The Zone 8 Photographic Society

TECHNICAL INFORMATION LEAFLET - (Printer friendly version)



This distinction recognises fundamental technical ability covering handling and use of equipment, focusing and depth of field, basics of good exposure, processing and printing to achieve a foundation of good technique and generally serves to confirm the recipient's progress from absolute novice to one who can understand and apply himself/herself to the production of good basic quality work. This is the only category that recognises quality of production of colour transparencies and/or trade produced prints in terms of awarding a distinction.

To gain this distinction, one needs to present a selection of work, entirely that of the author's, for assessment.

In general, work can be in the form of monochrome and/or colour transparencies in mounts or alternatively, monochrome and/or colour prints, which can be mounted or sent un-mounted in a folio. The main requirement is to show a good grasp of basic techniques; it is not intended to require the author to do anything but supply a reasonable variety of work. Size of prints is unimportant (but to be not less than 7" longest side) and they can be as varied as the subject matter (Conventional &/OR Digital prints accepted). In addition, to recognise changes, sunbmissions can be in Digital JPEG Image File format. The guideline is to ensure the digital image size is around 10" longest side and PPI to be 180ppi, so the technical quality can be more sensibly assessed. Just ask for advice if needed for any clarification!

Commonsense would dictate that a minimum print size should perhaps be around 7"x5" but this is a guide, not a dictate. We are primarily interested in the technical competence. As regards number of prints, again that is up to the individual author but there is no need to exceed twelve unless you personally feel there is a need to submit more, perhaps due the variety of subjects included. Just be careful with your selection.

Just remember that the main purpose is to demonstrate your technical competence across a variety of subjects to show you can:-

i) Focus effectively and use lens apertures, for Depth of Field and sharpness, to suit the chosen subjects
ii) Expose to retain good tonal detail and separation (Conventional &/OR Digital)
iii) Make a good quality set of prints (which can be varied in size and process and can be trade processed at this level of Distinction submission) or provide mounted transparencies or a mixture of both if so preferred

The above are the three basic requirements for good photographic techniques as applicable to gaining all levels of distinction. As this is also the only level for which colour transparencies and trade processed prints are recognised, a high standard of technical competence at the taking stage will be required over a minimum of 20 examples. As we recognise that the digital age is upon us, in place of transparencies, we can accept digital images on a CD; in such a case, the images need to be 10" for the shortest dimension and of minimum 180 ppi resolution.

If you are unsure, please do e-mail or telephone to have a chat as we want you to avoid involving yourself in unnecessarily high production and postal costs.


This distinction recognises a high level of technical competence coupled to an ability to produce pictures with an in-depth affinity for the chosen subject(s). It will be awarded to authors who show a real fundamental mastery of their equipment and techniques and a competent appreciation of subject, composition and lighting.

You will need to submit a selection of work for appraisal along the following guide lines. If you wish, you are welcome to telephone and discuss your proposed submission or to gain additional information on any points about which you may require further clarification or guidance. We are only too willing to help ensure you know what is required and how to set about producing and presenting the work.

Only personally produced work is acceptable, whether all monochrome prints, or a mixture of monochrome and colour. In this respect, we hold every author on honour as regards work production being solely their own. The print media can be conventional or digital, or a mixture but all must be self-produced.

Prints can be mounted or presented unmounted but in a suitable folio. We would emphasise that evaluation is based on the work itself but we do expect to receive the prints reasonably presented, not loose in a box (though the latter may be accepted if sent from overseas in recognition of postal costs involved).

Presentation can obviously help but good presentation would not override work of standard below the requirements stated.

There are many suitable folios and remember that print size is unimportant, though we would generally expect print size to be around the 10"x8" guide size as a minimum - BUT this is not a specific bar to smaller prints if appropriate to the subject and/or media. In general, we would prefer to view around 15 prints as a minimum as this number should adequately demonstrate the author's ability and technical competence.

The three requirements shown in the Graduate level equally apply to the Licentiate level distinction. Obviously, we would be expecting a higher level of personal and artistic perception of the individually chosen subjects, if a variety presented, or the submission could be more in-depth on one or more specific themes.

We are primarily looking for competence in quality standards coupled to a very good standard of approach to the selected subjects.

Prints will be expected to be good in terms of technical quality, including finishing and general presentation. As an example, where prints are not mounted, they could be enhanced in presentation simply by using wider borders if in a folio and fixed on to a backing sheet using transparent photo-corners to keep them in the desired location on the page.


The Associate level is designed to recognise an excellence of technical achievement coupled to a very high level of artistic ability in making personal images.

