Divisions


PSA Division Definition Summary

The following explains what differentiates each PSA Division. Those wishing to run PSA recognized exhibitions can use this information for planning purposes.

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  • Projected Image Division

    » Projected Image Division Definition:
    The subject matter is unrestricted  for PID images in separate color and monochrome (see below for Monochrome definition) classes. There may be a theme specified for some PSA-recognized PID exhibitions and the exhibition’s definition of the theme should be consulted. Each class has its own Star Ratings path.

    Monochrome Definition
    An image is considered to be Monochrome only if it gives the impression of having no color (i.e. contains only shades of grey which can include pure black and pure white) OR it gives the impression of being a greyscale image that has been toned in one color across the entire image. (For example by Sepia, red, gold, etc.) A greyscale or multi-colored image modified or giving the impression of having been modified by partial toning, multi toning or by the inclusion of spot coloring does not meet the definition of monochrome and will be classified as a Color Work.

  • Nature Division
    » Nature Division Definition:

    The definition below has been agreed by PSA and FIAP. However, PSA has produced a preface to this definition as below:-

    PSA preface
    There is one hard and fast rule, whose spirit must be observed at all times: The welfare of the subject is more important than the photograph.

    This means that practices such as baiting of subjects with a living creature and removal of birds from nests, for the purpose of obtaining a photograph, are highly unethical, and such photographs are not allowed in Nature competitions. Judges are warned not to reward them.

    The PSA policy on aerial photography does not permit animals or birds in their natural habitat to be photographed from a drone.

    Joint PSA FIAP definition

    • Nature Photography is restricted to the use of the photographic process to depict all branches of natural history, except anthropology and archeology, in such a fashion that a well-informed person will be able to identify the subject material and certify its honest presentation.
    • The story telling value of a photograph must be weighed more than the pictorial quality while maintaining high technical quality.
    • Human elements must not be present, except where those human elements are integral parts of the nature story such as nature subjects, like barn owls or storks, adapted to an environment modified by humans, or where those human elements are in situations depicting natural forces, like hurricanes or tidal waves.
    • Scientific bands, scientific tags or radio collars on wild animals are permissible.
    • Photographs of human created hybrid plants, cultivated plants, feral animals, domestic animals, or mounted specimens are ineligible, as is any form of manipulation that alters the truth of the photographic statement.
    • No techniques that add, relocate, replace, or remove pictorial elements except by cropping are permitted.
    • Techniques that enhance the presentation of the photograph without changing the nature story or the pictorial content, or without altering the content of the original scene, are permitted including HDR, focus stacking and dodging/burning.
    • Techniques that remove elements added by the camera, such as dust spots, digital noise, and film scratches, are allowed.
    • Stitched images are not permitted
    • Color images can be converted to greyscale monochrome.
    • Infrared images, either direct-captures or derivations, are not allowed.
    • Images entered in Nature sections meeting the Nature Photography Definition above can have landscapes, geologic formations, weather phenomena, and extant organisms as the primary subject matter. This includes images taken with subjects in controlled conditions, such as zoos, game farms, botanical gardens, aquariums and any enclosure where the subjects are totally dependent on man for food.

    Wildlife

    Where exhibitions or competitions have a Wildlife section or are giving a Wildlife medal the following applies:

    Images entered in Wildlife sections meeting the Nature Photography Definition above are further defined as one or more extant zoological or botanical organisms free and unrestrained in a natural or adopted habitat.

    Landscapes, geologic formations, photographs of zoo or game farm animals, or of any extant zoological or botanical species taken under controlled conditions are not eligible in Wildlife sections.

    Wildlife is not limited to mammals, birds and insects. Marine subjects and botanical subjects (including fungi and algae) taken in the wild are suitable wildlife subjects, as are carcasses of extant species.



  • Photojournalism Division
    » Photojournalism Definition

    Photojournalism entries should be images with informative content and emotional impact, reflecting the human presence in our world. The journalistic (story-telling) value of the image shall receive priority over pictorial quality. In the interest of credibility, images that misrepresent the truth, such as those from events or activities specifically arranged for photography or of subjects directed or hired for photography, are not eligible.

    Techniques that add, relocate, replace or remove any element of the original image, except by cropping, are not permitted. The only allowable modifications are removal of dust, scratches or digital noise, restoration of the existing appearance of the original scene, sharpening that is not obvious, and conversion to greyscale monochrome. Derivations, including infrared, are not eligible. All images must look natural.

    Human Interest Definition 
    Human Interest images depict a person or persons in an interactive, emotional, or unusual situation, excluding recreational or sports action.

    Further guidance can be found  on the Photojournalism Division pages.

  • Photo Travel Division
    » Photo Travel Definition

    The definition below applies to all exhibitions conducted in 2020

    Definition (2020): A Photo Travel image expresses the characteristic features or culture of a land as they are found naturally. There are no geographic limitations. Images from events or activities arranged specifically for photography, or of subjects directed or hired for photography are not permitted. Close up pictures of people or objects must include features that provide information about the location.

    Techniques that add, relocate, replace or remove any element of the original image, except by cropping, are not permitted. The only allowable adjustments are removal of dust or digital noise, restoration of the appearance of the original scene and complete conversion to greyscale monochrome. Other derivations, including infrared, are not permitted. All images must look natural.

    For all exhibitions conducted in 2021 the following updated definition applies.  The alterations are highlighted in red.  The essential message remains the same, but the language may be considered more precise.

    Definition (2021): A Photo Travel image expresses the characteristic features or culture of a land as they are found naturally. There are no geographic limitations. Images from events or activities arranged specifically for photography, or of subjects directed or hired for photography are not permitted. Close up pictures of people or objects must include features that provide information about the location.

    Techniques that add, relocate, replace or remove any element of the original image, except by cropping, are not permitted. The only allowable adjustments are removal of dust or digital noise, restoration of the appearance of the original scene and complete conversion to greyscale monochrome. Other derivations, including infrared, are not permitted. All images must look natural.

    The Photo Travel Division has produced a Guide for Chairs and Judges.  It is vital that these guides are issued to judges, and that Chairs of Exhibitions/Competitions ensure that all judges have read the guides and understand them. The guides (translated into several languages) can be found below or on the home page of the Photo Travel Division. https://psa-photo.org/index.php?divisions-photo-travel

  • Pictorial Print Division
    » Pictorial Print Definition

    The prints may be in color or monochrome (see above for Monochrome definition). Digital capture, film photography, desktop and darkroom processing, and commercial prints are all included in the division's activities. The content or subject matter of an image submitted to a PPD program or activity is unrestricted. There may be a theme specified for some PSA-recognized PPD exhibitions and the exhibition's definition of the theme should be consulted. The prints are divided into four classes, large color, large monochrome, small color, and small monochrome. There are two Star paths - Color and Monochrome.

  • 3D Division
    » 3D Definition

    The content or subject matter of an image submitted to a 3DD program or activity is unrestricted. There may be a theme specified for some PSA-recognized 3DD exhibitions and the exhibition's definition of the theme should be consulted.