International Judging and Scoring systems in Photography – Part 3

Welcome to part 3 in my series. I hope you all find the scoring matrix a useful tool…


So what exactly do the scores received relate to? I hope that in the matrix below the terminology may shed light on some of this mystery. This matrix that may be used to gauge the scores you may receive in an image competition but the descriptions and point breaks may vary slightly but nevertheless is pretty accurate worldwide.

Image Competition Judging –  Average Formulae across multiple bodies

0  –  49   Below acceptable ‘Professional’ quality in any area

50 – 59   Very poor but with evidence of some potential

60 – 65   The beginnings of understanding required technique

66 – 69   The absolute basics of technique are understood but largely ignored

70 – 75   Competent in the expectations of professional quality

76 – 79   Well crafted and demonstrating potential

80 – 90   Images of particular distinction

91 – 100  An image of outstanding quality


In many countries a score of 80 points would be the mark at which an actual award is made and may be called a ‘merit’. The achievement of a ‘merit’ may honestly denote the ‘Artist’ as an ‘Award Winning Photographer’ but certainly not below this internationally recognised benchmark. As to what constitutes a score of 80 and above is concerned, that will always be a ‘moveable feast’ dependent on the general overall quality of submissions into any given competition. A skilful and experienced Chairman will always run the previous years winning entries (if available) in front of his current panel of Jurors to ‘warm them up’ to the judging process. It is therefore essential to set the benchmarks as early as possible to ensure a smooth and effective judging.



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