The judging part keeps getting harder
Imagine trying to pick one winner…from nearly 1,000 walks all around the world, and every image you’re looking at has already won a contest just to be considered — each image is the winning image from a local photo walk. It’s so challenging and frustrating to narrow it down to just 10 finalists and one Grand Prize winner. There are so many images that deserve to be in this list, but narrowing things down is what I have to do today, and I’m delighted to present to you this year’s 10 finalists and our 2018 Grand Prize winner.

Note: If you want to learn more about the judging process, and how I came down to picking these images, scroll to the bottom of this post. 

Here are this year’s Top 10 Finalists (in no particular order):

By Janos Leo Andanar (Dapa, Philippines)
There is such joy in this image. Some of the children are aware of the photographer, but none of them are posing, and the backlighting is awesome, and the color is vibrant without being over the top — it just all came together for this shot. The photographer probably took dozens of shots of this scene, but the timing and position of the kids on top makes it a really special frame. Very well done.

By Marco Van Apeldoorn (Haarlem, The Netherlands)
It’s tough to make a really captivating shot of reflections on a car, but this photographer pulled it off big time! Great color and composition, and a really intriguing image. This would make a great desktop background image.

By Elousagun (Candon, Philippines)
This is just such a cool shot, and the outfit our subject is wearing just fits so perfectly into this scene. I loved it the moment I saw it. If I had taken this image, I already know what I would title it. “Top shelf!” Such a cool shot.

By Prapoport (São Paulo, Brazil)
This one should be used in college courses on composition. The placement of the subject in the frame, and the colors surrounding our subject, and the arrows on the ground and above our subject, and the way the buildings are leaning in from the fisheye lens — this is really a special image. Great, great eye!

By Alfie Narisma (Doha, Qatar – Pinoy Shooters Club)
This is just a really intriguing shot, and I’m not usually drawn to photos of people taking photos, but in this case, it just works. Also, I’m usually not of fan of the flat-looking post-processing that’s going on here, but it so perfectly suits the shot — it really helped take an interesting image and move it up a big notch.

By Jing Esteban (Downtown Boise, Idaho, USA)
How beautiful is this? The light, the colorful, the movement — it all comes together in this gorgeous shot. Very nicely done!

By Debora Suterko (Claremont, California, USA)
This is such a peaceful, beautiful, timeless image. So simple — yet it makes you want to not only see what’s inside, it makes you want to be inside, with its art on the easel and fresh flowers in your foreground. Beautiful light, very nicely post-processed. Great capture all around.

 

By Susan Chapel (Belcrum Breda, The Netherlands)
I know this “person standing there looking at art” has been done many times before, but I think this one is particularly intriguing for a number of reasons. I love how our subject shows the sheer scale of the image, and I love that it’s a woman looking at these images because it really makes you wonder what she’s thinking about them. Compositionally, not only is she in the perfect position, but the way her blond hair pops on that dark background immediately draws you to her. There’s more going on here than you see at first glace. Top job.

By Jer-Sandel (Bulacan, Philippines)
Of course, the color is amazing, and for a silhouette to really work, you have to immediately be able to identify what the shapes are, and you certainly do here, but the gesture of the little boy on the left — that takes it over the top. Such a great photo.

 

By ValeriaBD (Copenhagen, Denmark)
I kept looking at this image again and again, and I kept coming back to it. The reflections are just so amazing here — this photographer has a really great eye for composition, balance, and for taking something simple and making it really captivating.

And the GRAND PRIZE WINNER is…

Who wins all the stuff below, and more…

Is this image:

By Omar Shebl (Alexandria, Egypt)
There is just so much going on in this simple shot. A living legend of photography, Jay Maisel says it in his seminal book “Light, Gesture, and Color” and this shot has it all. The light is so appropriate without calling attention to itself. The color tones, from the color of their skin to the dominos to the board to the table to the floor — they’re almost too perfect, and both player’s gestures are so opposite of each other that it gives you a hint as to each players personality. Add a wonderful shooting perspective and you feel like you’re right there in the middle of all it. This was an instant stand-out to me, and I knew from the start the photographer had captured something very special. I love it.

