Steve is the grand prize winner of this second year of the awards, in recognition of the diverse and technically excellent studies that he produces of the insect life that he finds around his Northampton, UK home. He’s had a long-lasting love of photography, inspired by his father’s interest. He’s fascinated by the worlds “as alien as science fiction” that one uncovers in the most common of places, and he hopes that by portraying insects at large scale, humans will have more sympathy for them. He recommends anyone with an interest to plant up an area of their garden with native flowers, and he was amazed during lockdown to see how quickly the grass verges that were left to grow became full of insect life. He likens the experience of building a focus-stacked image on a screen, to that you’d get watching a print come to life in darkroom developing fluids.Steve James
'Profile of a Digger Bee's head'
'Underside of a Grass Bug'
'Reach for the sky'
'Cabbage White butterfly on knapweed'
Alexis is 14 years old, is half Greek and half Canadian, and lives in Berlin, Germany. He got his first camera in 2017 and has been taking photos ever since. He says “I like that I can do macro photography anywhere and I don't have to go far away or to a special location to find interesting subjects. I got more seriously into macro photography in the initial lockdown in 2020 and spent a lot of time near my house looking for bugs.” He wins with this excellent shot of a Masked bee. His top tip is to use a flash and diffuser, to achieve nice even lighting.
See more of Alexis' images on InstagramAlexis Tinker-Tsavalas
Arachnids include the full range of spiders and harvestmen, as well as scorpions, ticks and mites. They all have eight legs, and live in many habitat types, from the water-loving Fen Raft spider, to the sky-bound Cloud-living spider. We'd also love to see some great pictures of spider webs.
Beetles are the largest order of insects. Ladybirds/ladybugs, stag beetles, pollen beetles, water beetles, and any member of the Coleoptera order can be entered into this category. From tiny pollen beetles to large long-horned beetles, you can distinguish a beetle by its forewings that are typically modified into hard wing cases (elytra), which cover and protect the hind wings and abdomen.
The bugs in this category should be members of the Lepidoptera order – butterflies, and day or night-flying moths. Most will have wings that are coloured, either for camouflage or distraction – the exception being those with clear wings. It also includes caterpillars.
The bugs in this category should be members of the Ephemeroptera or Odonata orders. Dragonflies, damselflies and mayflies, all the majetic flying insects that start off living in freshwater and can then spend their briefer adult lives flying in the vicinity of water bodies. These two orders are some of our most iconic flying insects.
The bugs in this category should be members of the Diptera or Hymenoptera orders. This includes all flies, hoverflies, bees, wasps and ants. The majority of this category are permanently winged though ants and a few of the wasps are more often found without wings. Flies have one pair of wings while the ants, bees and wasps have two.
Legless gastropods are the focus of this category – namely slugs or snails. They can be found on land or in the water, and are characterised by having a single long soft foot.
If you have an image of a bug that doesn't belong in one of the other categories, then this is the place for them. Examples include all aquatic bugs, shield bugs, cicadas, cockroaches, grasshoppers, lacewings, stoneflies, praying mantises, centipedes, millipedes and earwigs.
This category celebrates macro images – those that highlight the astonishing details otherwise hidden to the naked human eye.
This category celebrates the many places that bugs might call home. These can be created by the creatures themselves, such as a spider’s web, wasp’s nest, or one made by humans, such as a beehive or a bug hotel.
Shining a light on young talent in the world of invertebrate photography, and open to anyone aged 13 to 17.