Could you be the Amateur Photographer of the Year?

You have until May 31st to enter The Irish Times Amateur Photographer of the Year Awards. Along with the glory of the title, there are also two main prizes of €1,000 up for grabs

COLOUR: A reflection in the River Lee, Cork city. Photograph: John Finn, Cork

The Irish Times Amateur Photographer of the Year Awards seeks to recognise and reward great work by passionate, non-professional photographers throughout Ireland and beyond. We have two main prizes of €1,000 each for the photographer of the year and photograph of the year. This year, thanks to Bermingham Cameras, we will also have a voucher for €500 of camera equipment for a lucky reader who helps choose the People's Choice Prize, a new award to be chosen by readers' vote in early June. The competition is open to all our readers, including the serious hobbyist, "art photographers", photography and art-college students, and casual snappers.

The main awards will be judged by a panel including: Brenda Fitzsimons of this newspaper; Ángel Luis González, founder and director of the PhotoIreland Festival; Tanya Kiang, director of the Gallery of Photography; John Duncan, an editor at Source magazine; Barry McCall, one of the top fashion and commercial photographers in the country; Amaia Arenzana, winner of the 2012 main award; Des Clinton, a fellow of the Royal Photographic Society; Danny McCaughan, also a fellow of the Royal Photographic Society; and Michael O'Sullivan, current president of the Irish Photographic Federation.

We are looking for photographers who demonstrate a fresh eye and for images with impact, originality and creativity. Our judging process is fair and thorough. Images are first viewed online by at least two judges using the platform created by our partners Picturk. The best images go through to a second round, where they are viewed and scored by the entire panel. Finally, a shortlist from each category goes forward to “judgment day”, where we pick the first, second and third in each category and the overall winners.

The images on this page are from a selection that caught our eye from the entries in the first couple of weeks of the competition.


Because of the diversity of our judging panel, the debates surrounding the final choices are always lively and sometimes heated. The view of what makes a great image is subjective. Those of us from a background in photojournalism prefer images that show spontaneity, emotional engagement and lack of artifice. Those from the camera club and amateur photography scenes tend to be especially interested in technique and attention to fine detail. Commercial and fashion photographer Barry McCall will be looking for quality, originality and atmosphere, as well as good composition and lighting. Those from the world of art photography will be looking for something fresh and different that leaves cliche behind.

What we are all looking for is great, original photography. What we have seen so far is very encouraging, and we look forward to more great images flowing in between now and the closing date of May 31st. in new window ]

Frank Miller is Picture Editor of The Irish Times and chairman of the judging panel