Monthly and Year-End Competition Rules

Revisions: 1995, 1989, 1987, 1985, 1081, 1982, 1983, 2011, 2014, 2016, 2023

General Conditions


  1. Participation – Only members who have paid their dues in full (members in good standing) may participate in Arundel Camera Club contests.
  2. Categories and Classes – Competitions are divided into categories and classes.
    • The categories are: Monochrome Prints, Color Prints, and Digital Imagery. Slides were phased out in 2014.
    • Classes are Novice and Unlimited.
  3. New Members – New members and others who have not yet earned sufficient promotion points must submit photographs in the Novice class unless permission to waive this requirement is first obtained from the Contest Chairman.
  4. Promotion Points – Points are awarded for each ribbon won during competitions. Winners are allotted points for each ribbon they win as follows:
    • 1st Place = 8 points
    • 2nd Place = 6 points
    • 3rd Place = 4 points
    • 4th Place = 2 points
    • Honorable Mention = 1 point.
  5. Promotion – Club members are promoted from Novice to Unlimited by accruing 50 points in a given category. If a member is promoted from Novice to Unlimited and enters 4 or more monthly contests in the Unlimited class without earning at least one Honorable Mention, the member my petition the Contest Chairman to return to the Novice class.


  1. A club member may enter up to three photographs in each category each month.
  2. For purposes of competition a photograph consists of two elements: Composition and Treatment.
    • Composition is the arrangement of “things” in the image. i.e. its elements, subjects, objects, etc. and how they are arranged in the image. How an image is cropped is also a compositional element.
    • Treatment is the manner in which the photograph, as a whole, has been treated. Treatment includes techniques such as (but not limited to) toning, coloring, posterization, solarization, sandwiching, etc.
    • Should either the composition or the treatment change greatly, the resulting photograph shall be deemed to be a different image. For example, if a negative is printed conventionally and also printed as a solarization the two resulting photographs shall be considered different images. Making a color print, monochrome print, and digital image of a similar crop of the same RAW capture shall not be considered as having made three different images. Likewise, making a sepia print, selenium print, and cyanotype of the same crop of a black and white negative shall not be considered as having made three different images. In short, images which are merely variations on a theme shall not be considered different. In the event of a dispute, the Contest Chairman’s application of this rule shall be final.
  3. Photographs made by any recognized photographic process will be acceptable. Recognized processes include, but are not limited to, chemical prints, ink and/or dye-based prints, slides, collage, montage, toning, and the like.
  4. A monochrome image is defined as having varying shades of no more than one color (carious shades of that color from very light to very dark) but it may be any single color. Multi-toned images (various shades of two or more colors) and greyscale images with an added accent color are not acceptable. Monochrome prints which are toned (sepia, selenium, cyanotype, etc.) will be considered monochrome. Prints displaying more than one color must be entered as color prints. In the event of a dispute the Contest Chairman’s application of this rule will be final.
  5. Computer manipulated images are eligible for competition.
  6. The original exposure (or exposures in the case of composite/montage images) must be authored by the contestant. That is, the contestant must use original negatives, positives, and/or digital media of their own creation. All subsequent work (film developing, printing, spotting, toning, mounting, computer manipulation, etc.) may be performed by someone other than the contestant.
  7. It is unethical, constitutes plagiarism, and often violates copyright law to simply copy an image (even in another medium) that was made by someone else.
  8. A photograph may be entered into a maximum of five monthly contests through the course of its competitive lifetime. Furthermore, the image may only be entered into any given category a maximum of three times. For example, a photograph may be entered three times as a monochrome image, once as a color image, and once as a digital image before becoming ineligible for future monthly contests.
  9. Once a photograph wins 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th place it is ineligible for any other monthly contest. This includes photographs entered into different categories in the same month or on the same night. Photographs which win an Honorable Mention are eligible for future contests until they win a placement ribbon or surpass the maximum entry limit.

