Competition Rules and Guidelines


Competition Rules and Guidelines (updated May 2021)

If you need any help or advice please do not hesitate to ask the Competition Secretary or a member of the Club Committee.

A. General

1. Club members may enter up to three images per competition. All competitions are limited to a maximum of 65 entries, a higher number of entries will result in all entrants’ Number 3 images being removed from the competition. Images removed under this rule may subsequently be entered by the photographer into another POTY competition.

2. The entry must be entirely the work of the photographer. Entrants must also own the copyright of the work submitted. With composite images all component parts must meet this requirement. The use of copyright-free images is not allowed.

3. Images must be submitted to the Competition Secretary not later than the specified last entry date. Latest dates for submission are given on the Club syllabus. Dropbox folders will close at 21:45 on the specified date and no further entries will be accepted after that time.

4. The same or recognisably similar image which has been awarded a commended (16 points) or higher in any POTY competition category or any previous POTY competition categories may not be used in any subsequent POTY competition. Images that have not been awarded a commended (16 points) or higher may be resubmitted. If in doubt members should consult the Competition Secretary before submitting, whose decision is final.

5. Seven competitions will be held each year and will be judged externally and count towards POTY. There are seven competition Categories, these can be seen in Section D below. Other competitions will take place but not count towards POTY.

6. Judges will be asked to give their 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice, plus their recommendations for “Highly Commended” (HC) and “Commended” (C) images. Judges will not be asked to score individual images. In a separate process the club will allocate points to each image as follows:
1st place = 20 points. 2nd Place = 19 points. 3rd place = 18 points. HC = 17 points. C = 16 points. Images entered, but not awarded 1st, 2nd, 3rd, HC or C = 15 points.

7. The Photographer of the year will be the person accumulating the highest total score from 10 entries, where only two scores per competition will count i.e. if a photographer puts 3 entries into all the competitions, in 5 above, only the two highest scoring images per competition will count towards POTY. Of the maximum of 14 possible scores, only the 10 highest will be accumulated for the purposes of POTY.


B. Digital Images

1. Digital images must be in jpeg format at maximum quality. Up to 3 digital files may be submitted by sending them to the appropriate DropBox for the competition.

2. Images must be in sRGB colour space. This is the default used by most cameras.

3. Image sizing – images must be no more than 1600 pixels wide and no more than 1200 pixels tall. Images submitted in portrait format must be no more than 1200 pixels tall.

4. Digital images must use the following file naming format:

[entry number] [image_ title]_[membership id].jpg
Note: [entry number] must be 1, 2 or 3 in priority order.
Example: 1Red_Bridge_GN1.jpg
Please note – the Club reserves the right to reject incorrectly sized or named images.


C. Prints

1. Prints must not exceed 500mm x 400mm. Each print must be mounted on a board measuring 500mm x 400mm. Maximum thickness of a mounted print is 4mm.

2. Prints may be mounted on the surface of the board, or behind an opening. The actual image size is flexible, as long as the mounted print is within 500mm by 400mm. Make sure that the print is securely mounted onto the board and, if mounting behind an opening, using a backing board to give the mounted print strength is strongly recommended.

3. All prints must be labelled with the image number (1, 2 or 3), image title and membership id. This information should be on the back of the print mount (top right-hand corner).

4. Entries to print competitions must be accompanied by the corresponding digital images, following the sizing and file naming rules above for digital images.

5. Advice on print mounting, supplies and services can be found on these links: Mounting Advice and Mount Cutting Guide


D. Competition Category Guidelines

Photographer of the Year (POTY) competitions are based on a specific theme or subject. Whether the image submitted is appropriate to the specific theme will be taken into account by the judge when assessing images. The 2020/21 season themes/subjects are given below, together with definitions used by the PAGB, YPU, and UK camera clubs.

1. Special Subject “Freedom” (Digital) – This is our special subject for 2020/21 season, images should convey the concept of “Freedom”. Images may be in colour or monochrome and, if the author wishes, may be manipulated.

2. Architecture and General Record (Digital) - Entries should be buildings or other inanimate objects such as vehicles, machinery, statues or other objects d'art. The emphasis is on a high technical quality image which makes an accurate record of the subject. Artistic interpretation is not acceptable in this class, although direct monochrome conversions are acceptable. Digital manipulation should be limited to cropping, sharpening, contrast, colour corrections and correction of converging verticals. Only minor distractions or blemishes may be removed from the image. Any adjustments should not alter the main content of the original photograph. Titles should be factual, simply naming the building, feature or object.

