Budding photographers: Snap to it

This is your chance to win a classic Olympus camera and a travel guide commission worth £3,000

Are your travel photos a snap above the rest?

Then enter The Independent on Sunday/Insight Guide 2011 travel photography competition. First prize will be a commission, worth £3,000, from the publisher Insight Guides to take photographs for one of its guidebooks. "The commission was an absolutely extraordinary experience," said 2009 winner Micah Sarut, whose photographs have just been published in the new Insight Guide to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. "By constantly searching for new ways to take excellent shots, it brought me a greater cultural understanding of the three countries, and it was a revelation how very different they were from one another."

The winner of the 2010 competition, Steve McDonald, whose picture of San Francisco's Golden Gate bridge is shown above, is to travel to Tuscany for his Insight Guide commission.

This year's winner will also receive an Olympus PEN E-PL2 camera (RRP £530) – a favourite with those who want SLR quality results without the bulk of a traditional camera. Winners of the second, third and under-18s prizes will receive Olympus cameras. Total value of all four prizes is £1,530.

The award ceremony will take place later this year at Stanfords travel bookshop, London. Afterwards adult prizewinners and a friend will be invited to London's newly opened Corinthia Hotel, where they will enjoy celebration dinner at the Northall, the hotel's modern British restaurant, followed by an overnight stay and breakfast the next morning. The Corinthia occupies a grand 19th-century building overlooking the Thames in Whitehall. It was formerly London's landmark Metropole, and is located just minutes from Trafalgar Square and Covent Garden. For more information go to: corinthia.com/ london. The winner of the under-18s category will be presented with their prize on a separate occasion.

The Independent on Sunday's Picture Editor, Sophie Batterbury, is keen to stress that entrants do not necessarily have to travel to enter: winning photos can come from their own backyard. Sophie and the judges will be looking for outstanding, top-quality images that capture the essence of chosen destinations.

This year's other judges are: Steven Lawrence, picture editor, Insight; Peter Noble, a former trustee of the Royal Photographic Society; and the high-profile photographer Kevin Cummins.

Entrants must submit three colour images, either digitally or in print.

Reader offer

Take a trip with Insight to the three Baltic States

The Insight Guide to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania (£15.99) is a comprehensive guide book covering the three Baltic States. It features detailed maps and more than 350 full-colour photographs largely shot by our 2009 competition winner, Micah Sarut. Independent on Sunday readers can buy the book at the special price of £10 including P&P. Call 01206 255800 and quote "IoS". The offer closes on 3 May, 2011.

Insight to photography

To celebrate its 40th anniversary, Insight Guides has also launched a Travel Photography app, free for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Users have access to the publisher's extensive photo archive, and a new photograph will be delivered to the app every day to showcase the best shots from Insight's travel guides series, which covers more than 200 destinations in 90 countries. For tips on how to take winning images, have a look at the Insight Guide to Travel Photography (£14.99), a 320-page practical guide detailing how to take the perfect travel shot. Created by experts, it covers everything from digital processing to selling images. A unique section on how to photograph people, respectfully, in their own environment focuses on the importance of establishing a rapport with your subject. For more information go to: insightguides.com

How to enter

All entrants must provide three different colour photographs that have not been previously entered in any other photography competition. Entries can be emailed to: photocontest@ insightguides.co.uk as high resolution Jpegs to a minimum of 3MB at 300DPI and a maximum of 15MB at 300DPI, emailed individually or as a group of three.

Alternatively, you can send your prints, no bigger than 10x8 inches (25.4cm x 20.3cm) to: Photography Prize at APA Publications, 58 Borough High Street, London SE1 1XF.

Note that entries cannot be returned and all must be clearly labelled with the entrant's name, address, email address, giving a location for each image taken. Under-18s entrants must mark each image "under-18s". All entries must be received by 16 September 2011.

For complete terms and conditions go to: independent.co.uk/insightterms

The prizes

First prize: A commission worth £3,000 from Insight Guides plus an Olympus E-PL2 (RRP £530).

Second prize: Olympus XZ-1 (RRP £400) a high-quality, fully adjustable yet portable camera.

Third and under-18s prize: Olympus SZ-30MR (RRP £300) with a 24x zoom in an ultra compact body plus full HD movies and stills. Adult winners and a companion will be treated to dinner and an overnight stay plus breakfast at the new Corinthia hotel, London.