APOY Round Six – Exploring the City

**Entries must be received by 5pm on 27 July 2012**

Please visit the APOY12 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.

Round 6 of this year’s Amateur Photographer of the Year competition, sponsored by Samsung and Jessops, is Exploring the City (architecture old and new). Take a look at the interiors and exteriors that surround you. What do you see? A busy cluster of confusing shapes or an exciting opportunity to tackle one of the most undervalued of photographic genres? Architecture is everywhere, from the stunning buildings of capital cities to the humble garden shed. Architectural photography is much more than just pressing the shutter, though.

It requires as much thought as the most breathtaking natural landscape, so read on for some ideas on how you can make the most of your photographs. Images likely to catch the judges’ eye are those that are creative, skilfully composed and technically excellent. As always, we have thousands of pounds’ worth of fantastic camera equipment up for grabs, as well as the chance to be crowned Amateur Photographer of the Year 2012. The closing date for round 6 is 27 July 2012. The top two winners will each receive a fantastic Samsung camera, while the third-prize winner will receive a £250 Jessops voucher. The top 30 highest scoring photographs will be published in our 25 August issue, while the scores from the top 50 images will be posted on our website.

photo by Andrew Sydenham

Information explaining how to enter can be found on the APOY 2012
home page. Please use your full name as the file name and paste the
disclaimer into the body of your email if you are sending your entry
electronically. We also need to know where and how you took your image,
plus the camera and lens used with aperture and focal length details.
Also, include a telephone number and your postal address so we can
contact you if you win.

For round 6 of APOY, we’re looking for eye-catching images of architecture. It doesn’t matter whether the things you photograph are old or new. Interesting architecture (both interior and exterior) has been produced throughout many stages of history. It’s just a matter of knowing how best to capture it through your camera lens. This round offers huge scope to create all manner of creative, dynamic shots. From the early morning sun throwing long shadows onto a gargantuan skyscraper to the delicate interplay of light and shape in a plush grand theatre, the possibilities are endless.

While there is nothing wrong with exploring the buildings of towns and cities, don’t forget that architecture takes many forms. Something as innocuous as a bridge can offer all manner of compositional and framing opportunities. Also remember that the surrounding elements can be beneficial to your subject. Too much or too little sky can make or break and image. Take a look at the things that surround your subject – can they be used to give a sense of scale? Lastly, don’t be afraid to be a little abstract in your images. Architecture consists of all manner of curves, lines and interesting details. All these things are there for you to explore through your camera.

1st Prize
The first-prize winner will receive a Samsung NX20 with
18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens, a Samsung 16mm f/2.4 Ultra Wide pancake
lens, a Samsung 20-50mm f/3.5-5.6 lens and a 16GB SDHC Plus memory card,
worth a total of £1,446.99. The NX20 is an advanced compact system
camera with a 20.3-million-pixel, APS-C, CMOS sensor.

It has 8fps
continuous shooting, built-in Wi-Fi for email, social networking and
transfer, and a top shutter speed of 1/8000sec, while the ISO range of
100-128,000 lets you take high-speed photos even in low light. Samsung’s
slender, all-purpose i-Function 16mm lens offers great versatility,
with quick and easy one-touch access to all your camera’s manual

2nd Prize
The second-prize winner will receive a Samsung WB850F
compact camera and a 16GB SDHC Plus memory card, worth a total of
£348.99. The WB850F travel compact has a 16-million-pixel, BSI (Back
Side Illuminated) CMOS sensor to help reduce image noise and distortion,
even in low-light and 21x optical zoom lens (23-483mm equivalent). The
Samsung WB850F also has built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, so users can email
photos or share them on social network sites quickly and easily.

3rd Prize
third-prize winner will receive a £250 Jessops Gift Card. Jessops Gift
Cards are only redeemable in store and not online. Overseas winners will
be contacted by phone about how to claim their prize.

photo by Damien Demolder

The time of day that you shoot can have a great impact on your images. Take a look at how the light of the morning or late afternoon sun interacts with the strong shapes of your subject. But that’s not to suggest that softer light can’t offer you great opportunities, too. The flat grey light of a rainy day can add a great deal of atmosphere to your work and create a mood that would otherwise be lost under the strong sun. Also consider how light works in interior settings. If the opportunity presents itself, exploit the window light or artificial illumination that works within the space. Light can be used in a subtle way or in some cases be the subject itself. Experiment and explore.


Knowing which lens to use is one of the most important factors to consider. A wide lens such as a 24-105mm can give you a dramatic sweeping image of a skyline and provide coverage of both foreground and background. Using a wide lens (perhaps even a fisheye) can make an interior scene appear far larger and impressive than it really is.

However, make sure that you don’t neglect the other end of the scale. Architecture and cityscapes consist of many fascinating elements. A longer lens such as a 70-200mm can help you to hone in on some of the most interesting details of your subject and compress your shot down into a tighter frame.

photo by James Burnett


Composition is a matter of finding the order in chaos – and that’s not so easy when you’re faced with so many competing elements. Break your subject down into a series of manageable geometric shapes and you’ll soon see how these details work together.

Framing is crucial here. It’s the device that holds all your subjects in place. Architecture is all about the interaction between basic shapes, but be aware of converging lines. Just shifting your position slightly can help to separate out the details and ensure that your shot is not too cluttered and confused.

photo by Damien Demolder

Please visit the APOY12 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.

If you wish to enter by post please remember to include your entry form.

**Entries must be received by 5pm on 27 July 2012**

 In association with Samsung and Jessops