Competition Rules  


Updated information is in red.


The Chester County Camera Club monthly competitions are viewed as teaching/learning opportunities. While ribbons are awarded to the highest scoring images, judges are encouraged to comment on every image and to make every image a learning experience for both the member who created the image and for all members who are in attendance. Ribbons are secondary; learning what makes an image strong is the primary lesson we hope to impart.

Use the links below to jump to a particular section of the page or click here for a printable pdf.

Overall Rules
Rules for Print Entries
Rules for Digital Entries
Judges & Judging Criteria


Categories of Competition

Competitions are divided into two categories, Assigned and Open. The Competition Chair creates the list of assignments. In June of the preceding club year the list of assignments will be published on the Club’s website. There are two competition divisions, Print and Projected Image. Each of the divisions has four competitions:

Print Division Competitions 

   1.      Assigned Color Print

   2.      Assigned Monochrome Print

   3.      Open Color Print

   4.      Open Monochrome Print


Projected Image Competitions

   1.      Assigned Color Projected Image

   2.      Assigned Monochrome Projected Image

   3.      Open Color Projected Image

   4.      Open Monochrome Projected Image 


Top of Page


Overall Rules

The rules in this section apply to all entries. Please also see the appropriate section below for specific rules about Print and Projected entries.

  • Competitors must be active, paid local members of the Chester County Camera Club in good standing. Local members are those residing in Chester County, PA, and the neighboring counties of Lancaster, Berks, Montgomery, Delaware, Philadelphia, and New Castle County, DE.   In addition, any former local member who moves away may continue to qualify as a Local member. The club welcomes remote members from outside the region to participate in other club events, however, only local members may enter competitions. 
  • Members may submit a maximum of three images per competition to be judged. Entries can be distributed among the competitions (all three in the same competition, all in different competitions, two in one competition and a third in a different competition). It is the responsibility of the photographer to place the image in the correct competition.
  • Submitting the same image in a digital projection entry and as a print in the same competition meeting is prohibited; similarly, submitting color and monochrome or horizontal and vertical renditions of the same image in the same competition meeting is prohibited. [Suggestion - avoid submitting similar images the same night. While the perspective or composition might be slightly different, it is difficult for the judge and competition chair to discern a difference and therefore the similar image could be disqualified.]

  • Entries may be prints, digital files, or both, as long as the total number of entries does not exceed three.
  • All elements in the entries, except for textures, must have been created by the competing member; for example, if you find a texture that contains birds or clouds, it may not be used. If you replace the sky, then it must be a sky you photographed and not a sky included in a photo editing program.
  • Printed words are only permissible if they are part of the scene that is photographed. No writing or watermarking—including the name of the photographer or the image title—may appear on the image, print, or mat. In the case of images submitted for projection during a print competition, those images must also be free of any writing or watermarking. 
  • A ribbon-winning image may not be entered into future competitions. This restriction includes prize-winning images that are modified in any way.
  • An image that has not been awarded a ribbon may be resubmitted in a future competition but no more than a total of three entries in a given club year
  • Other than composites, which are blended images assembled to appear as one image, multiple, separate images, including collages on a single screen or print, are not permitted.
  • Images entered in a Monochrome competition may be black and white (gray scale) or toned with a single color such as sepia. Images may contain various luminosity levels of any single color plus white, but may not include a color plus black, such as sepia plus black.
  • Monochrome images entered in a Color competition will be disqualified.
  • Entries in the Assigned competitions must adhere to the assigned topic for the month; entries in the Open competition may be of any subject.
  • Aside from the above stated rules, there are no restrictions or rules on how a photograph is taken or processed.
  • Images must be submitted to the website by 11:59 pm on the Sunday preceding the competition.




