ACCREDITATION ROUNDS & DATES
Approximately 3-4 weeks prior to the Submission Deadline, the respective Accreditation Round will be announced.
When you are ready to apply for Accreditation register your intention by completing the online NZIPP Accreditation Application Form. A link for this will be posted in the NZIPP Accreditation Q & A Facebook Group and / or emailed out to those who have expressed interest in submitting for the round.
Membership in the NZIPP Accreditation Q & A Facebook Group is for NZIPP members only.
Accreditation submissions are assessed four times each year, in March, May, August (or September) and November.
Accreditation is made up of two parts: Pre-Assessment, and the Accreditation round.
When applying for Accreditation, you first go through a pre-assessment round. Our intention with pre-assessment is to give an overall picture of the submitted work and give you some time to correct any technical errors.
THE ACCREDITATION PATHWAY
Once you have become an Affiliate member of the NZIPP, you can apply for NZIPP Accreditation. You can apply to become accredited in any (or all) of the four divisions – Commercial, Portrait, Specialised and Wedding. You will be required to pay an Accreditation Fee and submit work for assessment in all divisions that you are applying for accreditation in.
In order to apply to be an Accredited Member of NZIPP, you must be earning an income from your photographic work.
After becoming an Accredited Professional Photographer you will be encouraged to use the NZIPP logo on all business and marketing material, email signature, website and other collateral. Your profile, including your contact details and any NZIPP distinctions awarded, will be available for potential clients to see through NZIPPs online directory search engine.
In order to be considered for NZIPP Accreditation, applicants must;
- Apply to join as a NZIPP Affiliate Member
- Agree to be bound by the NZIPP Code of Ethics
- Agree to be bound by the NZIPP Constitution
- Agree to be bound by the NZIPP By-Laws
- Provide business evidence to show that you are earning an income in the professional photographic industry.
Assessments are completed anonymously (applicants use their membership number with their assessment form to ensure confidentiality), by an Accreditation Assessment Panel, made up of three to five Accredited members.
As a guide we would expect that members have a vast portfolio to select from when submitting. You would consider getting assessed for the accreditation category after completing at least; 30 weddings OR 30 portraits shoots OR 30 commercial shoots as the lead photographer.
WHAT ACCREDITATION MEANS
NZIPP Accredited Professional Photographers are recognised as industry leaders. As an organisation we acknowledge the investment you are making in your photography business and are excited that you value the profession through seeking formal Accreditation with the NZIPP.
In becoming an Accredited Member you are investing in an industry body who is passionate and committed to supporting and leading the profession of photography into the future – including your future!
The NZIPP Accreditation Programme offers you a pathway towards demonstrating an attainable, minimum standard of quality technically, creatively and within your business practices. These standards and our Accreditation Programme is aimed at offering the means for you to differentiate yourself in your business, along with providing assurance for your clients that they are engaging a true professional who has met the standards set by our industry.
NZIPP Accreditation also assures your clients they are working with a professional photographer who has agreed to be bound by the NZIPP’s Code of Ethics, Constitution and By-laws.
As an Accredited Member you are required to continue your growth and personal development as a photographer and focus on your accountability as a business owner. You will also be acting as a role model for emerging professional photographers and an
ambassador within the photographic profession.
NZIPP members can apply to be accredited in any (or all) of the following divisions:
Pet / Animal
Pet / Animal
Pet / Animal
Please Note: An application fee is payable for each division being applied for. Accreditation assessments are anonymous and will be completed by an Accreditation Assessment Panel of three to five assessors.
Best Photographic Practice
The following are helpful guides on what represents professional photographic best practise and what the Accreditation Assessment Panel consider when viewing a folio submission. Use this information as you critique and reflect on your work.
Understanding and Control
Understanding and control are the underlying capabilities the Assessment Panel are looking for in a folio submission. You, as the photographer, need to clearly show that you are in control of the photographic situation and making deliberate choices to best convey your intention and / or subject. While the level of control will vary, depending on the genre and situation, consistency of control across all images in your folio should reflect that you are making conscious and deliberate decisions.
Camera Control and Equipment Choices
Competency and skill in the selection of equipment and camera control, based on the subject, environment and intended communication is expected. This includes, but is not limited to:
• Control of light (natural or artificial and including the use of reflectors)
• Appropriate lens / focal length choice for the subject
• Appropriate choice of aperture, shutterspeed and ISO to support the communication within
Focus and Image Sharpness – Images should be in focus!
While there are circumstances where soft focus, limited focus or limited depth of field are an appropriate treatment, there is also a significant difference between this and situations where the focus point or focal plane is not where it should be (either clearly forward or behind the intended subject).
Similarly, images with camera shake or accidental subject movement detracts from the impact and communication of the image. Additionally, be aware of the loss of sharpness that occurs when cropping an image or when an image is captured using a low resolution (eg. 72dpi vs 300dpi).
Remember, if an image is not sharp at the point of capture, it is very hard, and doesn’t really produce acceptable results, by trying to remedy it through post-production.
Understanding and Control of Light
Every image is assessed on its merits and there are a multitude of ways for a subject to be lit. An image does however need to show competency and consideration on how the light has been used to enhance the subject, and that the quality and style of lighting used is appropriate for the subject and intended communication.
