Edinburgh Photographic Society

Creative Group


The EPS  Creative Group (formerly the EPS Colour Group) has four competition evenings each season.  At each of these, members may submit two projected images:

-  one in the 'Pictorial Section'

-  the other in the 'Set Subject' section


Each image is awarded marks out of 20.

For the 2008-09 season, it was decided that judges should be asked to give marks out of 7 ( technical) + 7 (creative) +6 ( impact) = 20.

For the 2009-10 season, there will only be two categories   i.e. marks out of 10 (technical) + 10 (creative) = 20

I was invited to judge the 4th monthly competition, on March 30, 2008.

I thought about how I might interpret:

-  Technical

-  Creative

-  Impact

and I wrote the notes below.

Awarding Marks

1.  Awarding marks is subjective.  Don't expect different judges to give the same marks as each other for an image.  Sometimes there can be wide variations.

2.  Whatever marks we all get, we can learn a lot from competitions.  They can encourage us to take photos that we might not otherwise have taken, and we can learn by comparing other people's results with our own.

3.  The scoring system is new to us all.  There have been differences of opinion on whether it is the best system to use.  However, it does seem to have generated a lot of discussion about the competitions amongst the members, and that must be good.

4.  I feel that we should not be too concerned about exactly what is to be treated as 'technical / creative / impact'.  They are just headings which judges might interpret differently.  Here's how I have interpreted them.


Producing a well exposed photograph that is in focus is relatively easy with modern cameras, so we'll need more than that if we are to score 7 out of 7 for 'technical'.   In particular, we can ask questions such as:

a)  Is the photograph in focus?

b)  Has there been any camera shake?

c)  Is it well exposed, with detail retained in shadows + highlights?

d)  Is the colour true, or if not true is it appropriate?

e)  Is the horizon level?

f)  Are there any vertical lines that would be better if straightened?

f)  Is anything unwanted intruding into the edge of the frame?

g) Are there any large areas of the image lacking interest?

h) Does the image need to be cropped?

i)  Has the best format been used - portrait / landscape / letterbox?

j)  If adjusted in Photoshop, has the adjustment helped the image?

k)  Has the adjustment been done skilfully, e.g. cloning, sharpening?

l)  Is there anything else that should have been done in Photoshop?


Here we consider the idea behind the photo.  What sort of image did the photographer want to achieve?  The title of the image or set subject might help here.  How successful they were they?   We could ask:

a)  Do the lighting conditions bring out the best in the subject.

b)  Is any use of  flash or fill-in flash appropriate

c)  Has the most appropriate focal length of lens been used?

d)  Is the camera position good / too high / too low

e)  Has shutter speed been well used to show / freeze movement?

f)  Has the aperture been well used to give narrow / wide depth of field?

g)  Is there a centre of interest, and is it in the best position?

h)  Is the composition pleasing, e.g. a lead-in to the center of interest?

i)  Is the background appropriate to the subject?

j)  Would the picture benefit from adding more foreground interest?

j)  Is there anything irrelevant that could be removed or toned down?

k)  If people are in the image, do they look natural, rather than posed?

n)  What else might help the image - e.g. convert to monochrome?

l)  Has the photographer created a photo that others would have missed?

m)  Is  photographer showing signs of developing their own style?


Here I've thought about the overall result achieved.  Questions include:

a)  Does the image have immediate impact?  (Wow!)

b)  Does it have lasting impact on successive viewings?

c)  Would it look good hanging on a wall, or in a gallery?

c)  Does it capture a mood or an emotion?

d)  Does it tell a story, as in some documentary work?

e)  Is it thought provoking, raising questions or intrigue?

f)  Has it made an impression on me?

g)  Is it a photo that I will remember in the future?

-  Peter Stubbs:  March 31, 2009