Star Ratings

PPD Galaxy Award Application Procedure

The Pictorial Print Division Galaxy Award Program came into use, by direction of the PSA Board of Directors, on July 1, 2010, as a way of recognizing successful star exhibitors for continued photographic proficiency in international pictorial print exhibitions.  It replaced the former Ruby, Diamond, etc., Star Award Program, which had been in use since the 1940's.   Galaxies are awarded separately in each of the four PPD Print Classes: Large (Class A) Monochrome Prints, Large (Class A) Color Prints, Small (Class B) monochrome Prints and Small (Class B) Color Prints.  The exhibition class in which the print was entered determines its class; an 8 x 10 inch print accepted in the Large Monochrome Prints class of an exhibition is a large monochrome print, despite its physical size.

If you had more then 288 acceptances on July 1, 2010, and you haven't already done so, you probably need to complete a conversion application and send it with your galaxy application.  See the separate instructions for conversions.


  1. Membership in PSA (you must send a copy of your PSA Membership card.)
  2. All acceptances must be in PSA recognized pictorial print exhibitions. These are listed in the "Exhibitions" section of each issue of the PSA Journal.
  3. Five Star rating in the Print Class.
  4. Acceptances used toward this award must be of new titles/images not used for previous awards in the print class.
  5. Acceptances acquired after January 1, 2000 must be earned during membership in PSA as  indicated by the date on the membership card.  A lapsed membership can be reinstated by the payment of back dues.   Ask PSA Headquarters for procedures. 

Acceptance Schedule

  • Galaxies 1-5.....25 new titles with...........3 acceptances each
  • Galaxy 6-10 .....50 new titles with...........3 acceptances each
  • Diamond 1-5 ....50 new titles with ..........6 acceptances each
  • Diamond 6-10...75 new titles with ..........6 acceptances each

Schedule A: Star, Galaxy and Diamond Acceptance Requirements, shows the requirements in more detail.

Judging Credits: You are entitled to judging credits if you judge PSA-recognized international exhibitions: 3 judging credits if there were 3 or fewer judges; 2 credits with 4 or 5 judges, 1 credit with 6 to 9 judges, and none if there were 10 or more.  List those separately.  No more than 9 judging credits may be used on one application; all judging credits earned at one exhibition must be used on one application; judging credits must have been earned since the 5th Star was awarded or since the application for the previous galaxy was received; and only one judging credit may be used with each title.

Ineligibility: A print acceptance in a Nature, Photo Travel or Photojournalism exhibition is not eligible for awards in the Pictorial Print Division.  Use that acceptance for awards in its own Division.

Processing your Application 

As of January 1, 2016, the fee for each Galaxy or Diamond Award is $12.00 and must accompany the application. It is also possible to pay by PayPal.  Instructions will be furnished when your application is approved.  Names of those receiving Galaxies will be published quarterly in the PSA Journal Star Ratings section.

Preparing your Application 

In a covering letter, list your name (exactly as you want it on the certificate), mailing address, email address, the class of prints you are applying for (monochrome or color, large or small) and the galaxy you are applying for.  Include two lists--see the examples below:

Example 1: Alphabetical List of Exhibitions by Year

Year   No.    Title                             
Minneapolis-St. Paul Circ.: CCC  2011 1 Minnehaha Falls
Minneapolis-St. Paul Circ.: CCC  2011 2 Big Sea Water
Minneapolis-St. Paul Circ.: MPS 2011 3 Big Sea Water
Northwest 2011 4 Minnehaha Falls
Central Washington 2011 5 Nokomis' Wigwam

Example 2: Alphabetical Titles

No. Title Exhibit
1 Minnehaha Falls Minneapolis-St. Paul Circ.: CCC 
2 Big Sea Water Minneapolis-St. Paul Circ.: CCCC 
Minneapolis-St. Paul Circ.: MPS 
3 Nokomis' Wigwam Central Washington 

Ethical Standards

By applying for a star rating, you affirm that you have followed the requirements of the PSA Ethical Standards Statement, as published in the PSA Journal.  In particular, the ethics statement says that: Images submitted for competition shall originate as photographs by the entrant on photographic emulsion or acquired digitally. By virtue of submitting an entry, the photographer certifies the work as his own.  Any image accepted in a PSA-Recognized exhibition shall not be re-entered in the same format in the same section of the exhibition by using a different title or a like in-camera duplication or a reproduction duplication. An accepted image may not be re-titled for entry in the same section of any other PSA-recognized exhibition.  If you find that by mistake you entered the same image under different titles in different exhibitions, it is all right to list them both, but you must tell us so we can count only one of the titles.  If the same image was accepted more than once in the same exhibition, regardless of title (which means both you and the exhibition made mistakes) only one counts.  Don't list the other one.  Flag it in your records so you don't ever use it.


Your approved application lists will be held in the permanent PPD files.  You should be sure to keep a copy, though–fires, floods and other disasters happen to Star Rating Directors, too! 

As soon as you receive your exhibition catalogs, check your acceptances. If they are not correct, write to the exhibition chairman for a correction..  Save the reply and send it to the star ratings director with your application. 

Send your application to:

Monochrome Prints:
Tom Hady, APSA, EPSA
Star Ratings Director, Monochrome Prints
6719 Bellamy Ave.
Springfield, VA 22152

Color Prints:
Stuart Bacon
1320 Benito Avenue
Burlingame, CA  94010-5626, USA

If you prefer, you may send conversion applications by email.   Put information that you are supposed to send in a covering note in the body of the email, and attach the lists as .xls (Excel) files.  Do not send .xlsx.