SCPF Level 1 Judging Training 2018

Would you like to become an SCPF judge?

Competition is still a mainstay of club programmes, and it is vitally important that we maintain a good throughput of new judges to be able to support clubs in our region. Our next training event is a two-day workshop taking place on consecutive Sundays 25th November and 2nd December 2018 at Littleton. This is the first step to becoming accredited. The course will be led by experienced judges who are all SCPF Level 3 or PAGB listed.

This is a practical and professional two-day workshop allowing prospective new judges to both understand theory and to practise in a safe environment.


The course is aimed at photographers who would like to become a judge on the club circuit.

This is not a course about what does or does not make a good photograph – we hope you already have a good feel for that. There is one primary objective:

To develop your ability to speak confidently and intelligently to an audience about photography, whilst giving feedback to photographers about their work.

Specifically, we will cover the following aims:

  • To understand the Core Qualities and Role of a photography appraiser ;
  • To develop and practice Appraisal Skills – giving feedback confidently and positively;
  • To develop and practice Presentation skills – especially speaking and body language;
  • To be aware of how you apply your Photographic Understanding;
  • To discuss and be aware of the challenges of Marking;
  • To be aware of your own Organisation and Approach;
  • To be aware of the judging accreditation process and expenses scheme;

The underlined phrases in the list of aims are the Competencies that together make up a full set of skills for the photography appraiser. These competencies are expanded into a detailed checklist which can be used by us as judges for self-evaluation, and by assessors and clubs to guide providing feedback.

The Core Qualities are paramount and, when fully grasped, allow a growth-promoting interaction between the appraiser and the person whose photograph is being appraised. They are nothing to do with photography; they are about giving feedback in the right way always.


There are no pre-requisites for attending the course. Training is open to anyone who is keen and willing.

It does not follow that good photographers make good appraisers. Although photography competence and knowledge are important, they are not the key factors in determining who will make a good appraiser; Judging is about personal skills.

However please think carefully about the following:

  1. You should be (or commit to become) a member of a SCPF club.
  2. Having photographic distinctions is not necessary, but you should be established in your own photography and confident in your knowledge to be able to speak before an audience.
  3. Although not obligatory, you should have the intention to go out judging after the course. It is not possible to improve without regular practice.
  4. This is a practical workshop with active practice in a safe environment. If you are looking mainly to understand more about how judging works, we are able to arrange overview sessions for your club or for small groups who are interested.


The course provides a mix of learning though tutor-led presentation, discussion, small group practice and full practice with both prints and PDI in a variety of styles and genres.


The course is not formally assessed, in that there is no pass or fail. We believe that you will know after the two days whether it is for you or not. However, we will provide feedback, and if the tutor team believes that you are not ready then we will advise you accordingly.


There are nine places available. Please return this booking form by email by 31st October latest.

Judging Workshop Booking Form (.docx)

Judging Workshop Booking Form (.pdf)

With your booking form, please include three PDI examples of your work, sized for projection as you would normally at your club. This is to give us as tutors an idea of where you are photographically before the coursework begins.

In view of the limited places available, it is advisable to book early. We will confirm your place as soon as possible after reviewing your application.

Best regards

… Ken Scott ARPS
Judging Advisor, SCPF

The SCPF Judges’ Conference will be held on Sunday 2nd September at Overton Community Centre, 5 High St, Overton, Basingstoke RG25 3HB

Time: 9:30 – 4:30pm but subject to final confirmation

This event is intended for the sharing of judging experiences and practice for all judges in the SCPF. Please would judges indicate your attendance or not by replying to the invitation email by 22nd August. This is important as we don’t have quite the capacity at Overton as we do at other venues. Some of you have already confirmed, so I will take those as read unless I hear from you to the contrary.

We believe that investing in our continuing development is vital, and we look forward to a stimulating day.

Refreshments will be served through the day but please come with your own packed lunch.

Please also bring with you 3-4 prints (which you do not mind having shared around) for discussion during the day – see below for the types we are looking for. We may not use all or any.

We will also need a couple of print easels. If any of you is able to bring one from your club, please let me know.

Outline Timetable

09:30 – Arrival Refreshments and Networking

10:00 – Morning introduction and Keynote
Intro to the day / Presentation
– Feedback on Feedback
– Introduction to Issues

11:00 – Refreshments

11:15 – Discussion Groups
See over.