Top of Page

Rules for Print Entries

    • Print entries must be delivered no later than 6:15 PM on competition night, and must have been entered (catalogued) and a digital image uploaded on the web site by 11:59 pm on the Sunday night before the competition. Sizing for digital uploads should conform to the guidelines used with projected images.
    • A label containing the image title and member's name should be printed from the web site and affixed to the back of the print. Labels must be placed in the upper left corner of the image to ensure that print handlers can readily identify how the print is oriented.
    • All prints must be either mounted or matted. Which method is used is based on the creator’s discretion. The overall size of the mount or mat should be no larger than 16-inches x 20-inches.
    • Mats and mounts must be secure and neatly produced. Prints that fall off of a mount or out of a mat will be disqualified.
    • Prints may not be framed or under glass.

    Top of Page

    Rules for Digital Entries

      • Files must have the following properties:
        • Format: JPEG (filename.jpg)
        • Landscape-oriented images may not exceed a maximum width of 1920 pixels.
        • Portrait-oriented images may not exceed a maximum height of 1600 pixels.
        • File names may not contain any reference to the member's name. Special characters are not allowed.
        • The “Rules for Digital File Submissions” page of the club’s website explains the process for uploading files.
      • The Rules for Digital File Submissions page of the club’s website explains the process for uploading files.


      Top of Page

      Judges & Judging Criteria

      • The club makes every effort to employ judges from outside the club. When an outside judge is not available, a panel of three members judges the competition.
      • In the case of one judge, the judge awards between zero and twenty-seven points for each image. In the event of a tie, the judge determines the place winner.
      • In the case of three, club-member judges, each judge awards between zero and nine points for each image. The three scores are then combined to yield an award of between zero and twenty-seven points.
      • Entries must score at least 18 points to be eligible to receive a ribbon.
      • The number of ribbons awarded will be based on the number of entries:

      ·       1-7 entries – 1 ribbon – First Place

      ·       8-14 entries – 2 ribbons – First and Second Place

      ·       15-21 entries – 3 ribbons – First, Second, and Third Place

      ·       22-29 entries – 4 ribbons – First, Second, Third Place, and Honorable Mention 

      ·       30 or more images - an additional Honorable Mention

      • If there is only one ribbon to be awarded in a competition, the ribbon awarded will be based on the judge's score: 25-27 points receives a 1st place ribbon; 21-24 points receives a 2nd place ribbon; 18-20 points receives a 3rd place ribbon; less than 18 points, no ribbon awarded
      • The decision of the judge(s) is final.
      • Monthly competition results may be found on the club’s website.

      This table is given to every judge before the competition, and the judge is asked to use it as a guide for assigning scores.

      PLEASE NOTE that our judging criteria in 2021 was changed to place primary emphasis on the artistic impact of a photographic image, and only secondary emphasis on how well photographic technique—or departure from what’s usually considered good photographic technique—supports or detracts from the artistic impact of the image. (And, of course, it’s often true that intentional departure from what’s considered good technique actually enhances the image’s artistic impact.)

      As an example, the table above the top three score ranges correspond to levels of artistic impact as follows:

               Great Impact:   23 – 27

               Good Impact:   18 – 22

               Some Impact:  10 – 17

      In practice during a competition, a judge's initial comment might include the image’s level of impact (if it’s good enough to fall into one of these ranges of course): let's say, the judge indicates the image has Great Impact. This means the image will receive a score in the range of 23 to 27. The judge will then (as appropriate) comment on whether/how photographic technique supports or detracts from that impact.  The judge's final comment is the image’s score, which is the cue to show the next image.


      Top of Page


      In addition to the ribbons awarded at monthly competitions, the club also presents two year-end awards.

      The member who has earned the highest point total at the end of the year is awarded Photographer of the Year. Points are accumulated based on points for ribbons won:

      • 1st Place ribbon- 4 points
      • 2nd Place ribbon - 3 points
      • 3rd Place ribbon - 2 points
      • Honorable Mention ribbon - 1 point

      All first place images from monthly competitions are eligible for the People’s Choice Award. Images must be submitted digitally to be considered, even if the original winning entry was a print. All images (including digital, print, color, and monochrome) are placed in a single category, and members vote for their favorite image. First, second, and third place are awarded.

      Both awards are presented at the year-end party.


      This website is hosted by Visual Pursuits, a service provided by Software Pursuits, Inc.