In criticizing images there are two elements that affect the photographer’s work, 1 the score and 2 the comment. I would hope that while the comment aims to give a fair and realistic portrayal of my impression of the image in an instructive and supportive fashion, the score is definitive in terms of the overall placing of the quality of the image within the club’s total submission. Generally I feel giving very low marks does little to raise the buoyancy of the photographer’s enthusiasm; it must be measured against the spread of quality and experience within the membership of the club. I would hope that photographers would be astute enough in their own judgement while composing, selection of settings on camera and post processing work to act as judges of their own images, and that it would to a large extent reflect their personal judgement. 12 points I feel would be considered a base line score, and one that would separate the acceptable from the unacceptable. 12 would be awarded to an image that has no significant technical flaws, but likewise has no significant strengths.
10 would be a 12 if not for a significant flaw. The flaw might be for example, over or under exposure by 1 stop, or a subject that might be out of focus when it needed to be in focus.
14 is a good solid image. An image towards which every member should be striving as a minimum, such an image is technically correct and more. It exhibits at least one element towards which photographers who are working at polishing their craft would be aiming. Examples are showing knowledge of the importance of a choice of subject, of good lighting, of dramatic composition, of handling DOF. If there are flaws they are minor.
16, this is a strong image. Technically correct and much more. The elements must work together; the flaws if they exist are difficult to see. And in general do not impact visually. If rules are broken they are broken for impact. Examples are images taken in difficult exposure situations. Effective use of selective focusing and DOF, as well as other advanced photographic techniques. The images exhibit SEVERAL elements towards which those who are working at polishing their craft should strive. The difference between 14 and 16 is how strong the image is.
18 is an exceptionally strong image; i.e., true photographic excellence, maybe not totally perfect, but very strong. It is technically correct and much more. The elements of the image must work together to form a whole that is far greater than the sum of its parts. There should not be any obvious flaws. 18 scoring images can break rules for impact. Difficult exposure is overcome; effective use of selective focusing and DOF as well as other advanced photographic techniques are common in such images. The image exhibits many elements towards which those working at polishing their craft should be striving.
20, for all of the above, but used to separate those who exhibit that something else that makes the particular image unique.