Over the weekend, Luminar (yes, that Luminar) unveiled the winners of the first annual Bug Photography Awards: a contest that the photo sharing software came up with in association with Buglife, Europe’s leading invertebrate charity.
Normally, a first attempt at creating a photo contest would fall pretty flat, but Luminar and Buglife pulled off an impressive call for entries. Over 5,000 images were submitted, and the winners of all 10 categories—plus the 2020 Bug Photographer of the Year, and 2020 Young Bug Photographer of the Year—are stunning.
The first grand prize and title of Bug Photographer of the Year went to Saudi Arabian photographer Mofeed Abu Shalwa who, astonishingly enough, started photographing invertebrates as a way of overcoming a childhood insect phobia. His images showed a combination of “technical skill, creativity, and dedication to his craft” that “wowed the judges,” earning him £2,500 in cash (~$3,150), and additional prizes worth £2,000 (~$2,600).
The title of Young Bug Photographer of the Year went to 17-year-old Jamie Spensley from Solihull in the UK. Currently in his second year at college studying Creative Media, he earned the accolade (and £1,200 in prize money) by submitting this beautiful shot of a carder bee.
The image is composed of 41 separate photographs that have been focus-stacked to overcome the depth-of-field challenges inherent in extreme macro photography:
The two overall winners are, of course, just the tip of the iceberg. Each of the contest categories recognized a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winner, with some additional Honorable Mentions thrown in for good measure.
Scroll down to see all of the 1st place finishers in the remaining 10 categories, and if you want to explore the full shortlist or learn more about the contest, head over to the Luminar Bug Photography Awards website at this link.
Butterflies and Months
Flies, Bess, Wasps and Dragonflies
Snails and Slugs
All the Other Bugs
Image credits: All photos credited individually, used courtesy of the Luminar Bug Photography Awards