Judging a photo book

Last week I co-authored this with Josh, another member of the steering committee. We are working to share stories about the production of the photographers @ Microsoft Book. Behind the scenes, baby!



This email marks the start of a series of stories where we will share with you little slices of insight into what’s happening during the production of the photo book. We hope you find these interesting and insightful J

Our goal of creating a beautiful book full of amazing photos for you, the photography community at Microsoft, has many challenges. A critical one that we face early on in the project each year is how we select the photos for the book. After all this is first and foremost a community effort for you (by you) joining together for a great cause. Being a member of the judging committee in the past I got to experience an in depth view of the results first hand. I’ve found that with photography being art it is a very subjective experience and two judges can look at a photo and have very differing opinions of it. The good news is when we have many judges (THANK YOU for those who volunteered their time this year!) we can average those scores together to get a solid average for every photo. At some point we need to draw a line of how many photos are in the book to strike a balance between quality (great product) and quantity (as many members from our vibrant photography community in the book as possible). As the number of submissions fluctuates each year our goal isn’t necessarily a concrete number or formula but rather to have a ratio of photos that are submitted which should maintain a pretty solid and consistent quality assuming the same average distribution of photographers. Even still it’s important to remember that it is still subjective (being all about art) and there will always being photos that any given individual will feel deserve to be in the book and some that one feels could have been left out. With the judging system we work to ensure it all comes down to statistical averages.

Anyway, judging is just getting underway. We did our training with the judges at the end of last week and are set to start here in the following days after we iron out a few kinks in the technology.

We hope you found this little glimpse into the process of creating a book from your beautiful photos an interesting one. Please do feel free to let us know if you liked this (or not) and if there is anything in particular you would like to hear about the creation of the book.

All the best,

Josh Debner

A participant in the Microsoft photography community & a member of the 2013 photo book steering committee


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