Photography Competitions Newsletter April 2020

Photography Competitions Newsletter April 2020

Each month I write a newsletter for photography competitions, awards, and bursaries. This is the edited highlights of April’s newsletter, which you can view in it’s original format here.

Hey friends!

Tough times, right? I hope you’re keeping well and the lockdown has not been catastrophic for you.

I’ve been holding off sending this newsletter for the past week because there just haven’t been many competitions being announced. I was hoping to bring you news of the Taylor Wessing competition (which is my favourite of the year) which is usually announced at the start of April. But nothing. Crickets. (Although that might be because they start renovating the National Portrait Gallery in the summer, so it might not even be running).

I’ve started a second newsletter

I thought I’d also bring you the news that I’ve been enjoying writing this newsletter so much since January, that I’ve started a second one! I love hearing the feedback from you guys on how much you enjoy receiving this in your inbox, so it’s inspired me to write a more general newsletter on photography.

You can subscribe here. I’ve called it The Persistent Photographer as a reflection of my own journey. I expect it’ll be a kind of regular personal essay about photography, the industry, and being an artist. A love letter to photography, if you like. I hope that if you love this newsletter that you come over and subscribe to the other one too. It would be wonderful to see you there.


Surrey Wildlife Trust
If you’re a wildlife photographer then this is a lovely little competition. They’re looking for entries (films, photographs, or paintings) that celebrate Surrey’s diverse wildlife.
The competition opens on the 6th of May (so I’m giving you some advance warning) and closes in October.
The winners will be exhibited at the Guildford House Gallery in Feb next year.

Nature Photographer of the Year
If you fancy something less local and more international as a nature photographer, this is for you.
They’ve extended the deadline for their competition until the 28th June due to COVID-19

Bird Photographer of the Year
I used to write for The Societies and I’m so thrilled that they’re running this excellent competition to raise money for the RSPB.
The deadline is 30th September.

Gosh. That was a lot of nature photography awards. Right. Onto something else.

Fine Art Photography Awards

This looks like a really interesting organisation, and they’re new to me. I have seen some photographers on various Facebook groups I read winning awards this month, so I thought it was worth mentioning.
The deadlines aren’t for a while, the first is in October of this year if you want to get your entries cheaper, but the final (more expensive) deadline isn’t until February 2021.
Their “about me” page claims they’re looking for photographers who explore the depth of 21st-century artists’ ability to push the limits of the imagination and produce photographs that go beyond the currently accepted standards. Sounds pretty great to me – I know you guys can do it!
Top prizes are $2000 and $3000, as well as a boatload of press and publicity. There’s categories for everything, your work will fit somewhere!

International Garden Photographer of the Year
I think that this one is in its 14th year now. Anyway, it’s pretty prestigious and has plenty of room for really creative photography.
The “abstract views” and “breathing spaces” categories really feel really inspiring for me. Every year I say I’m going to shoot something for this competition and I’ve never yet got round to it. Oh well, maybe this year! (Or maybe not, depending on how long lockdown lasts).
The competition closes in October.

Fotoholics Photographer of the Year
This is another nice little competition that is well worth entering. There are categories covering landscape, street, black and white and projects. I like the sound of the project competition, I’ll have to see if I have anything worth submitting to it as a panel of five images.
Entries close on the 28th August, and the prize is an exhibition in Blackpool.

EISA Maestro 2020
This award is a little unknown, but quite prestigious amongst the art photography community by all accounts.
EISA are the Expert Imaging and Sound Association, and this year their theme is “movement.”
I’m pretty sure you can all find something fantastic to shoot for this brief, so I’m looking forward to seeing your entries!
You’ve got until 1st May to enter

The AOP Awards
Short for the Association of Photographers, these awards celebrate the best photography happening amongst their professional members. If you’re making money out of photography and you’re not already a member you really should take a look, they’re effectively a trade union for photographers.
The competition is open now, has student and emerging talent awards, and closes at various points throughout March and April.

Life Framer Photography Prize
Cash prizes, four global exhibitions, and one of the judges is Martin Parr (his name alone is enough to make me consider entering this one, I’m a bit of a fan).
There are several themes currently open for entry:
– Colours – 30th April 2020
– Youthhood – 31st May 2020
It’s $20 to enter an image, or $100 for a yearly membership that allows you to enter up to 10 images per theme, for the next 12 themes.

Portrait of Britain
This beautiful annual competition, exhibition, and book is run by the British Journal of Photography. If you think that you’ve shot an image this year that somehow captures the spirit of Britain in a portrait then you should get it entered into this contest!
Deadline is 14th May 2020.

How to Start Shooting Fine Art Photography

At the end of March, after we’d all gone into lockdown, I set myself a challenge. My idea was to create five new pieces of content that were all related for my photography blog.

I sometimes neglect my blog a bit. It can occasionally go months without me posting to it when get busy (usually with my PhD) so I spent a week in the mornings getting up an hour earlier and writing with my morning coffee in hand

The result was five pieces of interlinked writing about fine art photography:

And then I wrote a bonus piece the week after:

I really enjoy writing about art and trying to make it accessible to people who haven’t been as fortunate as myself to have an education in art history or fine art. And I hope that these blog posts help to make it more approachable for many people.

The photographic industry and hobby have so far to go when it comes to art education. So much of the teaching and resourcing is spent on teaching people how to be technically “good” without barely any thought as to what we’re capturing with our skills.

Beyond talking about the technicalities of composition on the like, there’s barely any discussion of visual languages or conceptualisation of themes using photography as a medium.

I hope that one day the hobby and industry takes storytelling as seriously as technical ability. And I hope that my blog posts go some small way in turning the tide in that respect.

Awards and Grants

Awards and grants usually take a bit more work than photography competition entries, but the pay-off can be worth it.

a-n Bursaries: Time Space Money

The Artists Information Company is offering bursaries from £500 – £1500 to help those affected by COVID-19. They’re also working with Arts Council England to distribute £300,000 of financial support to artists at this difficult time.
Closing date is 7th May 2020.

Joan Wakelin Bursary
This bursary from the RPS and The Guardian funds new projects. It offers £2000 for the production of a photographic essay on an overseas social documentary issue.

TPA/RPS Environmental Bursary
Together with The Photographic Angle, the RPS is offering a 1-year bursary to support a project that will raise environmental awareness. It will provide £3000 to help with travel expenses, photographic gear, and other project costs.

RPS Postgraduate Bursary
If you’re currently studying a postgrad in photography, or you’re doing research related to photography, then this one is for you., It supports both digital and traditional photographic activity and research.

The Artists’ Collecting Society Studio Prize
This prize is the opportunity to win £4500 to contribute to the cost of setting up an artists studio in the UK. Artists often face serious economic challenges when trying to establish their own studio, and this award aims to make it easier.
You’ve got until 30th of June if you’re interested, and you’ll need to have graduated within the last four years.