Student Awards

The 2024 AOP Student Awards – shining a light on the next generation of photographers and image makers

© Natalia Krezel

© Jimmy Fletcher, Best In Show 2023. Screenshots from winning film ‘Bempton’.  (See full winning entry on page below)

AOP Student Awards 2024

The AOP Student Awards were established in the early 1980s, to recognise and highlight emerging photographic talent which existed in further education institutions across the UK.
Many of the AOP Student Awards winners go on to become discovery winners as assisting photographers and then as professional photographers for our AOP Photography Awards, as we pride ourselves on nurturing talented photographers throughout their career.

Entry information

Entering the AOP Student Awards is a chance to be seen by leading commissioners and names within the photographic industry. 


Whatever your vocation, passion, course or age, we invite you to inspire us with your photography.


Judge: Michael Wharley, AOP Accredited Photographer. GOLD Winner 37th AOP Photography Awards - Documentary

This category covers any form of people-photography from portraiture to street photography, photojournalism and beyond. The People category is an opportunity to make visual comments about the human race and its ways. In previous ‘portrait’ categories, animal pictures have been featured but the originators of this category feel that entries this year should feature the human race.


Judge: tbc

Rather than duplicate possible locations such as landscapes and architecture, we offer this category which provides unlimited opportunities. We promise that we will be as flexible as you need us to be.


Judge: Frankie Turner, AOP Accredited Photographer. GOLD Winner 38th AOP Photography Awards - Food and Drink

This category covers almost everything else. Think Irving Penn’s found objects, Mapplethorpe’s flowers, Ori Gersht’s explosions, cats, dogs, bats and monkeys by Tim Flach, and sublime still-lifes by Richard Maxted and then make something unique and sensational of your own. We can’t wait to see your work.

Student Awards Judges

Meet our judges for the 2024 Student Awards

1. michael-wharley-©-michael-shelford-800x1200

Michael Wharley, Photographer

Category: People

Photographer Michael Wharley has been shooting for 14 years, earning a reputation both for sensitive portraiture of people and places, and for cinematic imagery that lends itself to the advertising world. With leading entertainment clients including Netflix, Disney, Warner Brothers, Audible and The National Theatre his key art campaigns for film, TV and theatre are seen globally, while his portrait work regularly features in national press and won him an AOP Gold Award in 2022. 

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Category: Places

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Frankie Turner, Photographer

Category: Things

Hello, I’m Frankie a London based photographer.

I take pictures that involve food, sometimes people, and often products.
Working out of my Peckham studio, I’m lucky enough to work with some of the most creative and innovative individuals within the food and drink industry.

AOP Student Awards Finalists will be exhibited at Free Range graduate exhibition, Truman Brewery between 21 June – 23 June 2024
20 June – Private View
Exhibition Open: 21 – 22 – 23 JUNE
Gold and Silver Winners, along with Best in Show, to be announced on 20 June.
Join us for our STARTING OUT programme: Details to follow…
Free Range is an annual creative showcased hosted by Truman Brewery that has been taking place for over 20 years. It allows emerging artists and graduates from an array of creative disciplines the platform to present their work in a prime location. The event is to narrow the jump from institution to industry level and assist in the difficulty in this which specifically creative students face. Not only is the event attended by students and the general public but moreover by industry professionals and therefore creates a space for great potential conversations and opportunities.

2023 Best In Show - Jimmy Fletcher

University of Gloucestershire, Photography: Editorial and Advertising BA (Hons)


I visited Bempton Cliffs for the first time in July 2021, and I was completely blown away by what I witnessed there. The sound was immense. Crashing waves and erratic bird calls seemed to surround me and engulfed the entire cliff tops. As I looked down from the cliff tops, I was absolutely astonished. The sky, the sea, and every inch of cliffs and outcrops seemed to be dominated by Seabirds. The sky was filled with Gannets flying back and forth with food and nesting materials, the cliff faces saw Gannets feeding young, mating, building nests, clashing beaks and fighting for territory. I immediately fell in love with this almost prehistoric looking scene and decided that I wanted to recreate this emotive experience, so I came up with the idea of my multi-screen short film, Bempton. Bempton was filmed over the course of a year, from March 2022 – March 2023 and documents the entire breeding season of the Northern Gannet at RSPB Bempton Cliffs in Yorkshire. Each year these cliffs are brought to life with the incredible sights and sounds of over 200,000 seabirds who use them as a space to raise their chicks between the months of March and October. The film, spread over three screens, captures the changing landscape of the cliffs, the fight for territory, and the beauty of the Gannets’ courtship over the course of a year. The imagery is accompanied by an incredibly immersive soundtrack, which is comprised of both an emotive score (composed by Simon Turner) and the natural sounds of the landscape and birdlife.

See 2024 Winners and Finalists Here

Finalists’ entries will be displayed indefinitely on the AOP Awards website.
No copyright is transferred to the AOP in respect of any works entered or accepted.
All students, including those from overseas, studying in the UK at FE level or higher can enter the AOP Student Awards.  

© William Turner, University of Derby – Professional & Applied (Photography).  SILVER Places 2022

Join the AOP as a Student Member

The AOP is a not-for-profit organisation run by photographers for photographers. All profits go towards providing support for photographers including lobbying, promotion of best practice and the worth of photography and photographers everywhere.

Interested in joining the AOP?  Click here to become an AOP member.

Entries open Midday Tuesday 2 April for the AOP Student Awards 2024

Save the date:
Join us at Free Range 2024, Truman Brewery from 20 June to 23 June for an exhibition of AOP Student Awards 2024 finalists work, and for our Starting Out Programme.

Privite View 20 June

Exhibition Open: 21·22·23 JUNE

Gold and Silver Category Winners, along with Best in Show, the AOP Course  of the Year and the AOP Lecturer of the Year will also be announced at the event  on Thursday 20 June 2024. 



Denouement , (Series) © Karo Birger, University of South Wales. SILVER Things 2022

© John Buchanan

AOP Photography Awards

The AOP Photography Awards are known as the ‘Oscars’ of the photography world. They celebrate excellence in the creative photography and image-making industry.
This is your chance to be seen by leading commissioners and names within the photographic industry.
Find out more about our 39th AOP Awards…