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OPS Certificate of Merit applications are assessed with reference to a number of different criteria, primarily technical quality, photographic technique, perception, presentation and photographer's contribution. Successful applications must score the relevant pass mark when assessed against each of the following criteria:

Technical Quality

  • Cropping, masking and colour management;
  • Image processing and tonal control; and
  • Removal of spots, dust and digital processing artifacts.

Photographic Technique

  • Viewpoint and lighting;
  • Focus, depth of field, aperture, shutter speed and exposure; and
  • Control of highlights and shadows, image density and colour.


  • Understanding and use of light, colour, mood, line, shape and texture;
  • Image design, viewpoint, composition and cropping; and
  • Control of background.


  • Overall impression, variety of approach;
  • Selection of images; and
  • Editing and attention to detail.

Photographer's Contribution

  • Photographer's contribution, and understanding of subject;
  • Communication of basic information, story, emotion, mood, and ideas;
  • Creativity, imagination and ability to capture the moment; and
  • Choice of medium (colour, monochrome etc);

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