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1
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


Click on the headings to read the full article.

The Arctic Report: The Hand of Man

Mining boat wreck, Skansbukta, Svalbard
Phase One XT 150MP, Rodenstock HR Digaron-W 32mm, f8 @ 1/125 second, ISO 160

One of the aspects I love about shooting at the poles (north and south) are the old shacks, boat wrecks and building ruins scattered around. I know, I know - we should aim to keep these places wild and pristine and to a certain extent, Mother Nature is doing this for us, no matter what we do.

In Svalbard there's a lot of emphasis placed on the conservation of the archipelago's more recent history. While there is little evidence (and some argument) about the first people to 'discover' Spitzbergen (as Svalbard was generally known), most human activity has happened in the last 200 years or so, from the fire pits of old whaling stations to a remote German meteorological station that was bombed during WWII.

And it is these subjects and their awkward juxtapositions in such a wild and barren landscape that I love to photograph. I saw this ship wreck around four years ago on a day trip to Pyramiden, just outside Longyearbyen. As it was a commercial ferry ride, there was no opportunity to stop, but I made a mental note of returning there.

However, when we first landed at Skansbukta a few weeks ago, I'd forgotten all about my ferry ride. However, I could certainly see this old wreck down the end of the beach.

With any expedition landing, there are always other passengers around, so while the best approach is to photograph your subject without bright red and blue jackets walking through the frame, the reality is a little different. Fortunately, Photoshop, Lightroom and Capture One (etcetera) are all very good at removing unwanted characters.

For this image, I lay down on my stomach to accentuate the precarious balance of the ship on its keel. It's probably not nearly as 'precarious' as it looks with the front of the boat well embedded in the pebbly beach.

In post-production I have certainly lightened up the underside of the boat, but it was partly natural as a break in the clouds behind the camera was creating a beautiful soft-light effect - it was almost like being in a huge outdoor studio!

Having spent 30 days around Svalbard this year (that's a separate story of airline strikes and challenges), I realise I have still only touched the surface of this amazing archipelago. If you're interested in joining me in August 2023, I am hosting a voyage that includes Svalbard and Greenland called Jewels of the Arctic?

And also a call-out for Bhutan! David Oliver and I are definitely going back (29 September to 12 October 2022) and we have just two guests with us, so this is a great opportunity to join a small group! Full details for all photo tours can be found on the website.

 

The Arctic Report: Mesmerising Cloud Formations

Low Cloud, Burgerbukta, Svalbard
Phase One XF 150MP, 110mm Schneider-Kreuznach, f7.1 @ 1/2000 second, ISO 50

Photographers often ask me what time of year is best for photography in the Arctic and I think after my last trip there, the answer has to be any time of year. Why? Because the weather plays such an important role in the light you experience.

My voyages around Svalbard this year were in July when the sun never sets. It gets lower in the sky in the early hours of the morning, so there is more angle to the light, but it never gets low to the horizon. You never see sunrise or sunset colours at this time of the year, so if you want sunrises and sets, you should travel earlier or later in the year.

Of course, if you travel earlier, you might be restricted by the sea ice, meaning some locations are not accessible. If you travel later, the sea ice may have receded so far north you don't see it at all. But no year is ever the same and so your best laid plans can come to naught simply because the weather is different.

So, while I had no sunrise or sunsets on my voyages, the light shows were still remarkable. There were certainly some blue-bird days with not a cloud in the sky and they became a little boring - we get sick of taking travel brochure snaps! However, if you don't like the weather, you can be sure it will change the next day (or the next hour) and it is during these changes that the landscape lights up with spots of sunlight sneaking through patchy clouds or bands of mist hugging the edges of tall mountains.

There's always something happening and if I don't have my camera with me, I'm running back to my cabin to quickly take a shot as the ship sails to our next destination.

This photograph was taken from the deck of Aurora Expedition's Greg Mortimer. Although we usually have two outings each day, either on land or as a zodiac 'cruise', there are plenty more photo opportunities as the ship moves on. How could you resist a subject like this?

Shooting from the deck, I am not using a tripod, so I keep an eye on my shutter speeds to ensure there is no camera shake or movement. With modern cameras, there's no issue pushing your ISO up higher to give you a fast shutter speed and a sufficiently small aperture for depth-of-field.

Having spent 30 days around Svalbard this year (that's a separate story of airline strikes and challenges), I realise I have still only touched the surface of this amazing archipelago. If you're interested in joining me August 2023, I am hosting a voyage that includes Svalbard and Greenland called Jewels of the Arctic?

