OUR CLUB'S Overall Competition Rules

Competition Dates

On the second Monday of each month (except December) the club holds a photo competition, either for print media or digital images.

Photos Must Be Yours with No Identifying Marks

All images submitted for competition in both print and projected image format, in all competition categories, shall originate as photographs by the entrant as either: 

  • Images on photographic emulsion - For 2020, the club is not offering print competitions. 
    (For PRINT competitions only. See Print and digital entry ruless below. ) 
  • Digital image files (this can include scans of your printed/film/slide photos)
    (For DIGITAL competitions only. See Print and digital entry rules below.)

By the action of submitting an entry, you certify the work as your own.  No clip art, digital art, or photographs other than those that you make may be used in whole or in part in any portion of the image. You may manipulate images only as noted in individual competition type definitions. When you include graphic elements other than your own photographs, photographic content must still predominate.

REMOVE ANY info that identifies you (name, watermark, etc.) on the image itself.

Rules for Competition Types 

Each monthly Competition has a different mix of competition Types. See the calendar for details of the medium and types for each month. You will select a competition Type for each image that you enter.

IMPORTANT:  Read the rules for each type before entering to avoid having your photo disqualified. Incorrect content or an incorrect title could disqualify your entry. See Competition Types for guidelines and rules for each type.

Usually we offer:

  • Pictorial ("General""), which is divided into A (advanced) and B (basic or entry-level) if the number of B entries allows; otherwise, all pictorial entries are judged together
and two of these special and nontraditional competition types:
  • Monochrome
  • Travel
  • Nature
  • Creative
  • Photojournalism
  • Portrait
  • Landscape

Entry Rules 

    Entries that do not meet the club's criteria for a competition type will not be eligible for an award and may be disqualified by the competition chair or the judge.
  2. An image that has won an award in a competition, including a substantially similar image by the same maker, may not be entered in another competition. (If in doubt, ask the contest or judging chair.)

    (Any image that has NOT won an award in our club's competitions can be submitted (or resubmitted) if you want. Consider whether you learned enough from its first competition to edit it appropriately or whether you think that you can learn more from resubmitting.)  
  3. YOUR ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP FEE MUST BE CURRENT, or your entries will not be accepted.

Print and Digital Entry Rules

  1. The club specifies the format for each month's competition:
  2. Each member may enter any combination of competition Types up to a total of --
    • three images for our monthly digital competition date.
    • four images for monthly print competition date.
    (The Club can change entry limits for any given competition.)

Are you Level A or B?

  1. Pictorial (General) Advanced is intended for more advanced photographers, while Pictorial (General) Basic is intended for more entry-level photographers. The Club assigns new members to Level B unless the member requests otherwise.

    (New members are encouraged to view entries submitted by others before requesting to start in A. If uncertain, it is best to start at level B (the default for new members), or consult with another experienced member.) 

  2. Members in Level B who have won a total of 12 or more awards across all categories over a 12-month period must subsequently enter in A. Any B member may request a change to A at any time. Any other change between levels requires board approval.


All images are critiqued by an invited judge, who then selects entries for the following awards:
  • Award of Merit - up to five in each competition type, except that not more than one third (rounded up) of the entries in a competition type may receive any award.
  • Best in Category - one in each competition type.
  • Image of the Month - one, to be chosen from the category winners.
How many awards are given: (Admins, this is also in the "Admin: Overall Competition Configuration" help page, so if it changes, change in both places)
  • Minimum Number of Entries Required for there to be any awards in any competition type ("class"): currently 5. (6/8/20)
    Therefore, for Pictorial, if there are fewer than 5 in B, A and B are combined.
    Therefore, for all classes, if there are fewer than 5, there should be no award. 
    [Both of the preceding are determined by the same number, so can't set them separately, which is too bad.]
  • How many Awards of Merit we give to each class: 33%, rounded up, with a maximum of 5: (6/8/20)
    (For example, if there are 20 entries in Pictorial, although 33% is 7, we award no more than 5.)
  • Minimum number of Awards Of Merit to grant: Currently 0. (6/8/20)
    If 0, the judge does not have to give any awards: For example, not forced to give 4 awards if s/he feels that only 3 are worthy.
  • Best in Class comes from those awards. (E.g., if 9 entries in a class, we give a max of 3 awards, one of which is BiC.)

  • Image of the Month comes from the BiC awards.


Judges are volunteers who are experienced amateur or professional photographers and are generally members of other camera clubs in the Bay Area. They are familiar with the rules for entries, undergo training as judges through the Northern California Council of Camera Clubs (N4C), and do their best to provide an informative and constructive assessment of the pros and cons of each entry. 

Like all of us, their assessments are to a certain extent subjective, and this may explain why good entries that meet all the rules may receive different assessments and awards. Some judges are more adept at discussing the artistic merits and weaknesses of an image than others, while others are fussy about seemingly minor technical 'flaws.

It is important to remember that the opinion presented by the judge is a single opinion.  Different judges can and do have varying opinions on the same image.

We are very fortunate that these individuals take the time to travel here, often from a great distance, to spend an evening at the club to help us all improve our photographic skills and images.

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