Award Glossary


When you submit a single image it counts towards the total amount of images you submit. A portfolio of images is considered 5 images. 

When our PPY panel are judging the finalists, they will assess your entire portfolio which consists of 5 images, 2 letters of recommendations and your business review. The more images you submit, the higher your chances are of obtaining a high enough cumalative score to have the top 5 highest scoring portfolios. You’ll be required to submit your two letters of recommendations and your business review when you upload your images at entry. If you are in the top 5 highest scoring image portfolios and have not submitted the other two componants to complete your portfolio you will be unable to be considered for Birth Photographer of the Year and the finalist spot will go to the next person who has submitted a complete portfolio


PPY is short for Professional Photographer of the Year

2 Letters of Recommendation

When you submit your images into BPOTY if you submit 5 images, you will also be asked to submit your two letters of recommendations as well as your business review. This is not required in order to submit images, however if you’d like to be considered for BPOTY this will be required to complete your portfolio. 

2 letters of recommendation is considered a letter of recommendation from a colleague. This needs to be someone that you have worked with in a professional capacity. Be it a midwife, OBGYN, doula, anaethetist, or other birth photographer/worker. 

The second letter of recommendation will need to be from a client. It is important when selecting BPOTY that not only are our images incredible, but that the winner is also a person in the birth space that is easily able to work with other people in a professional manner. 

Business review

Your business review will consist of approximately 10 questions that will be required for the entrant to answer and submit with their images when entering the awards. The option to upload your files will pop up if you have submited a 5 image portfolio. You may skip this and only choose to submit 5 images and not the letters of recommendation and business review, however if your 5 image portfolio scores high enough cumulatively and you do not have the other 2 pieces to complete your portfolio, you will not be able to be considered for BPOTY


Challenges are a unique part of the awards process for BPOTY. It allows for our judging panel to hold different views/judging scores in a safe and productive way that benefits the entrant (and all entrants watching)

If a judge scores 5 points higher or lower than final majority average score, they are able to optionally challenge the score and ask their judges to reconsider their scores and a discussion is then held as to why. The judge that optionally challenged must hold their score.

If a judge scores 10 points higher than the final majority average score than an automatic challenge will ensue and the entire panel will be able to re-enter the scores. 

Top 20

The top 20 is part of the top 20 highest scoring image portfolios. Typically (but not always) those that submit a full complete 5 image portfolio are able to score higher cumulative scores increasing their chances of being in the top 20. 

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Majority Rule

The majority rule simply means that if 3/5 judges are in a score range and two of the other judges are outside of that score range, the highest that image can score is what the majority of judges agreed that image would be.

For example, if:
judge 1 scores 81
Judge 2 scores 83
Judge 3 scores 81
Judge 4 scores 77
Judge 5 scores 74

This means that the highest this image can score is 84 and the lowest this image can score is an 80…within the silver award range. This is because only 2 judges feel it is in the professional standard range and the majority feel its in the silver award range.

Cumulative score

The cumulative score of your portfolio is the individual scores that your images recieved added up together. So if you submitted 5 images and they scored as so:
79- Commended
81- Silver
77- Professional Standard
80- Silver

You would add those scores up to get your cumulative scores. This is how the top 20 are then chosen.

This portfolio would score 409 cumulatively. 


The finalist are the top 5 highest scoring cumulative portfolios out the top 20. 

These portfolios will then go on along with their 2 letters of recommendations and buisness reviews to be assessed by our PPY panel of judges in a closed judging process. This is not livestreamed or open to the public to view. 


The winner of BPOTY is the complete portfolio chosen by our PPY judges out of the top 5 highest scoring portfolios (aka Finalists)

Pixel Manipulation

Pixel manipulation is the ability or inablilty to manipulate the pixels in an image. When you are post processing images there are edits that alter the structure of the pixels and edits that simply enhance the exsiting structure of pixels. 

Depending on the tag you submitted your images in to will determine if you are able to distort pixels or not. 

Examples of pixel manipulation would be cloning, healing tool, head swaps, composites, adding elements to an image that wasn’t in the single file capture, or removing elements in the image that wasn’t in the single file capture. 

You are allowed to manipulate pixels in our creative tag, however you are not allowed to manipulate pixels in the documentary tag


A tag is sort of like a category however it isn’t *really* a category. Think of this as a way for the Awards Team to easily sort images on the back end for judging. You may enter a max of 5 images into each tag forming a complete portfolio of images in the documentary tag as well as the creative tag, increasing your chances of scoring in the top 20 highest scoring portfolio of images. You may NOT submit 7 images into documentary and 3 into creative. There is a maximum of 5 images to form a portfolio and these are assessed based on what you have tagged the images as. 


Our rubric is public and accessible by all entrants. This is important so that entrants know exactly what our trained judges are looking for. 

Our rubruc is as follows-
60-69- below award standard
70-77- professional standard
78-79- commended
80-84- silver
85-89- silver with distinction
90-94- gold
95-100- gold with distinction

Award images start at the silver range. 

Same subject rule

There is no same subject rule in BPOTY. In other awards there may be a same subject rule which excludes you from entering images from the same shoot if it contains the same subject. For example the same parent, or same baby etc. The subject of the image. However, in BPOTY year we do allow for the submission of the same subject however we encourage our judges to score on diversity particularly in the latter stages of judging when comparing finalist portfolios. 

If the PPY judging panel is assessing image portfolios and one portfolio has 5 diverse images and another portfolio has 3 images from the same birth and 2 diverse images, those judges are more likely to choose the diverse portflio. So whilst same subject is allowed, it may count against you later in the awards process. 

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