The search for the world’s best Nikon photographer of 2023 has finally come to an end. Each month, over the past year, a round of N-Photo POTY 2023 has been judged by the N-Photo team, with the top 10 images published in the corresponding issue of N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine.
12 competitions appeared throughout 2023 via online photography contest website Photocrowd and we received nearly 16,000 entries. The overall N-Photo Photographer of the Year 2023 – and winner of the grand prize – is crowned in our January 2024 issue (OUT NOW).
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Read on to marvel at Pawel Zygmunt's incredible winning image, as well as the monthly winner of each round. If you missed out on your chance to win a £100 WhiteWall Photo Lab voucher as one of our monthly winners or our incredible grand prize of a Nikon Z 9, fear not, because we have once again partnered with WhiteWall Photo Lab and Nikon to bring you more goodies for N-Photo Photographer of the Year 2024, which is happening right now!
And our N-Photo Photographer of the Year is...
Pawel’s stunning entry stood out for many reasons. He had to hike to the Cadini di Misurina viewpoint for sunrise, in snowy conditions; he adapted when the glorious sunset, he’d anticipated, instead provided a moody skyline; and he managed to frame a hiker to convey the scale of the scenery. Add in a four-shot pano to create jaw-dropping levels of detail, and this is a worthy winner.
Here’s what Pawel had to say about his winning image…
“I’m overwhelmed to become N-Photo’s Photographer of the Year 2023. N-Photo is fantastic, not only for Nikon users, but anyone interested in photography. My favourite sections are On Location and The N-Photo Interview, where I can read about the brilliant adventures of other photographers.
“Becoming the overall winner never crossed my mind. I just wanted to show a spectacular place to enjoy during the winter months. I’ve lived in Ireland for the past 18 years, so I don’t get many chances to experience a real winter. Visiting the Dolomites brought back memories of my childhood in Poland. I always say that photography is an adventure, and photographs are only to memorize it.
“I can’t wait to test the Z 9. I’m going to bring it on my next trip to the Faroe Islands, where it will have the honour of being my main camera!”
THE GRAND PRIZE! A Nikon Z 9 flagship mirrorless camera!
The overall winner of N-Photo’s Photographer of the Year 2023 received the grand prize of a Nikon Z 9 – Nikon’s most powerful camera ever!
When N-Photo reviewed the Nikon Z 9, we called it: “Simply the best camera ever!” And now, together with Nikon UK, we’re giving you the chance to win the flagship Z camera. It’s an incredible prize that’s worth a whopping £5299/$5499. All you have to do is enter any of the 12 rounds of NPOTY 2023 to be in with a chance of taking Nikon’s most advanced camera home and being crowned N-Photo’s Photographer of the Year 2023.
THE MONTHLY PRIZE! A WhiteWall Photo Lab voucher Worth £100!
Witness your work as a glorious gallery-quality print from award-winning online photo laboratory WhiteWall. The winner of each round, as judged by the N-Photo team, received a £100 WhiteWall voucher to have their entry printed in a range of stylish options including acrylic, aluminium, giclée and canvas in a huge array of sizes.
Round 1: Still life
The beautiful Rembrandt-style lighting in this image was ‘light painted’ using a single light source. This was achieved by maintaining a fixed composition and photographing a sequence of images, with a continuous light beamed onto the image at various points. These images were then blended together in post. The attractive arrangement, seamless edit and beautiful, classic lighting earned this entry our top spot.
Round 2: Portraits
This cinematic still has conjured up ample storytelling potential. The mage gazes past the viewer, directing her magic towards something beyond the frame. Golden light pulls the subject from the dark background and the viewer is drawn to her clearly defined and pin-sharp eyes. The fiery sparks and glow complement the overall warm tones. A magical portrait and a deserved winner!
Round 3: Wildlife
This striking minimalist exposure has made use of high-contrast lighting and a dark background by exposing for the highlights and rendering everything else near black. The result is a low-key lighting effect that required little attention in post, beyond a mono conversion and a dash of contrast. It’s made all the more impressive when you consider that it was shot from a moving boat.
Round 4: Flowers & Plants
This crocus was severed due to heavy winds. After half an hour, sheltered inside, it opened up to reveal a magnificent, purple flower. We love how clean and crisp this portrait is. An aperture of f/14 has provided a large enough depth of field to render the stamen and surrounding water droplets tack-sharp. But the real genius is the choice of background. Pink and purple are analogous colours (neighbours on the colour wheel), while also complementing the green stem perfectly.
Round 5: Architecture
This look-up shot was captured within the Qasr Al Watan, Abu Dhabi. A wide-angle focal length, narrow aperture and accurate focusing has created front-to-back sharpness, but what makes this image really stand out is the composition. The symmetry is flawless; each corner lines up and the dome is positioned right in the centre of the frame. The icing on the cake is the spotlight starbursts.
Round 6: Performance
This entry is beautifully lit and perfectly sharp, but the real standout feature is the dancers’ dynamic poses. The graceful lines and shapes formed by their bodies are aesthetically pleasing and the couple’s faces haven’t been obscured. To top it off, the woman’s dress has been frozen while billowing beautifully, adding to the pleasing selection of shapes and conveying movement.
Round 7: Travel
The Northern Lights are notoriously unpredictable, but this image was captured – can you believe – on the first night of a trip to Iceland. An awful lot of work went into this image. It’s a four-photo composite, two for the sky and two for the foreground. The natural-looking blend – created using luminosity masks – and the way the aurora stretches right across the sky are standout features. A fantastic image.
Round 8: Low Light
This incredible lightning storm was captured from the top of a multi-storey car park. Three shots were blended in post, spreading the lightning across the frame and balancing the composition. We like how the bolts are brightly rendered, but not blown out. This is a truly stunning image!
Round 9: Sports
This image of a rally car kicking plumes of dust is a jaw-dropping capture. Just enough of the subject is visible to make out that it’s a car, but at a glance, the headlights peer through the dust like some kind of striking predator. A fast 1/1000 sec shutter speed has captured the flying debris still enough to form explosive patterns of dirt, while retaining a slight blur to convey a sense of motion. A fantastic shot!
Round 10: Autumn
You’d be hard-pressed to find a more creative image than this. The pressed flowers were placed on a light board, backlighting the translucent petals to highlight their textures and veins. An aperture of f/8 ensured crisp sharpness and a standard focal length mitigated lens distortions. The finishing touch was the overlaying of textures in post to create a painterly look.
Round 11: Food & drink
This compelling but busy scene has been cleverly tamed by using varying intensities of light to highlight the focal point and other areas of interest. The Romanesco’s green hues complement the radishes’ purple hues, while various neutral colour tones from the wooden backdrop to the hunk of bread, help to balance the frame without detracting from the main subject. We love the use of texture, with various materials and surfaces, including the white cloth, providing additional interest.
Round 12: Winter
The winner of NPOTY's Winter round, Pawel Zygmunt, also won the entire competition and was crowned N-Photo Photographer of the Year 2024.
What round is next?
NPOTY 2023 has now closed, but fear not, N-Photo Photographer of the Year 2024 is now open for entries!
Do: Ensure your photo was taken on a Nikon camera (any photo not taken on a Nikon camera will be disqualified from the competition)
Do not: Have a watermark on your photograph
And to give yourself the best chance of being chosen...
Have EXIF data in your photo (in the info section)
Provide a title for your photo
Write a description of the photo you're entering of at least 50 words to give us the background of what the image is of and how it was taken. A little context can go a long way!
Check your photo has a resolution of at least 3000 pixels on the longest edge of the photo as we will be printing our top 10 images in N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine.