APOY 2016 logo

Amateur Photographer of the Year 2016 – Your chance to enter the UK’s most prestigious competition for amateur photographers – sponsored by Sigma

 **Entries must be received by midnight (UK time) on the
closing date at the correct email address below**

(Please do NOT send to the general AP email address)

Amateur Photographer of the Year 2016

Entry from APOY 2015 Round 5: Up Close. Flower by Rory McDonald

Enter Amateur Photographer of the Year 2016.

Over the years, AP readers have sent us some incredible images, so 19 years ago we decided to launch the Amateur Photographer of the Year competition in its present format to showcase all their hard work. Since then, APOY has received thousands of entries, with many of them taking the judges’ breath away.

Amateur Photographer of the Year 2016

Entry from APOY 2015 Round 7: Lay of the Land. Hazy Woodland entered by Stuart Stevenson

APOY 2016 follows the same format as last year, with eight monthly rounds from March until October. The competition is open to all amateur photographers, but please note that those entrants who live outside the UK who win a prize will be liable for any local customs charges.

After the closing date of each round, the entries are narrowed down to a shortlist of 50, then the top 30. Points are awarded to each image for creativity, technical excellence and how well the image fulfils the brief.

Amateur Photographer of the Year 2016

Entry from APOY 2015 Round 8: Shades of Grey. Portrait of a girl taken by Aaron Bennett

Judges are looking for imaginative and well-executed pictures that explore the theme in an exciting way. The names of the top 50 photographers from each round appear on our website, along with the images from the top 30. The top 30 images are also published in AP at the end of the following month. After the eight rounds, the person with the most points will be crowned Amateur Photographer of the Year 2016.

Amateur Photographer of the Year 2016

Entry from APOY 2015 Round 4: Shallow Dept of Field. Osteospermum entered by Rory McDonald

The prizes

Prizes are awarded to the first-placed entrants for each round. This year we have great Sigma lenses, cameras and accessories on offer, worth a total each month of around £1,000. We also have a top prize of Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art (£799.99), Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art (£849.99) and Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro (£649.99) lenses worth more than £2,000. That’s a grand total of over £10,000 for APOY 2016 in association with Sigma.

Amateur Photographer of the Year 2016

Sigma 20mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art lens and a Sigma EF-610 DG ST flashgun.  Prize for round 1.

How to enter APOY 2016

We need to know where and how you took your image, plus the camera and lens used with aperture and focal length details. Remember to include a telephone number and your postal address so we can contact you if you win.

Image size

Your image* must be at least 2,700 (3,000 maximum) pixels along its longest dimension, to be printed in the magazine. The file name of your image must be your first and surnames, for example Kate Cambridge.jpg. The subject line of your email message must state the round name and your name once again, eg Going Abstract: Kate Cambridge. Finally, in the body of your email, include the camera model, lens and exposure details, if known, such as Sony Alpha 7R II, as well as a sentence describing what the image is. If your email does not meet these requirements, we will unfortunately not be able to enter it into the competition.

  • Entrants should submit only ONE image per round.
  • Only entries sent to the correct email address will be entered into the competition.
  • The image should be at least 2,700 pixels along its longest edge.
  • It must be a JPEG file, preferably sRGB.
  • The file name must be your first name and surname.
  • The subject line of your email must state the round name and your name once again.
  • Include your postal address and daytime telephone number in the body of your email.
  • List your camera model, lens, exposure details and any other information in the body of your email.
  • Entries must be received by midnight (UK time) on the closing date

  Please note the following and send your email to


Please read, then copy and paste the following into the body of your email and tick or mark “x” in the brackets below where applicable –

I earn no more than 10% of my total annual income or £5,000 annually from photography (tick to confirm) [ ]. This entry has not previously been published in a national UK photography magazine [ ] (tick to confirm). Amateur Photographer, published by Time Inc. (UK), will collect your personal information to process your entry. If you would like to receive emails from Amateur Photographer and Time Inc. (UK) containing news, special offers and product and service information and take part in our magazine research via email, please tick here [ ] Amateur Photographer and Time Inc. (UK), would like to contact you by post or telephone to promote and ask your opinion on our magazines and services. Please tick here if you prefer NOT TO hear from us. [ ] Time Inc. (UK), may occasionally pass your details to carefully selected organisations so they can contact you by telephone or post with regards to promoting and researching their products and services. Please tick here if you prefer NOT TO be contacted [ ] If my entry is not successful, I would like the image to be considered for critique in the Appraisal column which means my photograph will be held on file [ ]