12:15 – Plenary Feedback
Feedback from the discussion groups

1:00 – Lunch

1:30 – Responding to images
Plenary practice:
1. What can we learn from Old Masters and Commercial photography?
2. The 8.5 Problem

3:00 – Refreshments

3:30 – Q&A panel
General discussion

4:30 – Close

Discussion Topics

The following topics have come up recently in communication with you and within our Judging team.

  • Marking, incoherence and the 8/8.5 problem;
    The common issue where there is nothing wrong with an image (technically) so it gets talked up and then faults are sought so as to justify a middling mark;
  • Comparing genres;
    e.g. landscape vs nature vs street vs… ;
  • Workshop Images;
    Images produced in workshops: i.e. under highly controlled or tutored conditions in the field or in clubs. How do we respond to these? What are clubs’ attitudes?
  • Value or Difficulty;
    How should we consider the value or interest of an image (e.g. for nature an image in the wild versus captive, or rare versus common), or the inherent beauty of the subject – an image of something marvellous versus a marvellous image of something ordinary.
  • Holdbacks;
    Inconsistent approach to holdbacks, especially with PDI.
    Should we have a consistent approach? What approaches are there? What benefits does holding back bring?

Please think about these topics in advance. On the morning, we will probably ask you to complete a vote for the most popular / important topics, so that we can allocate the time accordingly.

If you have any burning issues you would like to see covered, please let me know with your return confirmation.

Images Required:

To allow us to discuss these topics, we will need a variety of prints on these subjects:

  • Landscape
  • Pictorial Nature
  • Record Nature
  • Street
  • Contemporary / Abstract
  • Digital Art

Also, any images which fall into one of these criteria and has been misunderstood, or marked on several occasions with wide variance.

Looking forward to a stimulating and interesting day.

… Ken Scott
Judging Advisor

In 2018, the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain (PAGB) published revised definitions for Nature and Wildlife photography. These definitions are separate from the FIAP definitions and are less restrictive.

Judges should be aware that they may be asked to judge competitions where these (or FIAP) definitions apply, so should be acquainted with them.

However they generally apply to PAGB, national and international exhibitions and salons so should not be applied in club nature competitions unless specifically stated by the club. Clubs organising Nature competitions are not obliged to use the definitions, indeed may choose to define internal competitions in their own ways.

Full definitions and guidance on implementation are available from PAGB –

Nature Definition

Nature photography is restricted to the use of the photographic process to depict all branches of natural history, except anthropology and archaeology, in such a fashion that a well-informed person will be able to identify the subject material and certify its honest presentation.

The story telling value of a photograph must be weighed more than the pictorial quality while maintaining high technical quality.

Scientific bands, scientific tags or radio collars on wild animals are permissible. Photographs of human created hybrid plants, cultivated plants, feral animals, domestic animals, or mounted specimens are ineligible, as is any form of manipulation that alters the truth of the photographic statement.

Processing of the captured image, by cropping, exposure adjustment, colour correction, noise minimisation, dodging/burning, HDR, focus stacking and sharpening, is allowed.

Cloning of image defects and minor distractions, including overlapping elements, are permitted when these do not distort the truth of the photographic statement.

Images entered as Nature can have landscape, geologic formations, weather phenomena, and extant organisms as the primary subject matter. This includes images taken with the subjects in controlled conditions, such as zoos, game farms, botanical gardens, aquariums and any enclosure where the subjects are totally dependent on man for food. Access to biological subjects may be restricted.

By entering a PAGB event, Photographers warrant that they have followed relevant codes of practices and hold any necessary licences.

Wildlife Definition

Images entered in Wildlife sections are further defined as one or more extant zoological or botanical organisms free and unrestrained in a natural or adopted habitat. Landscapes, geologic formations, photographs of zoo or game farm animals, or of any extant zoological or botanical species taken under controlled conditions are not eligible in Wildlife sections. Wildlife is not limited to animals, birds and insects. Marine subjects and botanical subjects (including fungi and algae) taken in the wild are suitable wildlife subjects, as are carcasses of extant species. Wildlife images may be entered in Nature sections.