3. People, Portrait and Figure Studies (Digital) - Shall include figure studies, groups of a portrait nature and animal portraits.

4. Nature (Digital) - Nature photography is restricted to the use of the photographic process to depict all branches of natural history, except anthropology and archaeology, in such a fashion that a well-informed person will be able to identify the subject material and certify its honest presentation. The story telling value of a photograph must be weighed more than the pictorial quality while maintaining high technical quality.

Human elements shall not be present, except where those human elements are integral parts of the nature story such as nature subjects, like barn owls or storks, adapted to an environment modified by humans, or where those human elements are in situations depicting natural forces, like hurricanes or tidal waves. Scientific bands, scientific tags or radio collars on wild animals are permissible. Photographs of human created hybrid plants, cultivated plants, feral animals, domestic animals, or mounted specimens are ineligible, as is any form of manipulation that alters the truth of the photographic statement.

No techniques that add, relocate, replace, or remove pictorial elements except by cropping are permitted. Techniques that enhance the presentation of the photograph without changing the nature story or the pictorial content, or without altering the content of the original scene, are permitted including HDR, focus stacking and dodging/burning. Techniques that remove elements added by the camera, such as dust spots, digital noise, and film scratches, are allowed. Stitched images are not permitted. All allowed adjustments must appear natural. Colour images can be converted to greyscale monochrome. Infrared images, either direct-captures or derivations, are not allowed.

Images entered can have landscapes, geologic formations, weather phenomena, and extant organisms as the primary subject matter. Images taken with the subjects in controlled conditions, such as zoos, game farms, botanical gardens, aquariums, and any enclosure where the subjects are totally dependent on man for food, are permitted.

5. ‘Scapes (Print or Digital) - A ‘scape image shows a vista. Including, but not restricted to, landscapes, cityscapes, seascapes, waterscapes and skyscapes. An image may include a single tree, building or people – but these must not dominate but be part of an overall image providing a mood or atmosphere of the environment captured.

6. Open (Print or Digital) - Images can be of any subject, colour or monochrome, and manipulated images are permissible.

7. Creative (Digital) - Images for this category are often highly manipulated and may contain elements from several images which produce a final image which stimulates the imagination of the viewer. The image may be of any subject matter and must obviously display a change in natural colour, form, shape or any combination of these three. All images must be original and may not incorporate elements produced by anyone else. Artwork or computer graphics generated by the entrant may be incorporated if the original photographic content predominates. Images may not be constructed entirely within a computer.


E. Guidelines for Judges
Our club members have a range of photographic capabilities and experience. Our objective is to motivate them and help them improve, but not to give overly generous appraisals of below par images. Consequently, we ask judges to assess and present feedback on competition entries to the following guidelines.

The Club is using an ‘Awards based competition system’ - i.e. we do not wish judges to allocate points to any images. Judges are asked to select their 1st, 2nd & 3rd place images, plus up to 6 “Highly Commended” (HC) and up to 12 “Commended” (C) images*.

*The number of ‘Highly Commended’ & ‘Commended’ Awards shown above is a guideline.
Judges can vary the number of Highly Commended and Commended awards if they strongly feel this is appropriate – but we do ask that all judges follow the numbers of awards listed below as closely as they can to ensure consistency across all of our 7 club competitions (we subsequently allocate points to build up a “Photographer of the Year” table).

Order of presentation

a) We display each digital image or print for the judge to present their comments.
However, the ‘Award’ winning images entries should be announced as being ‘Held Back’ at this stage i.e. these images are not commented here & are just viewed briefly by the audience.

b) After the initial run-through the ‘Held Back’ images are then critiqued with their ‘Commended’ or ‘Highly Commended’ status being announced.

c) Finally, the top three placed images are announced and critiqued in reverse order.

Critique - we ask judges to
- be constructive to help our members improve.
- provide guidance on improving the technical aspects of our images both in the taking and post processing, together with guidance on image composition.
- use the definitions provided in “Competition Category Guidelines” when assessing images.
- assess each image as presented.

If a Judge has any concerns about these guidelines or questions about a particular image, could they please contact our Competition Secretary before giving feedback to the Club.