Sileby Photographic Society

General Rules for Competitions

This page mainly relates to Sileby's own competitions, but you will find at the end some cautionary notes on External Competitons.

A printable version of the rues can be found here.

Rules Applicable to ALL Sileby Competitions 

The closing date published in this programme is the final date for entries.  No late entries will be accepted.

Entries that do not conform to the rules listed below will be rejected.

The original image/images must have been taken using a photographic process and all elements must be the entrant’s own images/work.  When replacing a sky, for example, the new sky must have been taken by the entrant; or if a person is added to an image the figure must have been photographed by the entrant.  This rule is included to protect the copyright of authors.

A photographic work may be used only once in its submitted form for each competition, namely Exhibition, Annual Competition or Quarterly.  A presentation in a different medium, for example a print and a digital image is permitted, but both MUST NOT be submitted at the same time for the same competition.

An entry judged by the Competition Secretaries to be to be significantly similar to one entered previously will not be accepted for the same competition even in subsequent years.  Therefore, images must have been taken from a significantly different viewpoint, at a different time of day or year or in different lighting conditions.  Images must not just be subsequent frames but have the subject in a significantly different pose or position.  Images that have been cropped or had minor elements “spotted out” at the suggestion of the judge or members cannot be re-entered in the same medium in the same competition.

Image titles should be kept brief, to enable them to be included in the likes of entry forms and score sheets, and in Exhibition catalogue.  The suggested limit is 40 characters including spaces.  Whilst it is recognised that some authors like to provide, for future reference, a full and descriptive definition of an image, this should not be used as a part of a title.  If such additional information is so provided it should be shown in brackets so it remains absolutely clear what the title of an image is.

While the use of negative or positive film as the means of recording ‘in camera’ images is not discouraged, it must be the author’s responsibility to have such images either printed or converted by scanning or other means into digital format as per the rules for Projected Images if they are to be entered as such.

Rules Specific to Prints

Prints, including mount, must not be larger than 500mm by 400mm, although starting with the 2019 Exhibition, the rule will be that they must be exactly 500mm by 400mm.  No minimum size for the print is specified, but as a guide, it is usual for its area to be at least 500 square centimetres.

All prints should bear a title, the author's name and the name of the society clearly marked on the reverse of the mount.

Monochrome prints are defined as those with as many shades of grey as the author wishes.  Additionally, a print may be given an overall tint and still be considered as monochrome.  When selected areas are coloured, even when a single colour is used, the print is designated as a colour print.

Prints must be mounted on substantial card, usually with the card forming a border.  Prints are commonly presented on black, grey, white or cream mounts although other subdued colours are sometimes used.  Careful and sympathetic mounting is particularly important if the print is to be considered for inclusion in a Sileby panel (see below) where one odd mount in the group of prints can severely detract from the overall impression.

Care should be taken that no excess glue remains on the print and/or mount as this can damage other entrants’ prints.  Any tape securing the back of a window mount must be very securely attached, shall be soft and smooth so that it does not scratch the surface of other prints.  Labels on the backs of prints must be attached securely so that they do not become detached and stick to other prints.  If, in the opinion of the Competition Secretaries, a submitted print appears likely to damage another image it can be withdrawn from a Competition. 

It is not unknown for prints and their mounts to be accidentally damaged.  Whilst every effort is made to minimise damage, authors should be aware of the possibility and should not submit anything irreplaceable.  The possibility of damage should be taken into account when deciding upon a mount style and construction.

Rules Specific to Projected Digital Images

Digital images must be submitted on CD, USB pen drive or by email to the Competition Secretaries.  They must be submitted using a file naming convention whereby the first group of letters denotes the author’s initials, then a space or underscore followed by the title of the image.  They should be prepared such that the width of the image does not exceed 1280 pixels and the height does not exceed 1024 pixels.  Do not pad out smaller images with black.  Formats are limited to JPEG and TIFF; those such as PSD, which are related to specific image manipulation applications, are NOT acceptable.

Internal Competitions

Quarterly Competitions

This competition is over four rounds throughout the calendar year, from January to November, and covers all categories, namely monochrome prints, colour prints, projected digital images.  Members may enter any or all of the categories, with a maximum of three entries in each per round.  Awards are presented at the Annual Dinner for the winners in each category and can only be won if three entries have been made in each of the four rounds.

In accordance with the “Rules Applicable to All Sileby Competitions”, above, an image may be entered both as a projected digital image and as a print but never in the same round.


The Annual Exhibition is held for a week (Monday to Saturday) towards the middle of October; it is always in the Leicestershire Schools’ half-term week.  Members may enter up to ten monochrome prints, up to ten colour prints and up to ten projected digital images.  Entries to the Exhibition must not have been previously submitted to a Sileby Photographic Society Exhibition.  Six prints and six projected digital images are selected to form the Sileby panels to compete against other Invited Societies.

