2018 Sigma D-Photo Amateur Photographer of the Year open for entries

Having established itself as an unmissable event on the calendar for amateur photographers, the Sigma D-Photo Amateur Photographer of the Year returns for 2018, and is open for entries until June 24, 2018.

The competition is a fantastic way to get your work noticed, and provides ample motivation to achieve a creative challenge you have set yourself. The huge prize pool, worth over $21,000, is thanks to primary sponsor, Sigma, and twelve category sponsors, DJI, Epson, Fujifilm, Huawei, Ilford, Nikon, Profoto, Progear, SAE Institute Auckland, Sigma, Tamron, and Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design.

Last year’s grand prizewinning image, Houston Main Street Metro by Sarah Caldwell, entered into the Monochrome category, excels compositionally and achieves magnificent detail throughout its shadows and highlights, exemplifying what can be achieved creatively when boundaries are limited, whether imposed by oneself or by the environment.

New categories for this year are the Architecture and Smartphone categories, joining the existing Aerial, Creative, Student, Landscape, Macro, Monochrome, Nature, People, Travel, and Video categories.

The competition runs through to 11.59pm on June 24, so get planning that perfect shot, or look to our past winners for inspiration. Last year’s winning images captured tense moments between man and nature; made us question the reality of an image with perception-twisting techniques; froze in time moments usually only perceivable for a split second; explored patterns, man-made and natural through unique aerial views; and explored the personal, political, and environmental.

Check out the gallery of last year’s winners below, and click here for info on how to enter.

Brand-new category for Sigma D-Photo Amateur Photographer of the Year 2015

With every year that passes the D-Photo Amateur Photographer of the Year competition grows exponentially. The 2014 edition received an incredible 5783 entries across the seven categories. This year, for the 2015 edition of the Sigma D-Photo Amateur Photographer of the Year competition, we're excited to announce a brand-new category — the Junior category, proudly sponsored by the Universal College of Learning (UCOL). This section will be open to 16–24-year-olds to submit their works of art.

The competition opens on Monday, March 16 at dphoto.co.nz/apoty, with full details available in the upcoming issue of D-Photo Issue No. 65.

takeover_juniorImage: Ryan Meta, courtesy of UCOL

Introducing Edin Whitehead, Amateur Photographer of the Year

© Edin Whitehead, Sigma D-Photo Amateur Photographer of the Year 2014 - web Those of you who've picked up D-Photo no. 61 have already been exposed to the wonderful work of Edin Whitehead, gracing the cover as this year's New Zealand Amateur Photographer of the Year.

Whitehead came out on top of a truly staggering pool of 5783 entries, the most we have ever received in the competition's history, with her beautifully tranquil image of a Western Cattle Egret, taken during a trip to South Africa.

We caught up with the 20-year-old Auckland University student, originally from Rotorua, to ask her how she felt about winning the top spot in the 2014 Sigma D-Photo Amateur Photographer of the Year competition:

"I think excited is probably the best word, once I got past the initial disbelief! I'm excited because for me, it means that I'm going in the right direction with my photography, which is really rewarding to know."

Edin_webShe says that while she has been taking photos since childhood, inspired by her father's passion for the craft, it wasn't until 2010 when she started taking photography more seriously, after inheriting her grandfather's Nikon D200.

This isn't the first time Edin has been on D-Photo's radar; in 2012 we named her our Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year, and her abilities in that area have only grown from there.

Discussing Whitehead's champion photo, competition judge Mike Hollman says the image reminds him of the sort of beautiful illustrations found in Victorian botanical books.

"A striking image;  it stood out because of its simplicity, capturing the essence of the bird," he explains. "The subtle colours and graphic quality are enhanced by the high key background."

Judge Harry Janssen was immediately struck by the way the image evokes the detailed illustrations of the great ornithological painter, John James Audubon.

"To me, it has that type of quality. Not just an image of a flying bird, the author has captured the true grace and colours of this animal in a beautiful way."

Judge Emma Bass particularly enjoyed the way Whitehead managed to evoke the feeling of flight in such a painterly and graceful way with the image.

"This image sung out to me with its pure simplicity.  It made me yearn to fly.  Sleek and stunning!"

Though her enticing image looks as though it is the work of long, meticulous planning, Whitehead says it was more a case of reacting quickly to a spontaneous opportunity.

dphoto_61 (1)"We were on holiday in South Africa, in the Kwa-Zulu Natal Midlands earlier this year, and Dad and I went out every morning to a dam to photograph birds. It was quite a fleeting moment when I saw the egret flying directly overhead."

On this trip Whitehead had begun to use manual mode, previously shooting in Aperture Priority and using exposure compensation.

"I had my settings ready for darker birds against a white sky, so I had to push the shutter speed up a little as it flew over so it wasn't overexposed. I just got the one shot, and it looked down at me just as I pressed the shutter release."