July 2018


Judging Upgrades June 2018

We’re pleased to advise that the following judges are upgraded for the coming season:

To Level 2 (Accredited)

  • Martin Bethell (Bracknell)
  • Glyn Paton LRPS (Winchester)
  • Peter Rocchiccioli BA (Hons) Photo, ARPS EFIAP (Chichester)
  • Graeme Sleeman (Hungerford)

To Level 3 (Senior)

  • Andrew Mills MA (Photo) ARPS (OS)
  • Sue Sibley ARPS CPAGB AFIAP (Southampton)

Many congratulations to them, and thanks to all of you at the clubs who have provided feedback and endorsed the judges’ requests for upgrade; it is much appreciated. Contact details for all judges are in the Directory (available with password to club officials).

Judge Feedback

Some of our Level 1 judges, who have recently trained, have struggled at times to obtain the required feedback for their progression. So if we may remind you please:

  1. To let us know when you book a Level 1 judge so we can arrange support if necessary
  2. To provide feedback for all Level 1 judges
  3. To provide Feedback for Level 2 and 3 judges IF they request it
    (it is not necessary otherwise unless there is something important to feed back).

… Ken Scott
Judging Advisor SCPF

Judging Feedback Comments by Competency

SCPF launched a feedback process in early 2016 to provide judges with constructive information about how we’re doing.

You might be interested to know the following stats from the first eighteen months of the process.

  • In the eighteen months since launch, 105 feedbacks have been received – 94 by the official form and 11 by letter or email;
  • 44 clubs have contributed, 80% of which are SCPF; the remainder equally are clubs in SxPF, SPA and CACC. That means approximately half of SCPF clubs have not provided feedback;
  • Clubs providing feedback are led by Basingstoke (9); Winchester (8); Bognor Regis (6); Petersfield (5); Bracknell, Gosport, New Forest, and Niton (4); Alton, Horndean, Isle of Wight, Lewes (SxPF), Reading, Salisbury, Seven Sisters (SxPF), and Storrington (3);
  • Feedback covers 36 individual judges, sixteen of whom were at Level 1 on receiving their first feedback, fifteen at Level 2 and five at Level 3;
  • Feedback has contributed to 10 upgrades to Level 2 (+2 currently pending) and 3 upgrades to Level 3 (+1 currently pending);
  • From 105 feedbacks, we have distilled approximately 400 useful free comments (both praise and criticism), and categorised them by the judging competencies that we train. Free comments carry a lot of weight, because they reveal what is important to reviewers.
Judging Feedback Comments by Competency

Spread of judging feedback comments by competency areas

Appraisal Skills (32%) attracted the most comments (mostly positive), and within that, giving a constructive critique and a balanced appraisal were overwhelmingly the most important qualities to emerge.

Marking (17%) was commented less frequently than Appraisal Skills and Language and Presentation, but attracted the most criticism, not surprisingly. Marking was mentioned more as a criticism than a praise. 39% of all comments received about Marking concerned the range of marks awarded, where there was twice as much criticism as praise, mainly for using too narrow a range. Coherence of marking – the perceived matching marks to comments – also attracted significant comment.

All of this I intend to publish in more detail later in the year.

For now, thank you very much to all the clubs who have contributed to our judging development by giving feedback. Your help is greatly appreciated.

And a reminder please. Recently we have had to intervene on behalf of judges to press clubs to provide feedback after judges have requested it. We do ask that clubs provide feedback whenever you engage a Level 1 judge for your evenings. It is essential, as they are gaining experience, for new judges to know how they are doing, and it helps us too when it comes to upgrades.

Best Regards

… Ken Scott
Judging Advisor

From 10th February until October 2017 earliest, Judging Advisor Ken Scott will be unavailable.

If any clubs have judging specific questions or wish to send feedback through, please use an alternative judging2@ email address, which will copy to Caroline Colegate, who has kindly agreed to collate feedback and liaise with the Judging sub-committee. Ken will see emails to judging@ but will probably not be able to answer.

The judging sub-committee consists of Caroline, Tony Oliver, Roy Lambeth and Glyn Edmunds. Tony and Roy will continue to make representations to Council if required.

Ken is undertaking an expedition to walk solo around the coast of Britain in aid of both his own photography and for Parkinson’s UK and RNLI. If anyone is interested to follow his progress, you can do at Ken would be extremely grateful too for any donations to the charities, which can be securely done at He will be walking through the SCPF region between Friday 10th and Saturday 18th February, heading west from Shoreham-by-Sea to Poole Harbour.

