2020 has been a bumper year for amazing photographs, and this collection of award-winning shots certainly proves that. If you've already bored by the lackluster Christmas TV listings, don't worry. We've collected our 20 favorite images from this year's photo competitions for you to peruse and enjoy.
From incredible documentary shots, to jaw-dropping wildlife moments, there are plenty of images here to take your fancy.
01. Wildlife Photographer of the Year(opens in new tab)
Sergey Gorshkov won this year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year (opens in new tab), winning the 56th annual competition with his magnificent image The Embrace, of an Amur tigress hugging an ancient Manchurian fir in the Russian Far East.
It took more than 11 months for the Sergey to capture this moment with hidden cameras. Scouring the forest for signs, focusing on trees along regular routes where tigers might have left messages – scent, hairs, urine or scratch marks – he installed his first camera trap (opens in new tab) in January 2019, opposite this grand fir. It wasn't until November that he manage to capture picture he had planned for, of a magnificent tigress in her Siberian forest environment.
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02. Food Photographer of the Year(opens in new tab)
Bangladeshi photojournalist KM Asad won the overall title of Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year 2020 in the annual competition to find the best pictures around the globe of food, wine, farming and produce. The shot beat nearly 9,000 images from over 70 countries to win the £5,000 main prize, as well as the Politics of Food category.
The photograph was taken in the vast Ukhiya refugee camp in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh; the seaside city now houses a million Rohingas who have fled to from neighboring Myanmar since 2016.
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03. Landscape Photographer of the Year(opens in new tab)
Chris Frost won the Landscape Photographer of the Year's top prize of £10,000 for his stunning image of a beautiful woodland scene, shot at Millborne St. Andrew in Dorset in spring 2018. "This was the third visit to the area in a matter of days," he explains. "On the previous days, both devoid of morning mists, the light had been harsh and unappealing, but the third day delivered stunning conditions with mist swirling through the trees. The low shooting position allowed more emphasis to be placed on the wild garlic and pathway."
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04. Nature TTL Photographer of the Year(opens in new tab)
French photographer Florian Ledoux taking home the title of Nature TTL Photographer of the Year 2020 with his incredible drone shot of seals taken over the ice floats in Antarctica. The inaugural international competition attracted 7,000 entries from wildlife, landscape and macro photographers in 117 countries around the globe. The image was captured with a DJI Phantom 4 Pro+ (opens in new tab).
05. Potato Photographer of the Year
Potato Photographer of the Year was the brainchild of Benedict Brain, pro photographer and Digital Camera World columnist, as a way in which to raise money for the Trussell Trust's foodbank., and features a panel of judges including luminaries like Martin Parr. The winner of this novel competition was Ray Spence who depicted a celebration of lockdown coming to an end, with a potato getting a long overdue haircut!
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06. Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2020(opens in new tab)
The overall winner of the Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year Awards was the stunning 'Andromeda Galaxy at Arm's Length' captured by Nicolas Lefaudeux in Forges-les-Bains, Île-de-France.
This version of the Andromeda Galaxy seems to be at arm’s length among clouds of stars. Unfortunately, this is just an illusion, as the galaxy is still 2 million light years away. In order to obtain the tilt-shift effect, the photographer 3D-printed a part to hold the camera at an angle at the focus of the telescope. The blur created by the defocus at the edges of the sensor gives this illusion of closeness to Andromeda."
It was shot with a Sky-Watcher Black Diamond 100 mm apochromatic refractor telescope at f/9, iOptron iEQ30 mount, and Sony A7S (modified). Exposure was a total of 2 hours 30 minutes at ISO 2000.
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07. Comedy Photographer of the Year(opens in new tab)
Australian photographer Mark Fitzpatrick has was the winner of the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020.
His image of a green turtle was shot when swimming off Lady Elliot Island in Queensland, Australia. He won a once-in-a-lifetime Kenyan safari, a trophy, a Think Tank bag, and a Nikon camera.
• See other contenders for Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020 (opens in new tab)
08. Creative Photo Awards 2020
The overall winner of the Creative Photo Awards 2020 was Hardijanto Budiman from Indonesia, who scooped the title Photographer of the Year with his incredible image of ping pong players.
Hardijanto Budiman said: "Ping pong is my favorite sport. When I was young I used to be a ping pong player in my home town club. So when the idea came up, I straight away started the project! This picture is about daily activities of ping pong players in a club. I made the concept look different and unique, representing my signature style."
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09. RHS Photographer of the Year(opens in new tab)
The overall winner of the Royal Horticultural Society 2020 Photographic Competition revealing an be was awarded to American photographer Helen McLain from for her image Chicago Prairie. Entered into the Urban Gardening category, it depicts the dramatic backdrop of the city’s skyline at sunset contrasting with swaths of plants flowering in Lurie Garden, Millennium Park.
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10. World Press Photo of the Year 2020(opens in new tab)
Japanese photojournalist Yasuyoshi Chiba from Agence France-Presse was awarded the prestigious title of World Press Photo of the Year for his image 'Straight Voice'. This photo depicts a young man, illuminated by mobile phones, reciting protest poetry while demonstrators chant slogans calling for civilian rule, during a blackout in Khartoum, Sudan, in June 2019. The image was captured with a Fujifilm X-H1 (opens in new tab) mirrorless camera.
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11. HIPA 2020
Australian photographer Jasmine Carey won the world's biggest prize photographic competition of 2020 – netting herself $120,000 for her touching underwater image of a mother humpback whale with its calf in the Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award.
