The RSPCA Young Photographer Awards is now open for entries

Entries now open for the 2022 RSPCA Young Photographer Awards
Picture Perfect Pets 2021 - age 15 (Image credit: Megan Brown / RSPCA YPA)

All animal photos are welcome in the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)'s latest photography competition, designed specifically for UK photographers under the age of 19 to show off their skills while enjoying the process of capturing dynamic snaps of both pets and wildlife.

The RSPCA Young Photographer Awards has been running for over three decades. Now in its 32nd year, the competition is designed to challenge younger photographers to get creative, encourage a developing interest in photography, as well as to enable youngsters to gain an appreciation and understanding of the amazing animals we have around us. 

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Judges for this year's awards include wildlife photographer, TV presenter and RSPCA Vice President Chris Packham, former competition winner and now professional photographer, Catriona Parfitt, professional wildlife photographer Ellie Rothnie and RSPCA photographers Andrew Forsyth and Emma Jacobs. 

There are plenty of different categories to enter this year, including two new recently added ones: Pet Personalities and Pet Portraits. All you need is a camera, smartphone or tablet, plus a passion for animals and nature. 

The other categories are under 12 (taken with a camera), 12–15 years (taken with a camera), 16–18 years (taken with a camera), under 12 (taken on a mobile/device), 12–15 years (taken on a mobile/device), 16–18 years (taken on a mobile/device), Instagram, Small World and Portfolio. 

Waving Seal - 12-15 commended 2021 (Image credit: Dan Hancock-Smith / RSPCA YPA)

“'Pet Personalities’ is a chance to capture an animal companion in action, revealing their natural behaviour and character,” shares Forsyth. “From a dog playing ball or a cat playing hide and seek, to a rat enjoying a banana – show us judges just how brilliant you think your pet is.

"Then there’s the new Pet Portraits category, which gives you a chance to show off your photography skills by capturing a more formal portrait of a pet.“But of course we want to see that your pet is still comfortable and happy being photographed.”

Stingray Steve 12-15 mobile and Devices winner 2021 (Image credit: Ollie Smith / RSPCA YPA)

Past winners of the RSPCA's Young Photographer Awards have gone on to establish careers in areas of photography, animal welfare and conservation. The high-profile competition attracts attention all over the UK from national media and press, too, with winning images making the front page of local newspapers. 

"This is an equal-opportunities competition!" says Packham. "Kids don’t need fancy, expensive equipment to enter. We introduced our mobile phones and devices categories as a response to the world that we live in – most of us are now carrying phones equipped with increasingly good cameras. I've probably taken my best photographs of my two poodles on my phone. Photography isn't always about technical quality. It's about communicating."

16 - 18  category Winner 2021 (Image credit: Ezra Boulton / RSPCA YPA)

Grand prizes for winners involve a weekend photography break with award­-winning wildlife photographer Danny Green's team at Natures Images, worth £625 (approximately $770 / AU$1,090), in addition to two nights' accommodation for the winner and their parent / guardian.

The deadline for entries is 16 August 2022 at 12:00 GMT, and winners are expected to be announced in December at an awards ceremony hosted at the Tower of London. Enter now by heading to the awards website where you can find additional information. 

12 - 15 Mobile Phone and Devices runner up 2021 (Image credit: Enzo Olliff / RSPCA YPA)

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Beth Nicholls
Staff Writer

A staff writer for Digital Camera World, Beth has an extensive background in various elements of technology with five years of experience working as a tester and sales assistant for CeX. After completing a degree in Music Journalism, followed by obtaining a Master's degree in Photography awarded by the University of Brighton, she spends her time outside of DCW as a freelance photographer specialising in live music events and band press shots under the alias 'bethshootsbands'.