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Fotospeed Photographers

Terry Donnelly: The Societies Convention

Posted: 04 Mar 2020

Terry Donnelly is a freelance photographer from Liverpool, who has worked with a wide range of journalistic clients, such as the BBC, ESPN and the Guardian. His work has been exhibited all over the world and has earned over 230 awards. In this blog, Terry discusses the Societies convention, and why this years convention was so special for him.


The Societies Convention takes place in London every year in January. This year was a special occasion for me, as it was the first time I’d be part of the judging team for the 20x16 print competition, as well as being on the distinction awards panel. 



The awards evening is always a great part of the convention. I had received six nominations in five categories for the Photographer of the Year Award. Nominations are drawn from an entry of approximately 11,000 images submitted throughout the year, so its a privilege to be a part of.


The Convention is also an opportunity to see the best of the previous years photography that’s been shortlisted, with the winners of awards recognised for their achievements. I managed to walk away with three Photographer of the Year Awards in the Sport, Media and Documentary, and Architecture categories.



The 20x16 print competition is a separate competition. The judging team consists of around 40 judges from all around the world, including Australia, USA, Europe and the UK.  Judges of the 20x16 print competition are also allowed to enter their own prints. The competition Chair has a schedule of when judges entries are to be judged and make sure the judge in question has no involvement by operating a rotation system from an allocated pool of judges if necessary.


The 20x16 print competition accepts worldwide entries and is judged in front of an audience with comments on prints made publicly as the prints are judged and scored. This is a unique opportunity for visitors to sit and listen to judges debate and assess prints, and a chance to learn from the comments. 

All my print entries were printed on Fotospeed’s Photo Smooth Pearl 290 paper. The paper is ideal for both colour and monochrome prints and has a subtle sheen, allowing for beautiful colour and contrast printing. This is ideal for competition prints and has become my favourite go-to paper. 



The printed medium is so important, a photograph is just not a photograph until it is in print. The 20x16 competition is an excellent competition to showcase the best of the prints from a worldwide entry from professional photographers.

I view a print as the final part of producing a real photograph, that can be held in the hand and absorbed by the viewer in such a way that digital image cannot come close to. Nothing comes close to having an impact on the viewer than a top-quality print. Top-quality prints need top-quality paper and that is what Fotospeed’s Photo Smooth Pearl 290 is, giving stunning results.

I had seven awarded prints and five finalists in the 20x16 print competition, resulting in 2nd and 3rd place in the Wildlife category, and 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the Documentary category.

Presentation, including print quality, has to be exemplary to progress in the 20x16 print competition. Using Fotospeed papers gives me that reassurance that I’m printing and delivering my work on the finest papers available to me, giving me true competition-winning print quality.


The additional reassurance is the custom print profiling service offered by Fotospeed. This ensures that customers colour print management is the very best it can be.


To check out more blogs, click here. To see more on Terry Donnelly, click here

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