What is the challenge?
You have just 10 pictures to prove that you are a competent and skilled photographer.
How does this differ from normal club photography?
With these 10 pictures you need to show variety in both approach and technique but not necessarily in subject matter. Nevertheless a variety of subjects makes it easier to demonstrate different techniques and repeating similar types of images will count against you.
At the same time the panel is expected to show creativity (personal input) and high technical standard. Overprocessing such as oversharpening, obvious HDR or careless montaging will count against you.
As you have to demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of your subject and an ability in a range of photo skills, it is well that you set about composing your image with this in mind.
What are the criteria of competence?
These are divided up into 5 areas.
Editing, selecting and sequencing to show a variety of approaches within a cohesive display. Repetition of similar images should be avoided.
Choice of viewpoint and lighting appropriate to the subject. Suitable and accurate focus and exposure. Suitable depth of field. Choice of appropriate shutter speeds. Highlight and shadow detail, density and correct colour rendition.
Absence of processing faults. Appropriate choice of materials for the subject. Evidence of tonal control. Good image finishing. Attention to masking and colour management.
An understanding of light and its effect on mood and texture. Composition, design and cropping of images. Appropriate use of masking and manipulation. Awareness of appropriate backgrounds and viewpoints.
Show personal input, and an understanding and empathy with the subject. Show communication of mood, ideas and narrative as appropriate. Selection of the appropriate medium to assist communication. Show evidence of imagination and creativity, and ability to capture the decisive moment.
Are any of these more important than the others?
Short answer is no and your panel will fail if you fail to meet any one of these criteria. However, it is fair to say that some are more commonly failed than others.
Is there a check list of must do items?
No, but remember variety, variety, variety.
The best advice is to plan what you are going to use before you start. You may have most of your 10 images ‘in the bank’ but remember these also have to fit together in a balanced panel as well so in reality you will almost certainly need far more than 10 pictures (maybe as many as 30).
Below is a list of some items that you could keep in mind at the planning stage:
Placing your point of interest on the intersection of two thirds worked for the Greeks in 500BCE and still is very effective. However sometimes a central position is ‘strong’ and often useful in portraits;
High or low as a change from 5 feet 8 inches above the ground will add impact.
Depth of field.
Shoot wide open to deliberately blur background and show that you are in control of DOF.
Use high speed to freeze the action or slow speed to emphasise movement.
Try and shoot when the light is interesting, which is rarely in the middle of the day, so try mornings and late afternoon and evenings.
Don’t forget the rules of quality and composition. It’s not a good picture just because it’s a puffin or colourful flower.
Think about an ‘appropriate’ mono. It’s important to realise that monochrome is not just a picture without colour. The absence of colour should enhance the impact of the picture rather than diminish it.
Do I have to go somewhere ‘special’ to get my pictures?
In the words of Saint Margaret No, No, No! We have an ideal venue on our doorstep. Here are 10 pictures I took over a period of a couple of hours recently. They are not a panel yet, but it does show you do not need to go far to get your pictures. Do this a few times and you will have your panel.
What do I do when I’ve got my pictures?
Take the pleasure in having achieved 10 pictures that demonstrate that you are a good photographer and go on the RPS website and book an advisory day.