How I do the judging
I look at every single winning image from all the walks around the world. I do find that the great shots jump right out at you, and I make those as picks to go back and look at again. I was able to get down to 106 shots after going through all of them. That’s a big cut, but a very long way from 10 finalists and one winner.

I try not to be swayed simply because an image was taken in an exotic location or somewhere I’ve never been or never seen — I wanted to pick a photo, simple composition or not, easy to capture or not, post-processed brilliantly or not — that is simply special. Maybe it’s the right light, expression or mood, or story or a combination — I search for whatever that certain something is that makes me come back to it again and again — and  I want to give every image fair and open-minded consideration.

What makes this process harder is that these are already curated. Each image was already judged and chosen as a “winner” by the local walk leaders, from nearly 1,000 walks. Narrowing it down — it’s just so hard, and you second and third-guess your choices along the way because you want to give every image a fair shake.

You could easily make a case for hundreds of images to be chosen as finalists, but you only get to choose 10, and one Grand Prize winner, and you finally just have to make a choice. It is literally one of the hardest things I do each year, but also one of the most rewarding because I get to see so many great images during the process. I hope that gives you a little insight into my judging process.

Even though this round of judging is over …
We still have our Leader’s Competition winner coming next week and I always list my ‘Honorable Mentions’ (images that are so good that even though they didn’t win a prize, still deserve recognition). So, while this is the official announcement of the Top-10 Finalists and the Grand Prize winner, the competition phase still has a few more components left.

Thanks to Canon USA and all our sponsors
Special thanks to our Premier Sponsor, Canon USA, (who gave us some amazing Canon prizes) and to Adobe Systems, Peachpit Press, Tamron, and B&H Photo — thanks for all your support this year and for offering such awesome prizes to our winners. We are very grateful.

Thanks to our Walk Leaders
It’s a lot of work, and a thankless job, so let me be the first to say “thanks.” We couldn’t do any of this without our volunteer walk leaders around the world, who do such a great job of creating the walk; working with the walkers, and making the whole thing happen on the local level, and that means a lot.

My personal thanks to our own Jeanne Jilleba, who did an amazing job again this year of keeping the communication flowing, working with the leaders and managing walks in nearly 1,000 locations all over the globe. It’s a very challenging job, but she does it like a boss and I’m very proud of the job she does (even better this year than next). Thank you, Jeanne — we are all indebted for all your hard work and dedication to making the photo walk a success.

Lastly, thanks to all the talented photographers from around the world
who created such inspiring, creative, and beautiful work, and special thanks to those of you who contributed to the Springs of Hope Orphanage in Kenya — it means more than you know.

More to come as we reveal more winners next week.

All my best,

-Scott

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About The Author

Scott is a Photographer, bestselling Author, Host of "The Grid" weekly photography show; Editor of Photoshop User magazine; Lightroom Guy; KelbyOne.com CEO; struggling guitarist. Loves Classic Rock and his arch-enemy is Cilantro. Devoted husband, dad to two super awesome kids, and pro-level babysitter to two crazy doggos.

9 Comments

  1. […] post Announcing The Winners From My 11th Annual Worldwide Photo Walk appeared first on Scott Kelby's Photoshop […]

  2. Another year with great photos from all over the world. Scott, we love the walk and all the wonderfulness around it. We hope it continues for many years to come.
    That being said, you might want to go and read all the issues posted on the Facebook page before you make statements like, “My personal thanks to our own Jeanne Jilleba, who did an amazing job again this year of keeping the communication flowing, working with the leaders and managing walks in nearly 1,000 locations all over the globe.”
    Erik Kuna was the one who finally started answering questions, letting us know what was going on, and gave us substance in his responses. I say cuddos to Erik!

