Monthly Competitions

All members of the Charlottesville Camera Club are encouraged to enter photos into our monthly competitions. For the purposes of judging, members are divided into "B" (beginner) and "A" (advanced) classes. Photos are evaluated on a five point scale.

Nine months each year, members enter photos into two different categories: 1) Assigned (see topics below), and 2) Open (photographer's choice of subject). In these categories, A and B photographers are judged separately. Members can enter no more than one photo in each of these categories. For both the Assigned and Open categories, there are some limits on the extent of photo editing allowed, as described in the Rules of Competition.

Twice a year, a third category--Abstract and Altered Reality--replaces Assigned and Open. In this category, members may enter up to two photos, and A and B members are judged together. Also in this category, members have complete artistic freedom and can use any available in-camera or post-processing manipulation, including image capture using a scanner.

In December, members compete in End-of-Year competitions. See EOY awards for details.

All entries must be uploaded to a server before the established deadline. See Uploading for more inormation.


  1. Is my craftsmanship as good as it can be? (Is the image perfectly sharp, well exposed, not over-sharpened or over-saturated, etc.?)
  2. Are there any distracting or unnecessary objects in my image? (Remember: If something doesn’t help your image, it hurts it!)
  3. Is any part of the background brighter than my subject? (If so, find a way to eliminate or at least darken it.)
  4. Are any parts of my image too close to the edges of the frame?
  5. Is my subject or horizon right in the middle? Am I sure that’s the best place for it?
  6. Am I being objective about the subject’s appeal? (Your pet or grandchild or garden may mean everything to you, but a judge cares only about the quality of the image.)

This Year's Themes (2021)

January Entryways/Exitways

You pass through them every day without a thought. And most are so mundane that you wouldn’t think of photographing them. But others can be beautiful--or at least highly interesting. Even the components of entryways and exitways can be interesting--the handles, hinges, panels, and panes. Doors are the obvious subjects, but what about archways? Or even turnstiles? Can you imagine--and capture--unexpected kinds of entryways and exitways that will occur to few others?

Stacey Evans
February Black and White

As we learned from Greg Holden in a presentation last October, black and white photography is an interpretation of the world, rather than a copy. In black and white photography, the absence of color fosters the full display of other powerful factors: light and shadow, shape and texture, mood and mystery. So, go on a search for scenes that allow you to use these factors to the maximum. Or go back through your collection of color photos taken at any time and find one that can be transformed into a new, powerful, black and white interpretation of the subject.

Greg Holden
March For the Love of Books

Show your appreciation for books by photographing them or a scene in which they are the only or main component, or where they at least play a key role. Think about creative placement or unexpected perspectives to broaden the range of this theme. Or instead of thinking about books as a noun, perhaps pay homage to a favorite author or the main subject of a book, creating a more conceptual image or using the book as a point of focus to tell a story. Whatever you come up with, a book has to be somewhere within your frame.

Ben Greenberg
April The Beauty of Trees

Trees exist in all varieties and sizes, from the majestic Sequoia to a tiny sprouted acorn. Here in central Virginia, we have an abundance from which to choose, each season offering something new. Consider shapes and textures, as well as unusual angles and perspectives. The possibilities are endless.

May Spring Garden

Some really nice subjects are literally right in our own backyards or maybe in a nearby arboretum, park, or botanical garden. Flowers, fruits, veggies, structures, or a an entire garden could make a nice subject, using techniques from macro to landscape. The use of natural light is ideal, especially when it is bright but overcast. The soft, diffused light is perfect to reveal detail. Maybe try a diffuser if it’s otherwise too bright, or take your subject indoors if necessary.

June Getting Close

Looking at the world "up close and personal" can create a whole new perspective.Try filling the frame with small objects often overlooked. Textures, shapes, and lines can play a prominent part in these images. A macro lens will work great, but you can also try using either a close-focusing wide angle or a telephoto lens. Outdoors, indoors . . . it's surprising how many ordinary objects can take on a whole new look when you get close.

July Wild Things--From Ladybugs to Lions

The wild world exists both in exotic places and in and around Charlottesville and your own backyards. You may find interesting subjects in their natural habitat, where you may need a sharp eye to spot them and patience to shoot them. But feel free to go on safari in a zoo or aquarium or to even capture, photograph, and release your subjects unharmed where you found them.

Mark Buckler
August In the Shadows

The subject is not the shadows, but rather something partly or completely within them. The interaction of light and shadow can enhance shape and form to give us clues as to the shape of a subject. The contrast it produces also adds proportion to the subject and emphasizes textures. From streetscape to landscape to portrait to still life and everything in between, shadows are a powerful element in great photography.

September Smoke, Fog, and Mist

Smoke, fog, and mist can take an ordinary scene and turn it into something totally extraordinary--and even "mysterious"! We saw some great examples in our workshop by local photographer Bill Mauzy, and you can find other good sources of inspiration on the web. Make a photo where smoke/fog/mist makes the image something really special.

October Abstracts and Altered Reality

Entries may be created by one or more of the following methods:

o Photographing a subject in such a way that it becomes isolated from its context and where shapes, colors, lines, patterns, and textures predominate and provide primary interest. The context becomes unrecognizable and irrelevant.

o Camera movement. (Does not include panning to capture moving objects.)

o The use of software, in which a photograph is altered to the point that it no longer reflects reality. The altered photo and any added components must be the original work of the entrant.

o The final score for the competition will be the sum of the scores for each photo entered per member.

o A and B are judged together.

o There is no limit on the capture date for the photo.

November Photos After Dark

Nighttime can be creepy--think Halloween! But it offers unusual photo ops. First, our cameras detect colors in dim light far better than our eyes do. Take a long exposure in moonlight and you’ll be astounded. But shooting at night also offers opportunities for interesting photos that just can’t happen in daylight. Pack your tripod and a flashlight if you want to do some creative light painting to your subject.