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For Elizabeth Storms to become the winner of the 2024 Better Photography Magazine's Photographer of the Year, at least four entries were required – and all four had to be of a very high standard indeed!

In fact, to be in the running for the Photographer of the Year, you needed an average score of 86.7, so while an entrant might have had a Silver of just 82, they would also have had a Gold of around 92 to keep the average up. Not every photograph in a portfolio has to be the best of the best, rather the judges are looking for a consistently high standard across four images.

This year, we had 676 entries and a very high standard overall. While just 11 entries earned a Gold award, 40% of entries earned a Silver award and 54% a Bronze award.

When entering our competition, there are two processes at work. The first is the 'standard' of the entry – Bronze, Silver or Gold. The judges have decades of experience assessing photographs and, in their mind, they know the scores they need to award for a Bronze, Silver or Gold. There's no limit to the number of these awards they can deliver – if your entry reaches their standard, that's the score you get. This score feedback is incredibly valuable for photographers looking to improve their work.

If your entries shows skill or imagination in one area, we'll award a Bronze as an acknowledgement you're on the right track. However, to reach Silver, you really have to be doing everything right and a Silver in our photography competition is very likely to receive a Silver in a professional awards as well. And as for Golds – well, we're quite comfortable saying that as judges, we'd like to have taken those photos ourselves!

The second process is a comparative one. When we hand out the five major prizes, the judges are comparing the top five scoring entries against each other. Which landscape photograph is 'the best'? Which portfolio of four entries should win the Photographer of the Year? To get to this stage, you have to have a top scoring entry, but this gives the judges a second chance to ensure they are in agreement. It's important for all entrants to realise that this second process is as much a matter of personal opinion and bias, no matter how experienced the judges are, and no matter how objective we try to be. And that's why we suggest entrants aim to earn Silvers for all their entries, as this is a truer reflection of their skill than winning a category or the overall prize!

Not that we wish to diminish the winners at all! In addition to the Photographer of the Year, we have four categories and the winners were:

Classic Landscape: Krzysztof Browko ('Church')

Emotive Portraiture: Natalie Arber ('Case Unknown')

Revealing Nature: Rob Weir ('White fronted tern wing touch')

Open (Your Choice): Douwe Dijkstra ('Three Feet')

Each category winner takes home AUS $750 and the Photographer of the Year $2000! My thanks once again to judges Tony Hewitt and David Oliver, Grand Masters of Photography, for their assistance.

There will be an article in the September 2024 issue of Better Photography featuring the winners and telling you a little more about the stories behind their images.

If you're an entrant reading this on the competition website, you should have received an email by now with your results, the awards you won (if any) and the helpful judge comment. Well, I hope the comments are helpful. I wrote a lot more personal comments this year, trying to refine the assistance being provided, so please take all the comments in the right spirit – we're always trying to help!

You can also see your scores by logging onto the competition site here and going to your account.

Thanks to everyone for entering and looking forward to seeing you back again next year!

Peter Eastway

Head Judge