RULES FOR COMPETITIONS
RULES FOR DIGITAL ENTRIES
RULES FOR MEDIA SHOWS
PRINT ENTRY FORM
PHOTO HISTORY FORM PRINTABLE
New Creative Category Added to Club Competitions
At the January Photo Club Board meeting, the Board approved a
New category for our competitions. (This new category was called
“Digital Arts” , but is now called “Creative” because it was hard saying the digital
category of Digital Arts. Creative is much easier! ) This category can include a
variety of techniques. It is important to understand that this is a voluntary category.
If you choose, you can still enter your HDR photo in the color competition, or you
may choose the enter it into the Creative category. This category will be an open
category where everyone competes against everyone entered and it is judged
using the Advanced level scoring. You may submit either print or digital entries in
this category.The Board is hopeful that this category will accomplish two major goals. One, we
hope that this will give our judges a way to critique some of our artistic photography
in a manner different from the print and digital categories. In the past, some of our
judges commented on how difficult it was to compare an HDR photograph or
painted photograph with those that they considered more “mainstream.” We also
hope that this category will encourage some unique entries with colorization,
infrared effects, woodcut effects and other digital art. You may get inspiration from
such sites as www.digitalartistdaily.com , www.psd.tutsplus.com or
So what is this “digital art” category that we are calling “creative?” Wikipedia
defines it as a general term for a range of artistic works and practices that use
digital technology as an essential part of the creative and/or presentation process.
We define it as a new category that allows maximum freedom in the combination of
photography and art.
We enjoyed the photos in the February competition and are looking forward to
seeing more of your work this year in this new, exciting category.
Making Things More Equal
by Rolf Sulzberger
We saw the problem at the Year End Best-of-the Best competition. For anyone who
looked at the table where the prints were stacked it became obvious. The Beginner
stack was about an inch high, the Intermediate about three inches, and the Advanced
towered almost 18 inches.
The method the club uses to automatically move people up from one category to
another was copied years ago from the Sarasota CC – and coincidentally, they are
having the same problem we have, with too many people in the advanced class, and
too frequently the same people walking off with all the awards. To keep our members
interested and happy, your Board has decided it's time for a change.
The way it works now is that there are three classes for the purpose of competitions -
Beginners, Intermediate, and Advanced. Members new to competition may place
themselves in any of these categories, but once there, may only move up, never down.
Class upward movement is determined by points earned, which are assigned as
follows: 3 for a gold; 2 for a silver; 1 for a bronze, with those 'virtual' medals being
awarded on a sliding scale based on the judge's score, and the member's class. A
member in the Beginner class will be automatically moved up to Intermediate upon the
accumulation of 12 points, and an Intermediate will be placed in Advanced on the
accumulation of 18 points. No distinction is made on how those points are earned.
For instance (an imagined, but possible scenario), a beginner will be advanced to
intermediate if winning no more than third place (Bronze) a sufficient number of times.
Given that some judges tend to be very generous, moving up is foreordained, whether
a person's skill level has improved – or not.
This method has brought about an exceptionally large number of competitors in the
higher classes, some who may be competing 'above their heads', with little chance of
gaining recognition for their efforts because their class is filled with more experienced
photographers. This has caused a lot of grumbling, that can only get worse as these
rules automatically move more and more competitors upwards. The system has
outlived its usefulness.
Your Board believes a strategy that might better serve the club is one based on
proficiency, so that member's always compete against their peers, and are not forced
to compete with those with greater levels of expertise. And the best way to determine
proficiency is by the scores awarded one's work by a variety of judges, over a period
Here is how it will work. All competition scores earned in 2012 will be kept on record.
After the September competition, the most recent six, seven, eight or nine scores (up
to nine, the most available) will be averaged, and that average becomes the person's
skill#. No skill# will be assigned to anyone with less than six scores. Then a computer
program will take all skill#s, and place them to the 2013 groups as follows:
The top 15% Skill#s in the Masters Group
The next 25% Skill#s in the Advanced Group
The next 35% Skill#s in the Level 2 Group
The lowest 25% Skill#s in the Level 1 Group
New or infrequent competitors who have not received six scores will compete in an
Unassigned Group, until the first six scores have been achieved, after which they will
be placed into a group. After the initial group assignment, future changes will be based
on the most recent nine scores – probably annually. Movement will be up and down
– based completely on the member's Skill#, as of course it relates to the Skill#s of all
competitors. With this type of a system, all will be competing against their peers on a
continuing basis, and an award received will have more meaning.
