Assessment Criteria

Submission criteria for assessment submissions

Your portfolio should be representative of your professional imaging standard and of the photographic genre/s for which you are seeking accreditation/assessment.

Requirements for your twenty images for assessment:

  • All folio Images must be images captured by the applicant within the last 24 months
  • All folios should be in the genre/genres of photography the applicant intends to pursue within the industry, showing different subjects and using different lighting, lenses and camera angles etc. especially if submitting images of the same genre
  • A portfolio of colour or a mix of B&W and colour images are integral to assess the folio properly; must not only be B&W.
  • No two images shall be of the same subject, location or background unless the final treatment produces two entirely different photographs.
  • Images that have been captured in a workshop or training environment where the photographer was not in sole control of the end result cannot be submitted
  • A maximum of 4 images from any one wedding/portrait shoot/ commercial job can be submitted
  • COMMERCIAL. At least 75% of commercial folio images must be commissioned work. Self-commissioned images are allowed.

When considering which images to submit, chose images which you would show to a prospective client. Remember, this is to demonstrate ability and a broad range of skills. A photo Checklist for Accreditation was written by Peter Eastway. It has been included further below.

  • Images will need to be in jpg format with the pixel dimension of 1600px on the longest side
  • Saved as jpg 10 (Photoshop), Save for Web -> High (Photoshop) or 80% (Lightroom)
  • It is recommended to also save the images in sRGB for best colour accuracy with on-screen assessment
  • Images must not be uploaded with watermarks, logos or identifying names.

Images should be 1600px on the longest edge.

What happens next?

Once your portfolio submission is complete, your images will be sent to an assessment panel which is comprised of experienced AIPP members specialising in the genre you have selected.

Your image portfolio will be thoroughly assessed and the results of this assessment will be communicated to you within 21 days.

Photo Checklist for Accreditation

Becoming an Accredited member requires a folio submission of 20 images, showing that your work is of a professional standard.

It’s important to realise that the assessors are not necessarily looking for award standard photographs – although that would be nice! Award standard – such as you see winning Silver Awards at the Epson and Canon competitions throughout the year – has an extra spark or difference that is not always present in every photograph we take professionally. The reality is that we put our four best photos into the Award systems, but we strive to produce a professional standard for every shoot we undertake during the year.

So, what is a professional standard? A professional photograph has to be suitable for its purpose and thus satisfy a client’s brief. If we are asked to take a photograph a particular way, we should be able to do so.

However, when it comes to showing the AIPP assessors your work for accreditation, put yourself in their shoes. They won’t know what your clients have asked for, or what you tried to achieve. They will assess your work on what they ‘expect’ a professional standard to be.

My suggestion is to pick out 20 photographs that are well composed and executed, that demonstrate your ability, understanding and skillsets, not necessarily 'amazing'. My reasoning is that what you think is ‘amazing’ may not impress the assessors and I have seen portfolio submissions where the applicant has put in what they consider to be ‘creative’, only to be rejected because the assessors didn’t agree or understand. Keep it simple.

The purpose of this assessment is to show that you have control over all aspects of your photography. The AIPP application process states, ‘All folios should show a wide diversity of work, showing different subjects and using different lighting, lenses and camera angles etc. especially if submitting images of the same genre’.

Importantly, no two images should be of the same subject, location or background unless the final treatment produces two entirely different photographs. Additionally, a maximum of 4 images from any one wedding/portrait shoot/ commercial job can be submitted, and if submitting commercial images, at least 75% of them must be commissioned work. Self-commissioned images are allowed.

Do you have 20 photographs? Start by selecting 30 or 40 photographs and then editing them down to your strongest portfolio. Ask an existing AIPP member to help you in the selection process.

Here’s a checklist. For each of your 20 images, ask these questions:

1. Camera Technique. Do all the photographs show appropriate camera technique? Is the focus precise? Is the depth-of-field appropriate? Is the exposure on the subject correct? Is the image free of camera shake? Has an appropriate ISO setting been used?

2. Framing. Have you chosen a good vantage point and an appropriate lens? Is the background uncluttered and subdued (no unwanted highlights)? Are there trees growing out of people’s heads? Have you chosen a position where the light is appropriate for your subject? Should you crop the image further to strengthen it? Don’t leave all your subjects bang in the middle of the frame where the autofocus sits, show the assessors you have a basic understanding of composition as well.

3. Exposure. Is the exposure appropriate for the subject? If the exposure was tricky, has the file been edited appropriately – for example, a photo with a bright white sky may be best presented with a black edge border to contain it, or by cropping the sky out. Show the assessor that the white sky is intentional, or better still, leave the white skies out altogether and choose images where you have detail in the sky.

4. Timing and expression. Professional photography isn’t just about pressing the button, it’s about pressing the button at the right time. For portraits and weddings, are your subjects well posed with appropriate expressions? For product shoots, are the objects being photographed nicely arranged and the background unobtrusive.

5. Lighting. Have you used appropriate lighting? If you are shooting ambient light, have you used a reflector if necessary? Have you added in fill-flash? If in the studio, have you exercised control of the light over the subject and the background? Have you used appropriate light shapers – remember, don’t be too arty, show the assessor you can do the basics.

6. Image Quality. Is the image free of noise and sensor spots? Does the digital file show a good spread of tones, from blacks to whites? Is there detail throughout the image? If there are pure blacks and pure whites, are these controlled and appropriate?

7. Post-production. Professionals are expected to edit their work (or have it edited for them) to a high standard. When viewing your files, is the overall exposure and colour balance correct? Are problem areas in the image dealt with appropriately? If portraiture, have the images been appropriately retouched and, importantly, not overworked?

8. Variety. Remember, you have to show a variety of work. If showing portraits, show singles, couples and group shots. Show close-ups, head and shoulders and full length. Show images taken in available light and images using flash. Show both colour and black and white, high-key (light tones) and low-key (dark tones). For weddings, show photos of the bride getting ready, arriving at the church, leaving the church, a family group shot, portraits of the bride and groom, etc. (Remember, only four shots allowed per wedding or shoot.) For commercial work, show a variety of commissions as well.

The images submitted should be sized to 1600 pixels on the longest edge, converted to sRGB colour space and saved as a JPEG, setting 8-10. All folio Images must be captured by the applicant and made within the last 24 months.
Good luck!

(The accompanying images were chosen from a single wedding shoot, selecting images that demonstrated good camera technique, camera angle, timing, lighting and image quality. Although they may not win awards at APPA, they are appropriate for their purpose and should sit comfortably in the clients’ wedding album. Photographs by AIPP Grand Master of Photography, Peter Eastway.)