Competition Rules

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


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.


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 


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Chester County Camera Club

Competition Rules

The following rules are in effect for all camera club competitions:

Who May Compete

  • 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. 

Submission Guidelines

  • Each member may submit a maximum of three images per competition.
  • Entries can be distributed among different competitions or all in the same competition.
  • The photographer is responsible for placing the image in the correct competition.
  • Entries may be prints, digital files, or both, as long as the total number of entries does not exceed three.
  • 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.
  • Avoid submitting similar images on the same night to prevent disqualification.

Image Guidelines

  • All elements in the entries, except for textures, must have been created by the competing member.
  • 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.
  • A ribbon-winning image may not be entered into future competitions, even if modified.
  • An image that has not won a ribbon may be resubmitted in a future competition but no more than three entries in a given club year.
  • Multiple, separate images, including collages on a single screen or print, are not permitted, except for composites, which are blended images assembled to appear as one image.
  • Monochrome images entered in a Color competition will be disqualified and vice versa.
  • 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.

Assigned Competitions

  • Entries in the Assigned competitions must adhere to the assigned topic for the month. The judge determines how well an image meets the theme and will deduct points for images that do not do a good job of meeting the theme.

Open Competitions

  • Entries in the Open competition may be of any subject.

Other Rules

  • 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.


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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.

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    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.

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      • The club makes every effort to employ judges from outside the club who have reputations as good photographers and experience judging. Particular emphasis is on judges who provide thoughtful and informative commentary..
      • When an outside judge is not available, a panel of three members judges the competition.
      • Judges are encouraged 


      • 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.
      • The scoring decision of the judge(s) is final.
      • The Competition Chair may disqualify an image from a competition for any rules violation.

      Ribbons Awarded

      The number of ribbons awarded will be based on the number of entries:

      • 1-5 entries – 1 ribbon – First Place
      • 6-10 entries – 2 ribbons – First and Second Place
      • 11-15 entries – 3 ribbons – First, Second, and Third Place
      • 16-20 entries – 4 ribbons – First, Second, Third Place, and Honorable Mention 
      • 21 or more images - an additional Honorable Mention
      • Entries must score at least 18 points to be eligible to receive a ribbon.

      Judging Criteria

      While photography judging can be subjective, there are several things our judge may consider when evaluating a photograph, including:


      1. Emotional Response: Does the photograph evoke an emotional response in the viewer, whether that be happiness, sadness, awe, or any other emotion. The more powerful the emotional response, the greater the impact of the photograph.
      2. Originality: Does the photograph demonstrate an original concept or approach to the subject matter. Does the photograph stand out from others in its category and demonstrate a unique vision.
      3. Storytelling: Does the photograph tell a story or convey a message. Does the photograph communicate a clear message or narrative that is both compelling and impactful.
      4. Creativity: Does the photograph demonstrate creativity in its approach to the subject matter. Does the photograph demonstrate a unique and creative use of lighting, perspective, color, or other elements to create an impactful image.


      1. Technical Mastery: Does the photograph demonstrate technical mastery of the medium, including composition, lighting, focus, and exposure. Is the photograph sharp and clear, with good contrast and color balance.
      2. Technical Difficulty: Does the photograph demonstrate technical difficulty in its creation. Does the photograph show technical mastery of the medium and require a high level of skill and expertise to create.


      1. Context: In assigned categories, the photograph MUST be judged in the context of the category in which it was entered and should meet the criteria for that category.  A photograph that is otherwise impactful and technically good should receive a significant deduction in the score for not adhering to the theme. The judge is responsible for this determination.


      Emphasis on Impact

      We encourage our judges to place primary emphasis on the artistic impact of a photographic image.  This table is given to every judge before the competition, and the judge is asked to use it as a guide for assigning scores. As stated above however, if a photograph entered in a Assigned Theme category has great impact and and is of high technical merit but does not do a good job of adhering to the theme, it should score not more  than 15.


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      Annual Awards

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


      Photographer of the Year - Print and Digital

      The member who has earned the highest point total at the end of the year is awarded Photographer of the Year. The member with the highest point total for prints will be awarded Print Photographer of the Year. The member with the highest point total for projected / digital images will be awarded Digital 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

      People’s Choice Award

      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.

      All awards are presented at the year-end party.


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