And also a call-out for Bhutan! David Oliver and I are definitely going back (29 September to 12 October 2022) and we have just two guests with us, so this is a great opportunity to join a small group! Full details for all photo tours can be found on the website.

The Arctic Report: White Bears, Blue Ice

White Bear, Blue Ice
Fujifilm X-T4, 200mm f2.0 lens with 1.4 teleconverter, f2 @ 1/5800 second, ISO 160.

Kvitoya (White Island), off the northeast coast of Svalbard, is covered by a relatively low ice cap. Now, I'm no glaciologist, but I understand the blue ice is the result of pressure and often we don't get to see this ice because it is covered with fresh snow - hence the name of the island.

We were sitting in our zodiac doing circuits past the shore where there were three polar bears in the white snow. Behind I could see the blue ice and I thought to myself, wouldn't it be wonderful if the bears wandered up there.

Mind you, the weather wasn't optimum. The sea was quite choppy, moving the zodiac around and making it difficult to focus on the subject or, for that matter, keeping the subject within the frame. The longer your telephoto lens, the more difficult this was, so there's an argument for a slightly shorter telephoto for framing and then cropping the image later on.

In addition, there was low cloud and fog and the wind was blowing offshore, depositing a fine mist of water over the lens's front element. I was constantly cleaning the lens with a soft cloth I keep in my camera bag for such occasions. A rain-cover on the camera also helped, but there was nothing I could do to stop the rain accumulating on the front of the lens if I wanted to photograph the bears!

The polar bears were several hundred metres away (distances are really hard to gauge up here, for me at least), so we were shooting through a lot of atmosphere and in fact, the images looked almost 'noisy' - not because of the sensor, but because the lens was recording the water droplets in the air.

The original capture is a little drab compared to what you see here. And the omnidirectional light makes the bear look like he (or she) is almost pasted in - which is a fair criticism given my reputation, but I assure you that aspect of the image is authentic. The bear was there! I have lightened up the overall exposure and added in some clarity and colour saturation to bring the ice to life in post-production.

Having spent 30 days around Svalbard this year (that's a separate story of airline strikes and challenges), I realise I have only touched the surface of this amazing archipelago. If you're interested in joining me 5-19 August 2023, I am hosting a voyage that includes Svalbard and Greenland called Jewels of the Arctic.

And also a call-out for Bhutan! David Oliver and I are definitely going back (29 September to 12 October 2022) and we have just two guests with us, so this is a great opportunity to join a small group! Full details for all photo tours can be found on the website.

What Are Our Workshops Like? Check Out These Videos!

Svalbard - Ten Perfect Days
Svalbard - Ten Perfect Days
Narooma NSW
Narooma NSW
What's It Really Like In Antarctica?
What's It Really Like In Antarctica?
What's It Like In Bhutan?
What's It Like In Bhutan?
Photos from Middlehurst Workshops
Photos from Middlehurst Workshops
Late Season Antarctica
Late Season Antarctica
Bolivia
Bolivia
Bhutan - Myth
Bhutan - Myth
Peter and Tony Talk Middlehurst
Peter and Tony Talk Middlehurst
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Svalbard - Ten Perfect Days
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Narooma NSW
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What's It Really Like In Antarctica?
PlayPlay
What's It Like In Bhutan?
PlayPlay
Photos from Middlehurst Workshops
PlayPlay
Late Season Antarctica
PlayPlay
Bolivia
PlayPlay
Bhutan - Myth
PlayPlay
Peter and Tony Talk Middlehurst
PlayPlay
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Slide 1
How do you make better photographs?
How do you create photos other people admire?
Read how with our three essential ingredients.
BEFORE
BEFORE
AFTER
AFTER
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The Three Essentials
1
GREAT IDEAS
2
PHOTO EDITING
3
A Mentor

First, we need a source of ideas. All the equipment in the world will get us nowhere without ideas. Ideas are our energy source. Ideas make great photographs.

Second, we need to embrace photo editing. Learning selective editing is the key to creating photographs that you'll be proud of and that others respond to.

Third, we need a mentor. The most famous artists and photographers in the world all benefitted from advice. Yes, photography is an individual pursuit, but how do you know if  what you're doing is any good? Only a mentor can give you this essential feedback.

1. We're Full of Ideas!

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Better Photography Magazine and its annual Photo of the Year awards provides all this to its members - ideas, skills and feedback.

Maybe you're tired of Google and YouTube, aimlessly looking around for what you're not quite sure? Or perhaps Facebook and Instagram are leaving you confused about what makes a good photograph and how to create it?

