Categories and Themes

The following are guidelines and up to the judges interpretation.


This category should include images that are in some way altered from the usual way it is viewed. The photograph can concentrate on color, form, texture, pattern, line or other aspect of the object. The subject of the photograph may be an identifiable object, but should be rendered in a way that the identity of the object is secondary to aspects of form, color (or tone), lines, shapes, or texture.  That is, the subject may be recognizable, but the photograph should not be representational.  The distinction can be subtle, and ultimately will reside with the judge.  Click here for examples of Abstract Photography.

Action / Motion / Movement

A photograph that gives a sense of motion. The subject can be a person, moving man made object, animal, or moving water. Click here for examples of Action/Motion/Movement.


Any photograph whose main subject is an animal. These could be domesticated pets, animals in the wild, in a zoo, or on a farm. This includes all kinds of animals including insects, fish, etc. but not people. Click here for examples of Animals.


The subject should be a building, group of related buildings, or other man-made structure such as a bridge or tower or a portion there of. Both interior and exterior photographs are allowed. Images may focus on the structure as a whole or a part of it. Click here for examples of Architecture.

Environmental Portrait

An environmental portrait is a portrait executed in the subject’s usual environment, such as in their home or workplace, and typically illuminates the subject’s life and surroundings. By photographing a person in their natural surroundings, it is thought that you will be able to better illuminate their character, and therefore portray the essence of their personality, rather than merely a likeness of their physical features. It is also thought that by photographing a person in their natural surroundings, the subject will be more at ease, and so be more conducive to expressing themselves, as opposed to in a studio, which can be a rather intimidating and artificial experience.

The emphasis should be on creating a portrait that tells the viewer something personal about the subject: their job/hobby/passion/etc. The subject should be engaged, that is they should know that they’re having their photograph taken.

How do you know someone is a teacher/lumberjack/civil engineer or loves bicycling/tying fishing flies/building robots/coaching little league baseball? You can take pictures of people riding their bike to work all day, but those aren’t environmental portraits. But if you sit the little league coach down in the dugout, have him put on his jacket and/or cap, include his whistle, clipboard, and water bottle, frame the shot to include the bench and dugout steps, and engage him in making some photographs, that’s an environmental portrait. Click here for examples of Environmental Portraits.

Geometric Shapes

The geometric shape/pattern can be made of anything. Lines, circles, squares, triangles, etc. Abstract works are not allowed, the geometric shape must be something present in the real world, something that we’ve seen and shot. It must be a characterizing element of the picture, but doesn’t need to be the only subject of it.The trick is in learning to find objects with appealing shapes and to capture them in an equally appealing way. Organic shapes occur frequently in nature (hence the name). They include curves, such as those you might see in the petal of a flower, and irregular shapes such as those you might see on a rock face. Geometric shapes, on the other hand, are straight and symmetrical. As you might have guessed, geometric shapes are found more often in the man-made world than in nature–they include things like buildings, roads and bridges.Click here for examples of Geometric Shapes.

High Key

A high key image mostly consists of highlights and midtones, is generally bright and even, and delicately toned, often with pastel and/or white shades. Click here for examples of High Key.


Photographs of land, water, groups of buildings, clouds or a combination of these. The image should not be a close up. An image of a single tree or flower is not a landscape but a photograph of a forest or field of flowers is. A landscape photograph may include people, man made objects and wildlife but these should complement the scene and not be the primary subject of the photograph. Also includes cityscapes and seascapes. Click here for examples of Landscapes, Cityscapes, and Seascapes.

Low Key

A photograph that comprises predominantly of dark or monotone colors.  Click here for examples of Low Key.


The photograph should be taken from a position very near the subject. Generally this means that the lens should be focused at or near its closest focusing position. The use of screw on close up filters, extension tubes and macro lenses is permitted. Click here for examples of Macro.


This category includes plants, animals and non man made objects. People, domestic animals such as pets and livestock, and agricultural crops are not appropriate. Wild animals, even in captivity, such as at a zoo or aquarium are allowed as are flowers in a garden, are allowed. Click here for examples of Nature.


Photographs taken at night. This could include any photograph taken at night, light painting, star trails, etc. These DO NOT INCLUDE sunsets and sunrise shots. Click here for examples of Night Photography.


The idea is that the image should primarily be about people. The images can be portraits, street photography, dancing or whatnot, but the image should call attention to people. The photograph may include other elements, but these should not be the primary subject of the photograph. A landscape or cityscape that just happens to have some humans in it should not qualify. Click here for examples of People/Portrait.


Photojournalism is a particular form of journalism (the collecting, editing, and presenting of news material for publication or broadcast) that creates images in order to tell a news story. Click here for examples of Photojournalism.

Still Life

A photograph of an inanimate object or group of objects arranged as the subject for a picture. It can serve as an exercise in skill and creativity, to show an artist’s understanding of composition, his ability to depict color harmony, form, texture, and the effects of light upon the objects. Click here for examples of Still Life.

Street Photography

Street photography is photography that features the human condition within public places.Framing and timing can be key aspects of the craft with the aim of some street photography being to create images at a decisive or poignant moment. Street photography can focus on emotions displayed, thereby also recording people’s history from an emotional point of view. Click here for examples of Street Photography.


Any photograph whose main subject is an animal. This includes all kinds of animals including insects, fish, etc.; but not people. This year we decided NOT TO ALLOW domesticated pets, animals in a zoo, or on a farm. Acceptable wildlife shots could range from the wilds of Alaska to the birds and insects in your garden. Click here for examples of Wildlife Photography.