Please see below for all the rules for entry, terms and conditions. We only accept entries in the form of prints, slides or emailed digital files – we cannot accept discs. Remember to include your address, a daytime telephone number and as many details about your image as possible so we can judge it accurately.

To enter by post**

Send a covering letter with your image, including the information mentioned above, letting us know if you would like your entry returned to you after judging (please enclose an SAE) or if you prefer print off an entry form. Entries should be sent to APOY 2016, Amateur Photographer, Time Inc (UK) Ltd, Pinehurst 2, Pinehurst Road, Farnborough, Hampshire GU14 7BF.

About Sigma

Sigma’s mission is to provide exceptional products at an affordable price. All Sigma products are manufactured exclusively by Sigma in the company’s own dedicated factory in Aizu, Japan.

Sigma’s reputation for advanced cutting-edge lens design is demonstrated by its series of lenses, ranging from 4.5mm to 800mm. These lenses are designed for enthusiast and professional photographers alike, and all are backed by a three-year UK warranty when imported by Sigma Imaging (UK) Ltd.

Sigma’s new Global Vision range of cameras and lenses incorporates the very latest in optical technology, with unique innovations such as the ultra-fast 18-35mm f/1.8 Art lens and USB Dock that allow unrivalled customisation of Global Vision lenses by the photographer using Sigma Optimization Pro specialist software. This ground-breaking new range is winning praise and awards for its quality and innovation from both customers and industry commentators.

Plan your APOY 2016 year

Below is a list of this year’s round sfor Amateur Photographer of the Year 2016, a synopsis of what we’re looking for and the dates they will be announced. When you are planning your entry, remember to take into consideration the criteria of fulfilling the brief, creativity and technical excellence on which you will be judged.

  Theme   Synopsis  Announced   Closes
1. Sense of Doubt Abstract Images   5 Mar   28 Mar
  30 Apr
2. Width of a Circle Creative Wideangle   2 Apr   1 May
  28 May
3. Soul Love Portraiture   7 May   29 May
  25 June
4. Scary Monster Wildlife at Home and Abroad   4 June   26 June
  30 July
5. Little Wonder Macro (insects/flowers/plants)   2 July   31 July
  27 Aug
6. A Small Plot of Land Landscapes and Cityscapes   6 Aug   29 Aug
  24 Sept
7. Big Brother Street Photography   3 Sept   25 Sept   29 Oct
8. Blackout Black & White   1 Oct   30 Oct   26 Nov


