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Thinking of entering International Garden Photographer of the Year 2011?

Philip Smith
17 October 2011
Blog team: 
International Garden Photographer of the Year has a first prize of £5000 plus other cash prizes - here are some tips to help you net the big one!

What does it mean to win IGPOTY?

Whoever wins International Garden Photographer of the Year (IGPOTY) 2011  will be £5000 better off – often for a ‘stake’ of just £10! For professional photographers, the exposure gained from any of the IGPOTY awards represents a giant boost for their careers.

Abstract impressions by Marianne Majerus

"When I entered for the first time, I didn’t expect anything. Even though I am quite well known in
my field, winning has given me international exposure".
Marianne Majerus

For amateur photographers it can be the starting point for a new career

If you win a category, if you are a finalist, highly commended or commended, you will play a major part in the project for the remaining year. In 2012, you will participate in an exhibition which will be launched at Kew Gardens, then tour to Chelsea Physic Garden, Rheged Centre, Cumbria, and Sydney Botanic Garden, Australia. Other venues will be added as the year progresses. Many thousands of people will see your photographic skill alongside the best in the world.

Your photographs can be included in the many magazine and other articles that are written about IGPOTY around the world. They will be included in a high quality book which you will receive as part of your prize. You may choose to participate in our print sales programme, where you will receive ongoing revenue from the project.

If you win the Portfolio award you get not only a big £2000 cash prize but the ultimate accolade of a Royal Photographic Society gold medal. Above all, taking part in IGPOTY gives you the opportunity, along with us and Kew, to celebrate our green planet, and the essential part that plants play in all our lives.

What do the judges look for?

The judges look for an individual and fresh approach to the subject. This could be a new way of looking at a flower, or a view of a stunning garden or a portrait of a gardener. This year there is more scope than ever to expand your photographic horizons – ‘Greening the City’ celebrates plants in an urban environment – ‘Breathing Spaces’ is all about people enjoying green places, in association with the National Trust. Yes, technical quality is very important – but there is always room for the ‘amateur maverick’ to win through to the final!

Fireflies by Radim Schreiber

How do I give myself the best chance of winning?

  1. Be careful how you select your entries. Make sure that the image you upload is as good as it can be; is it the best shot of the sequence you photographed? Caption it well; don’t write an essay on the image – but give succinct information that may give the judges insight into why you photographed this subject – and may make your shot stand out from the crowd.
  2. Make sure you enter the right category. If you have a shot of a tree, enter it into ‘Trees Woods and Forests’ – rather than ‘Beauty of Plants’. If in doubt you can enter the same shot into two or more categories – they will be viewed by different judging panels.
  3. The more photographs you enter, the better chance you have of winning – but the number of entries does not affect the judges’ views – each photograph is judged on its own merits.
  4. Try not to leave it to the last minute to select your entries; uploading in advance of the deadline gives the option of changing your mind and time to reflect on your final choices.
  5. Don’t be worried about the entry process if you are not confident with computers. It is very simple and many thousands of people use the system – but if you have worries you can always contact us to either sort the problem out or find another way to enter the competition.

Entering IGPOTY can be a gateway to a new career, a new revenue source, and a new dimension to the photography that you love. Whether you win or lose, you will have contributed to the project’s present and future aims of celebrating our green planet.

Selections from IGPOTY 4 are currently on show at Kew's Millenium Seed Bank at Wakehurst, West Sussex.

Find out more about the competition

- Philip Smith -


4 November 2011
Thank you for giving us these tips. I will certainly be using putting them in to practice for my entry.

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