Attention to Detail
It’s easy to get too caught up on the subject itself when photographing and missing elements that really shouldn’t be in the image. It can be really helpful to conciously run your eye around the edge of the viewfinder as well as in front of and behind your subject. This will allow you to see distracting or inappropriate elements that are in the frame. This also includes unwanted reflections of yourself, cords, equipment or clutter. Sometimes it only takes a small step or subtle change of camera height, angle or aperture to eliminate the distractions.
Communication and Connection
Photography is all about capturing images that communicate, or tell stories about a subject, event, location, etc. An image that communicates well to the viewer, whether judge, client or the general public, usually does so because it reflects a connection between the photographer and the subject, be it a landscape, portrait of an animal, detail shots at a wedding, or a plate of food.
Look for your voice within your images – what are you trying to say about the subject through the image? The camera is merely a tool, it is YOU that brings the narrative and meaning to an image through considered selection and use of its associated resources, such as aperture, shutter speed, lens, ISO, perspective, lighting, etc.
A competently captured image and one that has good communication will show the photographer was in control and was able to produce work for the intended purpose with appropriate craft, skill and treatment. Be aware, that having a happy client is not always the best guide of this as they are often emotionally involved. Better guidance will come from an experienced professional.
Photographic composition doesn’t have to be complicated but can make a fantastic subject dull or conversely a dull subject interesting. A few things to consider:
• Simplify the scene through careful framing and use of aperture
• Consider placement of your main subject, whether through filling the frame or creating
space for the subject to “breathe”
• Use the rule of thirds technique and avoid always placing the subject in the centre of the frame
• Make use of leading lines to draw or lead the viewers eyes to key elements in the image
• Look for diagonal lines that can add a sense of drama and movement, rather than horizontal
and vertical lines that often make the image appear static
• Allow space for an object or subject to “move or look towards” within the image, rather than
being too close to the edge of the frame.
When photographing people, they look to the photographer to guide them in how to sit, stand, where to place their hands, feet and head, etc. However you pose your subject it should feel comfortable and natural. Pay attention to the details such as hand placement, angle of shoulders, gestures and expressions, as well as how clothing or jewellery looks.
Digital Manipulation or Compositing
Some images may reproduce or print well straight out of camera (SOC), or with only minor colour and contrast post-production adjustments. Others may have significant post-production techniques applied, including compositing images. Use of post-production may also form part of your photographic toolkit that reflects a specific personal style. Either way, the post-production techniques applied and their appropriateness for the subject mattter are all considerations in the resultant quality of an image.
Shadow and Highlight Detail
It’s considered important in our profession that all images should show and hold a reasonable amount of detail in the highlight and shadow areas. Specular highlights, the reflection of the light source in the object you are lighting (particularly shiny objects), are an exception to this.
In general, images should therefore not exhibit issues such as shadow blocking or highlights blown out, where detail would be expected.
The Assessment Panel will view each image on its own merits based on this, and there may even be occasions when an image with areas that are 100% blown out or with areas of solid black is deemed suitable treatment and acceptable. Whatever the situation, your images should still demonstrate an appropriate understanding of tonal control.
Scrutinise your images carefully when preparing them to ensure they show an appropriate and accurate control of:
• Colour Balance – accurate skin tone, elimination of colour casts and not oversaturated
• Contrast and Tone – the blacks are black, whites are white and tones are “clean” rather
than “muddy”, with the contrast and tonal control appropriate for the lighting approach
used, including High Key and Low Key images
• Noise – avoid unnecessary digital noise (digital grain), by ensuring you use an appropriate
ISO at the capture stage
• Post-production artefacts – check images for banding, posterization or moire artefacts
that can be unwanted part of post-production adjustments leading to poor image quality.
Styles and / or Treatments and / or Plagiarism
Some images submitted for Accreditation in the past have had post-production treatments applied that are very similar to other well known images, including what is often seen through the Iris Awards. While appreciation and experimentation based on the work / style of others is encouraged (and a good way to learn), ensure you adapt styles and techniques to the development of your own style rather than merely repeating what others do.
Remember, the Accreditation process is NOT print judging! What works at print judging may not convince an Accreditation Panel about your competency in meeting a minimum professional photographic standard. What is needed here is a demonstration of the work you do on a day-to-day basis, not work that may have been created specifically for the awards.
When selecting the images to include in your folio submission, ensure they reflect as broad a range as possible to show the extent of your photographic practise. Putting in similar images limits the panels ability to see this and they are likely to be more critical of them.
Montages and series of images (eg. diptychs and triptychs) are fine and these are considered and viewed as a single image.
Making the decision to get accredited was a big commitment for me, taking into consideration both my personal time and the financial investment. I made this decision with the thought of taking my business to the next level and for the personal challenge and satisfaction of gaining this recognition. What I didn’t initially realise when I started this process
was how much personal growth I would take from it and how it would put me on a path of continuing to self improve my craft. The process was challenging at times, but looking back on it, it made me take a more constructive look at my work and I know this has improved what I deliver to my clients on