I am incredibly stoked to be announced as the winner for the 2022 Carve Magazine Surf Photography Competition.
This Carve Magazine competition is one of only a few photography awards that is specific to surf photography, which makes it extra special.
The award is judged by the magazine editorial team who have to choose one winner from a vast range of talented entrants.
The shortlist of finalists were published in issue 214 of Carve Magazine. To find out who had won, we had to wait until the following issue 215.
Issue 215 was released in December 2022.
The standard of photography within surfing is high, and it is a true honour to have my work recognised amongst these talented photographers.
As the overall winner, my photography portfolio entries are printed in issue 215 and featured alongside an interview about me and my personal photography style.
I also received a prize bundle of some pretty cool stuff, including:
- Dryrobe® Advance Long Sleeve change robe – The original, weatherproof, outdoor change robe. Stay protected from the elements by a durable waterproof outer and super-warm, fast drying inner. Made with 100% recycled fabrics.
- Dryrobe® Compression Travel Bag – Easily pack your dryrobe® Advance for any flight or trip where space is limited. Made using 100% recycled nylon fabric.
- Rip Curl Anti Series Jacket – Designed with an ultra warm high density nylon with high twist fabric, DWR water repellent treatment, premium duck down and recycled and embossed taffeta lining.
- Rip Curl über warm and comfy socks – Designed with a reinforced footbed, toe and heel. Featuring a embroided logo.
- Rip Curl Beanie – It’s high fashion and function with a Rip Curl Beanie. Made from superior Polartec fleece with its extra warm weave and recycled fabric.
Also included were two books that I’m looking forward to reading:
- Wayward by Chris Burkhard – Breathtaking photographs and deeply personal stories from a leading surfing and nature photographer, conservation advocate Chris Burkhard.
- Amazing Waves by Roger Sharp – This high-quality breathtaking volume is a collection of the best recent images from some of the world’s top surf photographers.
Carve is Britain’s number one surf mag with five issues a year of top action and incredible photos from around the world.
They run the competition once a year and receive hundreds and hundreds of high-quality submissions from photographers taken from surf locations all over the world.
The guidelines for the competition say that the competition helps to celebrate Britain and Irelands best photographers and their photos.
This was actually the first year I have entered this competition, so it was really nice to have my photography acknowledged by Britain’s best surf magazine!
The photograph that initially caught the eye of the judges was taken whilst I was living in Christchurch, New Zealand. The shot, titled “Shoot the Pier”, of a surfer riding through the New Brighton Pier at sunrise, stood out from the crowd.
Other images in my competition portfolio included surf inspired shots taken throughout the South Island of New Zealand and Wales.
If you’re keen to try taking some surf shots, check out this helpful guide to learning surf photography.
Or, you can view my full interview and winning photography portfolio in issue 215 of the Carve magazine out now. Available in stores, through the Carve website or an online version can also be found here.
Winning this competition has been an awesome way to end 2022 and I’m looking forward to what 2023 has in store.
Having recently relocated back to Wales, I’m genuinely excited to get out there and explore my home country in more depth. Hopefully I’ll find some new award winning photographs in the near future.
Check out my top tips to capturing award winning photos below.
How to capture award winning photographs
Entering competitions is a great way for photographers to get exposure! If you are an inspiring photographer, I recommend submitting some of your favourite shots to a few competitions.
Everyone is in with a chance to be a finalist, you just have to catch the judges eye!
Create compelling compositions
It’s worth investing some time into learning the basics rules of photography composition to help you create engaging award winning photographs. Examples include the rule of thirds, leading lines and framing techniques.
Present a unique perspective
Images with a generic aesthetic frequently fail at the first hurdle.
Even though a photograph captures a scene that has been seen many times, it may still be significantly engaging to the judges if the photographer sees it from a different angle.
Tell the story
Each competition has thousands of entries, therefore photos that are only surface-level, usually fare poorly in the judging process.
Entries that connect to the audience and convey intriguing narratives typically do better. Images that clearly and effectively convey a thought or feeling are what you should aim to produce.
Crucial tips when entering a photography competition
Entering a photography competition involves more than just having an attractive composition. Therefore, be sure to consider the following suggestions as well.
Follow the rules
It’s the most obvious, but also the most vital. Read the rules carefully. Great entries to photo contests can be rejected if they do not follow the competition guidelines.
Some contests need images to be submitted in certain formats such as JPEG, while others require the original RAW files. I’ve even seen competitions require the file name of the images to be in a specific format, such as Photographers Name – Category – Date.
Pick the appropriate category
If there are numerous categories in the photography contest, carefully consider the category to submit your shot under.
Do not presume the judges will move your entry into a more relevant category. Your photograph won’t be taken into consideration if another photographer had submitted a comparable image under a more applicable category.
Think about the end result
The shortlisted entries often need to function across several platforms. The majority of the photographs are viewed digitally on the website and social media pages for the photography contest.
However, the printed versions of the works are often displayed in exhibitions or magazines. Photographs with the capacity to hold their impact after being removed from a backlit screen often stand a higher chance of winning a photography competition.
Finally, a massive thanks to Carve Magazine for running this yearly competition!
It’s great to have a platform to help showcase talented surf photographers from Britain and Ireland.
If you haven’t participated in a photography contest before, I hope this has inspired you to seek out a competition to enter soon.
By following the tips and advice in this article, it should increase your chances of winning photography competitions. Good luck!
About Sean Michael Pritchard Photography
Sean is a freelance photographer from Swansea, Wales. His main inspiration comes from surf culture, the places surfing will take you and the people you meet along the way. Find out more on my about me page.
About Carve Surf Magazine
Carve is Britain’s most popular surfing magazine. It is published five times per year and includes a popular mix of awesome photography, features, travel, interviews, and news from around the surfing world.
DISCLOSURE: I may earn a small commission from some of the links above. For the benefit of the doubt, please assume all links might be affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
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