Star Ratings & ROPA

To achieve a Recognition of Photographic Achievement (ROPA), a PSA member must complete 4 steps:
  1. Enter PSA-recognized exhibitions
  2. Record acceptances
  3. Use acceptances to apply for Star Ratings Certificates
  4. Use the Star Ratings Certificates to apply for a ROPA distinction
Members must maintain continuous PSA membership in order to earn additional Star Ratings or use their Star Ratings to apply for a ROPA distinction.

Star Ratings Program


PSA Star Ratings 
Committee Chair

Position Open



Images that are "accepted" for inclusion in an exhibition are eligible to be used by PSA members when applying for a PSA Star Rating.

Stars are awarded for increasing levels (One Star, Two Stars, Three Stars, etc.) based on an established minimum number of titles and acceptances for each level.

The Process
A member applies to the division in which the acceptances have been approved.

Division Star Ratings Directors check the acceptances and titles in a member's application list against the catalogs submitted by the Exhibitions. Approval letters and certificates are sent to those who qualify.

Minimum Requirements
  • 1 STAR - 18 acceptances with at least 6 titles.
  • 2 STARS - 36 acceptances with at least 12 titles.
  • 3 STARS - 72 acceptances with at least 24 titles.
  • 4 STARS - 144 acceptances with at least 48 titles.
  • 5 STARS - 288 acceptances with at least 96 titles.

The fee for processing each Star Rating is $12.00 (as of January 1, 2016).

PSA Star Ratings Directors (Each of the following is linked directly to each division Star Ratings page, which includes Director(s) name(s), email(s), and procedures.)

PSA Star Ratings Guidelines

Download the Star Ratings Practices (5-page pdf which contains requirements for each division, judging credits, credits for annual division competitions, exhibition acceptance limitations, and other important information)

Recognition of Photographic Achievement (ROPA)

Directors, ROPA


✉ Gerald Emmerich, Jr., HonPSA, GMPSA/B  ✉ Signe Emmerich, FPSA, EPSA

Star Ratings Certificates may be converted into ROPA distinctions, based on the number of Certificates earned.

The Process
Members must complete the online ROPA application. A word doc application is also available. Online or emailed applications are preferred, but applications can be sent via snail-mail.

A copy of the qualifying PSA Star Rating certificate(s) must accompany each application. Only the highest-level Star Rating certificate in each Division is required. Any Star Rating certificate from any PSA Division can be used.

See: Information Needed for a ROPA Application (doc) (also available at the bottom of this page)

Minimum Requirements
(Star Ratings Certificates are proof of the number of acceptances you have received.)

  • MASTER (MPSA): 1,500 
  • GRAND MASTER (GMPSA): 3,000 

As of January 1, 2016, there is a $40 USD processing fee for each ROPA application, to be paid after the application is approved. 

For PPSA and EPSA applications, a Certificate will be issued at no extra charge.

For all other applications, the member may choose to receive a Certificate at no extra charge OR a plaque at the following fees (which includes the $40 application fee):
MPSA: $75 | GMPSA: $100 | GMPSA/B: $110 | GMPSA/S: $120 | GMPSA/G: $130 | GMPSA/P: $140

ROPA applications can be made at any time of the year.

PSA members can use the ROPA acronym letters after their name as soon as their applications are approved.


PSA Journal and Website Listing
The ROPA Distinctions that are approved each quarter are listed in the PSA Journal and on the PSA website in January, April, July, and October.

ROPA Photo Galleries
Once a member's ROPA application has been approved, the member may place three to six images, a biography, and his or her portrait in a ROPA Gallery on the PSA website. When a member receives a new distinction, the ROPA gallery is updated.

Additional guidelines may be viewed (or hidden) by selecting the topics, below. To see all available guidelines at once, choose "Show All."

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  • Star Ratings Guidelines
    • Only PSA members are eligible to earn PSA Star, Galaxy and Diamond Ratings.
    • Acceptances earned before becoming a PSA member can be applied to the First Star in each Division.
    • An exhibitor may buy back up to 5 years from their "Join Date" to use any acceptances, which are more than their First Star requirements, for their Second and higher Star applications.  Their PSA membership "Join Date" is not changed.  Instead, they are assigned a Stars Buy Back Date (SBBD), which is the earliest date of their Buy Back period.
    • Members must maintain continuous membership once the First Star is earned. Lapses in membership can be bridged by paying a fee for each year.
    • Members must apply for Star, Galaxy and Diamond Ratings, they are not automatically awarded.
    • Only acceptances in PSA-recognized exhibitions can be used in Star, Galaxy or Diamond Rating applications.
    • Only acceptances earned in one Division (for example, Nature) may be used for a Star Rating in that Division (Nature). The entrant must keep a record of which PSA Division or Divisions have recognized each exhibition that the entrant entered.
    • Some exhibitions with PSA-recognition (PSA logo used) are only recognized for one of several sections and only acceptances in that one section can be used for PSA Star Ratings.
    • The same title must be used with a particular image every time it is entered or exhibited.
    • The entrant's name must be used in the same way for each exhibition entered in order to have the entrant's acceptances recorded properly.  For example, use only one of: M. Harry Smithers; M. H. Smithers; Smithers, Michael Harry; or Michael Harry Smithers.
    • Star Ratings Certificates are needed to apply for PSA Recognition of Photographic Achievement (ROPA) Distinctions (PPSA, EPSA, MPSA, GMPSA, GMPSA/b, GMPSA/s, GMPSA/g, GMPSA/p).
    • Members must follow PSA Ethical Practices
  • Information needed for a ROPA application

    The Recognition of Photographic Achievement (ROPA) Awards of Distinction was established in February 1997, for the purpose of recognizing the Society’s member’s achievements in photography and international exhibitions. Active members in good standing may use the ROPA acronym letters (PPSA, EPSA, MPSA, GMPSA) any place it is appropriate within PSA.

    In order to qualify for any of the distinctions the following proof of acceptances are required;

    1. PROFICIENCY (PPSA): 288 or more acceptances supported by STAR RATING CERTIFICATES approved from one or multiple divisions.
    2. EXCELLENCE (EPSA): 700 or more acceptances supported by STAR RATING CERTIFICATES approved from one or multiple divisions.
    3. MASTER (MPSA): 1,500 or more acceptances supported by STAR RATING CERTIFICATES approved from one or multiple divisions.
    4. GRAND MASTER (GMPSA): 3,000 or more acceptances supported by STAR RATING CERTIFICATES approved from one or multiple divisions.

    Certificates Required:

    A copy of the qualifying certificate(s) from the division Star Rating/Galaxy Director granting the Star, must accompany each application. Only the highest-level certificate is required.

    Copy of current Membership Card: Please be sure your membership does not expire before the awarding of your ROPA at each year’s Conference.


    A digital Head and Shoulder color photo with a blank background, and no hats or props included is required. The photo will not be returned. The digital image should have a vertical dimension of 1050 pixels at 300 dpi. The photo you submit will be used for publication on the ROPA page of the PSA website. Let’s make that image as good as all of your Salon acceptances.

    Will be requested after the application is approved, and may be paid via PayPal.

    Application Deadline:

    The deadline is June 1 of each year. I approve applications all year; there is no time when I stop. But Applications received after that date will be processed for the next year’s Conference. This is due to the deadline for me to get information to the PSA Journal Editor for the September PSA Journal. In any event you will be able to use your new distinction as soon as you are notified by me! 


    Email is the preferred method of transmission.

    Email or Send to:

    Gerald Emmerich, Jr., HonPSA, GMPSA/B, ROPA Chair,

    To send by mail, please email for the street address.