Kate Simon: Turn snap-happy shots into professional pictures

Travel View

It's that time of year when we get ready to reveal the results of our annual travel photography competition.

We've been running this fantastic contest with leading guidebook publisher Insight Guides for the past eight years and, yet again, your photos have delighted our expert judges.

The results will be announced at a special event at Stanfords Travel Bookshop in Covent Garden, Central London, on Tuesday 25 October. The winner can look forward to a commission worth £3,000 to take photos for one of the guidebooks published by Insight Guides, as well as receiving – along with the runners-up – some top-notch Olympus kit. If you missed your chance to enter this year, keep an eye on these pages for when we open the 2012 contest next spring.

To give you a head start for next year's competition, we're running a very special event where you can pick up some top tips about taking photos on your travels. For the prize-giving evening won't just be a celebration of the work of this year's winner and runners-up, from 7.30pm it will also be the setting for a travel photography masterclass.

This event is a must for anyone with ambitions to take their travel photography up a level, because we've lined up a formidable group of experts to share their knowledge with you. The panel will be led by Steven Lawrence, Insight Guides' picture editor, who will reveal what he looks for in a photographer and their photos. He will be joined by two photographers who are at the top of their profession: Kevin Cummins, a very successful travel photographer and one of the world's most admired music and portrait photographers, and Neil Buchan Grant, the very first winner of our competition and also a finalist in the well respected Travel Photographer of the Year competition.

Sophie Batterbury, our very own picture editor at The Independent on Sunday, who has judged every year of the competition, will also be on hand to answer questions from the floor.

It costs just £2 to attend this workshop, but places are limited, so book your spot quickly by contacting Stanfords on 020-7836 1321 or emailing your details to juliaspence.pr@gmail.com.

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Now here's a bit of blue-sky thinking. Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez, has seized holiday homes and hotels on Los Roques. He reckons this jet-set retreat, just 95 miles off the country's Caribbean coast, should be turned into a state-run getaway for Venezuela's urban poor.

The yachts and speedboats that have been confiscated from the wealthy owners of properties on the island will now be used, says President Chavez, to transport the island's new breed of holidaymaker.

The idea is being justified by the fact that building on Los Roques, a protected area, should never have been allowed in the first place. No justification is needed, if you ask me. This is genius. White-sand beaches and turquoise seas are the preserve of the rich worldwide. Now, in one corner of the globe, ordinary folk are going to get a taste of paradise.

Do you have a travel issue? Email: sundaytravel@independent.co.uk

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