Are you a keen photographer? Do you ever look at your holiday photos and think: "I should enter that in a photography competition – it's a winner"? Well, now's your chance. You've got one month left to enter the 2018 Sony World Photography Awards. This is one of the world's biggest, most prestigious photography competitions, with a big cash prize on offer, as well as the chance to show your work at a hugely popular exhibition in London. And it's free to enter.
The Open competition, for amateur and professional photographers, has ten categories: Architecture, Culture, Enhanced, Motion, Landscape & Nature, Portraiture, Still Life, Street Photography, Travel and Wildlife. To give you an idea of what you'd be up against,
IBTimes UK presents a selection of images already entered into this year's Open competition, from stunning aerial landscapes to intimate portraits and animals in the wild.
The Horns at Sunrise: Vincent Chen, China, Landscape & Nature (2018 Open competition). 'I took this photo in Torres del Paine National Park in Chile’s Patagonia region in February 2017, I came to this secluded viewpoint in early morning and was fortunate to get pretty amazing weather. The sunshine lit up the famous Cuernos del Paine peaks, so they looked magnificent and incredible.'
Vincent Chen/Sony World Photography Awards 2018
On White: Chris MacDonald, Canada, Wildlife (Open competition). 'A red fox stands in the snow. I was out for a hike in the early January snow when I cam across a set of fox tracks. I followed them around a curve and found this fox standing in a clearing. I got down to my knees quickly to try not to scare him off and started taking pictures. As some of the heavy snow fell of the trees he paused and turn to see what was making the noise. I have photographed this fox over many years. His nose is so distinctive it helps to identify him. By getting low, it gave me the snow in the background to create the isolated effect of white.'
Chris MacDonald/Sony World Photography Awards 2018
The Big Meringue: Placido Faranda, Italy, Landscape & Nature (2018 Open competition). 'Scala dei Turchi (The Turkish Steps) is a white cliff in Realmonte (Sicily), made of a soft limestone and a blinding white marl. Natural erosion has created steps on the cliff face, making it look soft and sinuous, like a big meringue covered with sprinkles (the people sitting and walking on it). The origin of the name “Turkish Steps” is intriguing. While there is a big resemblance to Pamukkale (Turkey), the designation of “Turkish” was given centuries ago by local people, for the frequent raids carried by Turkish pirates on this area. Legend says they would find a shelter for their boats behind this rocky formation, and then climb the “steps” of the cliff and raid the villages. Today, Scala dei Turchi is a wonderful spot for viewing the sunset, as the bright white marl turns into a strong orange. Only after shooting this image, while watching it on a bigger screen, I noticed a newlywed couple in the frame kissing for their wedding photoshoot. Right at the edge of the cliff.'
Placido Faranda/Sony World Photography Awards 2018
Frazzled: Zhayynn James, India, Wildlife (Open competition). 'A handsome alpha male Lion-tailed Macaque keeps a wary eye on the rest of his troop after a drink of water. They are one of the most endangered primate species in the world and are endemic to the Western Ghats of South India. Their species is fragmented across the Western Ghats in pockets and their future, much like this male's mane, looks frazzled.'
Zhayynn James/Sony World Photography Awards 2018
Back to the future: Sung Lok Cheung, Hong Kong (China), Portraiture (Open competition). 'The photo was taken at TeamLab, Dance! Art Exibition, Shenzhen, China, in a venue called the Crystal Universe. The light illusion is an artwork that uses an accumulation of light points to create a sculptural body. By this time, I had been waiting with my friend for the right composition to happen. I saw a little girl in a red dress running around. I kept on waiting and waiting expecting that she would come to the perfect spot. Luckily she ran out again by the channel. I found the so called “The Decisive Moment”. I couldn't wait to press the shutter, when the lighting was perfectly right, to create a beautiful moment. It looked like the girl was crossing a time tunnel. That is why I put “Back to the Future “ as the title of my photo. I was inspired by the idea that opportunities are to be left to those who are well prepared. Or, to put it another way, that good preparation is the way to become successful. By pressing the shutter at the right moment, an amazing photo was finally realised.'
Sung Lok Cheung/Sony World Photography Awards 2018
Golden happy hour: Hans Gunnar Aslaksen, Norway, Landscape & Nature (2018 Open competition). 'This image was taken in October in a small bay in Larvik, a small town south of Oslo. The location for this image is not far from where I live. It is kind of a secret gem that few people know about. I discovered the place and its potential on a local hike I did. I have been here several times under different weather conditions. This location is quite tricky as it needs perfect waves to work. That means that they cant be to big or else you and the camera will get soaked. But calm water will not add enough interest and dynamic to the image. This specific evening the waves where just perfect. Just big enough to wash over the stones and not to big so I could get a low angle with the camera. The setting sun was also in a perfect position. The low sun was not obstructed by clouds and it lit up the rocks in the bay beautifully. I knew that the sun would set in just half an hour, so I had to work fast and find the best composition. The light just got better and better and I knew that I had a chance to capture something special. I tried to anchor the shot with the beautiful stones in the foreground and experimented with different shutter speeds to create interesting movement in the waves. I tried to make every element lead up to the sunstar for a strong composition. I am very pleased that also the clouds acts as leading lines towards the setting sun.'
Hans Gunnar Aslaksen/Sony World Photography Awards 2018
The child and the reindeer: Pehuen Grotti, France, Travel (Open competition). 'Every morning, all the reindeer are released so they can graze all day and at night they all come back by themselves. Here we can see one of the Tsataan children taking care of his reindeer before the cold night comes.'
