Advice on Entering Club Compettitions

This document should be read alongside the Rules for Club Competitions, which take precedence if there is any discrepancy.

The Club’s internal competitions provide an opportunity for members to see each other’s work and to benefit from the constructive comments of an experienced photographer. For most members the competitive structure adds to the enjoyment of the evening, but placing images in order of merit is of course a subjective process and you will not always agree with the judge; please don’t let this put you off showing your work!

Our competitions are organised and run by the Competitions Secretary, who will gladly advise you if you are unsure whether your entry complies with the rules. Make sure the images you enter, as well as any creative alterations, are your own work. Deliberately passing off someone else’s work as your own is the only crime that can get you banned from competing! Read the other rules carefully – they will not all be covered here. If you need practical advice on mounting prints or preparing digital files, ask another member to help you. Sharing skills is what the Club is for!

Winter Series: Open Competitions

No image will be eligible if it has previously been entered, prior to the current season, in any Winter Series or Annual Competition in any format. A new image derived from the same source as a previous entry must be substantially different from that entry. On each Open Competition evening, the two sections - Prints and Digital images – will be judged separately. Members may enter up to four images in total, spread across each section, with a maximum of two Digital images, i.e. 4 Prints or 2 Digital images & 2 Prints or any combination as long as no more than 2 Digital images are entered and the total entry does not exceed 4.

The judge will give marks, usually out of 20, to each image, from which the placing within each section is determined (though occasionally a judge has preferred to give the placing’s directly without assigning marks.)

After the competition the Internal Competitions Secretary will convert the placing’s into points as below:

Place:     1      2      3      4      5      6      7      8      9

Points: 20    18    17    16     15    14    13    12     11

It may happen that (say) ten entries come equal third: then we just add up the available points and divide by 10: 17+16+15+4+13+12+11=98, 98/10 = 9.8 points each. Similarly, if there are two equal at fourth, (16+15)/ 2 gives 15.5 points each, and of course the next scoring image is in sixth place. At the end of the season the points are added up, and the winner of each section collects a trophy at the Annual Dinner. This system rewards effort and consistency as well as occasional brilliance, unlike the Annual Competition, which has a first-past-the-post structure. Within a given section, the more entries you put in, the more points you stand to win; so there is some scope for strategy if you are of a competitive disposition! For most competitions the entry date is a fortnight before the judging so the judge has time to assess the images in advance – see the printed programme for entry nights, or consult it on

The Annual Competition

The Annual Competition is held in two sections, Annual Digital & Annual Print. Details of the Classes (open, monochrome, portrait, nature, record) in each section are given in the Rules. Class definitions follow:

Classes 1, 2, 3 and 6 are as written in the Rules.

Classes 4 and 5 – Nature and Record photography: the image presented must be essentially as seen through the viewfinder at the moment of exposure. Removal of minor blemishes is acceptable if it preserves a truthful picture of the subject and its environment at that moment.

Class 4 – Nature photography: images which convey accurate and detailed information about the appearance or behaviour of natural organisms and geological specimens. Domestic animals and cultivated plants are not acceptable as the main subject. If the subject has been removed from its natural environment or is captive, trained or controlled, this must be made clear in the title; judges are encouraged to give preference to images where the subject is in its natural state, indicated by the words ‘free’ (animals and insects) or ‘in situ’ ( plants and geological specimens) in the title. The identity of the subject should be indicated as accurately as possible in the title by use of its common or scientific name. It is the entrant’s responsibility to comply with the law on photography of protected species; if images have been taken under licence this should be stated.

Class 5 – Record photography: images which convey accurate and detailed information about specific man-made objects and structures, and which would help in reconstructing the subject following damage or destruction. The title should clearly identify the subject.

Entry is via the online PhotoEntry system, Prints to be handed to the Competitions Secretary on entry night. In each Section you can enter up to ten images, but please ensure that not more than four of them are in the same Class.

If you want to be considered for the James Abbott Trophy you must mark on your Prints entry form which three prints you are selecting (one must be a portrait and one a landscape).

External Competitions

After the Annual Competition, the Competitions Secretary will be collecting images for the Club’s entry to the Lancashire and Cheshire Photographic Union (L&CPU)’s Annual Competition. You have the right to be represented in the entry as an individual, and if there are particular images you wish to include, make this known. Please do not remove prints after the Annual Competition until the selection has been made.

The Club also enters the Inter-Club Photographic Alliance (ICPA) annual competition, and you may be asked to contribute images for this. Prints entered for these competitions may be selected for the Folios which are circulated around the participating clubs in the following season, so you may not get them back for a year.

Naturally you retain copyright of all your images, but most competition entries are conditional on permission being given to use the images in specified ways. Check the L&CPU website if you are concerned by this.


From time to time the Club stages public exhibitions of its work, and you may be asked to lend prints for these. They usually run for about a month.