TPOTY 2013 launches on 17th April

Visit the TPOTY blog for all our latest news & advice


Meet the judges

The international judging panel for Travel Photographer of the Year has included photographers, editors, picture editors, picture buyers, stock photography and digital imaging experts from Germany, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka, UK and USA over the years. This year's panel, the judges' biographies and an insight into what they'll be looking for can be found below.


Steve Bloom

Travel & Wildlife Photographer

Steve Bloom is a writer and a photographic artist who specialises in evocative images of the living world. He first used the camera to document life in South Africa during the apartheid years, then co-founded one of London’s leading photographic special effects companies, working on many prestigious campaigns, including the official posters for the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games. In the early nineties he began photographing animals. He has won many international awards, including The Power of Photography Award, The Golden Eye of Russia, and Lucie Awards. Numerous magazine publishers such as Life, Time, Terre Sauvage, National Geographic, Geo, Airone, and Geographic, as well as many photographic publications, have featured his pictures. His own books have been published in twenty languages. He has had a number of exhibitions, including large outdoor exhibitions in city centres and has lectured at venues such as The Royal Geographical Society, The Natural History Museum, The Edinburgh Book Festival and BJP Vision.

"As a judge I always look for original photography. It is easy to copy the style of others, but infinitely more difficult to develop one of your own. A fresh approach which makes the viewer see a subject in a new and exciting way is the kind of photography I will be looking for."


Chris Coe


Chris Coe is a self-taught photographer who, since turning professional in 1992, has combined his passion for photography with a love of travel. He photographs landscapes, people, wildlife and architecture in a range of formats including 35mm, panoramic and medium format using both film and digital cameras. Chris has shot over 40 travel, photography and coffee table books and he lectures on a variety of photographic subjects, including travel, landscape and stock photography.

"Photography is all about images. It would be exciting if photographers enthused about their images rather than what camera they have. It's images, not equipment, which have the power to inspire and engage.

Every year I see thousands of pictures from photographers young and old, amateur and professional but there is no age, class or status to good photography. The best images stay with me. Challenge yourself and make images which leave a lasting impression. Intrigue me, inspire me, show me your own style, creativity and originality. I want to see an interesting perspective on the world, one which makes me come back to your images over and over again."


Melissa De Witt

Editor, Hotshoe

Melissa DeWitt is director of HotShoe International Ltd. She is the editor of HotShoe magazine, a leading UK based contemporary photography magazine showcasing established and emerging photographers from around the world and across a broad range of genres. She is also managing director of HotShoe Gallery, a commercial and public gallery dedicated to photographic art and artist’s film and video.

She has judged a number of awards and views hundreds of portfolios a year looking for new talent to feature in the magazine and exhibit in the gallery.

"For TPOTY I look for originality, authenticity and good editing. All images in a submission need to be equally strong and relevant. Many submissions have 3 great images but it is the 4th one thrown in for variety that lets the entire portfolio down."


Colin Finlay

Stock Photography Expert

Colin Finlay is Head of Image Resources at the Natural History Museum, London and is responsible for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. With many years of experience as a director at both Getty Images and Photoshot, his knowledge of the photography industry worldwide is encyclopaedic. He also has extensive experience as a creative director working with photographers from many genres. Colin is a regular contributor to photography magazines and is frequently asked to judge photo and film competitions. As a curator specialising in archival photography, he has been responsible for exhibitions in many countries around the world.

"All photographers sometimes get lucky shots, and sometimes these images win competitions, but above all, I am always looking for a thought process and an element of creativity which indicate the quality of a body of work and the insight of the photographer. Even if it is a much photographed subject, there are always new ways of seeing and interpreting and good photographers are able to convey this to the audience. Good images are memorable. They may be striking or subtle, but there is a “je ne sais quoi” about them that makes them unforgettable, whether or not they are technically perfect. Anyone can always buy better equipment and learn more techniques, but no amount of money can substitute for vision and talent!"


Jeremy Hoare

Photographer & TV Camerman

fter a long and distinguished career as a television cameraman, Jeremy Hoare now shoots mainly stills but the convergence of digital stills and high definition video increasingly affords him the opportunity to combine both his passions. During his career in television, Jeremy has worked with many of the "greats" during the heyday of British television including Laurence Olivier, Bing Crosby, Alec Guinness, Rudolf Nureyev and The Muppets. His love of dance and performance has seen him return to moving images and he has recently been the main cameraman on shoots of the classical ballets Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan, Cinderella and Coppelia in Kyoto, Japan.

"What I look for in any image is a sense of involvement, I want to see and feel the story the photographer has shown me in a single frame and great images do this. Studying the paintings of Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Turner, Cezanne and many others can help release the photographer’s creativity by learning about composition and lighting as these great artists show so convincingly."


