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The Societies’ 2019 Judging School

The Societies’ 2019 Judging School

On the 26 June 2019, 12 professional photographers from across the UK and Europe descended on the seaside town of Towyn, North Wales, to attend The Societies Judging School presented by Terrie Jones and Scott Johnson FSWPP Master Photographer.

The school was founded by Competition Executive and Judge Terrie Jones, whose passion for photographic judging has become somewhat infamous within the industry over the past sixteen years after creating The Societies’ live annual 20×16” Print Competition, which is now one of the largest, most respected, ‘all welcome’ photographic print competitions in the world today. Having seen the need for a continuation of standard over the next generation of photographers, Terrie took it upon herself to develop her personal understanding of photographic excellence and devised the Judging School so that photographers would have the opportunity to undergo training and therefor become judges themselves. Graduates of Terrie’s school have since gained respect within the judging community and can now be found judging photographic competitions all over the world.

“The school is specifically designed to not only teach photographers the main elements that they should be judging an image by, but how to express those thoughts in a respectful and constructive manner.” explains Terrie. “It gives them practical experience as well as an in-depth knowledge of how to study images in order to determine an appropriate score category.”

The 2019 Judging School was limited to just twelve photographers. This ensures that each delegate gets plenty of opportunity to put their knowledge to the test during the practical sessions and also allows ample time for questions that arise throughout the days. The school is split into four parts over two days and covers print, digital and qualification judging procedures, it is a fully interactive experience and delegates are encouraged to step outside of their comfort zones and vocalise their findings based on the theory taught.

The school itself is quite intensive, there is a lot that needs to sink in in such a short space of time, this is the reason why it is followed by 6 online one-to-one training sessions with Terrie and various members of our current judging team.

Being a photographic judge comes with a lot of responsibility, you carry the weight of upholding the standard of professional photography and of course the integrity of the Competitions and Qualifications that The Societies offer. Further training, where knowledge is passed on from a variety of experienced Judges, is essential in developing a well-rounded member of the team.

This years Judging School kicked off with a theory session covering the 10 elements of an award winning image. This lead to a wonderful Q&A session led by the delegates, which showed their enthusiasm and thirst for knowledge. After lunch Terrie discussed The Societies judging procedures before splitting the group into two teams for practical ‘live judging’ sessions.

The second morning began with a visit from FujiFilm representatives Jon Cohen and John Grayston giving a short presentation on the importance of paper choice, this was then followed by another afternoon of practical experience. Every delegate which attended, completed the course and will now continue onto their online training sessions before doing their final judging assessment.

On the 28 June, following another successful school, The Societies invited delegates to submit work for qualification. Two Fellowship Qualifications were awarded as a result of this assessment day.

“The quality of the work submitted was excellent” says Terrie.

“We require all of our judges to gain a Fellowship Qualification before they can sit on panels, so to see two of our delegates reach that level so soon after completing the school is very exciting!”

To register your interest for the next Societies’ Judging School please email terrie@thesocieties.net.

Check out the upcoming Introduction to Judging Seminars by Terrie Jones. Full details: https://thesocieties.net/introduction-to-judging-day/


“What I learnt was incalculable not just about judging but also about photography and my own strengths and weaknesses… which haven’t really been put on trial since my exit from corporate life many many years ago.” – Peter Jones FSITTP ABPPA ASWPP FSINWP

“Judging School was absolutely amazing and it was such an eye opener for me. I know this is just the beginning of the journey but I already can see how big impact it had on me and how it changed my perception of looking at the competitions, my work and work of others.”
– Paulina Duczman FSWPP

“ I learned so much which will help with all aspects of my photography!”
– Imelda Bell FSWPP

“Thank you for a really interesting, fun and well thought out course. I enjoyed both days, the instructions, the helpful critique and working with my the other course members enhancing the way we review a photograph. It was a wonderful insight into minds of the judges and as a member of the Society how we should conduct ourselves as producers of photographic works and as potential judges.” – John Robionson LSWPP