Amateur Photographer of the Year 2017

The UK’s oldest and most prestigious photo competition for amateur photographers returns, bigger and better than ever!

Over the years AP readers have sent us some incredible images, so 26 years ago we decided to launch the Amateur Photographer of the Year competition. Since then, APOY has received thousands and thousands of entries, with many of them taking the judges’ breath away. Entries have come from across the globe, whether they’ve been shot with a smartphone, a plastic camera or a top-of-the-range DSLR.

APOY 2017 follows a different format from last year. This time we’re working in partnership with Photocrowd, who will be hosting all the entered images on their website. Visit for details on how to enter.

The competition is open to all amateur photographers, but please note that those entrants who live outside the UK who win any of the prizes will be liable for any local import taxes.

After the closing date of each round, all the entries will be narrowed down to a shortlist, from which we’ll decide the overall winner of that round. There will be one winner as selected by an expert panel of judges and then one winner as voted for by the members of Photocrowd, who will win a print subscription to Amateur Photographer magazine.

The images will appear on Photocrowd, and the highest rated entries are also published in Amateur Photographer. After the eight rounds, the overall winner will be chosen by a mix of crowd and expert votes.

The lucky winner will then be crowned the Amateur Photographer of the Year 2017.

Plan your APOY year

Below is a list of all this year’s rounds, including when the rounds open, when they close and the dates the results will be announced in Amateur Photographer. When you are planning your entry, remember to take into consideration the criteria of fulfilling the brief, creativity and technical excellence on which you will be judged.

Round One: Magical Monochrome

The first round of APOY 2017 is Magical Monochrome, where we want to see your best black & white images. Black & white has always proved popular, not just in APOY but in the pages of Amateur Photographer in general. When we remove colour from the equation, the rules of composition, framing and lighting shift their parameters and require the photographer (and viewer) to see the world in a vastly different way. Many photographers who work exclusively in black & white maintain that colour is a distraction in a photograph. remove it and the viewer is free to focus on the graphic elements of an image: angles, shapes, lines and textures. Light is the other key factor here. When black & white and atmospheric lighting combine, the power of an image can seem all-enveloping. You’d do well to look at some of the greatest images of the masters of black & white photography, such as André Kertész, Bill Brandt, Michael Kenna and Sebastião Salgado.

Black & white is a medium that is capable of giving your images a real visual punch. But also bear in mind that not every subject will necessarily work, so it’s worth giving some real thought to what you choose to shoot.

The prize:

Win a Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art lens and an EF-610 DG Super flashgun – worth £1,010!

The Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art lens offers the ultimate in image quality. Resolution is extremely crisp at the area in focus, while both front and rear bokeh are silky smooth. Offering the ultra-high performance that characterises Sigma’s Art line, it inherits the design principles of the line’s first model, the flagship Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM. To achieve exceptionally crisp resolution, Sigma has minimised sagittal coma flare and every type of optical aberration that affects image quality. The result is minute detail without bleeding or streaking, even at wide-open aperture. Axial chromatic aberration is difficult to correct using image processing software after an image has been taken. For this reason, this lens features Special Low Dispersion (SLD) glass to minimise axial chromatic aberration and deliver sharp, high-contrast quality throughout the frame.

The Sigma EF-610 DG Super flashgun is a shoe- mount-type flash featuring a powerful Guide Number of 61m at ISO 100 and is designed to work with the most popular DSLRs. It provides fully automatic flash for DSLRs with automatic TTL exposure control.

Magical Monochrome – top tips:

Visualisation – The key to great images is to think about how colour translates into tone. Notice the tones in the scene and the proportion of shadows and highlights. The fact is, not every subject will work well in black & white so think about what you’re shooting.

Patterns and textures – When colour is removed, a scene can look flat if there’s nothing of interest to see. Since you can’t rely on bold colours for impact, you could always try incorporating textures and patterns into your image.

Atmosphere – Black & white can be used to create real atmosphere at the right event and location. When you’re within your chosen environment, consider how black & white can emphasise the aesthetic drama of your location. Weather could be a factor here. A dark and stormy day would lend itself well to monochrome. On the other end of the scale, perhaps a day of sunshine can give your images striking tonal contrasts.

Silhouettes – Exposing for the highlights can create a striking image. This is particularly effective if you’re looking to achieve black & white silhouettes. Just make sure your subject has a defined shape, otherwise the impact is likely to be lost.

About Sigma

Sigma is again offering an array of prizes to the winners of the Amateur Photographer of the Year competition. Sigma’s mission is to provide exceptional products at an affordable price. All Sigma products are manufactured exclusively by Sigma in its dedicated factory in Aizu, Japan. The company’s reputation for cutting-edge lens design is demonstrated by its series of lenses, ranging from 4.5mm to 800mm. Designed for enthusiast and professional photographers alike, all are backed by a three-year UK warranty when imported by Sigma Imaging (UK) Ltd.

Sigma’s new Global Vision range of cameras and lenses incorporates the very latest in optical technology, with unique innovations such as the ultra-fast Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 Art lens and USB dock that allow unrivalled customisation of Global Vision lenses by the photographer using Sigma Optimization Pro specialist software. This groundbreaking new range is winning praise and awards for its quality and innovation from both customers and industry commentators alike.

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