Photographic Achievement

Portfolio Distinctions

Director, Portfolio Distinctions


PSA Portfolios Recipients
  Portfolio distinctions are given for a body of work, that reflects a photographer's personal style and photographic interest. All applications are made online. Two assesments per year. Limit of 100 applications per assessment. Early registration and fee payment suggested.

CLOSING DATE: 15 May 2017
SUBMISSION DATES: 15 March - 15 May 2017
RESULT DATE: 30 June 2017

"I encourage everyone to challenge yourself to the portfolio project for several reasons: it forces you to consider what your best work is; it helps you to confirm your identity as a photographer and to articulate it in words and images; it challenges you to consider your work not just as individual images, but as a true body of work; it helps you to become better at critiquing your work – its strengths and weaknesses – and improving it. And, ultimately, it’s fun!" Marie Rakoczy BPSA

The Process
Members must complete the online Portfolio application for all applications and must upload all images, be they digital or print applications. Online applications only.  Email the director for details on where to mail Print Portfolios (will be a U.S. address). Prior to uploading any 3D applications, please email the director for further details.

Members may apply for either a BPSA (first level), or a SPSA (second level). Only after achieving the SPSA may they apply for the GPSA (third level). PSA members can use these acronyms after their names when their applications are approved.


Each Portfolio consists of:

  • A title - maximum 5 words
  • A Statement of Intent - maximum 75 words
  • An Overview Image - showing the sequence in which the images are to be viewed.  Must be 1400px on horizontal axis.
  • 10/15 or 20 images depending on whether the application is made for BPSA/SPSA or GPSA

Model Release for Portraits Required

The entrant to this PSA activity must forward a signed Model Release to the portfolios chair with his/her entry for every portrait image, including all the recognizable likenesses of a human face, which were not taken in a public location. The entrant and model agree to hold PSA harmless against all claims and liabilities arising out of PSA’s publication, display, or other use of any portrait image submitted to PSA. Award images will be posted on the PSAweb site and selected images may be published in the PSA Journal/Division Newsletters.

For those who do not have a Model Release, a sample Model Release Form is linked here.

Entry and Fees

Entry is a two-step process. The following two steps are linked to the appropriate webpage:

  1. » Pay entry fees via PayPal  (no PayPal account required), save receipt from PayPal. BPSA: $90, SPSA: $140, GPSA: $200
    Payment, via PayPal, must be made BEFORE you start the online application, since proof of payment must be attached to the online application
  2. » Submit online application - Pre-registration is necessary on this site, select the option for PSA Portfolio Distinctions - this option will only be visible two months prior to the closing date.
    » Instructions on how to use the online application


» Overview Image and Statement of Intent - Brief Guidelines - Feb 2017 (doc)
Please consult this very important document with all the information you need to apply. It includes FAQ's.

» Instructions on how to submit prints (updated March 2017) - Please consult this very important document to find out all the requirements for submitting prints.

» Instructions on how to use the online application - full details on how to submit your application online.

» PSA Portfolio Distinctions Guidelines - March 2017 (doc) - brief guidelines

Online Courses - PSA has developed two very helpful courses to instruct you on how to create a portfolio for assessment: "A Portfolio Experience" (takes you through the process of creating a portfolio); and "Creating Portfolios for Assessment," a more advanced course geared toward receiving a portfolio distinction from PSA.

The PSA Portfolio Project: A New Challenge by Marie Rakoczy, BPSA - Marie leads you through her experience in successfully applying for her BPSA.  This article offers excellent advice. "It was an exciting moment when I heard of the portfolio acceptance - it gave me a sense of accomplishment and affirmation. But it wasn’t just the end result that was satisfying: the experience of creating the portfolio entry and the learning processes that it involved were their own reward."

Going for my BPSA, by Greg Duncan, EPSA, BPSA, EFIAP/b, PSA Journal, December 2016

 The First PSA Portfolio Assessment, by Joanne Stolte, FPSA, MPSA, EFIAP, PSA Journal, August 2016

The Portfolio Overview Image, by Jon Fishback, APSA, PSA Journal, March 2017

The Second PSA Portfolio Assessment, by Joanne Stolte, FPSA, MPSA, EFIAP, PSA Journal, April 2017

Portfolios Galleries
See the portfolios that earned PSA Portfolio Distinctions