Select a question below for details

The Rules

Where can I read the full rules?

We highly recommend reading the rules before each new round. You can read the full 2021 updated rules HERE.

Can I outsource my retouching?

All editing/post production/retouching must be done by the entrant or under the entrant’s direct instruction. If your entry was also edited/retouched in any way by another individual, you must credit that individual in your online submission. 

The option to put the retouchers name is ONLY NECESSARY if you outsourced Some or all retouching to someone other than yourself.

(please read detailed rule 16.0)

Is it ok to use other peoples photos just as a background or as a minor element in my entry?

No. All photography and elements within your entry must be photographed and owned by you.

Can I download an old painting that has had its copyright expired and use in my entry?

No.  The use of other peoples work in a digital form within your entry is not allowed. Whilst copyright may not apply in a legal term, it is against the spirit of The Portrait Masters Awards and Accreditation.

Can I use textures which I have purchased or created with third party software?

Yes, as long as the texture is as described by definition in rule 2.1.

Can I create graphics or type and include in my entry?

Yes, as long as they have been photographed with a camera.

Can I use an image I took on my travels four years ago if it’s just as the backdrop?

Yes, due to the pandemic we are allowing older images to be submitted with the exception of images that have been previously submitted and judged in The Portrait Masters Awards & Accreditation program.

Can I use elements which have been created by CGI or 3D modelling?

No. Computer generated Imagery is not permitted.

Can I enter a photograph or element that I took at a workshop?

No. Not unless you were the instructor.

I've seen a concept done by another artist/photographer. Can I recreate this idea?

No, we consider this to be plagiarism.The spirit of The Portrait Masters Awards and Accreditation is to celebrate and honor your own creative expression.

Can I enter a child portrait themed with a Christmas Grinch?

Not if it is themed around a trademarked character.

I have a purchased texture which contains flowers. Can I use this?

No flowers are a distinguishable object.  Textures must represent a surface where the object is not identifiable.

Submitting Images

When can I submit images?

You can submit images in our next round between 9:00 AM EST, January 15th 2021 – 11:59 PM EST February 15th 2021.

How should I name my submission? Does it need my name on it?

File names can be anything you like, there are no rules for this. Images must not have watermarks or logos though.

What size file should my submission be?

Image must be a JPG file, 2500 pixels minimum on the longest edge, 4800 pixels maximum on the longest edge

My export is set to Adobe RGB, not sRGB. Is this a problem?

Yes. We ask for sRGB color mode only.

Can we use purchased textures in our images (Alien Skin or others)?

Yes, purchased textures are allowed.

I have a watermark/logo on my submission. Is that okay?

No. Watermarks/logos will disqualify your submission, so please triple check your submissions before entering them.

Am I able to swap my already submitted image with a different version?

No changes to your image can be made after your image has been uploaded and paid, please double and triple check your entry before finalizing your payment.

Where can I view all the submitted photos? Can I view all the submitted photos?

When judging is complete, you can view all of your submissions in your SBE account under the “My Account” section. During the judging process, you will not be able to see your submissions, or anyone else’s.

I have a concern about a submission I sent. Who do I reach out to?

Please email our support team: [email protected]

Can I submit images I shot at The Portrait Masters Conference in the shooting bays?

Unfortunately, no—these will not qualify for entry.

Judging and Awards

How does the point system work?

Accreditation Points and Awards Merits

– Score 60-69: No Merit Points

(Approaching Professional Standard)

– Bronze 70-79: Half Merit Point

(High Professional Standard)

– Silver 80-89: One Point

(Outstanding technique & visual communication)

– Gold 90-100: Two Points

Exemplary / Superior / Exceptional

Silver and Gold Merits seek excellence in all technical fields with outstanding visual communication and narration.


25 Merit Points

The Portrait Masters – Associate Photographer


50 Merit Points

The Portrait Masters – Master Photographer


100 Merit Points

The Portrait Masters – Fellow Photographer


Upon successfully reaching your required points level for MASTER, your folio will be manually reviewed to ensure your current work is of a consistent, good professional standard which reflects the accolade and title of ‘Master’ within The Portrait Masters. In order to reach FELLOW, you must have at minimum 10 images with silver or gold merits in your folio..

What is the judging criteria?

The judges are looking for expression and connection, Styling, Composition, posing, lighting, Overall Technique and Presentation, post-production and focus. Review the “judging criteria” on the awards home page for more detail.

Why didn't my image get a better score?

There could be many reasons your image didn’t receive a higher score. Review the “judging criteria” section of the awards home page for a list of common mistakes. Sue Bryce Education members can also receive more helpful feedback by watching Richard Wood’s Awards & Accreditation critiques.

When will I get my certificate? Or award?

Once enough points are accrued to reach an accreditation level, your images will be reviewed by Sue. Certificates will be mailed after her review. 

I won first place in a category. Is there a badge for this?

First place winners of a category will receive a crystal trophy. There are badges for merit winners and accreditation levels, but not for category winners.


What does it mean to be an accredited photographer?

Portrait Masters accredited portrait photographers have proven their work is of high professional standards. In addition to winning awards on a minimum of 12 images, their portfolio has also been manually reviewed by Sue Bryce to ensure their work is truly worthy of receiving accreditation. The Portrait Masters accreditation program is explicitly for portrait photographers of all genres and is a recognition of high professional standard – not based on award merit only.

Do I get a critique with my accreditation points?

No, written critiques are not provided with accreditation results.

Where can I use my accreditation badge?

All successful merited Associates will receive: A logo to display on your website, “Accredited Portrait Master” and will be added to the accredited photographers database. A certificate for the studio, a yellow ribbon, and achievement medallion.

I’ve reached an accreditation level in this round of submissions, why isn’t this immediately reflected in my account? I’ve earned enough points.

Upon successfully reaching an accreditation level, your folio will be reviewed. Once the review is complete, accreditation will be announced and reflect in your account.


Can I pay with PayPal?

Yes! PayPal is an option for awards submissions.

My image won a badge. Can I make my badge into an award?

Congrats on having an image that scored Bronze or higher- however, this is not the same as winning an accreditation level. Badges are meant to highlight the specific image only, and cannot be made into homemade trophies, certificates, etc.

Where can I learn more about Awards and Accreditation? I’d like to have a link to share my award-winning image with family/friends/clients. Is there a link for the Portrait Masters website?

You will be able to see the current and past winning images here:

I have free entries from either attending the 2019 Portrait Masters Conference or from buying the 2019 Holiday bundle. Do I have to use them this round?

The free entries can only be used in the 2020 January-February round of submissions. . The “store credit” is specifically only for entries and cannot be transferred, exchanged, credited, or refunded for any other type of purchase, service, or cash.