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How we choose images for the magazine

Do you ever wonder what happens your images once you submit them to the TDL magazine? What the process for selection is and who's involved behind the scenes? Well this post gives a little insight into how we whittle down tens of hundreds of images to just 64 pages' worth (or perhaps a few more for Edition 2, wink wink)!

Naming your images

We receive so many images that we have to rely on a naming convention to sort and order the submissions efficiently (and fairly). First and foremost the file names allow us to organise the images into the right categories so they can be pooled into albums and sub-albums. Quite simply if the images aren't named as per the guidance we are unable to process them. See our naming convention guidance here.

The selection process

Initially the TDL team are given anonymous access to the images and are asked to select their favourites in our online gallery. So many elements can catch our eye - the subject, the light, the interpretation, the colours/tones, the mood, the emotion.... At this stage the decision is purely based on the merits of the image.

The short list

We study the short list together as a group online via Zoom. By default an image makes it to this round if it's "liked" by at least 50% of the team, although we do sometimes bring a number of images forward for discussion if one of the TDL team is particularly fond of something they have seen. At this point they can (and do) fight for it! Many of us agree that this can be the most interesting part of the process because it's so subjective. We all gain something from articulating what we love in an image and it can be so fascinating to hear what others feel passionate about too. At times the process will throw up something you might have otherwise missed so as a team we educate, inspire and challenge each other as well.

Again this part of the process tends to remain anonymous, unless of course the image or style is recognised or it's relevant to the story of the image. But at the end of this process it becomes really important to specifically address who our artists actually are because we have to make sure we have a balanced distribution.

Believe it or not, at this point last time (during the first edition) we found we had eight images all from one artist! Once aware we made the obvious decision to cut this down so we could feature a larger number of photographers. That said, we did on occasion include a handful of artists multiple times because quite honestly their work just fitted in so well or was too good not to share. We don't specifically choose "well known" photographers, in fact, we'd love to showcase more "unknown" artists which is why we have decided to include a gallery for photographers with under 500 followers.

You can nominate your favourite artists, with under 500 followers, by sending us a DM via Instagram or indeed self-nominate via our submission form (just mention your follower count in the text box).

Who's part of the selection process?

Our team currently consists of twelve photographers, each with their own skillset to bring to the magazine. You can find out more about us on the about page. The whole team isn't always present in all of the voting stages or zoom meetings depending on individual availability at that time but everyone has an opportunity to have their say. Bex and Kirsty (Founding Editor-in-Chief and Deputy Editor) are responsible for the final layouts and design with others in the team offering opinions and proofing everything before we go to print.

The design process

When it comes to whittling down our final images, we take certain things into account, e.g. the other images we want to include in the galleries - how they will appear on the page together. With up to 12 of us choosing our favourites, we can end up with a pretty eclectic mix which (whilst great) could end up looking pretty ramshackle. So we spend a lot of time on the design of the magazine as well as choosing content. Of course we want to include as much variety as possible too so it's all a careful balance when putting everything together!

Our final selections might even influence how many pages we have per gallery - if we have a couple of photographs we really love which don't quite fit, for example, we might decide to add another page and find similar images that fit aesthetically. We've even been known to go back to the start to find something that works which may have been overlooked before.

The curation of each collection is by far the hardest and longest part of the design process, but it's time well spent because seeing the stunning end result makes it all worthwhile.

The great news is that we are planning to extend this edition with even more pages so you can look forward to discovering even more inspirational artists and find out more information behind some of the images too and our new "How To" feature. We cannot wait to share our Celebrate magazine with you! Please submit your work here.

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