An image that best captures the character of the subject bird and its distinctive features – this is what bird watchers often refer to as the 'jizz' of a bird. We are looking for images that include lots of detail, captured in a classic pose or showing diagnostic features or behaviour, with particular attention paid to the setting and background. Please note that the category title does not relate to the orientation of the image.
Images should be capable of printing at a minimum of A4 at 300dpi. Please refer to our submission guidelines for information on how to prepare your images.
We are looking for a picture that best demonstrates the relationship between a bird and the environment in which it is found. Examples of this type of image could range from a Mute Swan on a tranquil lake at dawn, a Dipper perched on a rock by a waterfall, or a Tawny Owl roosting in deciduous woodland.
Please keep any digital manipulation to a minimum. Major alterations in photoshop and other digital manipulation software may render your entry invalid. Images in all categories (with the exception of Creative Imagery) should be the result of a single frame. Please see our submission guidelines for further information.
This category focuses on the smaller details and could range from a close-up head shot to a macro image showing feather detail, a bird's eye or the talons of a raptor. The only limit is your ability to get close! The judges will be looking for a well-composed image that makes the most of those intimate details that we do not necessarily get to witness every day.
Noise reduction software and sharpening should be used sparingly as over-use will degrade your image and may result in rejection during the judging process.
Here the judges will be looking for an image that best depicts the unique aspects of bird behaviour and that evokes an emotional response. The manic display of lekking Black Grouse, the courtship ritual of Great Crested Grebes, the humble singing Robin or the sight of a large Starling murmuration are all good examples of possible subjects for this category.
Images should be captured using a camera of at least 6mp.
Advances in digital technology have revolutionised flight photography and this category celebrates avian mastery of the sky. Knowledge and control of the camera settings to freeze the action or introduce motion blur are the types of technique that the judges will be looking for to convey drama and emotion.
Remember that images in all categories, with the exception of 'Creative Imagery', must be the result of a single frame and be subject to minimal digital manipulation. See our image preparation guidelines for further information.
This category seeks to capture the joy that millions of people derive from the birds that visit their gardens. The judges are looking for images that celebrate this relationship and show a degree of creativity and uniqueness. Winning images are likely to be those that show clearly the bird in question in its garden environment and need not necessarily be species that are perceived as classic garden visitors.
Images should be saved as jpegs in sRGB colour space, 300dpi and at the highest quality available
In this category we encourage creativity in all its forms. Winning images might include those that are taken using creative camera techniques, for example slow shutter speeds and panning for fast-moving birds. In addition we discard all the rules regarding digital manipulation and instead actively encourage you to use your skills and imagination to create images utilising the full potential of today's modern digital darkroom techniques. Montages from multiple frames, the removal of unsightly items, the wholesale replacement of backgrounds, and HDR stitches are all examples of the types of imagery that this category seeks to promote..
Let your imagination run wild, use the technology to your advantage and create something that takes our breath away.
As well as the main title of Bird Photographer of the Year awarded to the best overall individual image, a prize of £2,000 will be awarded to the best overall portfolio of 6 or more images. This will comprise a collection of the best individual photographs from a single photographer, as judged by our panel, showing consistency of skill and talent.
Nature Photographers Ltd is proud to sponsor the People’s Choice Award. Following the selection of the main short list, the team at NPL want to celebrate the best of the rest with the help of the people. We will select 50 of our personal favourites that didn’t make it to the short list. These will be posted in a gallery on the NPL Instagram page and the public invited to ‘like’ their personal choice. The winner will be the one that receives the most ‘likes’, and be featured in the BPOTY book. People's Choice award prize will be £250