Click Pro is dedicated to the development of the art and craft of photography. Only those who have demonstrated better than average skills in the technical as well as creative areas of image making are eligible for membership in Click Pro.
Membership is by application only and process has been designed to be as objective as possible. Because Click Pros are defined by their skills as image makers, applicants submit a portfolio for review, scored on a very defined set of criteria (link to rubric).
To maintain the integrity of the process and, essentially, level the playing field, all applicants are required to submit a portfolio of 150 images. These images are evaluated by no less than three reviewers and applicants receive results within 14 days.
To become a Click Pro, you must meet the following criteria:
- A minimum score of 4 in the Exposure Triangle category.
- An overall score of 32 points or higher out of a possible 42 points.
Categories & Criteria
The evaluation scale is broken into seven categories with six levels per category. Each level has a number/name explained in more detail below.
Within each category, a series of levels have been mapped out, with each building on the last. At the Beginning level, for example, only one set of criteria must be reached, whereas at the Capable level, all the previous criteria plus the “capable” category must be achieved. When evaluating, reviewers are looking at the overall portfolio and determine their choice via the majority of the work. A single image that deviates from the overall portfolio, for example, will not be enough to warrant a lower mark – there must be frequent and consistent examples of the criteria at each level.
The information provided here is exactly the same as what our reviewers use in their evaluation.
(Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO) MINIMUM SCORE OF 4 REQUIRED
- Flawless, creatively correct exposure.
- Aperture, shutter speed and/or ISO are used variably and for artistic effect.
- Masterful handling of exposure in challenging light.
- Excellent exposure on virtually all images
- Usually manages exposure well in challenging light.
- Consistently good exposure choices in simple lighting situations.
- May struggle with challenging lighting conditions (occasional blown highlights/shadows).
- Many images slightly off (by 1/3 – 2/3 stop) in simple lighting situations.
- Poor control in more difficult lighting situations (backlight, low light, hard/high contrast light)
- Images frequently underexposed and/or overexposed.
- It appears the photographer is manually controlling exposure on some level (manual exposure mode, semi-auto mode, AE-lock, spot metering, etc)
- Image exposure is all over the map and doesn’t appear to be managed/controlled by the photographer at all (standard auto and matrix/evaluative metering
Color & White Balance
- Remarkably beautiful skin tones.
- Color tones are constant across different lighting conditions.
- Deliberate and consistent choices with color and white balance. (Applicant must demonstrate these choices are intentional, consistent, and contribute to story or mood.)
- Skin mostly accurate, but when it’s not, it does not detract from image integrity.
- Color tones/white balance constant the majority of the times.
- Manages mixed lighting and reflected light well.
- Global white balance and/or skin often appear slightly (but consistently) cool, warm or tinted.
- May have occasional color issues such as reflected color or shadow undertones.
- Apparent effort to choose an accurate WB.
- Skin tones vary from shoot to shoot.
- Significant struggle with reflected color, shadow color and mixed lighting.
- WB may vary in a single shoot.
- Color is occasionally grossly inaccurate.
- Noticeably poor color.
- Inconsistent color tones throughout the portfolio.
- Varying WB from image to image – it’s clear the applicant is not aware or choosing the white balance (WB) setting (no corrections for shade, etc).
Use of Light
- Remarkably beautiful use of light.
- Depth and dimension in every image.
- Lighting used effectively for mood or narrative impact.
- Most images have contrast and depth.
- Light often contribute to the story and/or mood
- Subjects are consistently well lit.
- Effectively brings light into the eyes (catchlights).
- Showcases a variety of lighting.
- Occasionally flat lighting.
NOTE: using light in a variety of ways does not necessarily mean a variety of light sources. In the case of studio light, for example, it can be the same light source used in different ways and for different purposes in making images.
- No significant exposure issues, but light is often at and even.
- Experimentation with varied lighting shows little control (evidence of blown highlights or clipped shadows)
- Eyes sometimes lack catchlights.
- Most images lack contrast and dimension
- Frequent shadows in/around the subject’s eyes
- Frequently blown highlights or clipped shadows.
- Little indication of awareness of light.
- Frequent shooting in full sun, mixed lighting or inadequate light without managing these difficult situations well.
- Poor exposure.
- Reliance on onboard flash.
Composition and Posing
- Powerful use of compositional devices and design elements.
- Outstanding balance within the frame.
- Purposeful and effective choices with compositional rule breaking.
- Composition enhances the story or mood being conveyed.
- Posing is clearly deliberate and designed to both flatter the subject and advance the story.
- Frequent incorporation of color, line, and shape as design elements.
- Purposeful inclusion of all elements within the frame.
- Subjects are posed well with specific placement within the frame.
- No unintentional limb chops or awkward chops.
- A connection between subject and viewer.
- Occasional use of triangles, leading lines and other compositional devices.
