If it's been a big year for news, then it's been an even bigger one for photos. From the conflict in the middle east and shamed public figures, to celebrations of Olympian proportions, there has been plenty going on infront of a camera lens.

While the UK Picture Editors' Guild Awards have decorated those photographers in the front line, 2012 has also seen smaller awards pop up, like the Student Street Photography Awards, which say as much about the world around us.

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Life outside our planet has been captured by the talented few celebrated in the Astronomy Photographer of the Year, and the bounty of our ever-changing natural environment has been the subject of the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer Awards, now on show at the Natural History Museum.

The 2012 London Olympics are perhaps a surprising omission from the roundup below, but maybe more a sign of the other historic events and beautiful sights that this year has seen. The Nikon Sports Photographer Of The Year went not to an image of a gold medallist, but to a photograph capturing the hopeful stares of footballer Fabrice Muamba's teammates as medics flocked to the scene of his on-pitch collapse.

One thing was consistent in this year's awards though: the huge numbers of people taking part. It was fitting that the Wildlife Photographer Awards celebrated its 48th year with 48,000 entrants.

As digital photography becomes increasingly accessible for amateurs - like this year's winning Astronomy Photographer of the Year - we should expect to see more people getting their photos in 2013's competitions. What they'll capture, however, remains to be seen.

Check out our round up of this year's winners in the slideshow below.

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  • Getty Images Royal Photographer Of The Year

    Max Murphy The UK Picture Editors' Guild Awards 2012 The Prince of Wales was caught shooting a paintball gun on St David's Day. Murphy has been a freelance photographer for 24 years and specialises in the Royal Family. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/09/the-uk-picture-editors-guild-awards_n_2100159.html">The full story and more competition entries here</a>

  • Photobox Regional Photographer Of The Year

    Charles McQuillan The UK Picture Editors' Guild Awards 2012 McQuillan's lively photograph shows Angela McClements join in the traditional New Years day swim at Carnlough Harbour, Country Antrim, off the Irish coast. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/09/the-uk-picture-editors-guild-awards_n_2100159.html">The full story and more competition entries here</a>

  • Celebrity Photographer Of The Year

    Jon Enoch, The UK Picture Editors' Guild Awards 2012 This portrait of Derren Brown by Enoch was taken for a Times editorial, the main publication the photographer works for. Enoch is a portrait photographer who started his career in local newspapers. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/09/the-uk-picture-editors-guild-awards_n_2100159.html">The full story and more competition entries here</a>

  • Opentext News Photographer Of The Year

    Dan Kitwood The UK Picture Editors' Guild Awards 2012 Kitwood's resonant image of the 2011 London riots shows a fire in Croydon. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/09/the-uk-picture-editors-guild-awards_n_2100159.html">The full story and more competition entries here</a>

  • ETIHAD/Newscast Young Photographer Bursary

    Brad Wakefield The UK Picture Editors' Guild Awards 2012 A freelancer for The Sun, Wakefield won this category with a picture of Glastonbury Tor at sunrise. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/09/the-uk-picture-editors-guild-awards_n_2100159.html">The full story and more competition entries here</a>

  • Bloomberg Business Photographer Of The Year

    Jason Alden The UK Picture Editors' Guild Awards 2012 A relative newbie in the Guild Awards, Alden started working in 2007. Here he catches Rebekah Brooks, former head of News International, after she leaves Southwark Crown Court. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/09/the-uk-picture-editors-guild-awards_n_2100159.html">The full story and more competition entries here</a>

  • Nikon Sports Photographer Of The Year

    John Sibley The UK Picture Editors' Guild Awards 2012 Sibley, who mainly takes photos of football, has covered four World Cup finals. His winning photo shows Darren Pratley's reaction as his Bolton Wanderers' team mate Fabrice Muamba receives treatment. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/09/the-uk-picture-editors-guild-awards_n_2100159.html">The full story and more competition entries here</a>

  • Royal Horticultural Society's Annual Photographic Competition, Winner

    Josie Elias This photograph is of the Iris Garden at Plantas Distintas in Spain. Elias, who won £1000 for her photograph, said she took it by chance. <a href="http://huff.to/SaAm8H">The full story and more competition entries here</a>

  • UK Guild Of Picture Editors' Photo Essay

    Jason Howe The UK Picture Editors' Guild Awards 2012 Howe has been photographing war zones for a decade. His winning shot captures dawn on Armistice Day 2011, as British troops are dropped inside Taliban country in southern Afghanistan. Am hour after this was taken, one soldier would lose both legs to an IED. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/09/the-uk-picture-editors-guild-awards_n_2100159.html">The full story and more competition entries here</a>

