Oxford School of Photography

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Garden Photographer of The Year

IGOPTY is an annual competition to find the great images of plants and gardens from photographers around the world. If you have any interest in this area of photography then this web site and the associated exhibition is an absolute must for you. The images are universally beautiful and engaging; you ask yourself if it is this easy, it is photography in a garden, why can’t I do it. I guess it is about a great understanding of the use of your camera, huge amounts of patience, the desire to be there at the best moment and attention to detail. We can help with the camera bit with our courses on understanding your camera and with help on improving your composition and the use of software to make the most of your images we can help too. However the getting up before dawn to be in the right place at the right time that is up to you. To see the full gallery of winning and placed images go here to the IGOPTY site


Volker Michael – Finalist First Rays Jistrum, Friesland, The Netherlands


Rosanna Castrini – Commended The Ring Piedmont, Italy


Jianjun Huang – Commended Charming Dongjiang Guangdong Province, China


Lili Gao – Finalist Waiting Dandong City, Liaoning Province, China


Stefano Coltelli – Commended Plitvice Falls The Plitvice Lakes National Park, Plitvicka Jezera, Croatia

The winner is


This late autumn photo – from Snowdonia National Park in North Wales – has been crowned the overall winner of the 10th annual International Garden Photographer of the Year competition.

Taken by Lee Acaster, and entitled Left, this stark image won the Trees, Woods and Forests category – and then beat thousands of other entries to win the top spot.

Garden designer Chris Beardshaw – one of the competition judges – says the photo “perfectly encapsulates both the extremes of fortune and personality of these giants”.

While Clare Foggett – who edits The English Garden Magazine – says the image “draws the viewer in, to reveal the still surface of the lake behind. It demands closer inspection”.

If you wish you can see these and many more on the BBC website that has a major feature on the competition and winners


The exhibition is toured and here are dates

Venue Exhibition Photographs
November 1st 2016 – Feb 28th 2017 The Beth Chatto Gardens, Colchester, ENGLAND 9 Outdoor selection from Competition 9
January 14th – March 5th National Trust Sissinghurst Castle & Gardens, ENGLAND 9 Indoor exhibition, competition 9
January 21st – March 1st 2017 Willis Museum Gallery, Basingstoke, ENGLAND 9 Indoor exhibition, competition 9
Feb 4th – March 12th 2017 Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, London, ENGLAND 10 IGPOTY Annual launch ceremony – winners of Competition 10 [indoor exhibition] announced to the public.
March 24th – June 18th 2017 de Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam, NETHERLANDS 10 Outdoor selection from Competition 10
April 1st – June 4th 2017 RHS Garden Hyde Hall, Rettendon, ENGLAND 10 Outdoor selection from Competition 10
April 1st – November 15th 2017 The Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle, Merano, South Tyrol, ITALY 10 Outdoor exhibition, competition 10
April 1st – November 15th 2017 Gibraltar Botanic Gardens (The Alameda), GIBRALTAR 10 Outdoor exhibition, competition 10
August 28th – October 29th 2017 National Trust Sheringham Park, Norfolk, ENGLAND 10 Outdoor exhibition, competition 10

International Garden Photographer of the Year

This annual competition always attracts a wide range of excellent plant, flower, garden and fauna images. The deadline for this year is November 30th 2011.

Uniquely among major photographic competitions, all entrants can receive professional feedback on their entries – after the judging of the competition is completed and on request.  The competition is open to everyone, amateurs and professionals alike. Entries are welcome from any country in the world. There are no restrictions on the type of camera you use, or the techniques you use to produce your final image. For more detailed technical information, see Help  You have to pay a fee to enter. But unlike free competitions, they provide feedback on request (after the judging), they have a huge range of cash and other prizes available to winners and to runners-up, together with the unique prize of having a photograph exhibited in the exhibitions.

Being a finalist of International Garden Photographer of the Year will not only bring you a prize – it could be a life-changing event!

They are embarking on a series of events that will help you improve your photography. Some of these we are offering as prizes. Find out more about the prizes.

The judges will select around 100 finalists whose photographs will be printed to exhibition standard and planned to be shown at a major exhibition during 2012, with substantial press coverage. The mounting of the exhibition is subject to prevailing circumstances and will be confirmed before the end of 2011.

One finalist will win the title ‘International Garden Photographer of the Year’ and an under 16 finalist will win ‘Young Garden Photographer of the Year’.

Each category will have a winner and two runner-up prizes. An additional prize will be awarded for the best portfolio and there will be two portfolio runners-up prizes. For more on prizes, click here.  All finalists and commended photographers will have their photographs shown on the International Garden Photographer of the Year website during 2011 and beyond..

Full details of the competition are here

Colin Roberts

Sea thrift flowers

Widemouth Bay, North Cornwall

The tide was out and the sun-lit flowers looked beautiful against the golden sandy backdrop. I needed the perspective of a wide angle lens to make the small cluster of flowers loom large in the foreground.

Claire Takacs
Victoria, Australia

Kenrokuen gardens, Kanazawa, Japan

“I find Japanese gardens so beautiful, and went to Japan specifically to visit and photograph them during the Cherry Blossom season. I researched many gardens, and Kenrokuen was classified as one of the most beautiful in Japan. I was hoping to capture this garden as best I could, and was so excited to be there while it was snowing. It was like being in a painting. People/visitors were not deterred by the snow. It was such a sight to see the colourful umbrellas passing through the gardens and over the bridges. It definitely added a whole new dimension to the garden visit.”

Jonathan Berman

Tresco, Isles of Scilly, England

View of Abbey Gardens, Tresco

This is an early-afternoon infrared view over Tresco Abbey Garden, looking south, with my daughter viewing the scene. A tiny, four-day-old crescent moon is just visible. I first visited Tresco and its gardens as a child, and I remembered it as a magical place. I did not return for many years until I came for holidays with my own children. I wanted to capture in this photograph my undiminished wonder at this special place. I used infrared – with its ability to darken skies and lighten foliage – to create the fairytale atmosphere. The inclusion of my daughter added depth. I had photographed this scene on several occasions but on this occasion the cloud patterns and presence of the moon lifted it out of the ordinary.

Marianne Majerus

Layered landscape: a moment captured

Private Garden, Luxembourg

Sunlight streams through the trees to actaea, sedums and grasses, and the layering of the mist over the fields in the distance provides a stage on which the plants perform their morning dance.
Actaea simplex Atropurpurea Group, Sedum spectabile
The scene was utterly irresistible as the early morning light broke through the tree canopy and tickled the actaea.