Member Training Programme – Assessment & Judging.

Date Published 
Thu 4 Mar 2021

On 27th February a number of enthusiastic club members spent a day learning techniques to critically appraise and assess images, under the guidance of Robert Helliwell ARPS who had developed the programme.

The day commenced with a review of why there is “No correct way to assess, critique or judge an image”! We were challenged to ‘think clearly and increase our capacity to explain why we held a particular opinion about an image’. It followed that we needed to have a set of “personal guiding principles” which we set about developing throughout an interactive and interesting day.

After evaluating images jointly, we developed individual “rubrics”. These covered technical, visual and communication elements, of an image. We then individually adopted simple statements, for example, well-judged exposure/excellent focus point/lacking imagination/lacking interest etc. all building to a points scoring system, to enable us to differentiate the standing of an image across different genres.

We considered a diverse range of images from genres such as Landscape /Wildlife/ Close Up/ Fantasy/ Contemporary/ Travel & Street photography. A good-natured constructive debate was held from which we all learned a great deal.

All attendees came away from the session with a much broader understanding of attributes to consider when assessing images, together with a methodology. This was needed by many of us as we all recognised the need to overcome personal likes and dislikes, and analyse and comment on an image's merits regardless of whether we liked it or not.

As a result of some detailed and structured thinking we all left the session feeling that not only were we better positioned to comment on an image, but also that the potential for our own photography had improved.

We all felt that our time had been well spent, and grateful thanks were given to Robert for all the hard work he had done in preparing and leading the programme. Everyone believed that a follow-up session would be worthwhile after due time to consider the learning points.

If any other members are interested in a repeat exercise please register your interest with Kevin to enable another session to be scheduled.

Leigh Foster 2/3/21


Thanks for the generous comments. I was amazed how everyone who attended worked so well through the time. I have not heard of any responses yet but will set out a proposed date as soon as I do. It will be a Saturday again. And of course, it may be face to face. I'll let everyone know how to get your three images to me for inclusion in the programme . A good opportunity to have some of work work appraised, add to your thinking further and to support felllow attendees. The course is suitable for new members and those who consider themselves at the early stages of becoming a regular photographer. And it's free!