RSPCA Young Photographer Awards: Pro photographer shares top tips on how to capture stunning wildlife snaps

With only a short time left to enter the RSPCA Young Photographer Awards, an award-winning wildlife photographer and panel judge has shared some insider tips and tricks for landing that winning shot.
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The 2023 RSPCA Young Photographer Awards is now open for entries and runs until Tuesday, August 15.

Ahead of the awards RSPCA senior photographer, and panel judge, Emma Jacobs, is encouraging those aged 18 and under to pick up their camera or mobile phone and get snapping.

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Emma said: "With 10 different categories to choose from, there's something for everyone, whatever their interest – and some fabulous prizes to be won. All animal photographs are welcome, from pets to wildlife, insects, farm animals and more.”

Brooke Haycock and her incredible photo are previous winners.Brooke Haycock and her incredible photo are previous winners.
Brooke Haycock and her incredible photo are previous winners.

The annual awards aim to find amateur talented photographers and nature lovers throughout the country to highlight the incredible wildlife that can be found.

Now, Emma has shared some of her top tips to help potential entrants, with the first encouraging budding photographers to use the ‘magic hours’.

She said: "The two hours after sunrise and the last two before sunset are what photographers call the "magic hours".

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"This is when the light is best for photography; the sun is low in the sky, creating images that look soft and radiant and reducing the contrast between bright and dark areas.”

Joshua Kneale won in last year's 12 to 15 category.Joshua Kneale won in last year's 12 to 15 category.
Joshua Kneale won in last year's 12 to 15 category.

Secondly, Emma shares that there is no ned to travel far to get a good shot – amazing photos can be taken within a home.

""It's not always possible to travel long distances in search of a picture, but you don't need to go far to find interesting subjects or capture great images.” She continued.

"Frogs, dragonflies and damselflies can be seen around ponds and lakes, and butterflies and bees will be feeding in flower beds. You can even photograph moths and spiders in your own home!”

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Finally, the professional photographer shares her most important piece on advice, saying: "My final piece of advice is to remember that photography is for everyone. You don't need to have lots of expensive equipment, just a camera that lets you focus in close on the subject."

"Use a camera, use your phone, or borrow one from a friend or family member. Don't be afraid to give photography a go - you'll never know what will happen if you never start. Everyone is a beginner at some point."

The RSPCA Young Photographer awards will be judged by RSPCA president wildlife photographer and TV presenter Chris Packham; wildlife photographer and presenter Rachel Bigsby; former competition winner-turned-professional photographer Catriona Parfitt; professional wildlife photographer and photographic guide Ellie Rothnie; and RSPCA photographers Andrew Forsyth and Emma Jacobs.

The judges will award trophies to winners in each category, as well as crowning an overall winner.

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The overall winner will then receive a weekend photography break with award­-winning wildlife photographer Danny Green's team at Natures Images.

The winners will be announced in December 2023, at an awards ceremony hosted by Chris Packham at the Tower of London.

Young photographers can upload their images, view past galleries and find out everything they need to know at:

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