Slide 1

One of the problems with so much to choose from is knowing what to choose. That's where a quarterly magazine like Better Photography can really help because it suggests ideas and techniques you might never think of trying on your own.

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Here's How It Works!

Recently, I was reading an article by Better Photography contributor Nick Melidonis. Nick was writing about a Photoshop plugin called Shape, which at the end of your editing process can give your photographs some wonderful life and sparkle.

I might be the editor, but I'm also a magazine reader! I immediately followed the link Nick provided, purchased Shape and today it is a regular part of my workflow.

My photos look better because of it, but without the article in Better Photography magazine, without the 'idea' from Nick, I would never have found it. And I would never have searched for it on Google because it wasn't anywhere on my radar.

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Click on the menu image here to visit Shape's website if you'd like to investigate it yourself.

Now, don't get me wrong. I use Google and YouTube, but the extra value of carefully selected content in a quarterly magazine like Better Photography shouldn't be overlooked.

You only need one idea from each magazine to make the subscription worthwhile. And there are thousands of ideas tucked away in the Better Photography magazine archives, available to download for all subscribers.

Chances are you've recently bought a new camera or lens, or perhaps it's a monitor or a processing app, but what did they do for you on their own? The ONLY reason equipment and techniques are useful is because of the ideas you use as a photographer - and that's what Better Photography provides.

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IDEAS
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The secret to great photography isn't in new equipment, it's in your ideas - and you'll find tons of ideas and inspiration in a subscription to Better Photography magazine.

2. Selective Editing

Selective editing is the single most important skill a photographer can learn today. It lets you express and refine your ideas.

'Global' editing is what our cameras do. When they take a photograph, everything within the frame receives the same global settings, even if the sky ends up too light or a person's face is too dark.

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'Selective' editing let's us transform camera photos into something much, much better. Not only can we darken the sky or lighten a person's face, we can creatively interpret the image in many different ways - depending on our ideas.
BEFORE
BEFORE
AFTER
AFTER

I'm well known for embracing post-production in my work, but I am also criticised for 'changing' or 'enhancing' reality by photographers who call themselves 'purists' or 'realists'. These misguided folk are our enemies. No one is forcing them to edit their photos if they enjoy the discipline of capturing everything 'in-camera', but I don’t think it is acceptable to criticise others who wish to be more adventurous and express their creativity through photo editing.

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Photography is a language and we are all entitled to choose whether we write fiction or non-fiction.

For me, post-production is just as important as the capture. Photography is a two-step process and depending on the subject, I get to decide how much or how little post-production is best.

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Do What YOU Wanna Do!

Years ago when I started playing with Photoshop, I showed four competition entries to a couple of friends. Their response was terrible, telling me the images were horrible and that it wasn't even photography. A month later, those same four images won me the 2004 AIPP Australian Illustrative Photographer of the Year award.

Fortunately for me, the judges had a different view of photography than my friends and it's the same today: everyone is a photographer and everyone has an opinion. My objective isn't to get you to think like me, rather to share a range of ideas and inspirations to get you thinking and photographing like YOU.

And with a subscription to Better Photography magazine, the contributors and I will share with you a range of post-production techniques and approaches that will have you making great photographs.

3. Finding A Mentor

Many of the contributors to Better Photography magazine also act as mentors and lead photo workshops. We have no shortage of expertise.

However, not everyone has personal access to a mentor, so one way we thought we could help is through our annual Photo of the Year competition. Every entry receives a score and a short comment from a judge, providing valuable feedback.

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And every subscriber to Better Photography receives a free entry into the competition, which is the only photo competition judged by three AIPP Grand Masters of Photography.

Our How To Win Photo Competitions online package links in with the judging comments used for our Photo of the Year awards and you can enter extra photos as well for more comments.

So, what are you looking for?

Do you want to produce photographs of a professional standard?

Would you like to feel comfortable with post-production so you can edit any photo?

And would you like to experience the satisfaction of producing a photograph that is truly creative?

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This is where you start - with a subscription to Better Photography. Here's what you get:

Four brand new issues of Better Photography, each 100 pages and in full colour.

Access to over 50 back issues of Better Photography magazine, full of ideas and inspiration and valued at over $750.

Entry to the Better Photography Photo of the Year award, valued at $20.

Re-subscribe for just $29.80 - a saving of $20 in future years.

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We'd love to welcome you as a subscriber - why not join now and enjoy taking Better photographs with Better Photography magazine.

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