Book review verdict: Add it to your bookshelf
Tom Ang is a renowned photographer and author of many successful books. With this offering he presents his thoughts on the photography judging process, and how judges can benefit from using the system he proposes.
The book is an easy read, reflecting Ang’s experience as an author and educator.
As the subtitle confirms, the book is aimed not only at those who judge photography, but also at photographers and picture editors.
As such, the book is pretty much a must-read for all photographers, many of whom enter competitions in the hope of winning or improving their visibility to others, but with little real chance of success. It is also essential reading for those who believe they have submitted quality entries to competitions, but who fail to make it to even to the second round of judging. There is even a section entitled “How to win with your pictures”, it doesn’t get much clearer than that…
For those who are asked to judge photographs, but have perhaps never had any training, the author provides a checklist of questions to start with. The questions Ang suggests that judges should ask themselves will allow the potential judge to either fill gaps in their existing knowledge, or decline the invitation to judge.
The book also introduces 2 different selection approaches to picture editing, top down and bottom up, which provide much needed insights into how images are culled, somewhat brutally perhaps, from the vast numbers submitted as entries to competitions.
All of the information provided within this book helps to educate photographers on how to approach a shoot, select their very best images for submission to competitions, and increase their chances of becoming more successful.
Many photographers also need to submit a series of images as panels, perhaps to earn awards or distinctions. This book caters to those too, providing valuable pointers on what can detract from a panel’s success.
The book is full of useful suggestions for photographers as well as judges. Many of the ideas will boil down to simple common sense, but Ang has presented a book of elbow nudges for photographers to consider.
The author makes the point that there are more than 3 trillion photographs produced each year, and that photographers need to consider how they are going to stand out from the crowd to be successful.
Realistically, any tactic that can help a photographer shorten the odds of success should be welcome, and this book presents plenty of information that can help. Whether you want to enter competitions or not, this book provides valuable tips to help create better, more impactful images.