Win Photography Competitions – 5 Top Tips

In  my post yesterday I said I thought that the BBC’s ‘Countryfile’ TV programme’s Photography Competition ‘Best in Show’ really does look worthwhile – there’s a prize of £1000 worth of camera gear and there is a wide base of 12 categories to enter.

I think you should have a go at this one. It could be great fun and the rules are pretty straightforward and fair.

So here are a five tips that I hope will help bring you success – if not this time with the ‘Countryfile’ Photographic Competition, then maybe in the future with another photography competition.

Of all the vitally important tips I can give you, NONE is more important than the first – READ THE RULES. You can produce the finest photograph ever taken and it will not stand a dog’s chance of winning if it breaks the rules or is entered in the wrong category. Do it. Just do it… and thoroughly!

For instance, the BBC’s ‘Countryfile’ Photographic Competition states very clearly in Rule 11 that:

All photographs will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Composition
  • Technical ability
  • Originality
  • Commercial appeal
BBC Countryfile photography competition winner

Study last year's winner of the BBC Countryfile Photography Competition. The photograph was taken by Pen Rashbass on a compact digital camera. Look how powerful, effective and simple is the composition - one of the main criteria in the competition's rules

Think about this and ensure your pictures fit the criteria. You will notice, for example that ‘Composition’ heads the list. In that case, don’t try to be too clever. Avoid severely imbalanced images where the main subject is right at one edge.

Think carefully about your composition, including leading lines, balanced tonal areas, the Rule of Thirds and focal points.

Take a look at last year’s winner as a perfect example. It has to be – IT WON. It fits all the criteria: the composition is excellent, it is technically sharp and well-exposed, it has a charming originality and it has commercial appeal – in other words, it is a photograph that might sell.

Below are my 5 Top Tips to help you come up with a winning entry. Of course, your photography has to have tremendous visual appeal; you must use light creatively and remember to get out there early morning and late afternoon – the light is better – especially when taking landscape photographs. But unless you take on board these basic tips, all your creativity is doomed to failure.


  • Read the rules carefully
  • Study previous winners, but don’t copy
  • Concentrate on the subjects that suit you best
  • Keep your composition simple and strong
  • Avoid company logos
Good luck!
The BBC ‘Countryfile’ Photography Competition ‘Best in Show’ is open to amateur photographers only. The competition closes Friday 12th August 2011.

BBC Countryfile Photography Competition

The BBC’s ‘Countryfile’ TV programme is running a Photography Competition that looks really worthwhile – there’s a prize of £1000 worth of camera gear.

BBC Countryfile photography competition winner

Last year's winner of the BBC Countryfile Photography Competition. The photograph was taken by Pen Rashbass on a compact digital camera. A great shot that deserved to win

The title is ‘Best In Show’ and there are 12 classes to enter. All photographs must have the countryside or the natural world at their heart.

The person who takes the winning photo, as voted for by ‘Countryfile’ TV viewers, will choose from a range of the latest photography equipment to the value of £1,000. There’s another prize too: the person who takes the judges’ favourite photo will get to choose equipment to the value of £500. I’m not sure what they mean by ‘latest photography equipment’, though.

All photographers will retain copyright of their images, and it is refreshing to see guidelines for the competition pointing out that ‘it doesn’t take thousands of pounds of equipment or even hours of effort to win this competition. Last year’s overall winner, ‘Going Home’ by Pen Rashbass, pictured above, was taken with a standard compact digital camera.

What a great shot that is – and notice the simplicity of the composition!

A full set of rules can be found on the ‘Countryfile’ website - so make sure you read them very carefully before getting started… that is always so important before entering any competition.

There are 12 categories so you should certainly find one that suits your style – from landscape, people photography to Macro:

  • Wildlife
  • Insects and Spiders
  • In All Weathers
  • Working Animals
  • Leisure and Pleasure
  • The Lighter Side of Country Life
  • Plant life .
  • Landscapes
  • Water Worlds
  • Farm Life
  • Birds
  • Country People

Unfortunately, only hard copy prints can be accepted – seems stange to me, but that’s what they want.

The competition is open to UK residents only and all photographs must be taken in UK. Closing date for the BBC Countryfile Photography Competition is Friday 12th August – so you’d better get to work.

Good luck – and let me know how you get on.

Tomorrow, I’ll post a few tips on how to take competition winning photographs.