BA steward Steve McDonald will see more than airports with his first prize: a £3,000 commission from Insight

Now in its sixth year, the Insight Guides Travel Photography competition, run in association with The Independent on Sunday, is going from strength to strength.

"Places were hotly contested this year, says Insight Guides picture editor, Steven Lawrence. "We particularly liked winner Steve McDonald's use of light, and the way in which he took a very well known subject from an interesting and unusual angle."

This year's entrants worked to the theme of "Earth", submitting three images taken within the past year, either digitally or as prints. Steve McDonald, 54, a British Airways steward from High Wycombe, Bucks, won first prize, a professional commission worth £3,000 for one of Insight Guides' upcoming books. Second place went to geologist Robin Andrews, 22, who will use his prize, a Canon camera, to photograph his passion: volcanoes. Peter Cain, 33, a civil servant from Liverpool, also wins a Canon camera for his third place images, taken at Everest base camp.

For the first time, the competition was open to under-18s. The winner in this category, sixth-former Aiden Heeley-Hill, 17, from York, was delighted to receive first place for his image taken on a family holiday in North Cape, Norway. He wins the chance to spend some time working with an IoS photographer.

The awards were hosted last week at Stanfords book shop in London and included an Insight Guides Travel Photography Master Class. Along with Steven Lawrence, the 2010 judges were: Sophie Batterbury, The Independent on Sunday picture editor; Peter Noble, a former trustee of the Royal Photographic Society; and documentary photographer Kevin Cummins. Winners were treated to a night at Le Meridien Piccadilly ( and a celebratory meal with their partners and the judges.

Book offer

Insight Guides is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year with the launch of a new book, Insight Guide to Travel Photography: How to Take Striking Images, (RRP £14.99). IoS readers can take advantage of a special offer – £11.99 including free P&P – by calling 01206 255800 and quoting "IoS Reader Offer/ISBN 9789812822956". This offer ends on Friday 12 November 2010.