Whitehead's passion for wildlife does not end at photography, she is currently studying towards a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Biological Sciences and Psychology. She hopes to go on to study animal behaviour at a post-graduate level, while continuing to work on her photography in tandem.

"I just want to keep learning and improving my skills. I've managed to infect a few of my friends with the photography bug, and I enjoy helping them learn too. It would be a dream to be able to make a living from photography, but I really enjoy my studies and I'd like to study the birds I love to photograph.

"Perhaps I can combine the two!"

If you would like to see more from this year's champion amateur photographer, head over to her website. And be sure to get your hands on D-Photo no. 61 to check out all the successful photographers in this year's Sigma D-Photo Amateur Photographer of the Year competition.

Meet the Sigma D-Photo Amateur Photographer of the Year judges

With time almost up for entering New Zealand's biggest amateur photography competition, D-Photo would like to introduce the judges who have the exciting task of assessing your images. Emma BassThis year's Sigma D-Photo Amateur Photographer of the Year competition will be judged by leading professional photographers Emma Bass, Mike Hollman and Harry Janssen.

Emma Bass is a highly regarded commercial and fine art photographer who has shot for many of New Zealand's leading magazines as well as exhibiting her own personal projects through the country. She has shot editorial for the likes of Life & Leisure, Good, Taste, NZ House & Garden, Next, and Fashion Quarterly. She has also created portraits of some of the country's biggest celebrities, including Denise L’estrange Corbet, Lucy Lawless, Jonah Lomu, Keisha Castle-Hughs and Peter Jackson.

You can hear Emma speaking about her photography practice at this year's Image Nation conference, or, if you can't make that event, check out her interview with D-Photo's Point-Shoot blog about her exhibition, Imperfect.

Mike HollmanMike Hollman is an award-winning professional photographer specialising in travel, architectural, fine art and landscape photography. His career has taken him around the world, shooting for local and international clients, producing four photo books and a series of annual photography calendars, and publishing work in books and magazines.

Mike currently holds the title of Professional Travel Photographer of the Year with the New Zealand Institute of Professional Photographers (NZIPP) and was recently inducted as a New Zealand Nikon Ambassador.

Harry Janssen is professional photographer renowned for his proficiency across a wide array of photographic disciplines. He runs Auckland's Red Zebra studio and offers a diverse range of services including studio Harry Janssenportraits, commercial location work, retouching, graphic design and photographic education. In 2011 he was named NZIPP Auckland Photographer of the Year and was a finalist in the most recent contest for New Zealand Photographer of the Year.

Harry is currently exhibiting a beautiful collection of his landscape works as part of the Auckland Festival of Photography, click here for more details.

This prestigious group will assemble next week at UCOL's new Institute of Commercial Photography in Newmarket to decide the champions of this year's Sigma D-Photo Amateur Photographer of the Year awards. The winners will be announced in a special edition of  D-Photo, on sale July 14.

You have until 5pm, Friday, June 13 to submit your entries and be in to win a share of over $14,500 worth of prizes up for grabs, see here for details.

Amateur Photographer of the Year prizes revealed

APotY prizes New Zealand's biggest amateur photography competition has expanded again this year, offering the biggest prize pool to date, with a total value of over $14,500.

Sigma and D-Photo, along with category sponsors Vanguard, Hasselblad, GoPro, Epson, SanDisk, Marumi, and Fantail Publishing, are proud to bring this singular opportunity to New Zealand’s amateur photography community.

Without further ado, we present the prizes for this year's Sigma D-Photo Amateur Photographer of the Year competition:

Grand prize
01 Apoty grand prize sigma lenses

The person named 2014 New Zealand Amateur Photographer of the Year will have the opportunity to put together a dream lens kit with $3000 to put towards any Sigma products they desire.


Landscape category — sponsored by Vanguard


02a Xcenior-48T-202b Alta-Pro-263AGH-1

First prize: Vanguard Xcenior 48T rolling trolley bag and Vanguard Alta Pro 263AGH tripod (worth $740)


03 Xcenior-41-1

Second prize: Vanguard Xcenior 41 camera bag (worth $375)


04 Alta-Pro-263AB-100-1

Third prize: Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB tripod (worth$300)



Monochrome category — sponsored by Hasselblad


05a Supreme-53D-2 05b 18-250mm_os-macro

First place: Vanguard Supreme 53D Professional hard case and Sigma 18–250mm f/3.5–6.3 DC Macro OS HSM lens (worth $880)


197921106b UP-Rise-45-1

Second place: Ilford inkjet paper voucher to the value of $200 plus a Vanguard UP-Rise 45 bag worth $189.


