Most photography associations or societies offer distinctions ranging from being a licentiate to associate to fellowship level. However achieving a fellowship may be everyone’s dream, it requires a lot of hard work and commitment and even frustration. I have a long way to go to even get an associate level, I can for now stop dreaming about fellowship. I have however recently gained a licentiate by submitting a panel of 20 images and this was not an easy task as I was trying for atleast a year. Most people consider the licentiate to a beginner qualification but it is not easy to get. It may not have strict guidelines as when submitting images to associate or fellowship level but to even gain one needs good camera skill and composition etc.
The purpose of these distinctions is just to indicate that the photographer has reached a certain level of skill based mainly around composition, technique and lighting etc. However in saying this, photography is something that is based on taste. One person may like your photo and someone else may not like it at all no matter how great the image in question is. For any distinction, it goes through a review between a panel of 5 judges. In the case of my licentiate submission, it was thumbs down from 2 judges and thumbs up from 3 judges. Therefore as mentioned above, each judge has their own preference or taste.
Sometimes you enter a photography competition only to find some less deserving candidates get awarded and you may be left wondering how this can be. It could be that the judge has a specific liking to photos that have been retouched to a greater degree compared to a well composed landscape image or a studio portrait shot compared to portrait shot taken outdoors in natural light. Some may even be biased against certain brands of photographic equipment. There is no right or wrong.
Click here to view to my successful licentiate submission.