Photographic Qualifications

Photographic Qualifications - December 2015
Updated 5 February 2016

Time for me to see if I am good enough?
December 2015

I have decided that it is about time I tested my photographic proficiency by attempting to obtain some kind of qualification/recognition. The obvious thing to do would be an attempt at gaining a licentiateship of the Royal Photographic Society (RPS). I understand that this is done by presenting a number of images at an assessment day and either passing or failing to reach the necessary standard. However, I have come across a number of people who passed this hurdle, gained their LRPS, and then became disillusioned with the RPS because they found it to be a stuffy, rule obsessed organisation eager to take your annual subscriptions in return for little practical benefit. This may or may not be fair, but it has caused me to consider another qualification to begin with.


I recently attended a presentation by a representative of the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain (PAGB) and he outlined their awards system. There are 3 levels of award:
  • CPAGB - Credit award is for those who have achieved good club photography
  • DPAGB - Distinction award is for those who have achieved open exhibition standard
  • MPAGB - Master award recognises those who have achieved the highest standard of UK amateur photography

I shall, therefore, be seeking my CPAGB. This involves putting together a collection of 10 prints or digital images (I am going the print route) and attending an adjudication day in April. Up to 75 similarly minded photographers will also be attending this event and a panel of 6 judges score each of the 750 prints with 2, 3, 4, or 5 points. I understand that my prints will come up randomly as the judges work their way through the 750 over the course of a day. A score of 4 means that the print is of good enough quality so the other scores are self-explanatory! All ten prints do not have to score 4 but the aggregate of awards from 6 judges over 10 prints needs to be 200 or higher (so a few near misses are allowed).
For those who would like further information here is a link to the appropriate page of the PAGB website. PAGB Awards...

The adjudication day takes place on the 23rd or 24th April next year in Gateshead of all places. I had to look it up on the map to discover that it is near Newcastle and involves a round trip of 600 miles! It will be a big wasted investment of time and money if I fail.

I shall now spend some time picking images from my back catalogue that I hope will appeal to judges.

I will let you know about my progress through further additions to this section of my blog.

Update as of 13 January 2016

I attended an "advisory evening" recently where three photography judges gave their opinions on prints and DPIs brought along by people intending to go for PAGB qualifications. I took 20 prints from which I hoped to pick my final 10 prints for the adjudication day.

I am pleased to report that the 3 judges unanimously agreed that 7 of my prints were suitable for going forward. A further 4 prints, 2 judges thought good enough, whilst one thought they were marginal. So I, therefore, have 11 prints from which to make my final selection.

I would add that there was one print on which the unanimous vote was "no", this is shown here:

Sunset at North Fambridge

All 3 judges also gave excellent advice on how to improve the prints for competition purposes. Across the prints these improvements included: cropping out extraneous areas, colour desaturation, burning areas of slight over-exposure, improving the mounting etc. All in all it was a valuable evening of great help to me.

Unfortunately there were a number of photographers wandering around, at the end of the evening, suggesting they may be selling their cameras as they had not had the feedback expected!

Update as of 5 February 2016

I have now worked on my selected 10 images and will be printing and mounting them in the near future. So I shall be ready in plenty of time for my adjudication on 24th April. The final selection can be seen in myCPAGB gallery.