At the recent Wild Photos conference (London) we had the opportunity for an impromptu Q&A with Mark Carwardine, Chairman of the judges for the Veolia Wildlife Photographer of the year competition. This provided a great opportunity for us to find out more about the judging process and receive some tips on submitting potentially winning photos.
Here’s the top tips and best bits:
- Use a picture that tells a story – the adage that a picture tells a thousand words is very true for this competition.
- Don’t overlook common subjects – the judges are often bombarded with pictures of African wildlife and Japanese Macaques.
- Look for new and unusual ways of portraying wildlife, for example unusual behaviour, alternative poses, new angles
- Don’t copy winning styles from previous years – judges see this time after time and disregard ‘copied’ photos
- It is permitted to resubmit photos year after year. In fact, some shots have been resubmitted three times and only won on their third submission. If you believe you have a truly winning shot it is worth repeat submissions.
- The most popular categories are animal portraits and animals in their environment. Less popular – but becoming increasingly more so – is nature in black and white, urban wildlife and in praise of plants. Submitting into the less popular categories might increase your chances, but only because there is less competition.
- Judges love spume 🙂
- Birds are very popular and are a trending submission, especially blurred and mass / flock shots
- Shots that show wildlife half under the water / half out of the water (split level views) have been popular winning shots this year
- The same photographer can submit similar shots of the same theme and subject and win year after year.