Contest Operations

  1. A contest requires a minimum of 9 photographs
  2. Mini-Competition – In the event there are fewer than 9 images a “Mini-Competition” may be held.
    • A minimum of five images and a maximum of eight entries by at least three entrants shall constitute a Mini-Competition.
    • The judge shall be instructed to select only a second and third place photograph.
  3. Ribbons – Monthly contest ribbons will be awarded as follows: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and Honorable Mentions. The number of Honorable Mentions shall be 10% of the total entries in a class for the month. No Honorable Mentions shall be awarded in any class containing less than 12 images.
  4. Tricolor Ribbons – During a contest, when all three of a club member’s photos within a class win a ribbon, we award them a special red, white, and blue tricolor ribbon.
TriColor Ribbon
  1. Certificates – Once a club member has reached unlimited in any category, he/she continues to earn points towards certificates. Total points accrued earns the following certificates:
50 pointsBronze Certificate
100 pointsSilver Certificate
150 pointsGold Certificate
200 pointsPlatinum Certificate
250 pointsMaster’s Certificate

Monthly Category Competitions

  1. Monochrome and Color Prints
    1. Prints must be mounted on material such as a standard print mounting board. The board may be of any color desired by the contestant but may not exceed a size of 20″ in its longest dimension.
    2. The back of the mounting board must be labeled with the contestant’s name, image title, category, class, and contest date (month/year).
  2. Digital
    1. Formatting
      • Images should be sized so as to be 2048 pixels on the longest side (2048 x ??? or ??? x 2048).
      • Images should be saved in the sRGB color space.
      • Images should be saved as jpegs using a quality setting of around 80% (8 out of 10, 80 out of 100, etc.). Higher quality settings have little or no impact for the purposes of competition and result in unnecessarily large file sizes. Smaller file sizes transition faster, resulting in smoother operation of the viewing software.
    2. Naming – Files should be named according to the following convention:
      • A class identifier, ‘n’ for novice or ‘u’ for unlimited, should prepend the filename and be followed by an underscore.
      • The image name should appear next. For multi-word titles it is helpful to either capitalize the first letter of each word or separate each word with an underscore.
      • An underscore and the contestant’s initials should follow the title.
        • Finally, make sure the file extension (.jpg) exists.
        • Examples:
          • u_BridgeOnTheRiverKwai_cb.jpg (discouraged)
          • u_bridge_on_the_river_kwai_cb.jpg (acceptable)
          • n_thisisveryhardtoread_cb.jpg (discouraged)
          • n_some have trouble with this_cb.jpg (acceptable)
    3. Uploads
    4. Deadline
      • Images should be uploaded no later than 12:00pm on the Tuesday morning before the competition.
      • All images received by the deadline will be entered into the competition.
      • Images received after the deadline will not be included in the competition.

End of Year Competition

  1. Any photograph which has won 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th place in a monthly contest is eligible to be entered in the year-end judging of that program year in the class in which it was originally entered, regardless of the contestant’s current class standing.
  2. It shall be the responsibility of the maker to return any eligible photograph to the Contest Chairman by the date designated for the year-end judging.
  3. The year-end competitions will be held offsite and general attendance by club members will not be allowed.
  4. Typically, three judges will be used to judge the year-end competition.
  5. Voting shall be done electronically using the club voting box.
  6. No reprints will be allowed in the year-end contest. Thus, the maker should take precautions to ensure the preservation of the original photograph if he/she wishes to enter the picture in exhibitions or competitions outside the club and fears the original may be damaged in the process.
  7. Based on the final year-end judging, awards will be presented as follows:
    • ALL CLASSES (color and monochrome prints and digital imagery): 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th in each class.
    • From among all of the 1st place winners of the year-end judging a single Photograph of the Year shall be chosen.
  8. The end of year competition awards will be awarded at the yearly club banquet in May.
  9. The member accruing the highest total points in a category (monochrome prints, color prints, digital imagery) shall receive the following Photographer of the Year Awards:
The Margaret H. Bevan Award Unlimited Monochrome Prints
Novice Monochrome Prints
The John R Boykin Award Unlimited Color Prints
Novice Color Prints
The Howard L. Penn Award Unlimited Digital Imagery
Novice Digital Imagery
The Frederick R. Kelley Award Unlimited Photographer of the year
Novice Photographer of the Year

Club Events Contest

  1. In May we will have our Club Events Contest.
  2. There will be Novice and Unlimited categories.
  3. You may submit one color and one monochrome digital image from each club event you attended during the club year.
  4. All submitted images shall be judged regardless of the number of submissions.
  5. Club events include any field trip, meeting, gathering, the Christmas party, and last year’s club banquet.
  6. We also allow a number of local events to count for the club events contests including:
    • Fourth of July fireworks shot anywhere in the local MD/D.C. area
    • Maryland Renaissance Festival
  7. Two “Best in show” awards are made:
    • Novice and Unlimited.
    • Each award wins free club membership for the next year.