Farmers love taking photos all year round, whether it’s of their families, machinery, pets, livestock or landscapes.
Harvest is one of the most iconic and photogenic times of year, though, so today we’re launching the 2020 Harvest Photography Competition.
The winning shot will appear on the front cover of FW, so your photo (perhaps even your farm) could be immortalised on the front of your favourite farming magazine.
We’ll also share a selection of the images we like in the magazine, on the website and on our social media channels.
Don’t feel like you need a swanky DSLR to enter, either – some of the shots that typically wow us most are smartphone images, snapped in a spare moment or when a flash of inspiration strikes.
We received almost 1,500 entries last year, providing a fantastic snapshot of the summer months, so we hope you enjoy taking part again this year, showcasing your fantastic images and capturing a pictorial record of harvest’s progress across the nation.
We’re looking for photos that capture the spirit of harvest 2020 – the long days and hard graft, the frustration and joy, the sunshine (or the rain!), the sunrises and sunsets, the dust and the dirt, and the people and the kit that make it happen.
Capture any of them in an impactful, memorable and striking way and you could capture the eye of the judges.
How to enter
The competition is open to non-professional photographers and, even though we enjoy seeing all your images, please bear in mind that the winning image will need to be square in shape (or could be cropped to this) to appear on FW’s front cover.
The higher the resolution the better, too (we’d need a minimum 2MB file size to work on the cover).
So show us harvest on your farm, whether that’s with an image snapped on a whim with a trusty smartphone or the result of a long session with a drone.
If your image makes the judges feel like they are there with you in the heart of harvest, then you could be in with a chance of winning this great prize.
As a starting point, you could take a look at last year’s winner and runners-up to get a bit of inspiration.
There is no limit to the number of images you can submit, but they must be your own and taken this year.
When uploading your entries, don’t forget to add a short description telling us where the photo was taken and what it shows.
9 top tips for taking a stunning farm photo
FW asks award-winning photographer David Gibbon for some tips on snapping the perfect farming image
- Try standing back a little when photographing a piece of kit such as a combine, to show it in its surroundings (against a line of hills or a dust cloud, for example) as this gives it extra context and atmosphere. It’s a balancing act, though – you don’t want to risk the machine becoming ‘lost’.
- Don’t feel you need to get the whole machine in the frame. Sometimes cropping in tightly on part – even a very small part, such as a gear lever – can provide a really arty shot. Whenever you use a camera around machinery, though, keep safety uppermost in mind.
- If you’re taking pictures of people, be mindful of what’s behind them as cluttered backgrounds can distract from the shot. Can they stand, for instance, in front of a stone wall, a blue sky or a straw bale?
- If you’re going for more posed shots of family and friends, get creative with how and where you arrange them. Positioning people in a barn doorway, for example, will frame them. It’s obvious to put the taller people at the back, but try having some standing, with some sitting or even lying on the floor. Get them to move – and click away as they are in motion. The more people relax, the nicer they’ll photograph.
- Change the perspective by getting low or high and experimenting with different angles. Try kneeling, lying down or standing on a stile or wall.
- The light can be harsh around lunchtime on sunny days, so early mornings and sunsets can be the perfect time for golden light. Don’t feel sunshine is a must-have, either – frost, snow or even rain can provide wonderful opportunities.
- Try the ‘Portrait’ mode if your iPhone has it, which will blur out the background and make the person in the image really’ pop’. Try a different camera phone app, as these can give better control and editing options – two great ones are Camera+ Legacy (£2.99) and Photo Editor (free).
- Groups of animals are difficult to capture well (unless they’re arranged in a symmetrical shape, for example) so focus on single animals. Getting close to the subject (obviously being mindful of safety) can yield a quirky shot, whether it’s the horns of a ram or a dog’s nose. If taking photos of pets, have a pocket full of treats as some bribery is often called for.
- Always make sure your lens is free of dust and dirt – particularly important during harvest. Similarly, beware condensation if you’re going for that early morning or late evening shot.
Could you collaborate with David?
David would like to work with farmers in County Durham, Northumberland and North Yorkshire to run farm-based photography courses.
“Our farms are full of amazing wildlife, so I plan to to launch a series of on-farm tuition sessions for amateur photographers,” says David, who has been highly commended in the British Wildlife Photography Awards Bird Photographer of the Year competition.
“I’d set up a hide and then offer tuition to individuals or very small groups, with myself and the farmer splitting the proceeds.
“There’s a huge appetite among photographers to take pictures of British wildlife, including little owls, barn owls, waterbirds and hares, so this could be an interesting way of raising some extra revenue at a time when margins in farming are being squeezed.”
Email him to find out more.