2014 Photo Contest jury chair Gary Knight during the Joop Swart Masterclass Next#03 Night event. November 2013 © Michael Kooren / Hollandse Hoogte

I remember when I would enter the World Press Photo Contest as a photographer; I spent a lot of time trying to guess what the jury wanted to see. In my experience as a judge, that doesn't work and there are at least two reasons why. One reason is because juries like to be surprised. They want to see something new and be intrigued. The other reason is that it’s simply not possible to predict how a jury made up of so many genders, cultures and specializations will vote.

The way I see it, the jury's selections should be a mirror for the profession. We should reflect what photographers are doing, and photographers should feel free to submit the work that they are proud of. It doesn't matter if it's not a massive story about a spectacular event. It might be a really simple story that's just beautifully told. Don't be afraid that a subtle, nuanced story from a remote rural area won't be seen or taken seriously—it will. Think of the jury as curators. We will look at all of the submitted work and choose what we respond to the most. And you never know what that will be, so don't be afraid to submit something out of the ordinary.

Also, remember these three words: less is more. You can submit up to 12 photos in a story, but I would submit six frames if it makes for a stronger story. I think it's critical that photographers be concise. There is nothing more tedious for a juror, who will look at 100,000 images or more, than to be presented with work that is thoughtlessly edited or sequenced. Lead the jury with your photos so that they aren't forced to imagine how it could have been edited.

So if you're sitting in your studio trying to predict how the judges will vote, you're wasting your time. My suggestion to every photographer is to submit only your very best work—whatever resonates with you and whatever you think you have done best.

Best of luck to all,

Gary Knight

Judging has begun for the
2014 World Press Photo
Multimedia Contest

About the 2014 Photo Contest