The competition was made up of 8 rounds that opened throughout the year with only the best judged result in each round counting towards the overall score. You can find more details in our help section.
According to Amateur Photographer’s most recent reader survey, landscape photography is its most popular genre. The brief here is purposefully loose as we want to see as many different interpretations of “landscape” as possible. We’re happy to receive anything and everything which could be considered a landscape, from modern architecture to grand sweeping mountain vistas. The possibilities truly are endless – don’t be afraid to be abstract in your approach either, as standing out from a crowded field can be truly tricky.
When photographers remove colour from the equation, they are free to concentrate on other aspects of what makes a fantastic photograph. Composition, framing and lighting all take central stage once the distraction of colour is taken away. But it’s not as simple as merely desaturating your images – to successfully shoot in black and white, you need to think in a different way in the first place. There are no shortages of masters of this craft, take a look at the wonderful work of Bill Brandt, Sebastião Salgado, Michael Kenna and many more to give yourself some inspiration.
Macro photography is one of the most popular genres of photography – and with good reason. Getting close-up allows us to explore elements of a scene that might otherwise be missed by the naked eye. There’s a whole world of different subjects that you could tackle for this challenge. Plants and natural subjects are the obvious first choice for many, providing a beautiful canvas of colour, shape and texture that function together to form a cohesive whole. But don’t forget to look elsewhere too – we want to see your imagination go wild. Jewellery, insects, shells, feathers, food – in fact anything you care to scrutinise at close quarters are all fair game.
Capturing moving subjects is one of the trickiest challenges for any photographer. For this round we want to see your best sports and action shots, which really show off your skills at capturing split-second moments. With no time to get it wrong, those who are successful in this genre know how to anticipate movement, pressing the shutter at the best possible moment. In essence, anything that moves is accepted in this round – from trains, planes and automobiles to sports people in action, we can’t wait to see your interpretation of movement.
Street photography is at once the hardest and easiest genre of photography. Everybody has access to a subject – just step outside your own front door – but not everybody can produce the kind of skilful work we want to see. Paying attention to the everyday movements of folk as they go about their business – and spotting the extraordinary within the mundane – is what makes great photographers of this genre stand out. Getting to know the work of some of the masters of street can pay dividends. Take a look at Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Doisneau and Vivian Maier. More contemporary practioners include Martin Parr, Niall McDiarmid and Nick Turpin, look them all up to see what works – and what doesn’t.
This round is our animal, wildlife and nature category. We want you to point your lens and all creatures great and small. It’s a broad topic with a myriad of subjects waiting to be captured – from your pet pooch, to crabs in rock pools, to lions prowling the Serengeti to your local nature reserve – anything and everything is fair game here. When it comes to our animal friends, research is key. Learn how they behave so you’re ready to strike at the opportune moment for shots which rise above the rest.
We want to see how you work with what can easily be defined as the most important aspect of good photography – light, and it’s opposite – shadow. You can really be open with this round. The theme is “Light and Shadow”, but the images can cover any kind of genre. Whether it’s light falling delicately for a portrait, using shadows for composition in street photography, sun beams casting a golden glow over a beautiful landscape – the choice is all yours.
For this round, we’re looking for images containing people. Whether that takes the form of a portrait, a candid street scene, or even a carefully considered self-portrait is up to you. Portrait photography is a challenging genre, but you have the power tell a thousand different stories with a single image when it’s done well. Great people pictures can be found in all walks of life – turning your lens on those familiar to you, such as family and friends – can help you to see them in a whole new light.
SIGMA’s mission is to provide exceptional products at an affordable price and are again offering a wonderful array of prizes to the winners of this year's Amateur Photographer of the Year competition.