Popular photo contest shortlists its favourite images of 2020 – but YOU get to decide the overall winner

  • Staff at the Agora photo app have chosen their 50 favourite images of their #BestPhotoOf2020 competition 
  • They had to whittle down more than 35,000 images that were submitted by photographers in 135 countries 
  • Agora is asking members of the public to vote for grand prize winner, who will take home $25,000 (£18,700) 

Images from photo contests run by the Agora app have deservedly made regular appearances on MailOnline throughout this year.

And now staff members at the app have chosen their favourite pictures of 2020. But the next step, choosing the overall winner, is down to you.

Agora is asking members of the public to vote for the grand prize winner, who will take home $25,000 (£18,700). 

Photographers have been able to submit their snaps to the contest, called #BestPhotoOf2020, since March. Organisers received over 35,000 images from snappers in 135 countries.

Octavi Royo, Agora’s CEO and co-founder, said: We’ve been overwhelmed by the quality of the 35,000 photos we’ve received in the #BestPhotoOf2020 Awards. Together, humanity chooses the best images of the world, the images that represent all of us, making the voting process a deeply meaningful and beautiful practice for all. Power to the people!’

Visit Agora Images to download the app and have your say – voting closes on December 28. Scroll down for MailOnline Travel’s pick of the top 50 pictures in the running to be the best of 2020…

A male lion plays with a cub in a heartwarming scene captured by Dutch photographer Ilaria Ronchi in Etosha Pan National Park, Namibia. Ilaria said: ‘I love observing animals and their interactions and my goal through animal photography isn’t just capturing these beautiful creatures, but also framing a moment to show how much animals are similar to humans in their behaviour’

This dramatic image of a storm cell on the coast of Fraser Island in Australia was snapped by Luke Simpson, who lives on the Sunshine Coast. Talking about his picture, he said: ‘I had never really shot lightning before and saw this storm cell approaching so thought I’d use long exposure to try and capture a bolt or two. When out in nature it is always my intention to capture the epic and effortless beauty of our natural world’ 

To take this jaw-dropping sunrise image of San Francisco, photographer Lee Mumford had to be up before the crack of dawn – but his early start paid off. He explained: ‘I couldn’t believe my luck when everything started to fall in place. The perfect light, the iconic tram, the famous hilly road of the California street, the Oakland Bay Bridge, and eventually, the famous fog started to roll in’

Photographer Donaldo Barros captured this tender scene during civil unrest in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas. He explained: ‘The subjects of this photo are two soldiers who were part of the Venezuelan government’s containment group in charge of dissipating the 2017 protests against Nicolás Maduro and his administration, and a nun named Esperanza. My intention was to convey hope for a country that is full of problems – a country submerged in a very deep social, political and economic crisis’ 

Kelitsadi Lake in Kazbegi, Georgia, is the subject of this stunning shortlisted image taken by Tbilisi-based photographer Nika Pailodze. He said: ‘The emotion I try to convey through this photo is a feeling of peace, achieved from being alone and finding oneself’ 

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Mikurajima Island in Japan is famous for being the home of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins. And Japanese photographer Reiko Takahashi was lucky enough to photograph them while swimming with the creatures. Reiko said: ‘Currently, more than 160 dolphins live there and last year 20 babies were born. I have wanted to swim with them for some time and was so happy to feel their welcome’

French snapper Mathēo walked for over three hours and up to an altitude of 2,500 metres (8,202ft) in order to snap this breathtaking image of the NOEMA Observatory in Massif du Devoluy, France. He said: ‘When we got to the top, there were a lot of clouds but they quickly dissipated at sunset to leave us a perfectly clear sky all night. We didn’t get much sleep that night because the show was so incredible. The dishes you can see in this photo rotate to orient in different positions, so on many occasions we had to start again because they had turned during the long exposure’

Paal Uglefisk Lund captured this sleepy polar bear on camera while cruising around Svalbard in Norway. The photographer said he wanted to create a ‘peaceful yet powerful image’. He added: ‘I also wanted to contrast the polar bear’s snow-less bed with the snowy mountains behind him that reflect the global warming crisis’

On the left is a charming snap of an elderly person from the Raglai ethnic minority of Khanh Vinh mountainous district in Vietnam. It was taken by a photographer known as Manhcuongvuong. He had been in the district as part of the Help-Portrait Programme, which is a community of photographers and volunteers from around the world who voluntarily devote their time, equipment and expertise to photographing people in need. He added: ‘This woman was extremely happy to be photographed for the first time, if not also a little embarrassed. It was as special a moment for me as it was for her.’ On the right is a shot taken by a photographer, known only as John, of the glowing roads and twinkling city lights of Hong Kong. He said this image shows a ‘classic concrete jungle’ from ‘a god’s eye angle’

Victor de Valles Ibanez is the snapper behind this incredible image taken inside a cave in Menorca. The Spanish photographer explained the painstaking process involved: ‘To go to this cave you need to walk close to high cliffs, walk between big rocks, swim a bit, and then dive around 30 metres (98ft) inside the cave in the dark, wait for the sunrays to hit the camera at the right place, swim to the place, wait and then repeat the process’

The Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi is pictured in all of its bewitching glory in this dramatic black-and-white shot by Patricia Soon from Malaysia. Patricia explained: ‘I used a long exposure to define the curves of the beautiful domes of the mosque and the dark clouds added a sense of calm to the symmetrical structure’

This moody black-and-white image shows people working on a burning landfill site in Karanganyar, Indonesia. The snap was taken by local photographer Wibowo Rahardjo. He explained: ‘This landfill catches fire almost every year during the dry season due to methane gas contained in the garbage. It amazes yet saddens me that there are people who, despite the health hazards, tirelessly look for scraps or items they want to go on to sell in order to be able to provide for their families’

On the left is a drone shot taken in Allgau, Germany, that has a special meaning to the photographer behind it, Katharina. That’s because she snapped it on her birthday. She said: ‘I have wanted to shoot at this location since I was a little child, before drones were well known. It was a particular challenge to get this shot due to the really cold weather conditions of Allgau in January. I nearly lost my drone.’ On the right is a shot by Italian photographer Ester Turri showing a foggy sunrise around the Cadini di Misurina mountain range in Auronzo di Cadore, Italy. She said: ‘Through this shot, I wanted to show how massive these peaks are. I asked a friend to stand in that spot in order to give an idea of the scale’

Andrei Pugach, a photographer who hails from Russia, is behind this aerial shot of Nur-Sultan, the capital of Kazakhstan. He took the photo on a frosty morning when the temperature was -20 degrees. Andrei said: ‘The sun was shining brightly, releasing a beautiful light and graphic shades, so I decided to raise my drone. The Khan Shatyr (Royal tent), which is seen in the centre of the photo, is one of Kazakhstan’s most famous buildings’

This beautiful image by Vietnamese photographer Hoa Carol shows farmers harvesting sedge – a grass-like plant – which will later be used to weave mats. Carol said: ‘I associate these mats with my childhood, as every family in Vietnam uses this kind of mat to sleep on’

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