The Competition – Amateur Vs Professional

IrishLight was founded as an outlet for all the amazing enthusiasm and love of landscape photography that exists in Ireland. We are a small, but hopefully important conduit for this community. We live from our activities via IrishLight and ExploreLight, we are professional, but I can promise you we are dedicated to our craft. Our work is our passion, and we feel really privileged to be able to make our living from landscape photography.

As we see it, there’s a genuine community of photographers that has grown beyond measure over the past 10 years. A community of people that love the Irish landscape, and landscape photography. This community is driven by passion, not money. Genuine commitment and love of the landscape and photography, not financial gain.

Hence we feel the spirit of the IrishLight Photographer of the Year should reflect these values and aspirations.

It was on this basis that for the past 3 years we have stipulated that the competition should be for amateur photographers rather than professional photographers. For most people it’s easy to say, I am an amateur or I am a professional. However, what has been brought into sharp focus for us over the last number of years, is that a group of photographers exists where drawing a clear line between who is professional, and who is an amateur is not so easy. In fact, we have come to the conclusion that this is ultimately subjective, as no real official or accepted definition exists. There is no authoritative answer, and clearly, people’s definitions will differ.

What we do know for certain is that the spirit of IrishLight, is about passion, enjoyment, and commitment. Hence, and despite all the complications this brings, for us an organisation, we want our competition to be for the hobbyist community.

We appreciate that sometimes these lines are unclear and so please just drop us a line if you are not sure if you qualify to enter. We promise to approach any inquiries from a position of goodwill and understanding. We promise we are simply trying to maintain what is right and fair and within the spirit of IrishLight. We are not trying to do anyone an injustice. We must also note that we are privately operated organisitaion and receive zero state funding for our activities.

We do, however, reserve the right of final decision of admittance, qualification and disqualification, and we will vet every shortlisted entry individually to ensure we feel they qualify, and their activities are within the boundaries of the competition spirit. We reserve the right for finality in all decisions.

Below some tangible factors, we are using to make our decisions. We hope this should serve as a guideline. Looking forward to seeing all your amazing work. We genuinely love this community. We feel like we are part of it too.

Best Wishes .. The IrishLight Team ie just Peter and Jelena 🙂


What would automatically disqualify me?

  • Earning more than 20% of your livelihood from photography (which we take to mean stills rather than video)
  • Clearly advertising or regularly undertaking professional commercial services such as weddings, portraits, commissioned architecture, commissioned food and product photography.

Does having a website automatically disqualify me?

No, absolutely not. What is important here is what you are trying to sell and volumes. See above. If you are offering services such as weddings, portraits, commissioned architecture, commissioned food and product photography which clearly should fall within a professional sphere, then the site would disqualify you as you are putting yourself forward publically as a professional. If you are offering prints, but like most landscape photographers simply selling low volumes then this is fine.

If I run photography workshops am I automatically disqualified?

No, this would depend again on whether this is your main source of income. Much like the prints, this is about volume. What we would ask entrants to consider is that the spirit of the competition is for the hobbyist community. So please ask yourself.  Do I put myself forward as a professional in the educational sphere?

Does being a professional videographer disqualify me?

No, we treat stills photography and videography as intertwined but ultimately separate skills.

Do you define image quality as a factor determining whether a photographer is professional or amateur?

Absolutely not. Professional ‘quallity’ can, and is present, within the hobbyist community.



IrishLight Festival

Subscribe to our Newsletter now and get all the latest updates. By signing up for our newsletter you are consenting to receive updates about our activities including our workshops, new images, exhibitions and shows, blogs and trip reports. We will not share your data with a third party. Privacy Policy Here.