Rules of Competition







1.  Categories



  • Entries must fit the designated monthly theme.
  • Restrictions on editing and manipulation of images in the Assigned Category are detailed in the chart below. These restrictions are intended to provide opportunity for photographers of all levels to compete on equal footing.
  • Each member may submit one entry, and all entries are projected. 
  • A and B are judged separately. 
  • The date of image capture must be within the past 12 months.



  • Entries are not restricted as to theme. 
  • To allow our members to fully achieve their vision for an image, there is no restriction on the amount or type of computer enhancement allowed (except for changes in pictorial content, as stated below). Any enhancement must be done by the entrant. The use of an outside printing lab is allowed as long as the outside lab does not change or enhance the entrant’s original submitted image.


In this category, we encourage all entrants to make full use of software tools that can optimize the visual quality of an image. These may include: cropping and leveling; perspective control; white balance correction; contrast and clarity; overall exposure; dodging and burning; color balance and saturation; sharpening and noise reduction; vignetting; HDR and focus stacking.


Tutorials on the best use of these tools are available on the Internet. Also, many experienced members of the club are eager to help you enhance your images. Feel free to ask!


Changes to the pictorial content (deleting, resizing, moving, and adding components)—which are not allowed in the Assigned category—are allowed in the Open category, with the following exceptions: 

  • Any pictorial content added to the image (a moon, clouds, better sky, less-distracting background, etc.) must be from a photo taken by the entrant and not from any other source.
  • Images in which the pictorial content has been altered must retain the overall realism of the original image. For example, a moon may be added to the night sky, but not more than one moon. (Images with significant distortions of reality must be entered in the Innovative category.)
  • Any filters that are applied, either during capture or during post-processing, must retain the overall realism of the subject. Any image that appears unnatural must be entered into the Innovative competition. (For example, slightly enhancing the starburst effect of a light at night is ok, but if the effect is so extreme that it appears unnatural, the image belongs in Innovative.)
  • Abstract images that retain the original characteristics of the subject (shapes, textures, patterns, etc.) and where no major distortion has been introduced, should be entered in this competition. 
  • Each member may submit one entry, either as a print or for projection.  Prints and projected images are judged separately.
  • A and B are judged separately.
  • There is no limit on the capture date for the image.




  • There is no restriction as to theme, and the image must be captured, edited, or manipulated in such a way that the subject no longer looks realistic. There is no restriction on the amount or type of computer enhancement allowed. However, any enhancement must be done by the entrant. Images should be a distortion of reality and not simply an abstract image. Abstracts where no major distortion is introduced belong in the Open competition.
  •  Each member may submit one entry, and all entries are projected.
  • A and B are judged together.
  • There is no limit on the capture date for the image.


2. Who can enter what

  • All members in good standing may enter one image in each of two competitions (Assigned, Open, or Innovative) each month. New members cannot enter at the first meeting they attend. Members may enter competitions even if they do not attend the meeting.
  • Members are assigned to Class A (advanced) or B (beginner/intermediate) by the club, based on the member's level of skill as a photographer. The executive committee may promote a member from Class B to Class A if it feels that person is misplaced. Any member may request to be moved from Class B to Class A at the end of the year. The Class B member who has earned the highest number of points in the monthly competition by the end of the year will be automatically promoted to Class A. The winner of the Shyan Award, as well as those who have won a preponderance of high scores, will be considered for promotion by the executive committee.
  • Images that scored a 4 or 5 cannot be reentered in a subsequent competition, but the subject can be re-photographed. Images that scored a 1, 2, or 3 in a previous competition, and that have correctable flaws that were noted by a judge, can be reentered once with those corrections made. 
  • The image must be your own work rather than a team effort. You can have help, but it must be your vision and your execution.
  • A panel of three members of the executive committee screens entries prior to judging and can disqualify or re-categorize an entry.


3. Image-editing restrictions for the Assigned competition


Assigned entries are subject to image-editing restrictions to


  • Emphasize the quality of the initial capture
  • Enable members with less advanced skills in photo editing to compete on equal footing.





