: Width between 6-12 inches.

  4. Photo Editing: Extreme use of editing and effects should be a minimum. These photos are intended for the purpose of promoting and highlighting the Forest Trail as it appears and should be taken and edited with that concept in mind.

  5. Labeling/Naming Your Photograph: Images must not be watermarked. All file names should contain the Entrant’s last name, first name and the county where the photograph was taken. An “_” should be used between each of the items. “Sponsored Category” entries should also contain the category abbreviation. Sequential numbering should be used (1,2, or 3) to note number of entries per Entrant.


“Best in Show” Format:


  • sam_houston_walker_1.jpg (1st entry by Sam Houston taken in Walker County)

  • sam_houston_walker_2.jpg (2nd entry by Sam Houston taken in Walker County)


“Sponsored Category” Format:


  • sam_houston_walker_ph_2.jpg (3rd entry by Sam Houston taken in Walker County. (PH) category -Picture Yourself in  Huntsville


*All qualified entries are eligible for “Best in Show” awards.

CONTEST CATEGORIES & PRIZES: 19 Awards. Total $4000.

Best In Show: 8 Awards. Total - $1,550.        

  • Grand Prize: one (1) - $500.

  • Blue Ribbon: two (2) - $250 each

  • Red Ribbon:  four (4) - $100 each

  • Fan Favorite – one (1) - $150            


Sponsored Categories: 11 Awards. Total $2,450. Descriptions next page.

  1. Best of Beaumont (BB): one (1) - $250

  2. Best of Everything Texas (BET): one (1) - $250

  3. Best of Palestine (BP): one (1) - $250

  4. Best of Shelby County (BS): one (1) - $250

  5. Best of Tyler (BT): one (1) - $100

  6. Downtown Nac (DN): one (1) - $250

  7. Festival Fun (FF): one (1) - $250

  8. Historic East Texas (HET): one (1) - $250

  9. Main Street Mount Vernon (MV): one (1) - $100

  10. Picture Yourself in Huntsville (PH): one (1) - $250

  11. Spirit of Nacogdoches (SN): one (1) - $250


*Being awarded a “Sponsored Category” winner or “Fan Favorite” does not preclude an Entrant from winning “Best in Show” awards or other honor determined by the judges.


*The Texas Forest Trail Region reserves the right to adjust any deadlines, cancel, change or suspend this contest as the result of unforeseen or unexpected events that cannot be reasonably anticipated or controlled, (also referred to as force majeure) that affects the fairness and / or integrity of this contest. This right is reserved whether the event is due to human or technical error.




  1. Best of Beaumont (BB) –  $250 Sponsored by Beaumont Convention & Visitors Bureau

One winner will receive $250 for a photo of people enjoying and experiencing the fun and adventure of Beaumont, from the beautiful outdoors along the Neches River to historic sites like Spindletop Gladys-City Boomtown Museum, McFaddin-Ward House and Fire Museum of Texas. Capture activities and events that show people dancing, eating or simply enjoying the day and night-life of Beaumont. Winning photo will capture the spirit of Beaumont's people and the city.  


  1. Best of “Everything Texas” (BET) –  $250 Sponsored by Mount Pleasant - Titus County Chamber of Commerce

One winner will receive $250 prize for a photo which exemplifies “Everything Texas.” Whether you’re enjoying the good life with friends and family or experiencing some of our great outdoor activities and events, we want to see what makes Mount Pleasant the best of “Everything Texas”. Photo must be taken in Titus County. 


  1. Best of Palestine (BP)- $250 Sponsored by the City of Palestine

One winner will receive $250 for a photo capturing the Best of Palestine, from the beautiful outdoors to the stately homes and architecture, Palestine is definitely a photographer’s playground.  Capture activities and events, faces & places, the Main Street District, the culinary scene, and not to mention the Texas State Railroad. 


  1. Best of Shelby County (SC) –  $250 Sponsored by Shelby County Chamber of Commerce

One winner will receive $250 for a photo capturing the best of Shelby County, from the peaceful wilderness to the lively culture and storied heritage of the downtown square in Center. Winning photo will show us the way you savor the good life in Shelby County.  


  1. Best of Tyler (BT)– $100 Sponsored by Tyler Convention & Visitors Bureau.

One winner will receive $100 for a photo of you, your friends, and family enjoying Tyler attractions, arts and culture, events, restaurants, nature, and more. Share your photos with us of your experiences in and around Tyler.


  1. Downtown Nac (DN) – $250  Sponsored by Friends of Nacogdoches Main Street

One winner will receive $250 for a photo taken in/around Downtown Nacogdoches. Photographs should demonstrate the downtown experience whether highlighting people enjoying downtown or showcasing the spirit of downtown.


  1. Festival Fun (FF)- $250  

One winner will receive $250 for a captivating festival photo.  From yams and peanuts to poultry and fire ants east Texans love to celebrate the heritage and prosperity of our region.  The winning photo of this category will capture the unique culture and traditions of a community sponsored annual festival.


  1. Historic East Texas (HET) -  $250 

From log cabins and courthouses  to railroads and sawmills, East Texas has a rich and storied past. The winner of this category will receive $250 for a compelling photo of a historic building, structure, district, archeological landmark or monument that is 50 years old or older and distinguished as historically significant within its east Texas community.


  1. Main Street Mount Vernon (MV) –  $100 Sponsored by the Mount Vernon Main Street Alliance. 

One winner will receive $100 for a photo taken in Downtown Mount Vernon.  The winning photo will best capture visitors and guests enjoying the atmosphere, activity, and culture of downtown Mount Vernon’s vibrant historic district.


  1. Picture Yourself in Huntsville (PH) –  $250 Sponsored by the City of Huntsville Tourism Department

One winner will receive $250 for a photo that will compel tourists to visit Huntsville by highlighting cultural arts, historic downtown, museums or the great outdoors. The winning photo will capture what makes Huntsville special  & unique as well as the beauty and history only found in the Piney Woods of Huntsville, Texas.  


  1. Spirit of Nacogdoches (SN)  –  $250 Sponsored by Nacogdoches Convention & Visitors Bureau

One winner will receive $250 for a photo of people enjoying and experiencing the fun and adventure of Nacogdoches, from the beautiful outdoors to historic sites, activities, and events. Winning photo will capture the spirit of Nacogdoches’ people and the city.