- Consistent use of the rule of thirds.
- Posing is usually well thought out and flattering to the subject.
- Few careless limb chops or awkward chops.
- Occasionally distracting elements within the frame.
- Occasional use of the rule of thirds.
- Starting to see a connection between subject and viewer
- Some careless limb chops/awkward chops and/or poor subject placement.
- Similar poses and compositions used throughout the portfolio.
- Mostly centered compositions.
- Emotionless, awkward, or disconnected subjects
- An abundance of extremely tight, vertical images.
- Frequent careless limb chops (chops at feet, wrists, hands, etc)
- No clear intention with regards to where the subject is placed in the frame.
- Horizons/gravity line often placed in the middle of the frame.
Processing Cohesion & Polish
- Processing is flawless and remarkably beautiful.
- Processing contributes powerfully to the photographer’s overall style and vision.
- Black and white images have depth and dimension.
- Color tones are attractive and effective.
- Images are usually consistent in style or are deliberately varied for effect. Nothing is overdone (appropriate sharpened, excellent contrast, etc.)
- Processing is clearly identifiable by commercial actions or presets.
- Processing may lack richness / depth / dimension
- Processing may not be consistent in style across images, but it is solidly executed.
- Lack of refinement in processing yields out of gamut color, local noise, or artifacting Local adjustments poorly executed (noticeable haloing, smoothing beyond the skin, etc).
- Some oversharpening and/or blown channels.
- Notably inconsistent color and tonality throughout the portfolio.
- A mix of SOOC images and images that are overprocessed.
- Several types of processing in one session or gallery.
- Images oversharpened
- Obvious vignettes
- Skin is oversaturated.
- Color out of gamut or channels were blown.
- Images appear to be SOOC.
- No color, contrast or sharpening adjustments.
(Focus, Varied DOF, etc.)
- Perfect focus, sharpness and clarity.
- An appropriate and varying depth of field from image to image. Focus and DOF used as an element of storytelling.
- Consistently accurate focus.
- Some use of creative (de)focus or DOF as an element of storytelling.
- Frequently accurate focus.
- Occasionally has insufficient DOF to keep critical elements in focus.
- May not effectively isolate subjects with focus (excess depth of field).
- Occasional slipped focus (shoulder, nose or ear, etc rather than the eye.)
- Often has insufficient DOF to keep critical elements entirely in focus.
- May experiment with DOF but frequently misses point of focus.
- Extended DOF (f/8 – f/11) as a rule.
- Primarily center focus (and center compose as a result)
Creativity, Expression & Intention
- Style is distinctively identifiable as belonging to the photographer and could not be mistaken for the work of another. Images elicit an emotional response.
- Images inspire and captivate.
- Images demonstrate clear vision, purpose and style.
- Images may not consistently yield an emotional reaction.
- Images generally showcase creativity and thoughtfulness but lack a consistent style or unifying facets across the portfolio.
- Some images indicate a creative experimentation that, while interesting, is also discordant with the rest of the portfolio.
- Images adequately capture the subject at hand but do not suggest personal vision or unique perspective.
- Images show effort and may impress the average viewer but are unlikely to be impressive to other photographers.
- Approaches may seem cliche to more experienced photographers.
- Causal snapshots unlikely to impress the average viewer.
Preparing to Apply
Acceptance to Click Pro is based entirely on your image portfolio. Whether you choose to submit your website, blog, flickr link, or other image sharing platform is up to you. We do, however, suggest that you take some time to cull and curate your images so that they truly reflect the very best of what you can do.
With that, we have some suggestions for preparing your portfolio and selecting the images to include.
The Objective Eye (one image at a time)
One of the most challenging parts of choosing images for evaluation is seeing them through the eyes of an objective viewer. After all, you are connected to your images emotionally and, as such, sometimes cannot see the technical aspects of the images at hand. Take a step back from your personal connection to your subject/moment and consider the areas of the rubric, asking yourself a series of questions about each image. Some examples of questions to ask are:
Is this well exposed?
What kind of light have I used?
Have I used the light in an interesting way?
Where is my subject in the frame (center, to one side, etc)?
Are there shadows in my subject’s eyes?
What else is in my frame (what other items can you see)?
Are my horizon lines straight?
Do my people look blue/green/yellow/red?
What colors can I see in the images?
How is my white balance (is it blue in the shade)?
Is my focus where it should be?
Does my subject look comfortable and connected to my viewer?
Is this pose flattering to my subject?
Did I cut off their toes/fingers or other limbs in an unflattering way?
What kind of processing is on this image?
Are the eyes too sharp/white?
Have I made mistakes with cloning or smoothing?
Does the processing make my image look better or cover up its flaws?
Would a stranger feel something when they look at this image?
Why do I love this image (is it the moment, the person, the light, the place)?
Did I make this image with intention and, if so, will the viewer see that?