 ADJUSTMENTS ALLOWED in the Assigned Category


ADJUSTMENTS NOT ALLOWED in the Assigned Category

Correct white balance and color shifts (temperature and tint)

Exposure/brightness, dodge and burn

Sharpening, clarity, and texture

Noise reduction

Color and brightness changes that significantly alter the original look and feel of the subject as originally captured

Contrast, saturation, and vibrance

Conversion to black and white or sepia

Color substitution to provide an unnatural effect

Conversion to infrared

Cropping, scaling, flipping, and rotating the entire image

Movement, enlargement, or reduction of elements within an image

Seam editing

Combining multiple images to:

- form a panorama (stitching)

- blend exposures (HDR or manually)

- extend depth of field (focus stacking)

Making composite images by combining images or elements from other images or duplicating elements within the same image (including background and sky replacement and the Orton effect)

Cloning or Content Aware Fill, to remove unwanted items that:

- you could not remove or avoid at the time of capture

- you would have removed or avoided if you had noticed them at the time

Removing or altering major components of the main subject

Blurring distracting elements*, spot healing, healing brush, or patch tools*

Using a blur filter to create an ethereal mood or a special effect that wasn't part of the original subject

Panning a moving subject and using a slow shutter speed to blur a fast-moving subject

Moving or adjusting the camera during exposure to create abstract, artistic interpretations of the subject

Perspective correction with tilt/shift lenses or software

Transform, Free Transform, and Puppet Warp*

Use of on-camera filters and other tools, such as Lensbaby, that produce special optical or color effects and significantly alter the original look or feel of the subject

Light painting using artificial light to brighten parts of an existing scene.

Light painting using artificial light to create designs, patterns, and other effects within the image



Use of a flatbed scanner or photocopier to produce an image, unless the resulting image is as realistic and true to the subject as if taken with a camera


Adjustments that go beyond those listed in the left column, including filters that distort forms and alter texture or create artificial optical effects (such as lens flare, fog, or star bursts)

* only if they do not significantly alter the appearance of the main subject or a major part of the subject


4. How to enter your images


  • Prints must be matted, with a firm backing, but unframed. No writing is permitted on the front other than an optional title. A title added to the front of the print must not reveal who the photographer is. Photographers may submit prints of any reasonable size on any photographic medium, including canvas on stretchers, acrylic, metallic paper, and aluminum. Please be aware, however, that our judges will be advised to consider the compatibility of the presentation medium with the image content. In addition, media that distort or add unrealistic characteristics to the original capture, such as a high degree of texture, are not permitted for prints.
  • Regardless of the medium used, prints must be submitted in a way that facilitates easy handling during display. Paper prints must be matted and/or mounted on a firm substrate (e.g.: foam core). 
  • On the back, in the upper left corner, add a label with your name, competition name, and the title of the image. Include an arrow indicating vertical. If you wish, you may also list exposure data, equipment used (lenses, camera, etc.), the date image was photographed, and the processing software used. 
  • Place your matted print on the appropriate rack between 6:00 and 6:15, before the club meeting is called to order.



  • Projected images should be 2000 pixels on the long side, including an optional border, and must be uploaded through PhotoContest Pro by the deadline indicated on the PCP site. (Instructions for preparing and uploading images can be found on the CCC website.)
  • A title added to the projected image must not reveal who the photographer is. 


5. Judging & scoring

Images are graded by using the following five-point rating system. (You may see the compiled results by requesting them from the registrar.)


  • 5—Outstanding, of a quality that would merit inclusion in a juried exhibition; significant “wow” factor.
  • 4—Very good technically and compositionally, but lacking the quality that makes it unforgettable. 
  • 3—Average, having some minor deficiencies.
  • 2—Some good points, but with some major deficiencies.
  • 1—Needs significant improvement.


Audience members are not allowed to speak to the judge while photos are being evaluated. A member designated by the executive committee may assist the judge regarding our rules or the assigned theme and may answer any of the judge’s questions.


Members Serving as Judges:

Members serving as judges are not permitted to enter the competition that they are judging. As compensation, they will be awarded nine points. A member may not act as a judge more than once in any calendar year.


6. End of the year awards

Members must have entered at least three monthly competitions during the year in order to compete for the end of the year awards. A single judge or panel of judges will decide the winners from images entered during the current year. The images must be the same as when they were entered previously. A damaged mat or print may be replaced, but only with the same paper and printing parameters used originally.


Image of the Year

  • Best Image in the Assigned Competition
  • Best Projected Image in the Open Competition
  • Best Printed Image in the Open Competition
  • Best Image in the Innovative Competition


Photographer of the Year

The James W. Simmons Photographer of the Year Award

Presented in memory of Mr. Simmons’ outstanding contributions to the club. This award is presented to the Class A photographer who has accumulated the highest number of points during the year.


The Howard Rothman Class B Photographer of the Year Award

Presented in memory of one of our club’s founders. This award is presented to the Class B photographer who has accumulated the highest number of points during the year.


Shyan Award

In memory of founders Ted and Rita Shyan, this award is open only to Class B photographers. Three printed images, taken during the current calendar year, may be entered. They will be judged on the overall skill of the photographer. Images may or may not include those previously entered in any of the club competitions.