Meet the Professional Jury: Tim Paton

By Jill @ WPO

Tim Paton, Managing Director, Balcony Jump

Tim Paton spent 12 years working as a photographer for various titles including legendary music magazine The NME.  He started the photo agency Balcony Jump in 1995 and from a initial roster of music photographers, the agency now represents photographers from across the world of advertising and fashion, plus illustrators, stylists and make-up artists.  It is regarded as one of the best and most well-respected boutique agencies in London.  Balcony Jump recently launched a new series of intensive photography workshops for aspiring photographers to learn how to achieve commercial success in an increasingly competitive industry.  For further information please go to:

Tim is a member of the Honorary Jury for the 2013 Sony World Photography Awards.  He will judge the Professional Sport, Campaign, Fashion & Beauty and Lifestyle categories.

Q: What will you be looking for when you judge the professional entries of the 2013 Sony World Photography Awards?

I am very excited to be asked to judge at these awards, it’s a huge privilege.  However I always find judging photography difficult. Like all forms of artistic expression, it’s a very subjective decision. A picture that I love, the judge next to me might hate…..but I do have a few personal rules that I like to stick to.  

I have absolutely no interest in the technology that was used to take the picture. I don’t care what lens, filter or camera you used. I am only interested in the content of the image.  I believe that being a good photographer is instinctive and a god given gift, and if you have that gift, you can take great pictures with whatever camera you are holding. You can teach yourself a certain amount and work hard, but at the end of the day, you either have it or you don’t. It’s like the X Factor.  Sometimes you see someone walk on that stage, open their mouths and there it is - a beautiful voice full of pain and emotion, from nowhere. They just have it.

It’s the same with photography. Sometimes it’s harder to see because people hide behind the technology, re-touching, etc…but I hope to be able to see it. 

I am very lucky in my working life as people submit photography to me all the time.  I get to see a lot of work.  About twice a year something stops me in my tracks and I feel like I can’t believe what I am seeing. I am hoping for a few moments like this on the judging panel. 

So I am looking for something new, and exciting, something where you can see that the photographer has gone the extra mile and made a real effort.


Entries to the 2013 Sony World Photography Awards are now open.  Open categories close on 4 January 2013 and Professional categories close on 9 January 2013.  All entries to the awards are free via

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