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4 Categories To Win!

We have four popular categories with a first prize of $750 each. Choose from Emotive Portraits, Classic Landscapes, Exotic Travel and Revealing Nature.

Richard Tonkin 2021 Overall Winner and Classic Landscape Category Winner (detail)

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Gold, Silver or Bronze?

Our competition is designed to encourage you. Bronze indicates potential in your entry. Silver means you truly have reached professional standard. And Gold has really impressed all three of the judges!

Pedro Jacque Krebs Revealing Nature 2021 Category Winner (detail)

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3 Expert Judges

The only competition where all the judges are AIPP Grand Masters of Photography who have judged around the world in both professional and enthusiast competitions.

Andi Abdul Halil Emotive Portraiture 2021 Category Winner (detail)

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$20 Entry & Every 5th Free!

The competition costs just AUS $20 (around US $15) each entry and for every four entries, you receive a fifth entry for free. Plus you receive a score and a comment as well!

Graeme Gordon Exotic Travel 2021 Category Winner (detail)

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A Learning Experience

Every entry receives a short comment about how their photograph has gone and how the judges think it could be improved. Many photographers enter just for the feedback!

Polly Fenton 2019 Photo of the Year

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$2000 OVERALL FIRST PRIZE

There are four $750 category prizes and one overall $2000 first prize. While the prize money is helpful, it's the award and the recognition that entrants relish the most!

Victoria McDonald 2018 Photo of the Year

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Recent Blogs from Better Photography


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Wanted: Visitors for Magical Bhutan

Young Monk, Jakar Dzong, Bhutan

Regular readers will know of my passion for Bhutan. Would you like to visit there later this year with David Oliver and me? We'd love to have you along…

I know the world is dealing with COVID and that there can be challenges travelling as well, but it's certainly getting a lot easier and by the time our trip in September/October 2022 comes around, we're hopeful it will be business as usual. And I know the wonderful people in Bhutan would like it to be business as usual as their economy is greatly dependent on tourism.

Last I spoke to Namgay, our Bhutanese guide, most of the population had been vaccinated and the country is opening back up to visitors. I can't wait to fly into the valley of Paro, between towering mountain peaks, the patchwork of fields below, the punctuation of a brilliant white dzong, the fortified monasteries. It really is like stepping back in time, but with the comforts of modern life.

To visit Bhutan, you need the services of a local guide. You can go there on your own, of course, but travelling with photographers is a lot of fun and we certainly have a great itinerary with many opportunities for photography. And we always make sure we can visit a festival at least once - the festivals are full of dances, costumes and exotic locations, often the internal dzong court yards. It's an atmosphere you'll never forget.

The photo above was taken during a festival. While this young monk was watching the dancers in awe, I was watching the faces of the people watching the dancers. From memory, the photo is taken with an 85mm f1.8 lens, shot at f1.8 to blur the background. And when shooting like this, I take lots of photographs, waiting and hoping for a gesture or a pose that is more than just a passport portrait.

Full details for our tour this year are on the website here….

When Can You Break The Rules?

Jökulsárlón Lagoon, Iceland
Phase One XF, 55mm Schneider lens, f11 @ 1 second, ISO 35

This composition is flawed. It is unbalanced. The interest is all up in the top right hand corner, leaving too much negative space of uninteresting water underneath the trite reflection. There is too much weight on the left, tilting the image over and tonally, the image should be lighter so we can see what's going on.

On the other hand, this is a bold composition. The large area of negative space is intentionally sparse in detail, leading the viewer's eye to the top of the composition with the beautifully shaped headland, the cap of orange grasses and the tiny icebergs floating intentionally in the headland's reflection. The colour is similarly minimalistic, the tonal range dark and moody. And the edge of the shore leads the eye deftly around the frame to the centre of interest. 

Which approach is correct and does it matter? When you've been a magazine editor for as long as I have, you can start to believe your own rhetoric! However, I think most readers would agree that no matter what the rules state, if a photography makes you happy, if it 'works', then it's a good photo.

As far as you are concerned, of course. I doubt if this photo would do well in a photo competition. Perhaps moving those shards of ice into the foreground on the left would break up the large negative space, making the top-heavy framing more understandable. Then again, there are undoubtedly some viewers who feel much as I do and enjoy the image for what it is.

What I like about 'breaking the rules' of composition is that you first have to consider them. And in the process of considering the rules, you're intentionally making decisions about what you like about your subject and how you want it to be presented.

So, when can you break the rules? Whenever you want to, but don't expect the judges in a photo competition to agree with you. If they do, then that's just a bonus.

And if you're interested in coming to this wonderful location and taking a superior photograph, I am doing a photo tour to Iceland this September with Better Moments photography and Christian Norgaard. Details are on our website (click here), but bookings are made directly with Better Moments.

Stopping Before The Best View

Above Hells Gate, Middlehurst.
Phase One XF 150MP, 55mm Schneider lens, f11 for 60 seconds, ISO 50.

How often have you been travelling to a destination, intent on seeing the view? You could be in Australia, Iceland or New Zealand - it doesn't matter. What does matter is you've been told about or you've seen a great location and you want to photograph it.

I have a question. Should you stop before the best view? This is sort of what happened for this photo taken at Middlehurst. In the distance on the left, you can see a small road that takes us to a corner of the mountain and some great panoramic views. I love going there each year - it's usually on the first night, weather permitting. And it's hard not to take an impressive landscape or two.

However, on this occasion as we were travelling back from our destination, we turned around to see the sky lighting up. Now, I'm not a big fan of sunset photographs in competitions, but when it comes to taking a few for myself, that's a different matter! And what I like about this image is the huge expanse of mountainside in the foreground, the red slips on the steeper sections. It's not a classic composition, cramming the 'action' of the big mountains and the sunset light show up into the top third of the frame, but this 'balance' creates a different type of interest. Some people might like to know what's behind the foreground mountain, whereas I like the fact that it hides it. It creates a sense of unknown - if what I can see already looks amazing, how much more could I see if I were around the corner?

Sometimes delivering everything in a photograph isn't as effective as allowing our viewers to use their imagination - and hence the question, should we stop before the best view?

As a corollary, we're always told to look behind us and I think this is possibly the single best piece of advice I have ever received. Okay, so you need a lot of other advice too, but how many photos would we have missed had we not been aware of what was happening behind and around us as well? And this concept isn't just about camera angle and place. It's about timing too - the sun had set behind clouds for the evening, or so we thought, but while we were on our way home, our cameras were still very much at the ready - and just as well.

If you're interested in experiencing the Middlehurst Experience in August this year, Tony Hewitt and I have just one place left You can check out the details on our website here.

What Are Our Workshops Like? Check Out These Videos!

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Svalbard - Ten Perfect Days
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Bhutan - Myth
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Svalbard - Ten Perfect Days
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Better Photography Online Edition

Better Photography is available four times a year (at www.betterphotographyeducation.com) as an online read or you can download it to your device for offline reading.

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When you subscribe to the paper edition or the full online subscription, you have immediate access to over 45 magazines online! There's lots of amazing content and ideas to enjoy and learn from.

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