Centenary Photographic Competition 2023: Electronic Communication

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Taking a camera or your phone and shooting a picture is an easy. But how about, when composing your image, you think about how your picture might be used to discover some aspect of science and engineering?

STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, MathematicsFrom a flower to a rainbow, from a bubble to a radio mast, from smoke to light, from microscopy to astronomy, everywhere in our modern world we face science and engineering wonders that make our lives easier, more fun and more interesting. This is the fourth year of our competition and we have had some outstanding winners in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

Art meets Science – Our annual photographic competition this year aims at creating an opportunity for you to creatively express, in pictures, what you observe within science. We hope that this will get you exploring the visual aspects of STEAM through the art and science of photography, and capturing images that demonstrate and communicate STEAM concepts and phenomena.

This year, with our Giving Voice schools' project, the focus is on the many facets of:

Electronic Communication

(Including everything old and new, from radio to TV to computers and mobile phones, records, CDs, microwaves, IR sensors, Wi-Fi and more!)

We want you to take photographs (up to 3 entries) that express what electronic communication means to you, or how it impacts health and environment (for better or worse). Each photograph should be accompanied with a short plain-language explanation (not more than 50 words) of the science and thoughts behind it.

Previous winners and entries

Entries will be judged on:

  • Originality and creativity of the image.
  • Informational content: effectiveness at communicating the phenomenon or concept.
  • Quality and artistic impact: focus/clarity, composition, visual and emotional appeal.

The competition is open to primary or secondary aged students living or educated in Essex. We will be looking for photos that are creative in their approach, with an innovative angle on the subject or a creative interpretation of the themes.

There are two categories of entry: one for primary school students and one for those at secondary level. The entries will be shortlisted by members of CSES and a panel of judges will select a winner from the shortlisted entries in each category.

The prizes in each category are: 1st (£50 voucher), 2nd (£20 voucher) and 3rd (£15 voucher) place. The winners and selected entries will be displayed in an online exhibition and may feature in future publicity materials.
(Depending on the number of entries, we may not award all prizes in all categories)

Click here to submit your entry »

Please read the FAQs, terms and conditions first!

Entries must be submitted by midnight on Friday 23 June 2023 (DEADLINE EXTENDED).
(No submissions after this date will be counted)


How do I enter the photo competition? Simply fill in the online entry form. (Please make sure to read the rest of the FAQs, terms and conditions first!)

Who can enter? Any primary or secondary aged student living or being taught (in school or at home) in Essex.

How many photos may I submit? Each entrant can submit a maximum of 3 images reflecting the STEAM theme.

How will my photograph be judged? Judging consists of two rounds for each category. In round one, the judges will shortlist the best images in each category (up to 10). The entries selected in round one will proceed to round two, where the judges will select (up to) a first, second and third place winner in each category.

How will the final winners be announced? The winners, and those who are highly commended, will be notified by email. We will need to obtain details to send the prize (email and/or postal address). Winners will be announced on the website thereafter.

What are the prizes? In each age category: 1st prize £50 voucher, 2nd prize £25 voucher, 3rd prize £15 voucher. Note that, based on the number of entries, we may not award all prizes in all categories.

I'd like to enter a photo that has previously been in another competition. Is that allowed? You may not enter a photo that has previously been in another competition, but you may enter a photo that you are also submitting to this year's Chelmsford City Photo Competition (if it is running).

Will my photographs be seen online? Some images may be published on the CSES website and our partner's websites.

Is image manipulation allowed in the photo contest? Yes, image manipulation is allowed. In fact, creative manipulation and composition is encouraged if it has a positive artistic impact!

When I submit a photo to the photo competition, what rights does CSES have to my image? CSES will have the nonexclusive, perpetual right to use your image in connection with the competition and promoting the Society, in any media now or in the future.

Are release forms required when submitting a photograph to the photo contest? By submitting a photograph, you are confirming that you are the owner of the image and the copyright. If your photograph contains an image of yourself or someone else, you must get your/their parent or guardian to submit a signed image consent form.

Still have a question? Email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Read on for full terms and conditions...

Centenary Photographic Competition

Note: The deadline for entry is Friday 23 June 2023 (DEADLINE EXTENDED).

Terms and conditions

  1. Entrants must live, work and/or be educated within the County of Essex or the Unitary Authorities of Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock.
  2. The only images accepted will be digital photographs submitted by email. Previously published work not created specifically for the competition is not eligible.
  3. By submitting an image, the entrant declares that it is his/her own work and free of any copyright other than their own personal copyright. It is the responsibility of entrants to ensure that they do not infringe on the copyright or other rights of any third party.
  4. Copyright for the submitted images remains with their authors. However, by entering the competition, participants grant CSES permission to use their images online and/or in print for promotional purposes. We reserve the right to manipulate any images used in publicity and marketing material.
  5. If photos contain people, the entrant is responsible for gaining their consent and (if necessary) securing use their image free of copyright, fee or any other restriction. If your image contains the picture of anyone aged under 18 then you must submit an image consent form signed by their legal guardian.
  6. A maximum of 3 photos can be submitted per person.
  7. Photos will not be accepted into the competition if they are deemed inappropriate, this includes images that are offensive, previously published, copyrighted or deemed not to be in accordance with the spirit of the competition.
  8. We will only consider entries submitted in the correct format as instructed on the online entry form. Images must be of sufficient resolution for screen and print. Minimum suggested resolution is 1400 pixels on the longest edge.
  9. Prizes available in each category are as follows: 1st prize £50 voucher, 2nd prize £20 voucher, 3rd prize £15 voucher.
  10. Prizes will only be awarded subject to receiving a sufficient number of submissions at an appropriate standard of quality.
  11. CSES reserves the right to cancel the competition or alter the rules at any stage if circumstances arise outside of its control.
  12. There is no entry fee and no purchase necessary to enter this competition. Students will automatically be enrolled for free as a member of CSES and receive information about our activities and events. You can opt out of this at any time.
  13. Our decision in respect of all matters to do with the competition will be final. This includes any judging decisions.
  14. The winners' first names and schools/colleges (where appropriate) will be announced via our digital channels. If you do not wish for this data to be shared, please tell us by email.

If you have any queries, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Read on for tips on getting the best result out of your camera phone...

Tips for using camera phones

While you will get more control and better quality using a camera, smartphones have come a long way in the past few years and if you don't have the time or inclination to carry around a large camera, your smartphone (or even tablet) is often more than enough to get a great photo.

There are several websites that provide advice on how to make the most of photos taken with your phone. Try looking at this Beginners' Guide or Phone Photography 101.

Key things to remember are:

  • Often better to turn the phone sideways and use two hands to take the picture as this minimises camera shake.
  • If there is strong contrast in the scene (a light area and a dark area) or you find that you cannot get the sun behind you, the HDR (high dynamic range) setting will generally give a better image that is closer to what the eye sees. Note that this can mute the colours slightly and add a slight blur, so you may want to enhance the image afterward for best results.
  • Use a tripod or some sort of support, even just someone's shoulder, and turn on the camera grid lines to help you align and compose the image. The best images typically have the main subject within one of the thirds of the frame.
  • Try to get as much lighting, especially natural lighting (sunlight) as possible. The hours after sunrise and after sunset are usually the best light for photos but, in any case, use the phone camera flash as little as possible as it often does not improve the result.
  • Use digital zoom as little as possible and probably never above 2x. Just get closer, or maybe try an add-on lens. The more you zoom in, the more unsteady the shot will become.
  • If you find the built-in camera app on your phone is too basic or difficult to use, Google Camera is worth a look, and may give you more control of how the image turns out.

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