PSNZ Judging Seminar

The weather has been really lovely for the last week and last weekend particularly so, unfortunately I did not get much chance to enjoy the sunshine. I spent the weekend at a seminar organised by the Photographic Society of New Zealand on competition judging and accreditation. While it was a shame to be inside with the sun was shining the seminar itself was extremely interesting and useful with around 20 attendees from around the South Island of New Zealand. 

The seminar as was very ably run by Bruce Girdwood (Chair of the Judge Accreditation Panel) and Shona Jaray (PSNZ President) both of whom had clearly worked very hard on providing a clear and useful presentation. The seminar was very interactive based around a framework for evaluating images and how to provide useful feedback. It included examples taken from a variety of sources and finished with a session where we all had the opportunity to evaluate some images and present our results back to the rest of the participants.

The framework presented was based around the concepts of visual design and composition. I have heard the concepts presented before but it was useful to hear it explained in terms of judging images rather than making them. The importance of trying to identify what feeling/mood the photographer is attempting to convey was also stressed. The basic principles that were outlined are given below, there are plenty of texts covering these concepts for those interested in learning more.

Visual Design:

  • Light
  • Lines
  • Shapes – triangles, squares, circles
  • Textures
  • Perspective
  • Dominance
  • Balance
  • Proportion
  • Rhythm

The intention behind the seminar was to start the process of improving the general standard of judging in club competitions; to make it more consistent and also to make it more helpful to the club members. After all the purpose for most people entering the club competitions is to improve their photography and it is important that judges provide positive and useful feedback on the images being judged.

I now have to judge my first competition in a couple of weeks and I hope I manage to apply what I learnt to provide useful, well reasoned feedback. I suspect the judging itself will be fairly straightforward, presenting it back will require some careful preparation!

At least with the sun out this week I managed to cycle to work, and make a few images on the way – just to brighten up this post a little!


Sunset over the Waimakariri River


The flowers in my garden are getting busy.


The trees are in blossom.


But it is still cool and misty in the morning!


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