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.

Rules for Competitions are updated periodically.  The changes to General Rules for the 2019-2020 season mean that we now specify a mandatory size of print mounts.  Also, there is clarification on the status of digital projected images, namely its being a single class.  This means that there is no distinction between colour and monochrome digitals.  These changes are highlighted in yellow.

A complete and printable version of the rules, including those for individual competitions, can be found here.

Rules Applicable to ALL Sileby Competitions 

Any 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.  An image may be presented as a monochrome print, a colour print and as a digital image (either colour or monochrome, but not both).  Multiple versions 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.

Rules Specific to Prints

Prints mounts must measure 500mm by 400mm.  No minimum print size is specified, but as a guide, it is usual for the print 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

Unlike prints, where the colour and monochrome sections are distinct, there is only one category of digital image.  Thus, once a given frame has been used in colour, it cannot subsequently be used – in any competition – in monochrome or vice versa.

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 8-bit TIFF. Those such as PSD, which are related to specific image manipulation applications, are NOT acceptable.

Notes Relating to External Competitions

Some external competitions allow projected digital images to be as large as 1400 x 1050 or even 1600 x 1200 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 or 1600 pixels wide than when it is configured for 1280 wide.  If you cannot immediately see why that should be - it's all to do with aspect ratios - 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 or 1600 x 1200 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.