'Through the looking glass', last year's winning image by Francis Prior.
The RSPCA has launched its annual competition for budding young snappers to showcase their best images of animals.
The Young Photographer Awards 2013 (YPA13) welcomes all kinds of pictures from cheeky portraits of family pets to imaginative photos of wildlife and even close-ups of insects in a mix of categories open to young people under 19.
The competition is sponsored by Warners Midlands, supported by Olympus and Natures Images, and judged by a mix of photography professionals including presenter and wildlife expert Chris Packham.
Last year’s photos included a serene seal sitting in the middle of a sandstorm, cows exhaling in the morning air and the overall winner, a striking close- up macro image of jumping spider eyes.
Chris Packham, also an RSPCA vice-president, said: "It is always a joy to be involved in this contest and see the imaginations of young photographers unfold. I have been judging this competition for many years now and seen some pretty mind-blowing stuff. Last year’s picture of the spider’s eyes was just amazing – it literally jumped out at us. It was bold, bright , unusual and in a completely different league to anything we’ve seen before. I am really looking forward to seeing what they come up with this time."
Francis Prior, 18, from Liverpool, was last year’s overall winner and said he never expected to win last year and was both amazed and thrilled when his name was read out.
He added: "If hopeful photographers ask me for advice I would say take your time over the shot; persevere with the angle and remember to have fun. Think about selecting an image which speaks to the viewer, and has a meaning or story behind it. This is more than a competition, it is a way of expressing your own love for the wildlife and animals so many of us love."
Like Francis, the overall winner will go on an amazing three-day photography break, courtesy of Natures Images. Top quality Olympus camera kits are also up for grabs for the winners and runners up in each category.
Young photographers can enter in their age category, the Portfolio award, the Pet Personalities category and Making Life Better category – which asks for images that illustrate what animals do to make people’s lives better.
The deadline for entries is Monday 26 August 2013. Winners will be announced at a special ceremony at the Tower of London on Thursday 19 December 2013.
Galleries of previous winners’ work and full details about how to enter are available at the RSPCA Young Photographer Award website