The future of wildlife photography is in good hands as an eight-year-old wins RSPCA Young Photographer of the Year!

RSPCA Young Photographer of the Year
Not Guilty by Jamie Smart, eight, from Wales. (Image credit: Jamie Smart)

The RSPCA Young Photographer of the Year competition showcases the very best animal photography talent, inviting photographers 18 years and under to capture the animal kingdom on a camera or a mobile device. 

The competition has been running for over 30 years and is organized by the RSPCA, the world's oldest and largest animal charity. Consisting of nine categories and an overall winner this year saw a standout performer scoop the top prize as well as becoming the competition's youngest ever winner. 

• See our helpful guide on the best camera for wildlife photography

Horse called Curious George by Jamie Smart, aged eight, from Wales. (Image credit: Jamie Smart)

Young photographer Jamie Smart from Llandrindod Wells in Powys, Mid Wales, wins the Overall prize at this year's RSPCA Young Photographer of the Year Awards, for a moody photograph of her Turkey Frederick titled 'Not Guilty'. A very impressive achievement at just 8 years of age!     

The impressive accolades do not stop there, however, as Smart has also picked up several others, winning both the Portfolio and Pet Portraits categories and coming 3rd in the Small World category. All of the judging was made anonymously which makes the achievements all that more noteworthy. 

Speaking on her victory Jamie Smart said, "I’m amazed and proud of myself to have won and proud of my winning image. The shot of Frederick, our turkey, was taken through the bars of his pen and it looked like he was in prison which was quite appropriate due to the bird flu situation at the time. I wanted to show the beauty of his feathers with their iridescent shine, which he loves to display during spring and summer." 

TV presenter and Wildlife photographer Chris Packham, as well as being one of the judges, hosted the award ceremony where he described the winning image as a "fantastic" turkey photo that could be an "album cover for a punk band!”. 

Hope Whittaker, aged 11, from Gloucestershire. Cricket on a car door. (Image credit: Hope Whittaker)

Anna MacDonald, aged 17, from Perth, Scotland. 'By-the-wind' sailor also known as velella. (Image credit: Anna MacDonald)

Smart was not the only winner on the night however as many other young photographers took home the number one spot. The list of winners from all of the categories is as follows: 

Overall winner: Jamie Smart, 8, from Wales. 

Small World winner: Beau Healy, 14, from North London. 

Under 12 mobile winner: Flynn Thaitanunde-Lobb, 9, from Hampshire. 

12-15 mobile winner: Corbyn Thomas, 12, from Lancashire. 

16-18 mobile winner: Anna MacDonald, 17, from Perth, Scotland. 

Under 12 winner: Hope Whittaker, 11, from Gloucestershire. 

12-15 winner: Alex George, 15, from Worcestershire.

16-18 winner: James Pearson, 17, from East Sussex. 

Portfolio winner: Jamie Smart, 8, from Wales. 

Pet Portrait winner: Jamie Smart, 8, from Wales. 

A full list of the winners and runners-up can be found on the RSPCA website

Flynn Thaitanunde-Lobb, nine, from Hampshire. Spider (Image credit: Flynn Thaitanunde-Lobb)

Corbyn Thomas, 12, from Lancashire. Jellyfish on Blackpool beach. (Image credit: Corbyn Thomas)

Congratulations to all the winners! This is a huge achievement for all involved and the work created by the young photographers acts as an indicator that not only the future of photography but the natural world is in good hands. 

Next year sees the 200th anniversary of the RSPCA, the UK-based animal charity. The RSPCA Young Photographer Awards 2024 opens for entry in May and the charity hopes it will be an even bigger and better competition, and welcomes all budding photographers to enter. 

See our helpful guides on the best lenses for bird photography, the best macro lenses, and the best camera for beginners

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Kalum Carter
Staff Writer

Kalum Carter is a UK-based photographer, writer, and photo editor. Kalum has been working as a freelance photographer for the best part of ten years, covering a wide range of assignments for well-known brands and publications in areas including portraiture, fashion, and documentary. 

Between commercial assignments, Kalum is currently working on a personal photography project exploring his connection to the Gower region of South Wales UK, as part of an MA in Photography from The University of West England.