Nature Division Study Groups: Scoring and Commenting Guidelines
1. Each image should be scored between 3 and 10 points. Four letters representing the four areas to be scored are to be used to provide the scores in an easy-to-follow pattern. The scores are broken down as follows:
a. NATURE STORY (N) – The nature story contained in an image is what differentiates a Nature Image from a conventional image that happens to use a nature subject.
i. Score 1 point if the image does not fit the PSA definition of a Nature Image, e.g., it displays the hand of man without that hand of man being an integral and necessary part of the nature story.
ii. Score 2 points if the image meets the PSA definition, but is essentially a “Here I Am” shot without additional nature story value.
iii. Score 3 points if the image has positive nature story value. In the case of animals this would be showing behavior or attitude on the part of the animal, generally something more revealing than browsing or grazing. Admittedly it is difficult to show strong stories with nature scenic, but it is possible (e.g., deciduous trees changing color).
b. TECHNICAL QUALITY (T) – Score 1 to 3 points for the technical quality of the image. This part of the score evaluates proper exposure, proper color balance, adequate sharpness without halos, appropriate depth of field, good tonal range, etc.
c. PICTORIAL QUALITY (P) – Score 1 to 3 points for the pictorial quality of the image. This part of the score primarily evaluates composition and impact.
d. EXCEPTIONAL (E) – Study Group members also have the option of awarding an additional point if either the nature story or the overall quality of the image is exceptional. Please indicate why an exceptional point is given in your comments.
Following each Study Group participant's comments, the group member is to include his or her scores following the pattern:
PLEASE NOTE – Scoring is intended to be an aid in evaluating the images and a way to measure improvement as member’s competence in Nature Photography using Digital Techniques increases. It is not intended to make the Study Groups another form of Competition. Members should strive to get the in-camera images as perfect as possible and use computer corrections only as a last resort or for cropping for stronger story or better composition.
2. Each member should develop their own workflow to make viewing and commenting on the images convenient for them. It is not necessary to do all reviewing and commenting in one session. Here is one suggested workflow:
a. Go to the Study Group’s Home Page and click on the first member’s name to bring up the image.
b. Study the image, then write your comments in a separate Word document. You can also hand write your comments.
c. After writing your comments click on the next member's name to bring up their image. Keep doing this for each member. With a full group of six members you will be commenting on five images. One of the six images is yours. You can then flesh out or expand on your comments off-line in a master comment document at your leisure.
d. Have your document window and the member’s comment page at the same time. Highlight the comment on the document, press Ctrl-C, switch to the comment page, place the cursor in the comment box, then press Ctrl-V. The comment will be copied into the comment box. Enter the scores including the total. Submit that member’s comments and scores, and continue on to the next member.
e. Repeat this until you have entered all comments and scores.
3. Study Group members’ comments should be consistent with the scoring. They should definitely explain the reason behind any “exceptional” 1’s awarded. Comments should be primarily concerned with the nature aspect of the image rather than with pictorial quality, but members should feel free and encouraged to include any tips and hints on improving the pictorial and technical quality using in-camera and post-production digital techniques.