Pehuen Grotti/Sony World Photography Awards 2018
Papuma: Haryadi Bakri, Indonesia, Enhanced (Open competition). 'This picture of Papuma was taken during my seven-day trip to Bromo Mountain then to Papuma Beach at East Java, Indonesia. I had to return to the beach three times in a day just to make sure I had the right location for capturing the clouds and the stars at night, but sadly it was heavily cloudy on the night. So I've overlaid the star trails from Bromo mountain, making sure the south pole is in the right position as the real location. No doubt, this is the image that I had wanted to capture.'
Haryadi Bakri/Sony World Photography Awards 2018
K is for kite: Krzysztof Ćwik, Poland, Street Photography (Open competition). 'A kite competition on the beach in Marseille, France.'
Krzysztof Ćwik/Sony World Photography Awards 2018
Wanma Pentium: Shen Jianfeng, China, Travel (Open competition). 'My image was taken in July 2017 in the grassland grazing area of Wulangbu Dam in Inner Mongolia, China.'
Shen Jianfeng/Sony World Photography Awards 2018
Jump: Milo Angelo Ramella, Italy, Wildlife (Open competition). 'A snowy owl flies, alarmed by the call of another female.'
Milo Angelo Ramella/Sony World Photography Awards 2018
Lunch Break: Omer Faidi, Turkey, Street Photography (Open competition). 'At lunchtime in my office I went out to the balcony and when I saw the workers at the construction site next door, I said 'wow'! I went back inside to get my camera and shot them from the 6th floor. They were looking very peaceful and natural. I returned shortly after, and the moment had passed.'
Omer Faidi/Sony World Photography Awards 2018
Nattfari, Húsavík: Matteo Redaelli, Italy, Travel (Open competition). 'Whale watching is a wonderful experience to enjoy if you travel across Iceland. This boat, Náttfari, is a traditional Icelandic wooden boat sailing the most of the year around Skjalfandi Bay, where you can enjoy this majestic and unique experience of whale watching. The afternoon I took this picture was really unexpected because the morning the weather was truly better. That is the fun part of Iceland. I feel joyful when a normal morning suddenly transforms into an unusual afternoon. That was exactly what happened during this day. I remember that it was very cold but at the same time so nice because such a lot of snow was unexpected. The fact that Bay was surrounded by humpbacks whales was another thing that made this a wonderful experience.'
Matteo Redaelli/Sony World Photography Awards 2018
Little Indian: Virgilio Liberato, Philippines, Portraiture (Open competition). 'This photo was taken in a park in Kuwait around February 2017.'
Virgilio Liberato/Sony World Photography Awards 2018
Newspaper...: Martin Schubert, Czech Republic, Street Photography (Open competition). 'I was waiting on a tram in Prague, and this man was sat eating a snack. First I photographed the scene from another angle, but when I noticed the poster behind him, I moved quickly to the right place and shot this picture. About 30 seconds later he stood up and left.'
Martin Schubert/Sony World Photography Awards 2018
Untitled: Oliver San Juan, Philippines, Street Photography (Open competition). 'This photo was taken somewhere in the famous Divisoria Market of Manila and shows three generations of men. First is a kid that seems to be playing, while the middle-aged man in the middle seems to be thinking of something deeply, and the last man sits very relaxed while reading a newspaper. It is like an evolution from being a playful kid to a relaxed, worry-free old man.'
Oliver San Juan/Sony World Photography Awards 2018
Morning Glory: Huibo Hou, United States of America, Landscape & Nature (2018 Open competition). 'Morning glory hot spring in winter, Yellowstone National Park, USA.'
Huibo Hou/Sony World Photography Awards 2018
African Mystery: Matthieu Rivart, France, Wildlife (Open competition). 'This photo was taken during my trip to the Kalahari (Kgalagadi Park, South Africa), last September. The Kalahari lions are famous for their black manes. After a long drive through the park, I came across two of them, sharing a springbok kill. A violent fight took place between the two to get the best pieces. They ultimately headed towards the nearby waterhole, where they got a rest during the sunset, which gave me the perfect opportunity to capture their legendary beauty.'
Matthieu Rivart/Sony World Photography Awards 2018
Life in Macau: António Leong, Portugal, Street Photography (Open competition). 'Macau is probably better known as a gambling city near Hong Kong, but very few know that it is the most densely populated city in the world, with over 18,000 people packed in a km square. High rise residential buildings are everywhere in town. How many stories are in each kilometre cube?'
António Leong/Sony World Photography Awards 2018
This is the 13th year of the Sony World Photography Awards, run by the World Photography Organisation. Many previous shortlisted and winning photographers have gained global exposure and recognition. Last year's
Photographer of the Year, Frederik Buyckx said, "Being named Photographer of the Year has given me more exposure than I could ever have imagined. It has opened lots of new doors but, just as importantly, the award has also encouraged me to keep on working on my personal projects." Past shortlisted photographer Simon Butterworth (UK) said "It's impossible to overstate the importance of this achievement to my career, the global coverage was amazing, in fact, interest in my work as a direct result of the awards continues to this day." (Belgium)
The shortlist will be announced on 28 February 2018
, and the winners of the Open competition will be revealed on 20 March 2018. Prizes include $5,000 (£3,728) for the overall Open competition winner, and the latest Sony Digital Imaging equipment for all category winners. In addition, the winning and shortlisted images will be exhibited at Somerset House in London from 20 April to 6 May 2018.
So... what are you waiting for? You have until 4 January 2018 to submit your work at
www.worldphoto.org/swpa. All entries to the awards are free.