This year's main competition was on the theme of Water. The HIPA awards are now in their ninth year, and are known for their huge cash prizes which are funded by the Crown Prince of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
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12. Aerial Photography Awards 2020(opens in new tab)
The first ever Aerial Photography Awards saw the $10,000 grand prize and overall Aerial Photographer of the Year title going to Belgian photographer Sebastien Nagy.
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13. Epson International Pano Awards(opens in new tab)
The overall winner of the 2020 Epson International Pano Awards was Matt Jackisch from Canada for a snow swept landscape shot in the Coastal Mountains of British Columbia. Now in its 11th year, the competition celebrates the best panoramic photography from around the world and this year received a record-beating 5,859 entries from 1,452 professional and amateur photographers in 96 countries.
“I spent a blissful day snowshoeing in the BC Coastal Mountains in March", says Matt. "With such a deep snowpack, it was still very wintery up high. I find the more time I spend alone in nature, the quieter my mind gets. The quieter my mind gets, the more subtleties I notice in my surroundings. I only saw this tree because of that state of being. This image was a product of solitude and mindfulness."
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14. Drone Photo Awards 2020(opens in new tab)
'Love Heart of Nature' by Jim Picôt was judged as the overall photo of the year in the Drone Photo Awards 2020. His aerial shot shows a school of salmon forming a heart shape, while evading a hungry shark.
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15. Sony World Photography Awards 2020(opens in new tab)
Pablo Albarenga from Uruguay was the $25,000 grand prize winner in the Sony World Photography Awards 2020 with his series 'Seeds of Resistance'. This body of work pairs photos of landscapes and territories in danger from mining and agribusinesses with portraits of the activists fighting to conserve them.
This powerful portfolio draws attention to the struggle leaders and and environmentalists have faced with trying to protect their communities from projects threatening their territories, with at least 207 of them having been killed in 2017.
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16. Close-up Photographer of the Year 2020
A stunning image of an eel larva taken off the Indonesian island of Lembeh during a blackwater dive has taken top spot in Close-up Photographer of the Year 2020. It was taken by French photographer Galice Hoarau.
"Blackwater diving is essentially diving at night in the open ocean, usually over deep or very deep water. Divers are surrounded by darkness, with only a lit downline as a visual reference. Peering through the darkness with your torch can be quite stressful the first time you do it, but it gets fascinating very quickly.
What makes blackwater diving so magical is the abundance of rarely seen planktonic creatures you spot as they take part in one of the largest daily migrations of any animal on Earth. After sunset, small pelagic animals (like this larva) rise close to the surface to feed where the sunlight has allowed planktonic algae to grow. At sunrise, they dive into the depths and stay down there during the day to escape predators.’
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17. Nature Photographer of the Year 2020(opens in new tab)
Roberto Marchegiani's beautiful shot of a giraffe was the winner of the 2020 Nature Photographer of the Year competition.
Just before sunset, Roberto and his friends noticed a group of giraffes passing in front of the forest, in Nakuru National Park, Kenya. With a 600mm lens he found a glimpse into the forest. Instead of taking pictures of the giraffes passing by, he kept the framing on a specific point in the forest. The angle was narrow, with a lot of vegetation in the foreground that could damage the image.
Roberto used the widest aperture that he could to blur the vegetation. ”In the end, I was rewarded by my stubbornness: the giraffes passed exactly in the right place. The scene reminded me of a Jurassic landscape, with a herbivorous dinosaur in the same position as the giraffe.”
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18. Icon of the Year(opens in new tab)
Leading fashion and portrait photographer Lindsay Adler was named Rangefinder's Icon of the Year. The New York-based Lindsay is the first woman to receive this award, which was made during Rangefinder’s WPPI 2020, the Wedding & Portrait Photography International conference held annually in Las Vegas.
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19. 2020 Kraszna-Krausz photo book prize(opens in new tab)
LaToya Ruby Frazier has been awarded the Photography Book Award for her eponymous book LaToya Ruby Frazier, published by Mousse Publishing & Mudam Luxembourg. The Chicago-based photographer wins a £5,000 prize in the 35th edition of the Photography and Moving Image Book Awards.
The annual Awards celebrate outstanding and original publications that will have a lasting impact on their field. With its commentary on poverty, racial discrimination, post-industrial decline and its human costs, the book leaves a lasting historical legacy and forms a pertinent contemporary commentary about the American condition.
"In my photographs, I make social commentary about urgent issues I see in the communities or places I’m in," says LaToya Ruby Frazier. "I use them as a platform to advocate for social justice and as a means to create visibility for people who are on the margins, who are deemed “unworthy”: the poor, the elderly, the working class, and anyone who doesn’t have a voice. I create depictions of their humanity that call for equity. That is what is dear to my practice and my position as an artist".
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20. Bug Photography Awards 2020(opens in new tab)
Luminar Bug Photographer of the Year 2020 was Mofeed Abu Shalwa, a Saudi Arabian photographer who incredibly started photographing invertebrates as way of overcoming his childhood phobia of insects. Having now conquered his fear, he not only wins the title with his shot of Red palm weevil.
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• Best photo book (opens in new tab) services in 2020
• The best books on street photography (opens in new tab)
• The best books on food photography (opens in new tab)
• The best coffee table books on photography (opens in new tab)
• The best books on fashion photography (opens in new tab)
• The best books on portrait photography (opens in new tab)
• The best books on photography (opens in new tab)