APOY 2011 Round Nine – Black & White

APOY 2011 Round Nine – Black & White

Please visit the APOY11 home page to find all the rules for entry, terms and conditions, the APOY entry email address, and the disclaimers that must be copied and pasted into an email entry.

Entries must be received by 5pm on 28 October 2011

We have reached the penultimate round of this year?s Amateur Photographer of the Year competition, sponsored by Canon. Over the past few months we have seen some fantastic images and been inspired by the creativity and skill of AP readers. Thanks to everyone who has entered so far. The good news is that there are still two rounds remaining and thousands of pounds? worth of fantastic Canon prizes still to be won, including the overall prize of £5,000-worth of Canon camera equipment.

This month?s theme is the oldest in photography: Black & white. You can photograph any subject you like, whether this be a landscape, portrait or street scene to name just a few, but try to think beyond the obvious and choose subjects that will look eye-catching when the colour has been removed. Careful composition and exposure are as crucial as ever. Try to switch your photographic eye to ?seeing? and ?thinking? in black & white ? in other words, think about how your image will look in black & white when you are composing in the viewfinder, rather than as an afterthought. Images that interpret the brief in an innovative way and are technically excellent will catch the judges? attention.

photo by Gemma Padley

There is huge amount of scope in this month?s theme: Black & white. From emotive, timeless portraits to evocative landscapes, dramatic abstracts and gritty street scenes, the choice of subject is limited only by your imagination. We?re leaving the subject choice to you, but bear in mind that not all subjects translate effectively to black & white. In today?s digital photographic age it is easier and quicker than ever to convert files from colour to black & white. But this shouldn?t mean a lack of thought and consideration when composing your images ? quite the opposite is true, in fact. Consequently, subject choice and the way you photograph your chosen subject are extremely important.

Visualisation will be key. Equally important is the way your subject is lit. Are you planning to use available light or do you intend to devise your own lighting set-up? While many photographers will choose to shoot digitally, we will also accept images shot on film. And don?t miss next week?s issue (dated 8 October 2011, on sale 4 October 2011) with a 24-page advanced guide to black & white photography, which should help get your creative juices flowing.

Information explaining how to enter can be found on the APOY home page. Remember to use your full name as the file name and don?t forget to paste the disclaimer into the body of your email if you are sending your entry to us electronically. Please also include a sentence explaining where and how you took your image, plus the camera and lens you used. Most importantly, don?t forget to include a telephone number and your postal address so we can contact you if you win.

Why not try?

Here are some tips and suggestions to help you get started

photo by Gemma Padley

Texture and Pattern

When colour is removed, a scene can look very flat if there isn?t anything of interest in the frame. Since you can?t rely on bold colours to make your picture look dramatic, you?ll need to think of other ways to generate impact. One way to do this is to incorporate texture and pattern into your image. You could try photographing early morning light raking across a landscape or shoot in contrasty lighting conditions to reveal textures in a wizened face. If you are feeling particularly adventurous you could embrace a more direct, abstract approach and seek out bold shapes and leading lines, geometric lines and unusual viewpoints that lend a graphic feel.

photo by Mat Gallagher

Visualisation and Composition

It may be an obvious statement, but the world around is in colour, and when it comes to shooting in black & white it is necessary to change tack and see in tones rather than different shades of colour. Black & white is another way of interpreting what we see in front of us and the key to producing great images is to think about how colour translates into tone. Think about the range of tones in the scene in front of you and the proportion of shadows and highlights, and how these work within the frame. The main subject should draw the viewer?s eye immediately, so pay careful attention to how this is rendered in black & white.

photo by Gemma Padley


Just because you are producing an image devoid of colour doesn?t mean you have to stick rigidly to black & white. You could try toning your image, perhaps using a sepia tone to make your image look old-fashioned and nostalgic or create a split-tone image by adding different degrees of blue to the shadows. Try experimenting with adding and subtracting different amounts of yellow and red to see what effect this has on you image.

1st prize

The winner of round nine will receive Canon?s 18-million-pixel EOS 600D with Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II and Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II lenses worth a total of £999.

The EOS 600D offers full HD 1080p video recording, up to 3.7fps continuous shooting and a 3in, 1.04-million-dot vari-angle LCD screen. An ISO range of 100-6400, expandable to 12,800, enables high-quality handheld shooting in low-light conditions without the need for flash. The first-placed prize winner will also receive a stylish Canon PIXMA MG3150 all-in-one printer with Auto Duplex Print and Wi-Fi worth £69.

2nd prize

The second-placed winner will receive Canon?s PowerShot G12 worth £539. The PowerShot G12 gives exceptional images with HS System and a premium Canon wideangle lens. Full manual mode, raw, front dial and optional lens filter adapter allow professional levels of control.

The second-placed winner will also receive a SELPHY CP800 printer in white worth £99. With a design that fits into any home, the SELPHY CP800 is the convenient way to create lasting prints from your digital photos.

3rd prize

Our third-placed winner will receive Canon?s PowerShot SX150 IS worth £199. The 14.1-million-pixel PowerShot SX150 IS with a 12x optical zoom allows you to take beautiful photos and HD movies.

From smart auto to full manual control, you can easily adapt it to any skill level. The third-placed winner will also receive a SELPHY CP800 printer in black worth £99.

Please visit the APOY11 home page to find all the rules for entry, terms and conditions, the APOY entry email address, and the disclaimers that must be copied and pasted into an email entry.

Entries must be received by 5pm on 28 October 2011

In association with Canon