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This is what it takes to get your photo on the cover of a National Geographic magazine

Tomasz Furmanek / National Geographic Your Shot
After sunset in wintertime Norway.
By Thu-Huong Ha
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

August might be over, but don’t stop snapping vacation photos just yet: Until September 22, National Geographic Traveler is accepting submissions for the cover of its December 2015/January 2016 issue.

The 30-year-old magazine is one of the properties of the National Geographic Society (now partly owned by 21st Century Fox), and every year it dazzles with its travel photo contest. This is the first time any of National Geographic’s magazines will run a cover based on reader submissions.

Submit a photo from your favorite travel destination here. Vertically oriented photos and compositions that leave clean space in the top and bottom of the frame are best, according to the judges. See 10 of the top contenders so far, selected by National Geographic Travel editors, below.

Adi Nicola/National Geographic Your Shot
“Wandering in the Italian Dolomites, I found this beautiful place from the Valley of Funes. Behind there are the peaks of the Odle Group.”
Elena Ermakova/National Geographic Your Shot
“Architectural masterpiece in the heart of Russia. Saint Basil’s Cathedral on the Red Square, Moscow, Russia.”
Romain Guédé/National Geographic Your Shot
“Beautiful light on the mount Bromo just before sunrise.”
Freddy Enguix/National Geographic Your Shot
“People say that this is one of the most beautiful castles in the world, and on of the most photographed places too. What do you think? I truly believe it. It’s an outstanding location, a beautiful landscape, a breathless architecture, oh man… you need to go and see it for yourself!”
Sarawut Intarob/National Geographic Your Shot
“Rice terrace in Vietnam.”
Lluís Salvadó/National Geographic Your Shot
“Every morning at sunrise, the sky is spotted by dozens of balloons that fly through the sky to have a unique view of Bagan, the ancient capital of Myanmar.The surface of Bagan contains over 10,000 temples Between the 11th and 13th centuries.”
Binoy Uthup/National Geographic Your Shot
“The picture was captured from the top of SANDS SKYPARK at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. It is a vertical panorama of 2 rows and 5 different exposures per row to achieve a distortionless result with better dynamic range of light.”
Dennis Liew/National Geographic Your Shot
“The sun lights up the peaks above Rae Lakes as it starts to set. This was taken on my 4-night backpacking trip in Kings Canyon National Park.”
Marco Grassi/National Geographic Your Shot
“You can’t travel to amazing place and then leave without the shot. When I arrived to this beautiful place it was foggy, I could’t see the mountains in the background. The first day I spent 6 hours in this place. Scouting, enjoying the view and waiting for the magic to happen. And this was the result.”
Tomasz Furmanek/National Geographic Your Shot
This photo was taken in wintertime after sunset in Norway. I was kayaking in the evening in the area where Aurlandsfjord meets Nærøyfjord. I waited until the water got completely calm at about 20 minutes after sunset. I saw through my gopro app on my phone that the gopro was using exposure of 1/30 sec due to the low light. I had to keep absolutely still while gliding slowly in the water to get a good photo without blur. The paddle back to the car took over an hour in darkness with a headlamp.

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