Round Three of Amateur Photographer of the Year 2024 (APOY) is now open for entries! The theme is Urban Life, so we want to see your best street, people and architecture photos. Three of last year’s entrants share their tips for entering this round

This category offers huge scope for creative, dynamic shots, whether you’re drawn to grand, traditional structures or sleek, contemporary works of art. And don’t forget that urban life isn’t only about the buildings in the environment – the people are what make it, too. So you can also enter classic street photographs, where humans interact with their environment to create quirky moments that are here one moment, and gone a split second later. Anywhere people congregate to live, work and socialise is the perfect subject for this round.


Round Three, Urban Life guest judge: Peter Dench

Your guest judge for Round Three, Urban Life, is Peter Dench. Peter is a UK-based photographer, writer, presenter, educator and curator – and frequent writer for AP. Accolades include a World Press Photo award for his reportage, Drinking of England. Solo books include Alcohol & England and The British Abroad. He has written for The New Yorker, Telegraph Magazine and a number of photography journals. Visit

Tips for entering APOY 2024: Urban Life

Sue Woodbridge, Lee-on-the-Solent

Fujifilm X100V, 23mm, 1/500sec at f/8, ISO 1000

apoy 2023 street round winner woman sat holding white dog with dogs head in place of womans urban life
Sue Woodbridge won the Street photography round of APOY 2023 with this humourous image

Sue won last year’s street photography round with this comical and well-seen moment. The judges said: ‘Sue has placed herself in exactly the right spot to ensure maximum surreal effect, as even a few inches to the left or right would have rendered the vignette ineffective.’

Sue says: ‘During August, a couple of years ago, there was a summer festival planned in my local seaside town of Lee-on-the-Solent. I thought it would be an ideal opportunity to practise some street photography, which is normally something I would undertake in London. I was hoping to encounter some unusual and unique characters or scenes to photograph a little closer to home.

I chose on this occasion to use my Fuji X100V as it is an ideal camera for street and urban photography. It is very compact and relatively discreet, which allowed me to walk through the bustling crowds seamlessly, without being noticed too much, as I tried to capture some candid moments.
With my camera already set up and ready for action, I was able to just amble down the high street looking at the activities and enjoying the atmosphere, just concentrating on finding anything unusual rather than being too concerned about camera settings.

Among all the festivity, there were plenty of places where people could stop for refreshments and take a rest, and this is where I found the scene I captured. It was definitely a moment where I had to look twice to really appreciate what was in front of me. The ladies were so absorbed in ordering their food that they had no idea I had captured the moment. The knowing look from the young lad inside the café was an added bonus that I did not appreciate until I began the reviewing and minor editing process.’

Alan Edwards, Northampton

Fujifilm X100F, 23mm, 1/2400sec at f/5.6, ISO 400

model flamingos are in exactly the right spot, silhouetted against the completely plain sky on block of flats
Image: Alan Edwards

Alan came fourth in last year’s architecture round with this imposing black & white image. The judges said: ‘Our eye goes straight to the model storks, and then around the image that is made up of little more than multiple triangles and rectangles. The stripe of light down the edge of the glass balconies to the left adds depth.’

Alan says: ‘We were exploring Bristol Waterside, heading towards SS Great Britain. My eye was first drawn to the silhouette of two statues of storks on the topmost balcony of an apartment block, about 100 yards away. However, a set subject in one of my camera club competitions was “Triangles”, and the repeating balcony shapes were perfect. I am always drawn to graphic shapes, and I knew I would be processing this image to monochrome.

Backlighting also gave bright highlights where the glass panels met at the balcony tips, helping with contrast. From my low viewpoint and with the 35mm equivalent lens of my Fujifilm X100F, some distortion was inevitable, but correctable in post processing. I used Affinity Photo to process the raw file. Luckily the image won the club competition and that encouraged me to enter it into APOY.’

Cliff Spooner, Hereford

Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 24-105mm, 1/500sec at f/11, ISO 100

looking down on the corner of a swimming pool with rounded steps urban life architecture
Image: Cliff Spooner

Cliff came sixth in last year’s architecture round with this graphic and eye-catching study of a swimming pool. The judges said: ‘We loved the simplicity of Cliff’s shot, with just two opposing hues and its combination of curves and rectangles. It’s full of texture, too.’

Cliff says: ‘Looking down from a terrace onto a sun-drenched swimming pool, the lines, textures, and complementary colours at one corner caught my eye. My position wasn’t directly over the corner but set back from the side of the pool, so, in order to capture the whole scene in focus, I used a narrow aperture of f/11 to have a broad depth of field. A wider area beyond the main zone of interest needed to be included as I knew I would have to crop and edit to remove the converging lines effect. A fast shutter speed of 1/500sec was required to avoid any significant burn out of highlights reflecting from bright surfaces.

I wanted to recreate how the pool would look if shot from straight above, as if from a drone, so a little transforming of verticals in Lightroom restored the regimentation of the tiles. The blue of the water and the yellowish ochre-coloured tiles form the main blocks of colour, but, for me, it is the position of the silvery, circular inspection hatch cover that makes the image work as it breaks the regular tile pattern and creates an offset point of interest.

Ultimately, this photograph may straddle a range of genres, including architecture, abstract, geometrical, possibly travel, but “open” would certainly cover it.’

See our urban and street photography tips here:


The camera club award

Do you belong to a camera club? You can accumulate points for your society when you enter APOY, and after all the ten rounds are complete, the club with the most points will win a superb ViewSonic X1-4K projector worth £1,500, with image quality powered by advanced 3rd generation LED technology that offers a 60,000-hour lifespan without lamp replacement. In addition, the member of the winning club who contributed the most points to their club’s overall tally will win a ViewSonic ColorPro VP2786-4K monitor worth £1,000.

The Young APOY award

For the fourth time, we are running an APOY Young Photographer of the Year competition, to encourage our up-and-coming snappers. Entrants should be 21 or younger by the competition’s final closing date of 31 December 2024. All the categories are the same as for the main contest – simply select the Young APOY option on Photocrowd when you upload your images. Entry is free. Each category winner receives a one-year Adobe Photography Plan subscription, worth £120. The overall Young APOY winner receives a £500 voucher to spend at Camera Centre UK*.

What you could win

APOY prizes:

The winner of each round of APOY receives a voucher for £500 to spend at Camera Centre UK*. In addition to this, the winner of each round will also receive a one-year subscription to Adobe’s All Apps plan, worth £660. The runner-up of each round will receive a one-year subscription to Adobe’s Photography plan, worth £120. The overall winner after ten rounds wins a £1,000 voucher to spend at Camera Centre UK.

Young APOY prizes:

The winner of each round of Young APOY receives a one-year subscription to Adobe’s Photography plan, worth £120. The overall winner of Young APOY will receive a £500 voucher to spend at Camera Centre UK*.

Camera club prizes:

The camera club with the highest number of points after ten rounds will receive a 4K ViewSonic projector worth £1,500, while a ViewSonic monitor worth £1,000 will go to the club member who contributed the most points to the winning club’s final points tally.


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See more from APOY here.

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