Posts Tagged ‘Licentiate


Licentiate Panel

Well it was an early start today, as I had to be in Hertfordshire by 9.30 am, and, for me, that means trekking around the M25, which, on a Monday morning can either be fairly smooth, or, more usually, an mutation of a car park.  Fortunately, it was fairly easy today.

The reason I was heading to Ware was to get a panel of photos judged to qualify me to become a Licentiate of the Master Photographers Association.  Of course, I got there far too early, and had to kick my heels for a while, whilst they were getting everything ready.  So an endless stream of coffee and cigarettes kept my nerves vaguely under control, whilst the sound of one of the lights they use to illuminate the panel exploding had me wondering which one of the judges had been shot.

So the panel is made up of twenty photographs displayed in two rows of ten,  ten photos must be five photos each from two sessions, and the other ten must be a selection from another eight sessions.  All must be paid work carried out in the last two years.

My photos looked like this


Well not quite like this, what you are seeing is the 8″x10″ photos, which I had printed on 10″x12″ paper and card mounted.  Laid out on the display boards it looks a lot different.  One of the other photographers who walked passed where they were on display told me that they looked great.  That settled my nerves a bit.  The judges dare all Fellows of the MPA, and an esteemed bunch they were.  Soon they went into the room and closed the door behind them, whilst I paced nervously in the reception area.  After about five minutes, I was called in to be told that I had passed and that it was an excellent panel.  Then came the most useful part, where one of the judges, Hoss Mahdavi, who runs a studio in Watford gave me some useful pointers.  One of the nicest things he said, was that he would be happy if any of these had been produced at his studio.  More useful was his criticism that there were too many head shots, and that some of the cropping was to tight.  He also said I should practice different lighting set ups and get more creative.  My secret weapon was, in case the judges didn’t like my photos, for my mentor to let them know that I was photographing in people’s homes and not a studio.  Fortunately that wasn’t needed.

After twenty minutes, I walked out, beaming from ear to ear.  What’s next?  Well I plan to start entering some competitions run by the MPA, and work towards submitting an Associate panel, which is a different kettle of fish all together.  For a Licentiate, you only need to show “competence in their chosen field of photography, show a thorough understanding of camera techniques, lighting and composition and ability to create merchantable quality photography.”  For Associate you need to show an “excellence in technique, lighting and composition. The candidate must show creativity and an understanding in the art of professional photography.”  Wish me luck!




I haven’t blogged in a while, because things have been kind of hectic.  There are a few developments bubbling under the surface that I haven’t written about, because, well, I don’t want to put a curse on them by telling everyone too early.

One, that I am happy to talk about now, is the fact that I am applying for a Licentiate qualification in portrait photography with Master Photographers Association.   Licentiate is the entry level that shows  “an established level of skill and competence.”  Its not as easy you think!

I need to submit twenty photographs, that will be judged by a panel of three Fellows of the Association. The photographs need to be taken from ten commissions undertaken in the last two years.  So, no problem there, I think I have undertaken about 120 jobs in the last 8 months.  Picking the sessions to show was more difficult though.  Although the judges are looking for sound technical competence along with “composition, control and lighting of the subject”, the images have to look good, not just individually, but when they are displayed together in two rows of ten photos. So I needed to pick two sessions, from which I would have five photos from each.  Which sessions to choose?  Maybe the ones that I sold the most from?  Well that didn’t work – the baby just lay there with a blank expression on its face.  So in the end I picked 2 sessions, one from a baby boy and one from a baby girl, where there was a lot of expression and eye contact with the camera.  The other 10 come from a variety of sessions: baby boys and girls, a mixture of ethnicities, a variety of clothed and unclothed. I had some help with the selection, I sent a whole load of photos to a fellow of the association and got his advice on which ones would work.  I have the ten main photos selected, but we are still trying to narrow down the other ten from about sixteen.  Once selected, I will need to get them printed and mounted.  The usual size is 12″ x 15″, so that will cost about £120.  I also have to write a Working Profile, that includes a comprehensive CV and details of the organisation and management of each image.  This will be read before they see my photos and allows them to make a better judgement of the quality of the photos.  This could be an advantage to me, as I can explain that I am not working in a studio but photographing babies in their homes.

The judging takes place in about three weeks, so i will write about how I get on later.