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OPS Associateship applications are assessed with reference to a number of different criteria, primarily the photographer's stated objectives, technical competence, presentation, artistic contribution and content, originality and imagination, communication and cohesion. Successful applications must score the relevant pass mark in each of the sections below and also achieve an overall passmark. The overall pass mark is greater than the sum of the minimum pass marks for individual images and sections.

The following criteria are used for all Associateship applications. More specific criteria and requirements may be included in the relevant category description.

Statement of Objectives

  • Were the photographer's stated objectives met by the panel or sequence of images submitted?

Technical Competence

  • Evidence of the competent use of appropriate equipment;
  • Consistent control of exposure, contrast and colour balance;
  • Appropriate control of highlight and shadow detail; and
  • Effective use of focus and depth of field.


  • A generally high standard of presentation should be apparent;
  • Images must be free from marks, blemishes etc; and
  • The images should be varied and demonstrate a range of approaches to the subject. Repetition is not allowed, so two (or more) very similar images may be unacceptable.

Artistic Contribution and Content

  • A good understanding of composition, design and form should be apparent; and
  • Appropriate use of lighting and viewpoint must be demonstrated..

Originality and Imagination

  • Evidence of originality in presenting the subject. Well-worn, repetitive approaches are unlikely to be successful; and
  • Evidence of personal engagement or involvement with the subject(s).


  • The panel should meet objectives stated in the associated supporting statement;
  • The photographic style should be consistent throughout the panel; and
  • The images should communicate mood, atmosphere or emotion where appropriate.


  • The images should be displayed in an appropriate manner and the panel should be visually balanced; and
  • Each image should have a supportive role in the panel.

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