  1. Entrants may submit only one photograph per month, as an sRGB JPEG file that is 2700-3000 pixels along its longest dimension, an unmounted print (max size 210 x 297mm) or slide (no glass mounts please), in colour or black & white.
  2. The entrant’s name, address and daytime phone number must be attached to the slide mount or the back of the print.
  3. You may only submit digital files by email (no CDs/DVDs). When submitting a digital file, the file name of your image must be your first name and surname, the subject line of your email message must state the round name and your name once again, and the body copy of your email must include your name, address, daytime telephone number, the camera model, lens and exposure details.
  4. Photos submitted must be your own work, must not be copied, must not contain any third-party materials and/or content that you do not have permission to use and must not otherwise be obscene, defamatory or in breach of any applicable legislation or regulations. If Time Inc (UK) has reason to believe your entry is not your own work or otherwise breaches this rule, your photos will NOT be considered.
  5. Photos must not previously have been published in a national UK photography magazine.
  6. Copyright of all entries remains with the photographer, but Time Inc (UK), Sigma and their associated group companies reserve the right to use, publish and republish entries in connection with the competition, without payment.
  7. By entering this competition you grant permission to Time Inc (UK), Sigma and their associated group companies to reproduce your photos in electronic format and hard copy including for display at an exhibition, in Time Inc (UK)’s Amateur Photographer magazine and on Time Inc (UK)’s and Sigma’s websites and social media should they be selected to promote the competition.
  8. You grant Time Inc (UK) and Sigma the right to use your name and town or city of residence for the sole purpose of identifying you as the author of your photos and/or as a winner or runner-up of the APOY competition.
  9. Each postal entry must be accompanied by a covering letter, including your name, address, telephone number and image/camera details or if you prefer an entry form. All submissions must be well packaged in a stiffened envelope (no tubes, please) bearing sufficient postage, and entrants wanting their picture back must include a stiffened SAE stamped of sufficient value for their return.
  10. This competition is open to bona fide amateur photographers and students only. That is, entrants should not earn more than 10% of their total annual income OR £5,000 annually from photography.
  11. Employees of Time Inc (UK), Sigma and their families may not enter this competition. Entries are judged by AP staff.
  12. There is no age limit for entering, and international entries will be accepted.
  13. Prizes are as stated and no cash or other alternative can be offered to the monthly prizes or overall prize.
  14. Prize value correct at time of going to press. Overseas winners will be contacted about how to claim their prize, although entrants who live outside the UK who win a prize will be liable for any local customs charges and enter at their own risk. Sigma has the right to substitute a prize for a similar item of equal or higher value if the stated prize is not available. No money can be added to the overall prizes. The overall first prize for the APOY 2016 competition will be to win Sigma products to the value of £2,000 RRP as at the date of notification.
  15. Prizes are subject to Sigma standard terms and conditions for its products. Acceptance of a prize is deemed to be acceptance of those terms and conditions.
  16. Entries on behalf of another person will not be accepted and joint submissions are not allowed.
  17. No responsibility is taken for lost, delayed, misdirected or incomplete entries. Proof of delivery of the entry is not proof of receipt.
  18. No purchase is necessary.
  19. In the event of a tie, the Editor will choose a winner. The Editor’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  20.  By submitting photos you are accepting these rules.
  21. Time Inc (UK), Sigma or their associated group companies shall not be liable for any loss, damage or injury of any nature howsoever caused, sustained by any entrant under this promotion. However, nothing in these rules shall have the effect of excluding or restricting liability for personal injury, death, fraud or fraudulent misrepresentation caused by the proven negligence of employees or agents of Time Inc (UK), Sigma or their associated group companies.
  22. Sigma shall not be liable for any failure to supply the prizes where such failure is caused by any supervening circumstances outside its control which amount to force majeure and which without the fault of either party renders performance impossible or incapable of satisfactory execution.
  23. These rules are governed by the laws of England and Wales and any dispute in relation to them shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.
  24. This competition is owned and run by Amateur Photographer/Time Inc (UK) and all competition terms and conditions are bound by Amateur Photographer/Time Inc (UK) rules.

In-Association-with-Sigma 250

* How to resize your image

To get your file size down to less then 10MB, you need to resize your image and save it as a JPEG. If you’re working in 16-bit colour, you’ll need to convert to 8-bit first, too.

Here’s how to do this, using Photoshop (other software will have similar functions):

  1. Resize: Image -> Image size: enter a value from 2700 to 3000 for the longer edge. Don’t worry about the pixel dimensions size shown in the dialogue box here, as the final JPEG file size will be much smaller.
  2. Convert to 8-bit: Image -> Mode -> 8bits/channel. This won’t be necessary if you’re already working with 8-bit colour.
  3. Save as JPEG: File -> Save as…, and in the ‘Format’ option, select ‘JPEG’. You’ll see a ‘Quality’ slider that allows you to trade-off file size against image quality: in Photoshop this is usually best set to 10 (with the scale being 1-12). There’s little point in setting the quality higher, but at lower values you will start to see some degradation.

If you go through these steps starting from a 3:2 aspect ratio shot, then you should end up with an image file that’s 6MP (3000 x 2000 pixels) and somewhere around 2MB in size.