Close-up Photographer
of the Year

See the world anew


About The

Close-up Photographer of the Year (CUPOTY) is a celebration of close-up, macro and micro photography – an annual competition created to showcase images that help us see the world anew.

But its scope is far greater than that. 

Its ultimate aim is to encourage you to slow down, enjoy the craft of photography, and to make connections with others who are equally passionate about the world up close.

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Open to all

Anyone can enter, from any country, using any type of camera.

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6 Categories

Enter up to 30 pictures across any of the 5 adult categories and up to 15 images in Young CUPOTY. 

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Win prizes

A prize fund worth over £4,000 is shared between the overall winner and six category winners.

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The Top 100

Showcasing the competition’s best pictures in our interactive online exhibition.


Why enter Close-up Photographer of the Year?

  • Win prizes – Be named the first ever Close-up Photographer of the Year and win £2,500 worth of cash and SIGMA equipment. The overall winner receives £1,300 in cash, along with a SIGMA 70mm MACRO Art lens and sd Quattro camera.

  • Be challenged – Can you make The Top 100 and get featured in our interactive online exhibition of the very best images?

  • Receive feedback – Request a free written appraisal of the photographs you enter to help improve your work and your chances in future competitions.

  • Gain publicity – Benefit from worldwide coverage of you and your pictures across a variety of media including print, web and social media channels.

  • You’ll never have a better chance of winning – We’re not the biggest competition in the world, nor the most well known. After all this is our first year. But this is very good news for you, if you want to do well.

  • Peer recognition – Put your work before our judging panel of expert photographers and editorial influencers. Who knows where that could lead?

  • Develop the field – Help close-up, macro and micro photography take centre stage and progress the field as a whole.

  • Be part of a friendly community – Join a supportive community of photographers who are equally passionate about the world up close.


Supported by 

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Closing date



Thursday 28th February 2019
23:59 (GMT)

Register your entry before the deadline
and send your images to us within the next 7 days.



There are six categories to enter: Animals, Plants & fungi, Intimate landscape, Manmade and Micro (for images captured with a microscope), as well as Young CUPOTY (for entrants aged 17 and under).

If you are 18 or over you may enter as many categories as you like. For example, if you purchase entry for 5 pictures, you may enter 2 in Animals, 2 in Plants & fungi and 1 in Intimate landscape.

The judges are looking for visually arresting images that encourage the viewer to see the world anew — this could be achieved by showing us something astonishing, beautiful or challenging, or perhaps something mundane shot in an unusual way.

There are no restrictions on subject matter — anything from a cheese grater to the cell of a fruit fly is welcome, and covered by a category. Further guidance is listed below.

If you’re unsure and would like to check which category your image should go in, please email us a low-res file.




From details of birds and mammals to macro shots of invertebrates and small creatures.
Insects (wings, antennae, legs, eyes), birds (feathers, beaks, feet), fish, mammals including humans (bones, skin, hair, fur), reptiles (scales, shell, tails), amphibians, molluscs, arachnids.



Plants & fungi in detail or captured up-close within the habitat.
Flowers (petals, pollen, stamens), trees (bark, leaves, berries, nuts, sap), fruit, fungi, mold, moss, lichen, seaweed (and other algae), vegetables, liverworts, ferns, grasses.



Natural, non-living objects and substances.
Rock, sand, stone, mineral, water (rain, reflections, ice, snow, bubbles, drips, splashes), mud, dust, fossils, natural patterns, cracks, fissures, imprints.
Some visual inspiration.



Objects and materials conceived or created by humans.
Electronics, machinery, cars, plastic, glass, food, ceramics, fabric, jewellery, paper, art, instruments, furniture, smoke, rust, chemical reactions.  
Some visual inspiration.



Pictures on any subject captured with a microscope.
Light, electron or probe scanner is acceptable and any light microscopy technique can be used.



Open to photographers aged 17 or under.
There are no restrictions on subject matter for this category.




£1000 +
SIGMA Art Lens +
SIGMA camera

Overall winner


Category winner

Sigma Art Lens

Young CUPOTY winner


Entry fees




1 Picture
One category


5 Pictures
Across all five categories


15 Pictures
Across all five categories


30 Pictures
Across all five categories


15 Pictures




Ross Hoddinott

Natural history and landscape photographer Ross Hoddinott has been entering, and winning, photography competitions since he was 10 years old, so he should know an award-winning picture when he sees one. Ross is a close-up specialist focusing on insects and wild plants, and has written numerous books on the subject. He also runs landscape photography workshops via Dawn 2 Dusk Photography.


Sue Bishop

Sue Bishop specialises in flower photography. Her aim is to create an image that goes beyond a mere record of its subject and draws the viewer into the nature of the bloom. Sue has written two books on the subject: Photographing Flowers and Digital Flower Photography. She is a lecturer, workshop leader, and co-founder of Light & Land, a company that organises photographic holidays.


David Maitland

With a PhD in Zoology, nature photographer Dr David Maitland combines art and academic research to produce stunning macro and super-macro images. David has been a full-time photographer since 2006, and won European Wildlife Photographer of the Year just two years later. He loves to capture intricate details of the creatures he encounters, and to celebrate the beauty and wonder of nature.


Robert Thompson

One of Ireland’s foremost nature photographers, Robert Thompson is an acclaimed specialist in close-up and macro photography, and an active conservationist. He has a particular interest in dragonflies, butterflies and moths, and has worked on many high-profile natural history recording projects around the UK. He is a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society and the Irish Photographic Federation, and a frequent contributor to the photographic press.


Keith Wilson

Award-winning editor and photojournalist Keith Wilson has more than 30 years of experience in the publishing industry. Keith spent nine years as editor of Amateur Photographer, before launching Outdoor Photography, B+W Photography, and Wild Planet Photo magazines. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a sought after editor of fine-art photography books, specialising in wildlife, landscape and the environment.
Picture credit: © Martin Hartley


Tracy Calder

Editor and writer Tracy Calder is a cofounder of CUPOTY. She has worked on the editorial team of seven photography books, and wrote the expanded guide to Macro & Close-up Photography (which was translated into Chinese and French) as Tracy Hallett. Her work has been featured in more than 30 consumer magazines, and exhibited at The Photographers’ Gallery and The National Portrait Gallery in London.


“Studying an object up close can open your eyes to its intricate, and often surprising, beauty.”

— Tracy Calder