RSPCA launches photography competition

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The RSPCA today launched its annual competition for budding young snappers to showcase their best images of animals.

The Young Photographer Awards 2012 (YPA12) welcomes all kinds of pictures from cheeky portraits of family pets to imaginative photos of wildlife and even close-ups of insects in a mix of categories open to young people under 18.

The competition is sponsored by Warners Midlands, supported by Olympus and Natures Images and will be judged by a mix of photography professionals including TV presenter and wildlife expert Chris Packham.

Last year saw an impressive eight thousand entries to the Young Photographer Awards and included photographs of pouting pet goldfish, wild Canadian bears and, the overall winner, a rare red squirrel peeking out of the woodland dusk. It is hoped this year will encourage a similarly high quantity and calibre of talent.

Andrew Forsyth, chief photographer for the RSPCA, said: “We were blown away by the images entered last year - the standard was just amazing considering the age of some of the photographers.

“It doesn’t matter if the images are of birds, bees or budgies. This is a real opportunity to bring together a passion for photography with a love of animals and an interpretation of our relationship with them. It can be incredible to see the results.”

Will Nicholls, 17, was last year’s overall winner. He said: “It is a great competition to enter and has really helped build my confidence. I have been taking lots of wildlife photos this year, getting up at 3am to go to good spots and capture the morning light. My dream is to work in natural history documentary – be the next David Attenborough!

“My tips for this year’s entrants is to take as many pictures as you can, as this will help you develop a personal style. Really thinking about the angle you take helps too. Getting down to eye level, for example, really helps pack a punch.”

Like Will, the overall winner will go on an amazing three-day photography break with top wildlife photographer Danny Green, courtesy of Natures Images. Top quality Olympus camera kits are also up for grabs for the winners and runners up in each category

Young photographers can enter in their age category, the Portfolio award, the Pet Personalities category and Making Life Better category – a new introduction last year which asks for images that illustrate what animals do to make people’s lives better.

The deadline for entries is Monday 10 September 2012. Winners will be announced at a special ceremony in December.

Photography tips, updated YPA12 news, galleries of previous winners’ work and full details about how to enter are available at