Star Ratings

PPD Apply for Star Ratings

Star requirements were changed drastically on July 1, 2010. These instructions reflect the changes. You're ready to apply for a star in monochrome prints? Congratulations! Compared to obtaining the required number of acceptances, the application process is simple.

Exhibition Acceptances

Star  Acceptances  Titles 
 1 18 
 2 36  12 
 3 72  24 
 4 144  48 
 5 288 


Each star level requires a number of acceptances in PSA-recognized exhibitions representing a minimum number of different images. Above 288 acceptances, see the separate Applying for a Galaxy Rating in Monochrome Prints.

Stars 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.

Membership Requirements

An applicant for a star rating must be a PSA member in good standing. Acceptances must be achieved in PSA recognized International Exhibitions in the appropriate Division.

  1. All acceptances earned in Exhibitions closing on or before Dec. 31, 1999, may be applied toward any star rating.
  2. Acceptances earned on or after Jan. 1, 2000, but prior to the applicant joining PSA, may be applied only toward the first star in the Division awarding the star.
  3. All other acceptances must be earned during the applicant's current period of membership.

A lapsed membership can be reinstated by the payment of back dues. Ask PSA Headquarters for procedures.

You must send a copy of your current membership card.

The Application

You may use our Application Form. It is optional, but it will help insure that you have supplied all the needed information. If you don't use the form, be sure your covering letter includes the star you are applying for (monochrome or color? large or small prints? what number star?), your name exactly as you want it on the certificate, your mailing address and your email address if you have one.

Your application from a previous star is on file unless it was very long ago, and you don't need to repeat information about those acceptances. Send two lists:

  1. Your acceptances since your last star application, sorted by exhibition, then by year
  2. Your new titles, sorted alphabetically, with an example of an exhibition where each was accepted

Please number the acceptances consecutively and do the same with the titles. It is no longer possible to use Who's Who totals. For stars 1 through 4, it's all right to send more acceptances than you need for the star; we'll keep them on record and count them for the next star. For star 5, send exactly 96 titles. It is all right to send more than 288 acceptances if you need to, but the excess acceptances will be lost since after star 5 you will be working toward galaxies. If you have more titles, you should review the way galaxies are awarded and choose the titles for the star application to maximize the usefulness of the remaining titles for galaxies. 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.


As of January 1, 2016, the fee for each Star Rating is $12.00, payable by cash or a check (made out to PSA) on a US bank. It is also possible to pay by PayPal.  Instructions will be furnished when your application is approved.

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.


If your application is in order, you'll receive a certificate, suitable for framing. The award will be published in the PSA Journal to recognize your accomplishment. Look for it in the January, April, July or October issue, but remember that with publication deadlines it might not be in the issue right after your award.


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.


Email the relevant Star Ratings Director if you can. Write if you must. Phone as a last resort.

Send your application to:

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

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

If you prefer, you may send star applications by email. Put information in a covering note in the body of the email, and attach the lists as .xls (Excel) files or .qpw (Quattro Pro) files. Do not send .xlsx. Either use the optional charge card form or mail the payment.

If you pay with the credit card form, though, we recommend that you send it by regular mail. Email is not secure, and you use it at your own risk.