Many people who gain a similarly designated distinction within other organisations do so primarily for their imaging abilities coupled to layout of panels and overall presentation. Sadly, whilst the picture ideas may be good, the technical competence is often below that which we would consider acceptable for our Licentiate level award and occasionally, would not even qualify for our Graduate level. Additionally, trade processed work is accepted and in that respect, we personally would regard the distinctions as meaningless as far as personal achievement is concerned.

Thus, however good the picture images in terms of ideas may be, we will only recognise work as far as distinction awards are concerned where it is of a very high standard of technical quality and solely the author's, from start to finish. In these respects, we make no apologies for the difference to other organisations but would stress that our requirement of imaging coupled to the highest quality is a fundamental basis for the award of "Zone 8 P.S." distinctions.

For the Associateship, the route is the same as for other levels, requiring submission of prints for assessment. The general requirements as given in the Graduate level still apply but clearly, we would be expecting a body of work that demonstrates a personal ability to express oneself through the artistic imaging medium of photographic prints to the very highest standards in all respects.

Print size is unimportant and solely the choice of the author, as in all categories. At this level, we would expect a high quality of presentation, though again this can be in the form of a folio. Mounted prints can be submitted but you should bear in mind the cost of postage/packing both ways, unless you are able to bring and collect the work personally as an alternative.

In general, we would expect around a minimum of 20 prints, though less may be acceptable if of an exceptional quality. We would be expecting the author to show a clarity of vision and purpose, coupled to high technical skills and it almost goes without saying that print finishing should be immaculate.

It is not necessary to present a panel of work. A mixture of high quality images on a wide variety of subjects is perfectly acceptable, as we look at the overall competence and abilities, which can be demonstrated in individual prints. That is not to say that themed submissions are not acceptable. The choice is solely that of the individual author.

The Associate distinction is the highest level that can be attained within the Society and recognises an author's commitment to personal work both in artistic imaging and technical skills.


The Fellowship is only awarded to highly distinguished members of Associateship level and solely by invitation. It is not, technically, necessarily higher than the Associate level but rather rewards services to the Society and/or recognises distinguished abilities in image making


Awarded as an Honorary Title to those persons whose contribution to the work of the Society or their work on behalf of Photography in General or Specific Areas is decreed worthy of special recognition.



For all categories, members are quite welcome to send a few samples of work for pre-submission assessment. By this is meant sending a small selection of prints which will be commented on as a guide relating to requirements for specific distinction levels. We would suggest about half a dozen prints (which can be loose in a good packing box), together with a blank cassette for our comments. There is a fee for this service but it is only £4.50 - plus of course the packing must be reusable and you will need to enclose any extra to cover return postage too. However, it does provide a means to guide you on "where you stand" regarding quality of work requirements. As much help as possible will be given when recording comments.

Because Brian Allen (Administrator) is now resident in Spain, the President, Bruce A Carter, is willing to provide this service for UK resident members by prior agreement. Please contact Brian in the first instance.

There is no fee for submitting a set of work for distinction assessment but you must provide return postage/packing (e.g.: use reusable packing when sending your work). If you are successful in your eventual submission for a specific Distinction level award, you will be sent your Certificate showing your level of membership. Obviously, you do have to be a paid-up member of the "Zone 8 Photographic Society" as distinctions are categories of membership. There are NO differential fees for any categories of membership!

Should anyone not be awarded the distinction, we will send you an assessment form giving as much information as we can about your work. If there should perhaps only be a minimum number of prints below the required standard, you will only have to resubmit that number of prints for reassessment. This should help enormously with resubmission and postal costs and enable you to produce the required replacement prints instead of starting again from scratch.

It is perfectly possible to have your work assessed if you visit Spain! This can be done ONLY by prior arrangement. You can "pop-in" or stay for one or more nights at our normal rates (only available to members and their partners, family, etc.). Indeed, you could also bring your negatives, digital images, transparencies etc. and use available digital imaging equipment, with guidance, to reprint a couple of prints to gain the award! In such cases, we promise NOT to fail you just to get some extra income! If interested in such a facility, just telephone to discuss! Members have access to such facilities, with details on their Members Only Forum and in a TIL.


All prints must be self-produced and on accepted archival materials. Prints may be monochrome or colour or a mixture (any process) produced via conventional and/or * digital imaging methods (any process).

Digital work for all categories is acceptable alone provided it is made to archival standards - ask if unsure about requirements!

Submissions should be accompanied by a letter with full information about the work submitted

A lighting level of 50 foot-candles is used when viewing prints. This would mean an exposure reading off matt white card with a meter on 100 ISO/ASA of 1/60th @ f8 on Zone V (The normal reading on any meter without marked Zones).

© - BRIAN SL ALLEN - 2015 - ©

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