The Committee reserves the right to not exhibit all of the work entered.  Limits on capacity are determined by the available hanging space for prints, including those from Invited Societies.  Authors must submit a list of entries in each category together with their work, ideally in a digital format, for example “Word”.  Entries should be listed in order of priority such that in the event of there being insufficient capacity to display all images submitted, image number 10 will be omitted first and so on.  For print entries, authors must also submit a digital version of each print in the same format as for projected entries.

Any image considered by the Competition Secretaries to be unsuitable for public display will be excluded.

As the Exhibition is the first major competition of each new season, all entrants must have paid their membership subscription for the current season before submitting their entries.

 Entries are eligible for the following awards, as appropriate:

Best Monochrome Print Best Projected Image
Best Colour Print Best Landscape Projected Image
Best Landscape Print Best Portrait Projected Image
Best Portrait Print Best Nature Projected Image
Best Nature Print  

12-Shot Challenge

An entry fee of £2.00 is payable to cover the cost of mount boards.  Processing will be sponsored by Loughborough Washing Machine and Vacuum Cleaner Centre.

Images should be taken that reflect as closely as possible the 12 subjects listed for the current year and all images should be taken after the subjects have been announced.  Any number of images may be taken but only one image per subject may be submitted.

The images should be unmodified with the one exception that cropping is permitted, and all images should be resized to 6” x 4” or that ratio in pixels.

The submitted sets of 12 will be processed together, printed to size 6” x 4” and then mounted in a uniform pattern prior to judging by an external judge.  The boards will then be displayed at the Annual Exhibition where they will also be judged by visitors.

Annual (Christmas) Competition

Members may submit up to seven entries in total with not more than five entries being in any one category, namely monochrome prints, colour prints or projected digital images.  Awards are made for:

Best Monochrome Print Best Projected Image
Best Colour Print  

This competition is intended to promote current images.  Entries must not have been submitted to any Sileby Photographic Society competition prior to January 1st of the calendar year of submission.

Digital Image Knockout Competition

The logistics for this competition are complex, so entrants are asked to read and follow the published instructions and adhere strictly to deadlines.

Entrants declare a list of eighteen entries.  In each round of the knockout, three entries are used and then subsequently discarded.  Each round consists of pairs of entrants, as determined by a draw, competing against each other.  In the event of there being insufficient entrants to allow the first round to be completely filled, an appropriate number of entrants will be awarded a bye.  The entrant from each pair winning the round enters the draw for the next round.  In the event of a tie, the winner is determined by a sudden death play-off using one extra entry.

Entries must not have been previously used in the Knockout Competition.  The definition of “used” here refers to images that have been judged or selected for a bye in the first round.  Thus, any images declared in a given year but not judged or selected for a bye may be entered in a subsequent year.

Thematic Competition

The form of this annual competition is chosen by combining a subject with a medium, for example “monochrome digital”.  Both of these elements are drawn randomly, so that a wide variety of topics and presentation forms are covered.

Entrants may submit a maximum of four images.  As with other competitions, entries must not have been previously used in the Thematic Competition.

Panel Competition

This competition is open to prints and digital images in panels or sets of three or four images.  Individual prints must be not larger than A4 and may be mounted separately or together on one mount board, the latter to be not larger than 500mm by 400mm.  Digital images must be in accordance with the above "Rules specific to Projected Digital Images".  Each panel of three or four digital images must be combined to form one image for projection with a size not exceeding 1280 x 1024 pixels.  Each member may submit up to two panels of prints and two panels of projected images.  The subject matter is open but from time to time it may be that Themed panels will be requested.

Nature Photography

The Exhibition Nature Awards may be won by any image that the judge deems to be a Nature Image.  Such images are also eligible for the Best Colour Print or Best Digital Image as appropriate; there are currently no specific Nature competitions.  The images do not have to conform to the strict FIAP/PAGB rules concerning Nature Images.  However, if the author wishes to submit his images in a Nature Class in an external competition (such as NEMPF) it is up to the author to ensure that the image conforms with the FIAP/PAGB rules, which can be found on their respective web sites.  Further information can be sought from the External Competition Secretaries.

Notes Relating to External Competitions

Be aware that some external competitions are now specifying maximum print sizes in metric units and that the commonly-chosen size of 500mm by 400mm is slightly smaller than 20" by 16" - it's actually 19.7" by 11.8". Some Sileby members had prints rejected from a recent Federation exhibition for being 20" by 16" rather than 500mm by 400mm.

In parallel with changes to rules for prints, some external competitions now allow images to be as large as 1400 x 1050 pixels.  Whilst this sounds like a bonus, and indeed is for authors working in a wider format, do bear in mind that when vertical images are projected, they will appear smaller when the screen is configured for 1400 pixels wide than when it is configured for 1280 wide.  If you cannot immediately see why that should be, then read this.  The "news on the street" is that consideration is being given to specifying Full-HD (1920 x 1080) format for national competitions.

Whether or not you've read the explanation, the bad news is that if you submit a portrait-format image at the shape in which it comes from the camera into a competition where 1400 by 1050 images are allowed, you will be showing an image that occupies substantially less than half the screen area compared with someone submitting a full-size landscape-format image. So the advice is to think carefully, therefore, before entering vertical images into such competitions.