Photographers make the grade

Eighteen trainee press photographers and photo-journalists took part in the NCTJ’s latest exam on May 6, at The Sheffield College. Twelve of them made the grade as seniors– a pass rate of 67 per cent.

The qualification tests a range of photography skills, comprising a practical exam with a series of exercises, and a portfolio, advance project and logbook all prepared before the exam day. All candidates were again offered the opportunity to submit a video report to be assessed independently of the NCE. While not yet a formal part of the exam, achieving recognition in this area demonstrates a breadth of skills.

At the practical exam, trainees were taken to a mocked up scene where a fictional gangster had been ‘murdered’ and a forensic sweep for a weapon was underway. They were asked to submit their best action shot of the scene, along with an accompanying caption.

Steve Phillips, chief examiner for photography, said: “It is very pleasing to see a 67 per cent pass rate in this May’s press photography exams. The action section was very challenging with the large number of candidates taking part and almost all the candidates managed to pass that section.”

The pass rate sees a return to high standards following a surprise pass rate of 20 per cent for the ten candidates who sat the November 2008 NCE for press photographers / photo-journalists.

Mr Phillips added: “Photography board members were particularly pleased that after a dip of standards last November, this time round the usual high standards were attained by many candidates. Several candidates also submitted videos and all but one passed. The standard of the videos again showed an improvement over last November’s exam which was very encouraging.”

Trainees who chose to submit a video were asked to illustrate a story on ‘the credit crunch’ by shooting a video for a newspaper website.

The following press photographers achieved the NCE this month:

Robin Crossley, Isle of Wight County Press

Cara Edgington, The Sentinel

Matthew Grayson, Hounslow Chronicle

Hannah Kinver, South Wales Evening Post

Richard Linley, Lincolnshire Echo

Victoria Middleton, Westmorland Gazette

Samuel Reynolds, Lancashire Telegraph

Joseph Riley, North West Evening Mail

Christopher Rushton, Essex Chronicle

Mark Scott, The Sentinel

Paul Watson, Echo (Essex)

Particular congratulations go to the following trainees, who gained distinctions for parts of the exam - 80 per cent is needed to gain this mark.

Hannah Kinver achieved distinctions in all four sections of the exam; Cara Edgington made the grade in the advance project and logbook; Richard Linley in the practical, and Joseph Riley and Paul Watson gained distinctions in the logbook.

The following candidate achieved the photojournalists’ NCE:

Adam Holt, Enfield Gazette & Advertiser