Under the new system Gold (first place) will be awarded to the highest score in every
group, Silver (second place) to the next highest. If scores are tied, each gets
'medals'. All judging will be done on the 15 point scale, and scores under ten receive
no award. Remember – awards now are recognition only, they no longer have
anything to do in what group you compete. This is a very fair system, new and unique.
Some bugs may show up – we'll solve them as we go along.
Comment: I often put not-so-good pictures in competition just to get critiques – that
will hurt my skill#.
Answer: Yes it would. Competitions are for your better pictures, not your work in
process. Critiques are available at most every meeting, and in the club room – just
ask. We've now also set up a monthly critiquing service (see article on Page 3 ) for
all members who want comments.
Comment: What if I don't enter a competition, or enter less that three images? Will I
get a 0 and will that move me backwards.
Answer: No – the skill# is determined by your most recent nine scores –- no matter
when they were achieved.
Comment: I'll be able to resubmit and image for a future competition if it didn't win a
first or second award – so the same picture will be scored twice. Will that matter as far
as my skill# is concerned..
Answer: No – it won't matter. We're not going to be that picky. It will be counted as a
Comment: We've had some pretty hard judges that give everyone low scores – that's
going to play havoc with my skill# and throw me into a lower peer group.
Answer: Not at all – whether a judge scores unusually high or low really won't affect
an individual, because it affects everyone equally. Peer groups are populated on a
percentage basis, so if all skill# go down – or up – the ratios will remain the same.
Comment: The skill# seems contrived – never heard of anything like that before.
Answer: It exactly mirrors how golfers are handicapped. Their scores from a certain
number of rounds are averaged to determine their playing level, and then a handicap
assigned. Other sports, such as bowling use a similar method. The system works.
JUDGES WILL SEE DIGITAL PHOTOS ON THE MONITOR
The Board also approved allowing the judges to look at the digital photograph entries on a computer monitor. This will reduce the problems we have had with the projected images looking different from the submitted images.
Also, to clarify the rules, the Board has stated that while you cannot enter the same photo if you have won an award, you may modify that image and re-enter it with a different title in another competition. For example, you may make the changes suggested by the judge or you may make a monochrome image from your color image as long as the title is changed.
JUDGING PHOTOS by ROLF SULZBERGER
A question most often received is “What do judges look for” and the most honest answer I can give
is “it depends on the judge” -- which of course doesn't answer the question. So the best I can do is
tell you what I look for when I'm asked to judge a club level competition. Assuming the club works
on a 15 point basis , I have worked out the following system for myself. Of course I am not going to
break down the points for each category for every image, but roughly this is the weight I will give
(mentally) to the various factors.
4 points for interest.
Generally in a club it’s a pictorial competition (rather than contemporary, nature, travel, journalism,
etc.) so the image must have appeal for that type. A picture of a flower must grab attention rather
than be encyclopedic. A photo taken on a trip must stand alone as an exciting subject rather than
as “a nice place which we visited”. Sometimes, a part of the subject will be more ‘interesting’ than
the whole and that is what should be presented. No matter how technically perfect or well
executed, if the image does not hold the viewers attention, it must be marked down. Bear in mind
that a projected image or print suitable for a special interest competition may not be appropriate as
a pictorial subject.
5 points for composition and image quality
This is where we separate the dedicated amateur (and professional) photographer from the
snapshooter. Composition here means not just placing the subject in the proper position within the
frame, but also proper use of view, angle, lighting, perspective and cropping. The snapshooter will
face the subject head-on, aim the point-and-shoot in the general direction, and click. The pictorial
competition photographer is expected to think like an artist and present an interesting subject
4 points for technical quality.
Technical quality is scored more severely today than in previous years because of the growing
sophistication of modern cameras. There is really little excuse today for an image to be out of focus
or badly exposed. The advent of digital photography has given even inexpensive point-and-shoot
cameras the ability to put out superb photos. Unlike in the past, there is also no excuse for
competition prints to be off true color or the wrong contrast. There is a fantastic assortment of
computer programs available today to make the entire post camera process easier and more
assured, and then of course many competition prints today are commercially prepared. A print
must also be appropriately and properly mounted for presentation. Any judge will mark down
seriously for a sloppy presentation.
2 points for impact.
When everything comes together and that picture on the screen or in the print box just grabs you,
or touches your emotions, points are given for impact. The ideal picture will make you jealous and
say to yourself - “I wish I had taken that”
Judges are human -- what appeals to one may be just so-so to another. In most clubs an image
may be submitted up to three times if it did not win an award. It's your image -- the picture you
wanted to take -- so if it does not do well the first time, don't hesitate to submit it again.