The Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) holds an annual photography competition, supported by Amateur Photographer. At its heart, the competition aims to challenge existing misconceptions about engineering – of it being all about hard hats, high-vis bibs and oily boiler suits – and encourage more young people, and especially women, to consider a scientific career.

Launched earlier in the year the contest was open to any photograph of an engineering-related subject that captures the dynamic, creative and progressive face of engineering and engineers today. A panel of judges, fronted by The Gadget Show’s Georgie Barrat and including AP Editor Nigel Atherton, assessed more than 400 photos entered into 11 categories.

Here are the winning entries, along with a selection of our favourite commended ones.

IET Callum Woodford

Nikon D7000, 16-85mm, 1/30sec at f/4.5, ISO 125. Credit: Callum Woodford

Winner, Digital – Callum Woodford

This photo, taken at the University of Sheffield, shows a girl using a virtual reality (VR) headset to explore an architectural environment. ‘Architectural design is being radically reformed by immersive virtual environments allowing for rapid prototyping and real-time feedback,’ explains Callum.

IET Mike Glendenning

Overall winner and winner, Environment and Energy – Mike Glendenning

This shows an engineer in the environmental testing facility at Leonardo in Edinburgh. The facility provides extreme environmental testing on complex electronic systems. ‘Modern, sophisticated electronic systems can fail due to the extreme conditions they are used in,’ explains Mike, ‘and where failure is not an option someone needs to be able to create real-world conditions to ensure failure is minimised. That’s what professional environmental engineers do.’

IET James Birchall

Sony Alpha 7, 28-70mm, 1/125sec at f/11, ISO 100. Credit: IET James Birchall

Winner, Structure – James Birchall

Above the clouds on the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii, the Subaru Infrared Telescope will spend a night of star gazing once the sun sets.

IET Peter Thomas

Canon EOS 70D, 18-135mm, 1/200sec at f/9, ISO 400. Credit: Peter Thomas

Winner, Transport – Peter Thomas

Peter is an aircraft mechanic working at British Airways Maintenance Cardiff and a keen amateur photographer. ‘Early one morning we had a visit from a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner for a trial fit in one of our maintenance bays,’ he recalls. ‘It was a beautiful morning with the onset of sunrise so I took the opportunity to take some images of the aircraft being towed into the hanger with a full complement of observers and two zip-ups [moveable platforms] – one to each wing while the aircraft was being docked.’

IET Kathryn Graham

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, 16-35mm, 1/160sec at f/5.0, ISO 1600. Credit: Kathryn Graham

Winner, Design and Production – Kathryn Graham

‘I was asked to photograph the team who built the LVP1 satellite at SSTL [Surrey Satellite Technology],’ says Kathryn. ‘As they were gathering for the shot in the clean room, I took some natural shots around the spacecraft and noticed the team’s reflections on the satellite. I thought it would make an interesting picture.’

IET Sudip Maiti

Xiaomi Redmi 3S, 1/50sec at f/2, ISO 160. Credit: Sudip Maiti

Winner, Best Smartphone Photo – Sudip Maiti

This image, taken in Kolkata, shows a young girl explaining the benefits of solar energy to her grandmother.

Youth category winners

IET YOUTH Rosina Canty

Fujifilm FinePix S8200, 1/5sec at f/8, ISO 1600. Credit: Rosina Canty

Youth winner, Design and Production – Rosina Canty

Ultra-precision engineering in Haverhill, Suffolk.


Canon EOS 1300D, 23mm, 1/8sec at f/23, ISO 100. Credit: Ben Steel

Youth winner, Environment and Energy – Ben Steel

A groyne on Worthing beach.

IET YOUTH Nathan Phua

No exif data. Credit: Nathan Phua

Youth winner, Structure – Nathan Phua

Buildings in 51 Lime Street, London, including the Lloyd’s Building.

IET YOUTH Jodie Culmer

Canon PowerShot SX40 HS, 4.3-150.5mm, 1/13sec at f/4, ISO 1600. Credit: Jodie Culmer

Youth winner, Digital – Jodie Culmer

Encryption rotors, Bletchley Park.

IET YOUTH MacKenzie Hall

No exif data. Credit: MacKenzie Hall

Youth winner, Transport – Mackenzie Hall

The Dubai Metro surrounded by skyscrapers.

Highly commended

IET Muhammad Salman Zahid

Sony Xperia Z2 D6503, 4.9mm, 1/5000sec at f/2.0, ISO 50. Credit: Muhammad Salman Zahid

Muhammad Salman Zahid

The Eiffel Tower replica in Lahore, Pakistan.

IET Tim Green

Fujifilm X-T2, 18-55mm, 1/6sec at f/7.1, ISO 1600. Credit: Tim Green

Tim Green

Staircase in the Gran Hotel Domine, Bilbao.

IET Robert Kershaw

Pentax K-3, 12-24mm, 1/200sec at f/8, ISO 400. Credit: Robert Kershaw

Robert Kershaw

The Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower, Tokyo.

IET Luke Moores

Nikon D7200, 70-210mm, 1/2000sec at f/5.6, ISO 250. Credit: Luke Moores

Luke Moores

An RAF Boeing E-3 Sentry, during the RAF flypast over the Mall in London.

IET Adrian Gidney

Canon EOS Rebel T3i, 24-70mm, f/8, ISO 200. Credit: Adrian Gidney

Adrian Gidney

The Falkirk Wheel, Scotland. This rotating boat lift is the only one of its kind in the world.

IET Shivani Sai Valluri

No exif data. Credit: Shivani Sai Valluri

Shivani Sai Valluri

The Bandra-Worli Sea Link bridge in Mumbai.

The judges

  • Nigel Atherton, Editor, Amateur Photographer
  • Georgie Barrat, Presenter of The Gadget Show
  • Dr Ozak Esu, IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year
  • Gillian Abbott, Picture Editor, E&T Magazine