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HomeImage Competition: Rules

PPSCV Image Competition Rules - April 2020


1. The image maker must have captured and created the original exposure or exposures.

2. All processing, manipulation, and printing or rendering, must be done by the maker or under their direct supervision.

3. The maker has obtained and has access to all necessary releases (model or property) and agrees to hold PPSCV harmless against all claims and liabilities arising out of PPSCV's display, publication and promotion or other use of each image submitted to PPSCV.

4. The maker's name, logo, watermark, URL, title, or other identifier shall not appear anywhere in the image entry.

5. A maximum of five entries may be submitted per maker for each competition, unless specified by the current competition details. Note that images may be dropped from the competition according to the entrant’s priority for each image if the competition has too many entries for the time available.
6. No entry will be eligible if it has been made under the supervision of an instructor or as a class assignment. All images submitted must be self‐directed. Images created in an educational environment under direct supervision from an instructor are ineligible.

7. Any entry that has been created from or uses an existing photograph, portrait, graphic or any other
artwork produced by another person may be entered in the Master Artist Category only.

8. Entries of the same subject in multiple images will be allowed, as long as the images are entirely different concepts.

9. Maker must be a current, paid PPSCV member to receive merits or any awards. Entries from makers who are not members of PPSCV will not be scored. Non-member images judged as merit-worthy will be noted.

10. No image can be entered into the PPSCV Image Competition more than twice. Any image receiving a score of 80 or greater may not be re-entered, images scored below 80 can be re-processed and re-entered a second time. Images not judged due to competition time limits may be re-entered in a later competition.

Photographic Categories

Image competition entries are judged according to the category identified when the image is submitted.

A. Studio Portrait - Photographic image of a subject in a studio environment.

The portrait may be of individuals, groups, or animal(s), where the primary focus is on the subject(s) portrayed. Minor enhancements, such as use of filters, overlays, painting, etc., are acceptable as long as they don't fundamentally alter the image's focus on the person, group or animal.

B. Environmental Portrait - Photographic image of a subject other than in a studio.

The portrait may be of individuals, groups, or animal(s), where the primary focus is on the subject(s) portrayed. Minor enhancements, such as use of filters, overlays, painting, etc., are acceptable as long as they don't fundamentally alter the image's focus on the person, group or animal.

C. Social / Special Event (Wedding) - Photographic image pertaining to Weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, Quinceañera, reunions, parties, or other social events are suggested use for this category.

Images can portray a subject or subjects from all aspects of the event including traditional portraits, candids or detail work.

D. Unclassified / Illustrative - Creative, scenic, landscape, photographic art, photojournalism, etc. are suggested for this category.

Capturing the beauty of nature, wildlife, industry, and architectural areas are considered illustrative. This category shares joy and adventures while expressing a sense of place. Wild animals in an uncontrolled lighting environment, zoo animals,  flowers, seascapes, cityscapes, urban landscapes, and sunsets with or without people can be placed here, in addition to images created for a commercial client to advertise a product and promote a brand or company. This can be the interior or exterior of a structure or within an industrial environment. Illustrative can also be conceptual images that tell a story.

E. Master Artist - This category is for images that are fundamentally altered from the original image(s) captured by the camera, including composite images and images that were never captured by a camera.

This would include composites, very heavy use of filters or painting, computer generated artwork, etc. Entries will be judged for digital, artistic, and technical proficiency. Entries can be created using digital or traditional art (such as painting and airbrush) or a combination of both.

  • The maker must do all processing, manipulation, artwork, or rendering.
  • Entries may be reproduced from existing photographs, portraits, graphics, or any other artwork so long as the maker is prepared to provide appropriate written documentation indicating permission for usage.
  • Entries in the Artist category shall include any subject and must have guide images.
    Guide images, a small but recognizable gallery of the component images included in a composite, must be included on the submitted digital canvas.
N. Non-Member Open - This category is for images entered by makers who are not PPSCV affiliate members. This category is open, and can include images from any of the categories above.
Not all competitions will have a non-member category. Non-member entries are not eligible for awards or prizes.

S. Special category - varies.
From time to time an Image Competition may designate a special theme category, described in the Image Competition entry details.


1. By entering the PPSCV Image Competition, the owner of the image expressly grants rights to PPSCV to display that image either electronically or in print format in conjunction with image competition activities or to display as an example of submitted work.

2. Only digital images are accepted, not prints.

3. Digital image submissions and any applicable image entry fees must be paid and received by 11:59PM PST on the Sunday night immediately preceding the image competition. The Digital Image Competition Chairperson may extend this deadline as they see fit, for instance if sufficient images are not received by the deadline, or technical difficulties. Image fees may be paid online via the website.

4. If the Digital Image Competition Chairperson receives an image that they deem to be inappropriate to display in our general meeting, they will forward that image to three non‐judging members of a review committee which shall be composed of PPSCV board members or past presidents.

The decision of this committee to accept or reject the image is final.

5. The Digital Image Competition Chairperson has the authority to reject any submitted image if, in their judgment, the image does not meet competition standards.

6. Electronic images must be submitted as file attachments to an email sent to the address indicated on the PPSCV website. The email must contain the maker’s name and phone contact information.

7. Technical Requirements.

PPSCV Image Competition requires a specific digital image format for submitted files, as detailed below:

Images that do not meet the image format and file naming requirements may be rejected by the Image Competition Chairperson.