    • Hey Annemarie, Thanks, I appreciate it.

      With that said, I must clear up that Jeanne was doing just as much as I was, and in most cases way more, she just sometimes goes unseen since she’s handling it behind the scenes on a one-on-one basis via chat and email on the Worldwide Photowalk site.

      I too want to thank Jeanne for her amazing job. I know most people don’t know all the things that happen behind the curtain, including you so let me take a minute to tell you about Jeanne. I stepped in on social because she was super busy with emails and direct message chat and just couldn’t get our social media department the most accurate information quick enough, so I stepped in because Jeanne and I work close on the Photowalk and both are up to speed when issues or errors arise. It’s a daunting task to manage all the stuff behind the scenes that most people don’t see with the photowalk, even way before the contest starts and Jeanne does it mostly by herself. From approving leaders, getting walkers registers, coordinating sponsors, dealing with signup and configuration issues, making sure the prizes and gifts are coordinated, to etc. etc. etc.

      Plus, many times Jeanne (and myself) are only but the messengers and have to then get web developers or email programmers involved to fix errors and glitches that arise. It’s many times a thankless job for Jeanne, because most people that are coming to her for help have a problem that we have to fix but we don’t have the ultimate control to fix it most of the time they’re coming because of an issue or problem. But, I can tell you Jeanne always goes above and beyond to help. I can’t tell you how many times she has come into my office over the years with the Photowalk and said “hey, we have this walker ” or “hey we have this leader who had a problem with” and “can we help them” and “what can I do” She’s always trying to make it work for all the walkers and leaders. She even spent months and months back and forth one year with the local government and a walker who won the grand prize trying to fight to get their prizes to clear customs. Bottom line, Jeanne is great and does a amazing job for all of us that walk and lead walks. Thanks Jeanne.

      And thanks Annemarie and all the walkers and leaders that every year give a huge gift to the Orphans at the Springs of Hope, it’s because of this event many of those kids were rescued. There’s even young kids who 11 years ago were just young 10 year old orphans and now they’re adults who went to college and are returning to give back to their community, it’s awesome to see this community of Photographers come together to help make this happen.

  3. Erik, I tried to ‘reply’ to your post. Unfortunately it gave me an error ” Please sign in or enter a name and email address.” My name and email address were both entered. . . So here is my reply to your post.

    Erik, thanks so much for responding. I in no way what to belittle the job Jeanne has done. From what I have read she was working with many people to resolve issues. I work in IT myself, and totally understand. My objection was to the statement Scott made. It definitely rubbed me the wrong way, as I am sure it will others. It made me realize that he is not aware of all the issues we have had. I can totally understand, he is so busy with his walk, traveling, and then going through all those wonderful photos/videos to find the winners. Thanking Jeanne for her hard work is totally appropriate, and I would too. But that being said, we who suffered the bad ‘communication’ would see it a different way. My understanding is that the walk is run by mostly volunteers. For next year, put a call out for volunteers among your past walk participants. Do it now, while things are all fresh. I am pretty sure you will get a ton of people wanting to help. The best part, they experienced the issues in past walks, so that valuable experience could only work to prevent them being repeated again. Erik, I usually don’t speak up, or comment on posts or blogs. I don’t care for the bashing and drama it can turn into. But when the same issues happen, year after year, the participants frustration heightens. We want this wonderful walk to go on successfully for many years to come. Just as we ask Scott, and you too, to give us Constructive Criticism on our photos, we would like to do the same for you when it comes to the area of our expertise.

  4. Wonderful! I viewed all of the walker’s images the other day and was pleased to see many we both chose. I always hope to be selected, but just didn’t have a strong enough image (again!) this year, so I congratulate all of the people whose images the judges selected for their efforts and the pleasure from viewing their images. Thanks!

  5. Beautiful work! And shoot out to the Philippines and The Netherlands with multiple wins!

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