Recognition of Photography

The PSA Star Ratings Program

Exhibitors in PSA-recognized International Exhibitions enjoy receiving "acceptances." Generally, an exhibitor will enter 4 projected images or prints in one section of a PSA-recognized photographic exhibition. A panel of judges may then select one or more of those entries for inclusion in the exhibition (public show). Each of those entries that are chosen for the exhibition is given the "acceptance" designation.Those images that are "accepted" for inclusion in an exhibition are eligible to be used by PSA members when applying for a PSA Star Rating. 

PSA Star Ratings 
Committee Chair

Francis MacDonald


PSA recognizes the acceptance achievement of PSA members through a popular Star Ratings program that was established in 1947.  Stars are awarded for a combination of the number of acceptances received and the number of "titles" (different images) accepted in PSA-recognized exhibitions.


Stars are awarded for increasing levels (One Star, Two Stars, Three Stars, etc.) based on an established minimum number of titles and acceptances for each level. For example, if a member has eighteen (18) acceptances with six (6) image titles in PSA Nature Division recognized exhibitions, then the member can submit their application (a formal list of the exhibition names, exhibition location and date, and the image titles) to the Nature Division Star Ratings Director.  The Division Star Ratings Director checks the acceptances and titles in member's application list against the catalogs submitted by the Exhibitions and marks off each acceptance when it is used for a Star Rating. 

When the application is approved, the member receives a letter of congratulation and a Star Rating Certificate from the Division Star Rating Director.  The Star Ratings awarded each quarter are published in the PSA Journal in January, April, July, and October.  Once a Star Rating has been awarded, the member must maintain continuous PSA membership in order to earn additional Star Ratings or use their Star Ratings to apply for the PSA Recognition of Photographic Achievement ROPA Distinctions (PPSA, EPSA, MPSA, GMPSA, GMPSA/b, GMPSA/s, GMPSA/g, GMPSA/p).

The seven PSA divisions offer one or more Star Ratings.

PSA Star Ratings Directors

(Click name to email)

Projected Image Division (PID): PID Star Ratings Wally Lee, APSA, PPSA 

Nature Division:  Nature Division Star Ratings, Fran MacDonald

Photo Travel Division:  Photo Travel Star Ratings, Robert E. Leonard, FPSA, MPSA

Photojournalism Division:  Photojournalism Star Ratings, Karen Leonard

Pictorial Prints:   Print Division Star Ratings
    * Color:
Stuart Bacon
    * Monochrome:
Tom Hady, APSA, EPSA

3D:  3D Star RatingsGene Mitofsky

PSA Star Ratings Guidelines

The document outlining the standards regarding PSA Star Ratings can be downloaded: Star Ratings Practices.

  • Only PSA members are eligible to earn PSA Star Ratings.
  • Acceptances earned before becoming a PSA member can be applied to the First Star in each Division.
  • An exhibitor with more acceptances than those required for the First Star may back-pay their membership, up to 5 years, when they join PSA to include the dates of additional acceptances.  Their membership "start date" remains the day they join PSA. 
  • Members must maintain continuous membership once the First Star is earned. Lapses in membership can be bridged by paying a fee for each year.
  • Members must apply for Star Ratings, they are not automatically awarded.
  • Only acceptances in PSA-recognized exhibitions can be used in Star Rating applications.
  • Only acceptances earned in one Division (for example, Nature) may be used for a Star Rating in that Division (Nature). The entrant must keep track of which PSA Division or Divisions have recognized each exhibition that the entrant entered. 
  • Some exhibitions with PSA-recognition (PSA logo used) are only recognized for one of several sections and only acceptances in that one section can be used for PSA Star Ratings.
  • The same title must be used with a particular image every time it is entered or exhibited.
  • The entrant's name must be used in the same way for each exhibition entered in order to have the entrant's acceptances recorded properly.  For example, use only one of: M. Harry Smithers; M. H. Smithers; Smithers, Michael Harry; or Michael Harry Smithers. 
  • Star Ratings Certificates are needed to apply for other PSA ROPA Distinctions (PPSA, EPSA, MPSA, GMPSA, GMPSA/b, GMPSA/s, GMPSA/g, GMPSA/p).
  • Members must follow PSA Ethical Practices