Setterfield sets standard of excellence and takes top prize at Canon Photography Awards

Getty Images’ Justin Setterfield is new SJA Sports Photographer of the Year, and scores winner in Football Portfolio category too; Lee Smith secures second Canon Portfolio success of his career; Clive Brunskill scoops Specialist, with Ryan Pierse (Picture) and Mike Egerton (News Picture) joining Morgan Harlow atop podiums…

By Jon Holmes

For the fifth time in six years, the Ed Lacey Trophy for SJA Sports Photographer of the Year is in the grasp of a sensational snapper from the Getty Images stable.

Consistently for over a decade now, there has been a new name inscribed on the silverware and on this occasion, Justin Setterfield claims the highest honour on offer.

He was called to the stage for a second time at the 2023 SJA British Sports Journalism Awards gala, having already picked up the Football Portfolio gong.

That was Setterfield’s second career success in a Photography category, having claimed Specialist Portfolio back in 2019, while he was also shortlisted this year in Canon Portfolio.

Commenting on his football submission, which included a memorable shot of a bubble bursting on Erik ten Hag’s bald head during Manchester United’s Premier League defeat at West Ham in December, the judges said: “The winning set offered an outstanding range of photography – 10 pictures that offer different angles of action, celebration and dejection, portraiture and also embracing beautiful scenery.”

There was plenty more success for Getty Sport on the night, as a former Sports Photographer of the Year recipient scooped Specialist Portfolio and one of the company’s chief photographers claimed a long-awaited award.

The first of those went to Clive Brunskill – the Ed Lacey Trophy recipient back in 1996 – whose tremendous tennis entry was praised for its “incredible use of light… [there was] a variety of emotion, drama and strength in every picture”.

Then from the 10-strong Picture shortlist, it was Ryan Pierse‘s stunning shot of Australian surfer Olivia Ottaway that captured the judges’ imagination.

“The winning image stood out from the rest and demonstrated great skill and understanding of the subject. The colours and the use of light were striking,” said the panel.

Meanwhile, the extraordinary “eye for detail” of Lee Smith (Reuters) brought him a second career win in the Canon Portfolio category, and in a News Picture line-up dominated by ‘Just Stop Oil’ protesters, Mike Egerton‘s effort from The Crucible during the World Snooker Championship was named best in show.

“The intensity of this protest at such short range showed a quick reaction and good composition from the photographer who has caught this moment perfectly,” said the judges.

Earlier in the month, freelancer Morgan Harlow became the third woman in six years to take the Young Sports Photographer of the Year award – an encouraging sign for the future of this section of the industry.

View all the images in every shortlisted portfolio and category here

Watch interviews with award winners including Young Photographer of the Year, Morgan Harlow


Winner: Justin Setterfield – Getty Images


Adrian Dennis – AFP; Clive Mason – Getty Images; Justin Setterfield – Getty Images; Lee Smith – Reuters; Naomi Baker – Getty Images; Ryan Pierse – Getty Images

Bronze: Adrian Dennis – AFP; Silver: Clive Mason – Getty Images; Winner: Lee Smith – Reuters


Adrian Dennis – AFP; Alex Pantling – Getty Images; Hannah McKay – Reuters; Justin Setterfield – Getty Images; Simon Stacpoole – Offside; Theo McInnes – Freelance

Bronze: Theo McInnes – Freelance; Silver: Alex Pantling – Getty Images; Winner: Justin Setterfield – Getty Images


Clive Brunskill – Getty Images; Clive Mason – Getty Images; David Davies – PA Media; Edward Whitaker – Racing Post; Philip Brown – Popperfoto; Ryan Pierse – Getty Images

Bronze: Clive Mason – Getty Images; Silver: David Davies – PA Media; Winner: Clive Brunskill – Getty Images


Gareth Copley – Getty Images; Julian Finney – Getty Images; Kieran McManus – Shutterstock; Lexy Ilsley – Manchester City FC; Mike Egerton – PA Media; Zac Goodwin – PA Media

Bronze: Lexy Ilsley – Manchester City FC; Silver: Gareth Copley – Getty Images; Winner: Mike Egerton – PA Media


Adrian Dennis – AFP; Alex Livesey – Getty Images; Andy Hooper – Daily Mail; Cameron Smith – Getty Images; Clive Mason – Getty Images; David Davies – PA Media; George Wood – Getty Images; Mark Robinson – Freelance; Ryan Pierse – Getty Images; Tim Goode – Freelance

Bronze: Andy Hooper – Daily Mail; Silver: Alex Livesey – Getty Images; Winner: Ryan Pierse – Getty Images


Alex Davidson – Getty Images; Bradley Collyer – PA Media; Cameron Smith – Getty Images; George Wood – Getty Images; Morgan Harlow – Freelance; Zac Goodwin – PA Media

Bronze: Zac Goodwin – PA Media; Silver: Cameron Smith – Getty Images; Winner: Morgan Harlow – Freelance