  • Winner, World Press Photo Contest

    Samuel Aranda Aranda took this moving image of Fatima al-Qaws, cradling her 18-year-old son who is suffering from tear gas, following an anti-government march in Yemen. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/13/world-press-photo-contest-winners-2012_n_2122410.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-photography">The full story and more competition entries here</a>

  • Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer Award, Winner

    Peter Nicklen's photograph of 'Bubble-jetting emperors' beat 48,000 other entries. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/10/18/wildlife-photographer-award-winners_n_1978039.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-photography">The full story and more competition entries here</a>

  • Travel Photographer Of The Year, Cultures and Tradition Winner

    Russian Sergey Anisimov captured this photo of Nomadic children in Yamal. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/05/15/travel-photography-winners_n_1518374.html?utm_h#slide=964952">The full story and more competition entries here</a>

  • Travel Photographer Of The Year, Exotic Winner

    Amusingly enough, this photo from London, by Polish photographer Malgorzata Pioro, won in the Exotic portfolio. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/05/15/travel-photography-winners_n_1518374.html?utm_h#slide=964952">The full story and more competition entries here</a>

  • Travel Photographer Of The Year, New Talent Winner

    Edgard de Bono won with this image of children on Goree Island. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/05/15/travel-photography-winners_n_1518374.html?utm_h#slide=964947">The full story and more competition entries here</a>

  • Travel Photographer Of The Year, One Shot Wild Moments

    Stuart Dunn from the UK entered his successful image from Kaieteur Falls in Guyana. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/05/15/travel-photography-winners_n_1518374.html?utm_h#slide=964937">The full story and more competition entries here</a>

  • Travel Photographer Of The Year, Best Single Image

    Franco Banfi from Switzerland won in the Spirit of Adventure portfolio section of the competition with this ice-diving photo. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/05/15/travel-photography-winners_n_1518374.html?utm_h">The full story and more competition entries here</a>

  • Travel Photographer Of The Year, Overall Winner

    Louise Montrose's photo of the Mexican Day of the Dead. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/05/15/travel-photography-winners_n_1518374.html?utm_h">The full story and more competition entries here</a>

  • Sony World Photography Awards - Youth

    Karina Sembe, Ukraine, Youth Category Winner, Portraits <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/03/20/world-photography-awards-_n_1366326.html">The full story and more competition entries here</a>

  • Sony World Photography Awards - Youth

    Kolyaskin Sergey, Russia, Youth Category Winner, Culture <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/03/20/world-photography-awards-_n_1366326.html">The full story and more competition entries here</a>

  • Sony World Photography Awards - Open

    Giovanni Frescura, Italy, Open Category Winner, Nature & Wildlife <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/03/20/world-photography-awards-_n_1366326.html">The full story and more competition entries here</a>

  • Sony World Photography Awards - Open

    Piotr Stasiuk, Poland, Open Category Winner, Smile <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/03/20/world-photography-awards-_n_1366326.html">The full story and more competition entries here</a>

  • Sony World Photography Awards - Open

    Sanket k, India, Open Category Winner, Arts and Culture <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/03/20/world-photography-awards-_n_1366326.html">The full story and more competition entries here</a>

  • Sony World Photography Awards - Open

    Victor Vargas Villafuerte, Mexico, Open Category Winner, Enhanced <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/03/20/world-photography-awards-_n_1366326.html">The full story and more competition entries here</a>

  • Astronomy Photographer of the Year, Winner

    Martin Pugh's photograph of the M51 galaxy was said to be "one of the finest images of m51 ever taken by an amateur astronomer" by astronomer Will Gater. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/09/20/astronomy-photographer-greenwich-winners_n_1899308.html#slide=more246410">The full story and more competition entries here</a>

  • Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year

    15-year-old Jessica caught this image of her friends at a caravan sight in the Gower Peninsular. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/09/20/astronomy-photographer-greenwich-winners_n_1899308.html#slide=more246410">The full story and more competition entries here</a>

  • Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2012, Winner, Our Solar System

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/09/20/astronomy-photographer-greenwich-winners_n_1899308.html#slide=more246410">The full story and more competition entries here</a>

  • Astronomy Photographer of the Year, Winner, Earth & Space

    This image, 'Star Icefall', won in its category, Earth & Space. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/09/20/astronomy-photographer-greenwich-winners_n_1899308.html#slide=more246410">The full story and more competition entries here</a>

  • Student Street Photography Awards - Winner

    Jake Burge's minimalist landscapes scooped up the £1000 prize for the Best Student Street Photograph, as part of the London Festival of Photography. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/06/14/student-street-photography-awards_n_1596942.html#slide=1096464">The full story and more competition entries here</a>