Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

British Wildlife Photography Awards 2011

The competition opens on 1 February 2011, with a prize fund of up to £20,000. The British Wildlife Photography Awards in 2011 are your chance to win a prestigious photography award and cash prize of £5,000.

Wildlife Photography: Hints and Tips

  • When looking through the viewfinder, ask yourself the question, “How would I caption this image?” If the only answer is the species name, then wait for a more dynamic composition.
  • Remember the technical must haves: in focus and well exposed.
  • The best compositions are simple and uncluttered. Photography is a form of communication and the best communication is unambiguous. Think about the nature of your subject and make sure that any visual elements in the picture space add to the composition and don’t detract from the main subject.
  • Be original. The judges will be looking for images that reveal the unexpected.
  • With some exceptions, high ISO ratings in digital cameras may reduce image quality.
  • Know your subject – the better you know your subject the easier it is to predict behaviour and capture original images.

The 2010 competition’s winning photograph of a herring gull taken by Steve Young shows a familiar bird in its conventional setting, but the visual impact is extraordinary. The judges were looking for the one image that stood out, among thousands of entries, as the most memorable.

Competition judge Greg Armfield from WWF said: “This is a unique and striking image. One that captures perfectly the power, chaos and intensity of the ocean as it surrounds the majestic gull.”

Tom Hind, competition judge from Getty Images, added: “I like the defiance in this shot – the gull’s refusal to be moved in the face of this crashing wave seems to sum up a peculiarly British stoicism! It’s also a great example of how the commonplace can be transformed in a judicious moment.”

© Steve Young, Herring gull in wave

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