Save the image file with the following image format:

  • File Type: JPEG highest quality (88 or more is adequate for quality high viewing).
    File types of .jpg or .jpeg are acceptable, capitalization not important.
  • Color space: Each file should contain an embedded color profile of either sRGB or Adobe RGB1998.
  • No more than 4000 pixels on the longest dimension, including any presentation border.
    For competition display, images may be rescaled by Adobe LightRoom or other programs to 1920 x 1080 resolution.
  • File size: The final file size of an image should be less than 5MB.
    Image file size can be reduced by reducing JPEG quality when saving.

Name the image files in the required naming format:
Include the following identifiers in the image filename, each separated by an underscore character (_). 
        Identifier                                  Example
Category Letter  A
Maker Name, first, last  David Bailey
Caption (alphanumeric)  Self Portrait
Priority  1

Capitalization of words in the caption is at the maker’s discretion. 
Use only letters, numbers and spaces. 
Avoid the following special characters ’  “ + \ / ?  
Here are examples of correctly formatted entries:

D_Ansel Adams_Yosemite Zone Magic_1.jpg
A_Peter Hurley_Actors Headshot_2.jpg
D_Cartier Bresson_ Decisive moment _3.jpeg
B_Dorothy Lange_Dust bowl mom _4.JPG
C_Cecil Beaton_Another Royal Wedding_5.JPEG
N_John Doe_My First Competition_1.jpg


1. Any member serving as Digital Image Competition judge may not enter an image into the same competition. However, that judge will be allowed to enter up to double the allowed minimum number of images in the next quarter's competition.

2. No more than five (5) nor less than three (3) judges will be chosen by the Image Chairperson.

3. Judges must be PPSCV professional members or special visitors (PPA/PPC Approved Judges, PPA/PPC Masters, PPA CPPs, Guest Speakers, etc.)

4. Judging will be based on PPA competition standards as per the 12 Points of a Merit Image.

5. Tabulation of points will be the responsibility of the Competition Chairperson(s) with one or more aides as necessary.

6. All points will be recorded and retained for future reference.

7. On images scoring 70 (average) or better, an automatic challenge will be issued if a point spread of ten (10) points exists between one (or more) or the judge's score and the resulting score.

8. Any image that scores an average of 79 will generate an automatic re‐judging where each judge shall indicate whether the image deserves a Merit score of 80 or not. If a majority of judges specify 80, the score will be changed to 80, otherwise it will remain at 79.

9. Any judge may challenge an image score if they believe that the average score is either too high or too low.
The challenging judge will state their reason(s) for issuing the challenge.
Following his/her statement, the image will be rescored.

10. No discussion between judges is allowed except according to the challenge rules as stated above.

Quarterly/Monthly Image Competition awards

One image per competition will be awarded Best of Show.
This will be the image that has the highest average score of the competition. In the case of a tie, the image with the highest individual score will be selected.
The Best of Show image will not be included in further category awards.

Category awards of first, second and third places will be made based on the top three average scores per category. 
For a category to be awarded first, second, and third place, there must be a minimum of five images entered with three different makers in that category.
Or, with a minimum of three images and two makers entered in the category, only first place will be awarded.

Awards and the names of the makers will be recognized on the website under Image Competition Awards.
Prizes from sponsors are subject to availability.

Only PPSCV members in good standing are eligible for awards or prizes. 

Year-End Image Competition and Awards (added 08/11/2020)

(1) Up to six images that have received a score of 70 or above in PPSCV Image Competition during the current year may be entered.
(2) For images to be eligible in year-end competition, the maker must have attended at least five meetings during the year. [Waived during Covid-19 shelter-in-place restrictions.] 
(3) Three to five outside judges will be announced prior to the competition that will judge all categories.
(4) Year-End awards will be given for each of the categories used throughout the calendar year. 
    (a) For a category to be awarded first, second, and third place, there must be a minimum of five images entered with three different makers in that category.
    (b) Or, with a minimum of three images and two makers entered in the category, only first place will be awarded.
(5) Each award will state clearly what the award is for and to whom the award is to be given (e.g., PPSCV, First Place, category, year, maker’s name).
(6) One award will be given to the Image of the Year.
The Image of the Year is determined as per the Best of Show for the Year-End competition.
The award will state: PPSCV, the year, maker’s name and Image of the Year.
(7) When using the award for any publicity or advertising, it must be stated clearly what the award was given for. 
It will be at the discretion of the Board of Directors to determine if the publicity or advertisement is stated properly.
(8) If the Image Competition allows for prints, only prints mounted on 16x20 mount boards will be accepted for year-end competition. The maker will supply the information from the back of the original print if the print entered is not the original.
(9) One award will be given for Photographer of the Year.
It will be awarded to the photographer who has the highest total of points for the calendar year, calculated as follows:
    (a) Quarterly/Monthly Image Competition:
    Points will be awarded for each photographer's ten highest scoring images from competitions during the year.
    1.5 points for each image scoring 85—100
    1.0 point for each image scoring 80—84
    0.5 points for each image scoring 76-79
    0.5 additional points for a Best of Show image. 
Points will be awarded for each photographer's ten highest scoring images.
    (b) Year-End Image Competition:
    Additional points will be awarded from the Year-End competition
    3.0 points for a 1st place category award
    2.5 points for a 2nd place category award
    2.0 points for a 3rd place category award
    4.0 points for Image Print of the Year.

In the case of a tie, the winner will be the photographer with the highest individual image score of their ten highest scoring images from the year; then the highest number of Best in Show, First, Second and Third place awards, will be compared until the tie is broken.