Dianna is a self confessed camera club nerd who likes nothing better than entering competitions and challenging herself to create something award-winning. Her latest task was no small feat, entering two panels of work to be judged for the Royal Photographic Society's (RPS) Licentiateship.
“I like to have challenges and this was definitely one,” gushed Dianna over the phone.
As there are specific criteria one must meet to be successful Dianna's hard work began well before judgement day.
“Taking a photograph is one thing but when you have to demo a range of skills you can't just put up 6 studio shots so I worked on it for a long time. Formats have to match, colours have to match, the images have to have a theme, it's a lot of hard work putting a panel together.”
The RPS have a set of assessment criteria each panel must meet which is as follows:
Presentation: The overall impression of the panel. Variety in subject matter, appropriate selection editing of images.
Technique: Camera work Suitable depth of field, shutter speed, point of focus, highlight/shadow detail management of lighting suitable exposure. Technical Quality Digital effects, sharpening, processing, finishing, contrast and tonal control.
Seeing: Visual awareness, composition and design use of colour, understanding of light and its effect on mood and texture for effect.
Thinking: communication, imagination, creativity, personal input, intent, empathy with the subject, the decisive moment.
“The judges don't like over processed images and they're hot on blown out highlights and images which aren't sharp. Another tip is to finish your images in gloss as this makes them look better too!”
After what seemed like months of preparation the big day arrived. To ensure she would be there on time Dianna stayed over in a B&B, but not all went to plan. She firstly found herself in the wrong car park and as the NEC is huge she found herself carrying 10 large, mounted prints with her heart pounding a lot further than she had planned. Eventually she arrived at the exhibition only to find that the judging was taking place elsewhere. She finally arrived and was the 6th
person to be assessed: “I was very nervous, I thought my heart would thump out of my chest.
“The judges stood up and scrutinised the images, their noses were pressed so close to the mounts, I was so nervous by this point I wanted to leave the room! They all started whispering too which just made things worse!”
Eventually the judges took their seats in silence and one stood to talk about Dianna's panel:
“The first thing that strikes us as judges is how this panel has been delivered with such vibrancy and passion. Presenting one image is wholly different to presenting a panel and this collection here has been thoughtfully put together. The author has demonstrated a wide range of skills technically with a variety of processing skills, including some mono and near mono. But what we do see before us here is some fabulous creative photographic capability. Great artistic photography, lets see what the others think.”
The judge took his seat and more time passed, which let a wave of panic pass Dianna once more. After what seemed like a lifetime papers were handed over to the Chairperson who stood and announced that Dianna had been recommended by the Royal Photographic Society.
“It was such a relief when they said I was accepted, the round of applause was nice too! The next level is ARPS associate, a whole different ball game which, for now will be left for another day.”
So what's Dianna learnt from this experience?
“I have learnt so much from time management to asking friends for critical feedback and I have learnt so much about presenting a panel, how they need to be sequenced and how important a good, reliable processing lab is too. I also used to be a wild cropper but I'm not any more. I have learnt all about aspect ratio, highlights and sharpness, it's been a hard but rewarding experience, I'm very pleased."
For anyone wanting to know more about Dianna's experience she has set up a forum topic on ePHOTOzine
where you can ask her any questions or just congratulate her on her success.