It is time to enter the latest round of our Amateur Photographer of the Year competition (APOY), the biggest and best of its kind…

We are now into round 10 of APOY, with the theme of Close-ups.

With APOY’s varied categories, there should be a round for you, no matter what you like to shoot. You might choose to enter just one category or enter them all with the aim of taking home the main prize and, of course, the title of Amateur Photographer of the Year 2021.

The competition is open to all amateur photographers* and we have again teamed up with Photocrowd, who will be hosting the competition on a simple and intuitive platform. This year we have two new categories. Under-21s can enter the Young Amateur Photographer of the Year, with each category winner receiving a £250 voucher for MPB, and the overall winner being awarded a £500 voucher.

Finally, there’s a camera club category, where you can accumulate points for your society. The most successful club will receive a voucher for £500.

*For the purposes of this competition, an amateur photographer is defined as someone who earns 10% or less of their income from photography or photographic services.

Timing, precision and immaculate focusing are all crucial for a successful close-up image

Time for your Close-ups!

Getting up close and personal to your subject means you can create scenes that might otherwise be missed. A huge range of subjects can be considered for close-up photography, so you can really push your creative limits here. Plants and natural subjects will be the first port of call for many, but don’t be afraid to explore other themes that also work well – such as jewellery, shells, feathers, food and more. In short, anything you can scrutinise at close quarters is what we want to see.


Your guest judge
Tracy Calder has more than 20 years of experience in the photo magazine industry, and is a former editor of Outdoor Photography. In 2018 she co-founded Close-up Photographer of the Year – an international competition celebrating close-up, macro and micro photography. She has written numerous photography books, and her work has appeared in more than 20 consumer magazines, as well as on the walls of The Photographers’ Gallery and The National Portrait Gallery in London. To find out more visit Instagram: @cupoty, @tracy_calder_photo.

There are £11,000 (GBP) worth of vouchers to win in APOY 2021, supplied by sponsors, MPB, plus the title of Amateur Photographer of the Year 2021.

The winner of each round of APOY receives a £500 voucher to spend on anything at MPB. From top-of-the-range digital medium-format camera bodies, to entry-level DSLRs, telephoto zooms and wideangle lenses, MPB is a one-stop shop for used kit. And, of course, you can use your voucher towards your dream piece of kit, if it happens to cost more than £500.

Great gear for close-ups
MPB has a range of macro lenses to suit all budgets. Sigma has a great reputation as a third-party lens manufacturer, and this Canon-fit 105mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro is well worth considering. Purists consider 105mm to be the perfect macro focal length, and this one is a true 1:1 lens. It’s extremely sharp, features a dual-focus system, and has a minimum focusing distance of 31.3cm.

This lens goes for £239 at MPB, and can also be found in Nikon fit. For those who prefer a manufacturer’s own-brand lenses, there’s the Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Macro.

This lightweight lens comes in at only 280g, has a construction of nine elements in eight groups, and features a closest-focusing distance of 23cm. Like all macro lenses, it can also be used as a standard lens, making it a versatile choice. Pick one up at MPB for between £194 and £224.The Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS has superb resolution and gives lovely, soft bokeh. Its 90mm focal length, giving 1:1 magnification, is wonderfully versatile, while its minimum focusing distance is 28cm. It also features built-in image stabilisation.

This lens is available at MPB for £719 to £754. There are second- and third-placed prizes of £100 and £50 vouchers respectively, while the winner of the Youth category wins a £250 voucher. Check out to take your pick from thousands of items.