We’re here to help
If you don’t find the answers to your questions below in the FAQs, then please email us and we’ll help you. Please also carefully read the competition rules. It is your sole responsibility as an entrant to read and abide by the rules.
Our contact details are on the Contact Us page. Please give us time to respond, especially during the busy period close to competition closing dates. If we’ve received your email before the deadline then we will still accept your entry.
FAQs – Your questions answered
Click on any of the Frequently Asked Questions below to expand the page and display the answer:
The 2020 awards open for entry on 4th May and close for entries on 2nd November.
Finalists will be announced in December 2020 and winners will be announced in January 2021.
There are three exhibitions in 2020 but we are currently rescheduling these after the restrictions on public gatherings necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. For venues and the latest dates please see the exhibition section of this website and the individual exhibition venue pages. The images from the 2020 awards will be exhibited in 2021.
Quite simply, to cover TPOTY’s running costs. These are extensive and include TPOTY awards, the cash prizes, exhibitions, website build and maintenance, books and administration. Some of these costs are supported by our sponsors, but by no means all, so it’s your entry fees which keep the competition running.
YES, absolutely! TPOTY is passionate about photographers’ copyright and we don’t believe that you should lose yours simply because you enter a competition.
When you submit images to us you approve their promotional use for TPOTY only. This includes press activity around the awards, TPOTY books, exhibitions and website (if chosen).
You remain free to use your images however you wish. We make no claim to ownership and do not attempt to restrict your use of your images in any way
If we are approached to use your images (in a way that does not specifically promote TPOTY) we will put you in touch directly with the person or organisation interested in your images, or negotiate a fee on your behalf if you wish us to.
No. Absolutely not. This is a trick used by many competitions to get around the copyright issue. Please see above.
Travel Photographer of the Year produces and sell the TPOTY Collection of prints and cards – however, these are produced in association with, and with full permission from, the photographers concerned. All TPOTY Collection images are governed by a written agreement with the photographers, and these photographers receive royalties for all cards or prints sold.
Yes – take a look at the Winners’ Galleries from previous years and you will see some stunning B&W images, not least Larry Louie, Timothy Allen, Marsel van Oosten and Katy Gomez Catalina’s wonderful photographs that won the overall prize in 2010, 2013, 2015 and 2019 respectively.
No, but we accept prints or digital scans from transparencies/slides. In the past, too many entrants submitted great pictures as poor quality duplicate slides. This meant that the judges couldn’t assess the images properly, and as a result potentially winning entries were eliminated. With regret, we took the decision to accept prints and online submissions only – and, of course, those prints or online submissions can come from images originally shot on film, or digitally.
Yes! In fact, our overall winner in 2007 won with panoramic images, and in 2006 there were two panoramic winners, one runner up and a commended. Images stitched to form a panoramic image will be accepted provided that the entrant declares, at the time of submission, that the final image has been produced in this way.
Yes. Drone photography still requires the skills of the photographer to operate the drone and make the picture. Our overall winner in 2016 had images shot using a drone as part of his winning portfolios.
You may use digital manipulation to optimise an image in much the same way as photographers used a wet darkroom in the past.
PERMITTED: Brightness, contrast, levels, curves and colour balance may all be adjusted. Dust spots and minor elements etc. may be retouched. You may make adjustments to selected areas on an image where needed. Images may be sharpened before printing. Photo cropping is permitted.
NOT PERMITTED: Adding or removing key elements of the composition other than by cropping. Montage of multiple images (see below).
No, composite or montaged images, from more than one original image, are not eligible. This includes images shot at different exposures and combined. However, multiple exposure ‘in camera’ is permitted.
The reason for this is that TPOTY is a photography award not a digital manipulation award. If you have any doubts about the permissibility of your images then please contact us before submitting your entry. We will be happy to clarify and give you an answer directly related to your images.
Yes, images which have been produced by multiple exposure of the same frame/file are permiited. A final image created by combining different frames/files is not permitted accepted as a panoramic (see above). If an image is shortlisted, the original image must be provided along with the print for final judging.
A portfolio is a set of images with a theme which fit together to tell a story. Each portfolio category will have a fixed number of images – see individual category descriptions for specific details.
Themes are important because the judges consider adherence to them and the relevance of the images when selecting the winning entries. Please make sure you choose images which fit the themes. If you have a fantastic image which doesn’t seem to fit then don’t be tempted to enter it – keep it for next year.
This year, however, we have a special category for a body of travel photography work – Travel Folio – and this doesn’t have a specific theme other than travel. It is an opportunity for you to enter a personal travel portfolio.
We accept both online and print entries.
- Uploaded images should be in jpeg file format at resolution 72dpi.
- The maximum file size for uploaded images is 1 Mb at 72dpi (this will be lower than the original image size and resolution). Please make sure that the image you are uploading is no longer than 1500 pixels along its biggest size at 72dpi. If the image is bigger the system may attempt to upload it, but it will not then show in your entry. If you have this issue with an upload, please check the dimensions of the file you are trying to upload – some files can be within our 1Mb limit at 72dpi but be larger than 1500 pixels along the longest size, and this can cause upload issues.
- For all categories except Smart Shot, the ORIGINAL images must be ideally high enough resolution to be printed at at least 45cm x 30cm (a minimum of 5000 pixels along longest length) at 300dpi. If your original image is much smaller than this please check with us first.
- Scanned images – if you have shot your images on film or transparency and then scanned them, you can still upload them for any category except Smart Shot.
All but the final round of judging will be conducted online. Shortlisted entrants who submitted online will then be required to submit prints for final judging, plus provide the highest resolution version of the files of their shortlisted images along with the raw/original files.
Images can look good online but some do not have the quality to make good prints. Conversely some images don’t look anything special online but are stunning as prints. We take great care to ensure that these don’t slip through the net and that the winners are of the highest standard. Doing the final judging on prints allows the judges to fully assess the images, to revisit them during the judging process and to compare them.
The winning images also make up our very popular print exhibitions so it’s important to ensure that the quality of the winning images are up to the standard our audience expects and reflect the prestige of winning this award. To find out more about the print judging rationale and process, one of our judges, Colin Finlay, has written and article on the importance of print judging.
Yes, if you provide a suitable stamped addressed envelope and pay for the return postage. This also applies to non-UK entries. You’ll find full details on the Print Entries page.
Staying in touch
Just email us and we’ll update your records. Please remember if you don’t give us your up to date contact information we will not be able to contact you.
We update the site regularly. Make sure you refresh your browser whenever you visit the TPOTY site so that you always see the latest pages and information.
Exhibitions and books
TPOTY exhibits both in the UK and internationally. The international touring program will continue in 2020, and a list of the exhibition venues can be found in the exhibition section of this website.
In 2020 we have published two books – Journey 10/11 and Journey 12. We are also in the process of selecting images for a third book – the best of TPOTY so far, called 100 Journeys. If you sign up for the TPOTY newsletter we’ll keep you updated with plans for the next one.