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How Travel Photographer of the Year is judged

tpoty exhibition

Final Judging of TPOTY 2012


TPOTY is one of the most stringently judged awards, with judging taking place over three rounds and all judging completed blind - the judges do not know the identity or nationality of any entrants.

The selected judging panel is representative of a broad spectrum of photography and of image usage. It is international and made up of respected photographers, picture editors, editors/publishers, art buyers, curators and other users of the photographic image. Each year there is also a lay judge to represent the views of the wider public who enjoy photography. Sponsors are not included on the judging panel. None of the judges have a vested interest beyond using their considerable knowledge and experience of photography to choose the winning images on merit. In 2012 there were 17 judges on the TPOTY judging panel.

Judging Round One

Conducted online and from print submissions - All entries are assessed on whether they meet the criteria and standard of photography required for the awards and the particular category in which they are entered. Images in the beginner’s category (First Shot) and the Young Photographer of the Year categories are judged less harshly on camera craft at this stage than the other categories. This round is judged by a small panel of judges.

Judging Round Two

Conducted online - All images/entries which have qualified from Round One are judged independently online by the entire judging panel. Print submissions are digitised by TPOTY so all the judges can view the images, regardless of where in the world they are judging from. The best entries in each category are chosen based on the number of votes they receive by this panel. Top entries are shortlisted for the final (print only) judging round. The number of finalists varies from category to category and year to year and depends on the standard of entries received.

Final Judging Round

Conducted on prints only (except HD Video category) supplied by shortlisted entrants. The final judging round is held over two days at the Royal Geographical Society in London. Shortlisted images/entries are individually assessed by a judging panel of 7 to 9 judges. The judges take great care and time to consider all entries and their choices are made following group discussion. In the unlikely event that any judge recognises an image or the photography of an individual entrant, they withdraw from judging and comment on that particular entry. This is done to maintain anonymity during the whole judging process.

The TPOTY judges are people of the highest integrity and we would like to thank them for giving their time and experience to ensuring that TPOTY sets and maintains the highest of standards. Both TPOTY and you, the entrant, benefit from their invaluable input.

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