FILM Photographer of the Year 2019 - Rules & Themes

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Most of the rules are unchanged from Film Photographer of the Year (FPOTY) 2018, apart from the occasional clarification. There are also additional rules for the newly introduced Mystery Month and more details about the optional monthly ‘prize’.


FPOTY is a yearlong competition divided into 12 smaller monthly competitions, or “themes”. The monthly thread opens for entries on the first of each calendar month and closes at 23.59 on the final day of that same month. Entries are required to be posted (not taken, see below) in the specific thread for that theme by the closing date and time.

A photo may be taken from the time the themes are announced on 28th November 2018, until the final day of the month for that theme. For example, January’s entry may be taken between 28th November 2018 and 31st January 2019, and October’s entry can be taken between 28th November 2018 and 31st October 2019.

The exception to this is Mystery Month which will take place in May 2019. The subject for mystery month will be randomly selected, by an independent party, from a subset of the remaining undrawn themes. The subset list will only be made up of themes that should be accessible to all potential entrants irrespective of factors such as equipment, location, time of year etc. The theme will be announced on 1st of that month. In this instance all entrants will have just that one month to take, develop, scan and enter their photo by the closing time of 23.59 on 31st May.

After the theme has closed, a poll will be added to allow users to vote on their choices to win that month’s theme. Please note that any member of Talk Photography can vote, not just those who have entered or F&C regulars. This poll will typically appear on the first day of the next month, with some leeway as the organiser might be unavailable for a day or two. Ordinarily, it will remain open for seven calendar days after which it will close automatically, unless the organiser has to close it early due to known unavailability such as holiday. If this is the case, the organiser will announce this in the discussion thread prior to opening the poll.

Once the poll has closed, the organiser will count up the votes for each competitor and add the results to the year to date table. The overall theme winner and point scorers will be announced and the up to date table displayed.

Ian (@Harlequin565) has made a generous offer to provide each monthly winner, or winners in the case of a tie, with a free A4 matt, gloss or lustre print of their winning entry. Any winner would need to provide him with their file, preferred paper choice and name & address. It is totally optional but if you want to take advantage of his offer, please let him know.

After every theme is complete, and the year is finished, the overall winner of FPOTY 2019 will be the person (or persons, in the event of a draw) on the highest amount of points scored over the year. There is no prize apart from being able to brag about it at the next F&C meet!



All images entered in FPOTY 2019 must have been taken by you.

All images entered must be TAKEN ON FILM and on or after the 28th November 2018 when the themes are unveiled. The date the photo is taken is defined as the day the shutter is pressed to record the image to film, not the date the film was scanned etc.

The exception to this is Mystery Month, which will take place in May 2019. The theme will be announced on the 1st May and the photos must be TAKEN ON FILM on or after that date.

Digital scans of film are obviously acceptable, but so are scans of wet prints, scans of Polaroids, or even a photogram if you’re feeling particularly brave. Lab developing or scanning of films is perfectly acceptable.

Anyone can enter this competition at any time, providing that all the rules are met. You do not need to sign up or do anything except post a suitable film photo in the thread for the theme.

One entry per competitor per month.

Entries cannot be changed once submitted. However, if you find that Flickr etc over sharpens your image or a similar issue, then you are free to re-upload the image again with small changes to make sure that it looks it’s best on the theme thread. To clarify, you cannot change your image for another one, but you can re-upload the same image again with minor amendments which affect the way it’s displayed.

Ideally entries should be safe for work. Entries which are NSFW can still be submitted providing that they meet the forum rules, but they should be posted as a link rather than embedded in the thread. They must have a note to say that they are NSFW In order to help people keep their jobs if they’re at work on their lunch, or browsing the forum next to their family etc.

There are no restrictions on the interpretation of a theme, but be aware that other members who are voting may not share your elastic interpretation and vote accordingly.


The number of votes that each user is able to use is equal to one third of the number of entries, rounded down. For example, 14 entries means 4 votes, 18 entries means 6 votes, and 23 entries means 7 votes.

You do not have to use all of your votes, but it is encouraged in order to get enough votes overall to define the top 12 places.

Votes are private, and who you vote for cannot be seen by other members.

When voting, please remember that this is a friendly competition between forum members. Please do not vote for yourself! (I realise this is unenforceable and it also shouldn’t need to be said!). Other than that, the ethics of tactical voting aren’t going to be discussed here as we’re all adults and can decide what’s right and wrong on our own.


Points are awarded from 12 to 1 in a descending order from 1st place to 12th place. (1st – 12 points, 2nd – 11 points, etc, through to 11th – 2 points, 12th – 1 point).

In the event that the number of votes for two (or more) entries is the same, they will be considered a tie and receive the same amount of points. In this situation, the next person down will receive points for the actual place, not adjusted based on the tie. (i.e. a tie for third place would mean the results 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd, 5th, 6th).

The year to date table will be sorted first by total number of points, then by the number of points received in total excluding the most recent month, and finally by the total number of votes over the course of the competition. The reason for this is so that if you are behind another competitor you actually have to have a total amount of points which is higher than theirs to go ahead of them; having the same amount of points will mean you sit below them.


It’s finally time for the big reveal! The themes for 2019 are:

January: Little & large
February: Abstract & odd
March: Things with faces / Found faces
April: After dark
May: Mystery month. Theme to be revealed on 1st May 2019
June: Wood
July: Diptych / Triptych
August: Decay
September: Garden
October: Weather and its effects
November: Animal
December: Pictures within pictures or frames within the frame

Please do not reply to this thread. Discussion to be kept in the discussion thread here
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