Jason Hawkes

Award Winning Aerial Photographer

Jason has specialized in aerial photography since 1991, is based just outside London in the UK, and works worldwide. His clients include brands such as Nike, Coca Cola, Nokia, HSBC, NatWest, Ford, American Airlines, Rolex, Toyota, Smirnoff, Mitsubishi and BP. He has produced over 40 aerial photographic books for publishers such as the BBC, Random House and Harper Collins.

More to follow....


Debbie Ireland

Former Head of AA Photo Library

Debbie has 17 years experience working in photography, in the archive of the Royal Photographic Society Collection and as Head of the AA Picture Library. 

"A great photograph communicates as well as capturing an image. The judgement of the photographer is essential to the process. An inexpensive camera can create stunning results  - it's the skill of the photographer and their approach to their subject which is important."


Eamonn McCabe

Award Winning Photographer & Picture Editor

Eamonn McCabe started off photographing for local papers before freelancing for The Guardian and other national titles. He joined The Observer in 1976 and won Sports Photographer of The Year a record four times, covering three Olympics.
In 1985 he was named News Photographer of The Year for his work at The Heysel Stadium disaster, then subsequently joined The Guardian as Picture Editor, winning Picture Editor of the year a record six times.

In 2001 Eamonn returned to freelancing, photographing mainly people in the arts for The Guardian but also other newspapers and magazines.

More to follow....


Nick Meers

Landscape & Panoramic Photographer

Nick Meers has shot over 30 travel books, many architectural and garden locations for the National Trust, and given many workshops and masterclasses in England and the USA . His work has been published in a wide variety of media, and he has written many articles for photographic magazines. He has even experimented with converting his own cameras, including a 6x17cm panoramic film back conversion for his monorail 4"x5" camera, complete with leopardskin-patterned bellows. A fascination with the panoramic 'letterbox' format led him from three books shot exclusively in this format to writing his first book, ‘Stretch', on the world of panoramic photography.

“I think by now that most of the judges, who have been looking at images for most of their working lives, may have seen hundreds of thousands of pictures, and because we are all still involved in some way or other in the business it may be assumed that we still love imagery.

Originality of purpose and composition is what will make images leap out at the judges. I do not mind seeing the same old subject again, so long as there is a different, new or exciting visual twist to the picture, something that makes me stop and look again, something that makes the picture memorable, so that I'll still have it in my head next week, next month, maybe even next year.

Don’t bother uploading a picture that was taken in the same old light from the same old place, but DO try to look out for unusual angles, unusual treatments, and unusual subject matter: We have seen a lot of images, so make yours stand out and it will get noticed, and go on through the various stages of judging, hopefully towards the most noted and liked award-winning finals: Be careful to read the rules very carefully, as every year some stunning pictures get thrown out simply by being the wrong size, shape or category. I am looking forward to seeing some exciting new pictures this year."


Caroline Metcalfe

Director of Photography, Conde Nast Traveller

Caroline Metcalfe has worked at CNT since its launch in 1997. She had previously worked on newspaper magazines and came to the world of Travel photography as a complete novice. In the 10 years since Traveller launched, the magazine has won huge acclaim and countless awards for its distinctive photography, covering lifestyle, food and drink, portraiture, interiors and stunning landscapes. Caroline has worked with some of the best-known photographers in the world and has also spent much of her professional career encouraging new talent.

‘The Travel Photographer of the Year competition is one of the most highly regarded photographic awards, and I shall be on the lookout for new talent as well as judging the work of established photographers. Great travel photography, one of the most difficult disciplines in my view, is the art of exploring and revealing the world through fresh eyes while avoiding the deadly clichés of brochure imagery. I am hoping to be stimulated and encouraged by the wealth of creativity that I know is out there just waiting to be discovered.’


Mary Robert

Head of Photography, American International University in London

Mary Robert is a photographer and an academic. Currently Professor of Lens Media and Chair of the Department of Arts & Sciences at Richmond, the American International University in London, she has also taught for several years at the Royal College of Art. Mary has exhibited widely and travelled extensively working on many commercial and fine art projects in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas.

"What I look for in a great photograph? An image that is memorable and that continues to transport me to new ideas."


Jerry Tavin

Stock Photography Expert & Founder of YPA

Jerry Tavin is known for his devotion to maintaining the highest standards in the business of stock photography and never compromising on quality and ethics. He has had a long, illustrious career in the photography, travel, music and recruiting industries. He was trained as an attorney, and then founded a successful chain of travel agencies. He later moved to Germany and became a music manager for one of the top jazz singers there. After marrying Janou Pakter, Jerry helped launch her successful global executive search firm 24 years ago. In 1994 Jerry and Janou created nonstock, a high-end worldwide photography collection that offered an alternative to other more traditional stock agencies. The agency was highly respected for its unique, cutting edge and compelling imagery. Currently Jerry is co-president of Glasshouse Images. Jerry was given The Picture Professional award of the year for 2008 by the ASPP (the American Society of Pictures Professionals).