07b UP-Rise-II-34-1 ilford-galerie-gold-fibre-silk

Third place: Ilford inkjet paper voucher to the value of $150 plus a Vanguard UP-Rise II 34 bag worth $130.



Action category — sponsored by GoPro


08a GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition

08c sm-big-u-shot-plie 08b xsories_big_black_box_1

First place: GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition, an XSorries Big Black Box case and XSorries Big U Shot Mono (worth $778.80)


09 GoPro Hero3+ Silver Edition

Second place: GoPro Hero3+ Silver Edition (worth $479)


10 XSorries Tripod Pro

Third place: XSorries Tripod Pro (worth $249.90)



Creative category — sponsored by Fantail publishing


First place: Fantail Pro Imaging voucher to the value of $1500


Second place: Fantail Pro Imaging voucher to the value of $800


Third place: Fantail Pro Imaging voucher to the value of $500

Nature category — sponsored by Marumi


14a Marumi Achromat DHG Macro +3 14b Marumi EXUS Circular Polarizer 14c Marumi Variable ND2-ND400 DHG filter 14d Marumi DHG Lens Protector filter

First place: Marumi Achromat DHG Macro +3, Marumi Variable ND2-ND400 DHG filter, Marumi EXUS Circular Polarizer, and Marumi DHG Lens Protector filter set (worth $826)


15a Marumi EXUS Circular Polarizer 15b Marumi Achromat DHG Macro +3

Second place: Marumi EXUS Circular Polarizer and Marumi Achromat DHG Macro +3 filter set (worth $548)


16a Marumi Super DHG Circular PLD 16b Marumi DHG Super Lens Protector

Third place: Marumi Super DHG Circular PLD Filter and Marumi DHG Super Lens Protector filter set (worth $298)



Travel category — sponsored by SanDisk


17a SanDisk_Extreme_PRO_SDXC_280MBs_ 17b SanDisk Extremem PRO UHS II card reader writer SDDR_Q46_front_HR

First place: SanDisk Extreme Pro SDHC UHS-II 280Mb/s 64GB memory card and SanDisk USB 3.0 UHS-II SD card reader (worth $848)


80-56-12775-016G_SDSDXPB_Q46_die 80-56-12776-016G_SDSDXPB_G46_die 18c Extreme PRO UHS-II SD Reader_angle_down_open_Hi-res (1)

Second place: SanDisk Extreme Pro SDHC UHS-II 280Mb/s 32GB and SanDisk Extreme Pro SDHC UHS-II 280Mb/s 16GB memory cards and SanDisk USB 3.0 UHS-II SD card reader (worth $577)


80-56-12776-016G_SDSDXPB_G46_die 19b Extreme PRO UHS-II SD Reader_angle_down_close_Hi-res

Third place: SanDisk Extreme Pro SDHC UHS-II 280Mb/s 16GB memory card and SanDisk USB 3.0 UHS-II SD card reader (worth $278)



People category — sponsored by Epson

20 Epson Artisan 1430 inkjet printer


First place: Epson Artisan 1430 inkjet printer (worth $549)


21 Epson Expression Photo XP-950

Second place: Epson Expression Photo XP-950 Small-in-One printer (worth $499)


22 Epson Stylus Photo T50

Third place: Epson Stylus Photo T50 inkjet printer (worth $199)

Head to the online entry page to submit your images for a chance to win a share in these amazing photography prizes.

Top image: Lance van de Vyver, 2013 New Zealand Amateur Travel Photographer of the Year

New Zealand's biggest amateur photo comp now accepting submissions

Hreoimage_new_3.1We are excited to announce the country’s most prestigious competition exclusively for amateur photographers is now accepting submissions for its 2014 programme. The Sigma D-Photo Amateur Photographer of the Year contest gives passionate photographers throughout the country the chance to showcase their skills and vie for a share of over $13,500 in prizes.

D-Photo is thrilled to announce this latest partnership with Sigma to help encourage and promote the talent of our local photographic community – head to the official competition page for terms and conditions, online entry form and to view images already submitted.

In addition to the grand title of Amateur Photographer of the Year, prizes will also be awarded for the top three spots in each competition category, thanks to the generosity of our category sponsors.

They are:

Landscape, sponsored by Vanguard

People, sponsored by Epson

Action, sponsored by GoPro

Nature, sponsored by Marumi

Monochrome, sponsored by Hasselblad

Creative, sponsored by Fantail Publishing

Travel, sponsored by Sandisk

The competition is open to any New Zealand residents who do not earn their primary income from photography (exceptions can be made depending on circumstances – email editor@dphoto.co.nz to discuss) – the deadline for entries is 5pm, Friday June 13.

One change to this year’s programme is an increase in the amount of submissions allowed up to three per category.

Be sure to check back regularly for prize announcements, judging appointments and tips from past winners.