The judging of the photo contest

The judging of the photo contest

The first round of the 2008 jury. © Roger Dohmen / Hollandse Hoogte

During the judging of the photo contest, the jury works independently and the World Press Photo staff, board, and partners have no influence. Throughout the judging, the World Press Photo staff helps to administrate the judging process, controls the projection of the photos, reads captions, and processes the photos selected for the next round.

Entries are judged for their news value and on the photographer's creative skills. In the case of stories and portfolios, the edit of the material submitted is also taken into account.

In order to ensure a fair judging procedure, there are a number of protocols in place. During the judging, the secretary of the jury - who does not have a vote him/herself - observes that the procedures are strictly followed. The voting is electronically conducted and anonymous. The pictures are also judged anonymously and the jury will not learn the names of the photographers, or any other details about the photo other than caption information, until after the judging has concluded. The jury members are required to sign a protocol, agreeing to follow this procedure.

The process is led by a jury chair. During the first round of judging, the jury chair is joined by five other jury members. A secretary remains through the entire judging process. While the judging of the news and documentary categories takes place, the specialized juries for Nature, Portraits, and Sports gather to judge their respective categories. The head of each specialized jury is joined by two other jury members and a secretary. The three specialized jury chairs join the jury chair and the members of the general jury during the second round of judging to ensure continuity in the categories they represent. The judges end the second week of judging with the announcement of winners at a press conference in Amsterdam.


Learn about the World Press Photo Contest, its history and the setup.

Setting up the judging room