"What I look for in a great travel image is what I would look for in all images-an emotional response that makes me want to continue to look at the image. It's not so much the location or technique alone that will make the image great but the intimate appeal that the image will have to those who see it. Impact and connection do it for me."


Emma Thomson


Formerly Commissioning Editor at Bradt Travel Guides, Emma (FRGS, FRAI) is an award-winning freelance travel writer, editor and guidebook author. She writes for international magazines, newspapers and publishers (online and print) and was the editor of Journey Four – a compilation of the best images from the Travel Photographer of the Year 2010 and 2011 Awards.

"Above all I look for, and enjoy, unusual and inspiring composition which immediately involves the viewer in what is going on in the photograph. Photographers who can capture the soul of a scene and show me something new, or at least in a new light, will get my vote!"


Ami Vitale

Award Winning Photojournalist

Ami Vitale's journey as a photojournalist has taken her to more than
80 countries where she has witnessed civil unrest and violence, but
also surreal beauty and the enduring power of the human spirit. Her
photographs have been exhibited around the world in museums and
galleries and published in international magazines including National
Geographic, Geo, Newsweek, Time and Smithsonian. She is an
internationally known and respected journalist whose work has garnered
multiple World Press Photos awards, the Photographer of the Year
International award, the Lowell Thomas Award for Travel Journalism,
Lucie awards, the Daniel Pearl Award for Outstanding Reporting, and
the Magazine Photographer of the Year award by the National Press
Photographers Association.

She has been working most recently with Ripple Effect Images, an
organization of well-known scientists, writers, photographers and
filmmakers with a mission of creating powerful and persuasive films
and stories illustrating the very specific problems women in
developing countries face and the programs that can help them.

She has been the subject of the five-part documentary series
“Over the Islands of Africa” and a featured speaker in more than
20 countries from China to Chile.

Now based in Montana, Vitale is a contract photographer with National
Geographic magazine and is writing a book about the stories behind
the images. She frequently gives workshops throughout the
Americas, Europe and Asia.

"I look for photographs that show something that goes beyond what I
already may know or have already seen of a place or a culture. I look
for something that shows the photographer is committed and got
extraordinary access and trust from his or her subjects. Everyone can
take a pretty picture but I'm looking for something deeper, with
meaning behind the image. It must show intimacy with their subject and
teach me something."


Steve Watkins

Photographer & Editor of Outdoor Photography

Steve Watkins is an award-winning travel photographer and writer, and editor of Outdoor Photography magazine, the UK’s leading magazine dedicated to landscape, nature and adventure photography. He photographed and wrote three books in the BBC’s international bestselling ‘Unforgettable’ series, including Unforgettable Things To Do Before You Die, and has had his work published in many magazines and newspapers, including The Sunday Times, The Guardian and The New York Times. Steve has journeyed on the wild side for twenty years as an adventurer and travel photographer, and has shot images in more than 70 countries, and on every continent.

"Nowadays, there are many good travel photographs out there for all to see, so it will be the extraordinary images that stand out. Great lighting, clear subject and balanced composition are pre-requisites. What turns ordinary images into extraordinary ones? Among several possible reasons, they can cover subjects or moments rarely seen, or the photographer has the informed eye to capture the subliminal essence of the travel experience. To be extraordinary, images need to elicit a strong emotional response in the viewer."


Chris Weston

Wildlife Photographer

Chris Weston is a full-time professional wildlife and natural history photographer. He has travelled extensively photographing subjects in diverse habitats, from tropical rainforest to arctic tundra. His work appears regularly in the photographic and wildlife press and he has authored over twenty books on photography and wildlife, his most recent work being a collaboration with world-renowned American nature photographer, Art Wolfe.

In 2003 Chris received recognition of the quality of his work and ethical approach to nature photography when he was awarded affiliate membership to Canopy, the prestigious US-based conservation and ecology body. He is an experienced course leader, running several UK- and overseas-based workshops and seminars. Previously he has been a guest lecturer for the Wildlife Photography Degree course at Blackpool University.

Chris has recently published the images from his project with endangered species in the beautiful book, Animals On The Edge.


Manfred Zollner

Managing Editor, Fotomagazin

Manfred Zollner began his journalistic career in 1987, as a film critic. By 1991 he had been editor of several film magazines in Munich, and then decided to dedicate himself to photographic magazines. He joined fotoMAGAZIN - one of Germany's leading photography magazines - as Director of Photography in 1991. From 2003-2006 he was Editor in Chief of Photo Technik International, and became Managing Editor of fotoMAGAZIN in March 2007.

"A great image should surprise me. It should show me a new perspective on a topic and indicate, that the photographer has found his own vision, his own signature style that is just to the subject."

Cutty Sark 2

Competition sponsors

tpoty cutty sark tpoty fujifilm tpoty cazenove+loydTPOTY Plastic Sandwichtpoty photo iconic Genesistpoty iridiusTPOTY Connekt Colour
Conforming to standards: CSS | XHTML