Updated Judges Directory

A new edition of the judges directory is now available: Judges Directory February 2017 Edition

New Level 1 Judges

The latest judging training course brought forward six new judges to the Level 1 list:

  • Kelly-Louise Jennings – Hungerford CC
  • Keith Newton  – Yately CC
  • Tracey McEachran – Chichester CC
  • Glyn Paton – Winchester PS
  • Peter Rocchiccioli – Chichester CC
  • Julian Tubb – Hungerford CC

Welcome to you all. As always we encourage clubs to book Level 1 judges in order that they may gain experience. When you do book Level 1 judges, would clubs please complete feedback so that we can look to accredit them as soon as possible after their first year.

Again as a result of clubs sending feedback, for which thank you, we have been able to make several upgrades. Please join us in congratulating all the judges concerned.

Level 3 – Senior Judges

  • Paul Bradley  – Niton and District CC
  • Jon Mitchell – Gosport CC
  • Jim Pascoe – Highcliffe and Infinity CC

Level 2 – Accredited Judges

  • Ken Boddy – Bognor Regis CC
  • Paul Dunmall – Steyning CC
  • Paul Thackeray – Wimborned CC
  • Mike Warren  – Steyning CC

… Ken Scott
Judging Advisor
February 2017


Gordon Brown LRPS, Winchester Photographic Society

Following this year’s implementation of regular judging feedback, I’m delighted to report that we have agreed six new upgrades to our accredited Level 2. Thank you to all the clubs who have completed the feedback to enable this, and especially for giving our newly trained Level 1 judges the opportunity to practice.

Congratulations to our new Level 2 Judges:

  • Gordon Brown ARPS, Winchester Photographic Society
  • Catherine Jolley LRPS ASWPP, Littlehampton & District CC
  • Andrew Mills MA (Photo) ARPS LBIPP
  • Paul O’Toole, Wothing Camera Club
  • Sue Sibley ARPS, Southampton Camera Club
  • Peter Woodhouse (picture awaited), Salisbury Camera Club
Gordon Brown LRPS, Winchester Photographic Society

Gordon Brown ARPS

Catherine Jolley, Littlehampton Camera Club

Catherine Jolley LRPS ASWPP

Andrew Mills MA (Photo) ARPS LBIPP

Andrew Mills MA (Photo) ARPS LBIPP

Paul O'Toole, Worthing Camera Club

Paul O’Toole

Sue Sibley ARPS, Southampton Camera Club

Sue Sibley ARPS

SCPF Level 1 Appraisal Workshop 2016

SCPF is always looking for new judges to come into the club community, and we are running another Level 1 training workshop on 27th November and 4th December 2016.

Note: this is now a practical two-day workshop and provides the most comprehensive training available for prospective club judges. It is the first step on the road to becoming an accredited judge.

The course is not about what does or does not make a good photograph. The main aim is to teach you to speak intelligently to an audience about photography, and to give quality feedback to the photographers whose work you are appraising.

There are no entry requirements except that you are a member of an SCPF club and an established photographer. Distinctions are not necessary, but you should feel confident in your own ability as a photographer and have a good feel for and understanding of club competitions.


  • To learn the Core Qualities of an appraiser
  • To understand the role of an appraiser
  • To understand the key elements of an appraisal and of giving feedback
  • To develop presentation skills, especially speaking and body language
  • To discuss and practise marking
  • To be aware of organisation and self-management
  • To be aware of the judging accreditation process and expenses scheme

The first day will be held at Littleton near Winchester and the second at Overton. There are max nine places available.

Please send the booking form either by email (judging@) or by post to the address indicated by October 31st latest. More detail about timing and programme will be issued then.

Whilst there are no obligations, this course is aimed at photographers who are looking to judge on the club circuit in our region. In view of the limited places, please consider this carefully before booking. If you are looking to understand more about how judging works, we are able to arrange overview sessions for your club or for small groups who are interested.

Best regards
… Ken Scott ARPS
Judging Advisor


Booking Form (.docx)

Booking Form (.pdf)

Judging Workshop Feb 2015

We are implementing a new feedback process for judging following consultation. Detailed guidance and forms are available now.