AN Oxfordshire photographer with a pet passion has reached the final of a national contest for a third year running.

Mel Taylor, from Letcombe Regis near Wantage, has once again made the shortlist for this year’s Guild of Photographers Image of the Year Competition.

She won her place with this lovingly-crafted paw-trait of her own three-year-old mini American shepherd dog – Buzz.

She said: “I love photography and put a lot of effort into developing my skills.

“I have a particular passion for pet photography and so was thrilled to be selected in the pet genre.”

The guild, a UK-based association for photographers, runs a monthly online competition, judged by internationally-respected judges.

In 2017, the competition attracted some 1,200 entries.

From all those, guild judges selected just 12 in various genres to go forward to the Image of the Year Final.

Among the finalists is Mrs Taylor’s shot of Buzz.

Guild Director Lesley Thirsk said “One of the Guild’s aims is to drive standards and creativity amongst photographers.

“Our monthly competition certainly does that, for the standard of the entries we see each month is quite staggering.

“To have an image recognised by the Guild in the monthly competition is difficult enough, so to have an image selected as being one of the best in a category for the end of year final is without doubt an incredible achievement, and shows just how talented photographer, Mel Taylor is.”

Mrs Taylor is no stranger to success: as well as reaching the final of the guild competition three times in a row, last year she achieved her associate qualification with the Society of Photographers which is held only by 10 per cent of photographers.

She said: “I enter competitions regularly: it drives forward photography standards month after month so it helps me push myself.

“This is the third year running I have been selected and it’s a real honour.”

The Competition Final was in December, when judges came together from across the country and overseas to choose the overall winner.

The final outcome will be announced at an awards night in a Jacobean mansion in Cheshire tomorrow night.