Travel is coming back… TPOTY 2021 open for entries

The 2021 Travel Photographer of the Year awards (TPOTY) are now open for entry, and amateur and professional photographers from around the world have until 12th October to submit their images into this global photo contest at

The range of categories reflects the broad spectrum of subjects and genres covered by travel photography. The Overall Winner (the Travel Photographer of the Year 2021) will be the entrant who submits the best eight images across the four portfolio categories. There are three four-image portfolio categories: Landscapes & Adventure, Living World and People & their Stories. There is also an eight-image portfolio – Best 8. This category is not themed, instead entrants are invited to showcase the diversity of their work by covering a range of travel subjects in their submission.

The single image categories also focus on different aspects of travel imagery. Icons of Travel looks at the classic subjects but asks entrants to avoid the clichéswhen photographing them. Green Planet looks at endangered species, sustainable travel and conservation. And As Shot requires entrants to submit images exactly as they were shot in camera, with only the most minor editing permitted.

Reflecting the ever-growing popularity of the use of smartphones and tablets for photography, iTravelled is a single image award for images shot on such devices, while Travel Shorts is an HD video category for short travel films of up to two minutes in length.

There is also a special award for photographers aged 18 and under – Young Travel Photographer of the Year. This is divided into two age groups, 14 and under and 15-18. Last year’s Young Travel Photographer of the Year, Indigo Larmour, was just 12 years old.

Entrants looking for inspiration can find it in the extensive online galleries of previous winners on the awards’ site and in the exhibition of the 2020 winning images, which opens at Coal Drops Yard in London on 12th May and runs until 10th June.

Categories and prizes

The winning photographers will see their work showcased at TPOTY exhibitions in London and elsewhere in 2022 and featured in a Travel Photographer of the Year book. And TPOTY 2021 offers some fantastic prizes for successful entrants, as well as the international exposure that comes from winning Travel Photographer of the Year.

The Travel Photographer of the Year 2021 receives a cash prize plus a Fujifilm X-T4 camera with 16-80mm lens, a LEE Filters LEE85 Discovery Kit and a leather portfolio book or iFolio from Plastic Sandwich, plus membership of the Royal Photographic Society.

The winners of the Landscapes & Adventure, Living World and Best 8 portfolios also receive a Fujifilm X-T4 with lens, while the ‘People & their Stories’ winner will go on an international photography workshop with award-winning photographer Chris Weston. The entrants who submit the best individual image in each of these categories receive a giclée exhibition print from Genesis Imaging.

In the single image categories, the winners of As Shot and Travel Icons receive cash prizes plus a LEE Filters LEE85 Discovery Kit, and the Green Planet winner receives a magnificent, framed limited edition signed print from Animals on the Edge founder Chris Weston. The successful entrant in iTravelled will receive £250, as will the winner of the HD video category Travel Shorts.

There are great prizes for the young entrants, too. The Young Travel Photographer of the Year 2021 receives £500 plus a leather portfolio book or iFolio from Plastic Sandwich, and the winners of the two age groups receive £250. All three young winners also receive a place on a Photo Iconic photography workshop.

In addition, the Royal Photographic Society will present a year’s membership to the winners of every category apart from iTravelled and Travel Shorts, and the winners of Travel Photographer of the Year 2021 and Young Travel Photographer of the Year 2021 plus all the category Winner, Runners-up, Highly Commended and Commended entrants receive a copy of JRNY travel magazine – print and/or digital.

A sign of the times

This is the second year that TPOTY has operated during the pandemic. Many of the winning images from the 2020 awards have a wonderfully intimate quality to them, as entrants worked within the restrictions of lockdown. Travel is obviously similarly restricted at present and, as in 2020, the awards’ organisers are welcoming archive images, and urge entrants not to make unnecessary journeys or break lockdown restrictions – which will hopefully ease as the year progresses – in their country of residence to shoot images to submit.

Entry fees start at £8 for the iTravelled single image category, but, in recognition of the ongoing financial problems so many are now dealing with because of the pandemic, a special entry fee ‘bundle’ has been introduced which allows photographers to submit ten images (comprising any combination of single images and portfolios) for just £40.

In addition, Travel Photographer of the Year will shortly be launching a new membership scheme, Eye for the Light, which gives additional entry savings and other benefits for those who choose to join.

For full information and to take part in this year’s Travel Photographer of the Year awards, please visit

Image: Sanghamitra Sarkar

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