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Photographic Competition

Do you take stunning photos of alpine plants and landscapes?  Enter them in our competition.

What is the Photographic Competition?

Many of our members are great photographers, who come back from trips to the mountains with wonderful images. This competition is for those, but also for images of UK wildflowers, and of public and personal gardens, which have an ‘alpine’ flavour.  Remember this is an opportunity to share your best pictures with the rest of the society, as well as a competition.

The entry deadline for this year will be 31st December 2024. You can enter three images in each class, but only digital images can be accepted. Images may have been taken this year, but they do not have to be, providing they have not been published and have not been entered previously in this competition.

The competition uses the wide definition of ‘Alpine plant’ used at AGS Shows. The term covers all plants suitable for cultivation in a rock garden of moderate size or in an unheated frame or alpine house, including small hardy herbaceous perennials, hardy and half-hardy bulbs, hardy ferns, hardy succulents and small shrubs. It excludes any plants which will not survive an average British winter under such conditions but includes many plants which do not necessarily grow in mountainous regions.  Cultivated hybrids and named cultivars are allowed in classes for plants in cultivation.

This competition is for digital photographs featuring alpine plants or landscapes, and is open to all active members. Every year, we receive hundreds of entries.  The winning images will be featured on the website and in the AGS Journal… and of course, there are cash prizes.

Photographic Competition Classes

This year, the competition has 9 different classes. Each member can enter up to three photos in each class – up to 27 photos in all if you can find images suitable for every class.  If you are uncertain which class your pictures belong in, the Competition Secretary ( is happy to help.

1. Alpine Plant in Natural Habitat

For this class, we are hoping to see wild alpine plants, set against the backdrop of their natural habitat. The photo you enter should include both the plant(s) and the situation or habitat in which they are growing; the plant(s) should be the main subject of the image, and the judges are likely to prefer such images over mountain views which happen to have plants in the foreground.

2. Portrait of Alpine Plant in Natural Habitat

Again we are looking for photos of alpine plants growing in the wild, but here we want photographs which feature the entire plant as the main subject. Surrounding landscape is unnecessary and may distract attention from the main subject.

3. Alpine Plant Close-up

This category is for fabulous close-ups, which show just a part of an alpine plant in magnificent detail. The picture can be taken anywhere – in the wild or in cultivation.  Selected cultivars and garden hybrids are allowed.

You do not have to photograph a flower – in the past winning images have focused on details of leaves and seed heads.

4. Alpine Plant in a Garden 

This class is for photographs of alpines that are being grown in a garden setting.  Selected cultivars and garden hybrids are allowed.

This may be in your own garden or in one you have visited!  But if it is not your own garden, please make sure you have permission to enter the photo in a competition.

5. Alpine Plant in a Pot

Many of our members grow their alpines not in the open garden but in pots.  Here we would like to see photos of those plants.  This subject gives you the opportunity to apply a great deal more photographic control than plants in the wild:  you can control where you take the photo (indoors or outdoors), when you take the photo (when the plant is in perfect condition), and time of day, which gives control over lighting and weather.  You can use artificial light sources and backgrounds if you wish.

6. Alpine Fauna in the Wild

Alpine habitats also have their very own special range of animals, from insects to birds and larger mammals. This competition class is to celebrate them.

Your alpine animal can be photographed in the landscape or in association with plants – it is completely up to you!

7. Alpine Landscape

Here we are looking for photos that capture the scenic beauty of alpine landscapes. Your photo need not show specific alpine plants – the focus should be on the natural features of the landscape.

Photos can range from the small and intimate right up to grand panoramas.

8. Quirky Image Featuring Alpine Plants

Got a photo that’ll make us laugh? Do a double-take? Scratch our heads? This class is for you! Any weird and wonderful photo featuring alpine plants goes.

Digital manipulation is allowed in this class. In fact anything goes – let your imagination run riot!

9. The Wonder of Wildflowers

This class is intended to celebrate the visual spectacle and impact that alpine plants can create.  We want to see spectacular panoramas of flowers, whether a carpet of a single species or a tapestry of different plants, colours and shapes.

Judging the Photographic Competition

Judges are selected for artistic and photographic expertise, and include both AGS members and non-members.  They will review entries and award a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in each class, and (optionally) some Highly Commended mentions to outstanding images. They will also choose an overall winner for the entire competition.

The photos are judged purely on photographic merit.  This sets the Photographic Competition apart from our Online Flower Show in which it’s the plant in the photo that’s being judged.

This means that a stunning photo of a familiar plant e.g. a Sempervivum will do better than a poor photo of some high alpine rarity like a rosulate Viola from the Andes.

Choosing your Entries

Think hard about whether each image fits the definition of the class you want to enter it in, rather than selecting your best pictures and then trying to shoehorn them into classes where they don’t fit.  Every year there are some great pictures which are overlooked because they don’t fit the criteria for the class.  If in doubt, you can ask the Competition Secretary at .

The judges’ selection is always based upon the class requirements.  But don’t forget composition, and all the technical aspects.  The classes might be defined by subject, but at the end of the day this is a photographic competition, and the judges are looking for the best pictures.

Photographic Competition Prizes

Our seasoned judges pick a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in each class. They also select an overall winner.

All the winning images will be featured on the website and in the AGS Journal.

In addition, winners will be given cash prizes to the value of …

  • Overall winner = £40
  • 1st Place in each class = £40 
  • 2nd Place in each class = £20
  • 3rd Place in each class = £10 

Finally, every 1st place entry earns you five points towards an AGS medal, which tally up as follows:

  • Two 1st places (10 points) for a Bronze Medal
  • Five 1st places (25 points) for a Silver Medal
  • Ten 1st places (50 points) for a Gold Medal

Members who exhibited in the photographic Artistic Section at AGS shows can add these points to their existing Open Section totals.

How Do I Enter the Photographic Competition?

Our annual competition is open now to active members, and will continue to accept entries until December 31st December 2024.

If you’re keen to prepare yourself for this year’s competition, have a glance at How to Enter the Photographic Competition and the Photographic Competition rules.

Previous Winners of the Photographic Competition

Click the links below for some of the winning entries from previous years to whet your photography appetite!

Enter the Competition

Full details on how to enter the competition

More Info