Top Photographer wrapped up their first season and crowned a winner last week, and it wasn't who I would have expected.
In the final episodes, the photographers got to go anywhere they wanted and shoot anything they wanted. Even better, they got to load up a backpack with their dream Canon gear for the shoot.
With all this freedom and flexibility, what did they choose? Let's review the final episodes.
Also...how can the show improve next season?
I really enjoyed watching the Top Photographer series, but there are a number of changes I think would improve the show. I share nine suggestions to improve the show next season — and I really hope there is a next season.
Watch the final episodes
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST
Spoiler alert - Watch the episode first if you don't want to hear the results.
Nine suggestions for improving Top Photographer next season
1 -Maybe the show should be called Top Fashion Photographer. It seems that the focus is clearly skewed to model photography. Drop the ruse that the contest is about anything more than fashion or commercial.
2 - Have challenges in a wider range of photography genres. You can hold challenges in macro, landscape, event, or sports photography. Creating a more generalist approach should feature other genres — if you want to call it Top Photographer.
3 - Be clearer on who the contestants are. Perhaps if the show provided some insight into the selection process, we would have a better idea the strengths and weaknesses they bring to the contest.
4 - Can we have more photographers as judges? I would love to have some of the photographers who not only have a considerable body of work but those who have had success teaching photography. For instance, Joe McNally, Scott Kelby or Lindsay Adler would be good judges who could communicate their expectations clearly.
5 - Find more organic ways to feature and use the gear. We get it. Canon is sponsoring, so they want to showcase their gear. Find a more organic way to do that. Have contestants explain why they picked a camera body or lens. What features were they hoping to use? You could also have a single lens challenge. For instance, shoot a portrait with the 100 mm lens. That could create a great opportunity to discuss how you would use a lens.
6 - Have contestants tell us about the photography decisions. What was your vision for the shot? How did you set the lights? What techniques did you use? How did you need to edit in post-production?
7 - Show us more photos. I would love to see their top five photos from a shoot and hear why they selected the one they did. Help us understand your workflow and curation decisions.
8 - Provide galleries where we can see their photos and settings. We want to see the images on our big screens. The EXIF data provides another opportunity to showcase the gear.
9 - Single elimination with only five contestants doesn't work. Two shows later, we have too few contestants to keep up the drama. Either include more contestants or have all of them compete for all five weeks.