At some camera clubs, judges select 1st, 2nd and 3rd winners in addition to critiquing and scoring. Because we view our meetings as learning experiences, not competitions our judges provide evaluation and scoring only. 

  • Evaluation Meetings are typically held on the second Wednesday of the month throughout the year. Our club year starts in September and ends in August.
  • It is not necessary to enter photos, though having your own work evaluated greatly enhances your learning experience.
  • Paid members may enter up to 2 photos for Workshops and 3 photos for Evaluation Meetings each month. The more photos you enter, the more you learn.
  • Photo entries must be uploaded to Dropbox no later than midnight of the Monday prior to the Meeting.
  • Our guest judges have much experience and advanced technical skills. Most have their own preferences, which may affect your score. You may not agree with a judge, but to improve your photos consider trying some of the suggestions they make.

Participants are divided among three groups based on their level of experience, both in camera club membership as well as photographic know-how:

  • Level 1 – Beginner, the least experienced in terms of camera club membership and/or photographic skills.
  • Level 2 – Intermediate, more advanced photographers who have belonged to this or other camera clubs previously and/or have a higher level of photographic skills.
  • Level 3 – Advanced, the most experienced group, having demonstrated the highest photographic skills.

There are two categories:

  1. Assigned Subject: Photos entered as Assigned Subjects must clearly fit the category as described in the Assigned Subject list. The subject must constitute the majority (over 50%) or be the primary theme of the image. These entries will also be evaluated for composition, technique, and impact.
  2. General/Open: Photos entered as General may be of any subject (including altered reality or obviously manipulated work).

Each month, members may enter 3 images, distributed in any combination of Assigned Subject and General. An entry may be color or black and white.

  • A maximum of 9 make-ups are allowed in a club year, but no make-ups can be allowed for the assigned subject of the month being made up.
  • A member can enter a maximum of 3 make-ups in one month.
  • Make-ups can only be submitted for the month after the month that was missed. In other words, if you submitted 0, 1, or 2 images in March you would have to submit 3, 2, or 1 make-up images in April.
  •  Make-ups are limited to one month at a time, that is, if the member missed February and March and needs two make-ups, these must be entered on the next two consecutive Evaluation Meetings (April and May).
  • Because scores are accumulated only within the club year and start anew each September, there is no such thing as a make-up in September.

While scores remain meaningful and can be fun, the judge’s comments and suggestions are more important than the number. The judge is asked to be as specific as possible, considering all aspects of the photograph: impact, composition, and technical characteristics such as exposure, sharpness, distracting elements, clarity of colors or range of whites and blacks, etc.

Our Scoring Guide
We use a fourpoint scoring system that spans a high of 9 to a low of 6:

  • A “9” is an excellent picture, having impact and needing very little, if any,
  • An “8” is a strong picture in terms of subject, composition, exposure, etc., but
    needs minor corrections.
  • A “7” is an average or OK picture, which needs corrections and/or lacks impact.
  • A “6” is reserved for seriously flawed images.

For teaching purposes, we ask the evaluator to comment on aspects that make the 9 images especially strong.

For the 6, 7, and 8 photos, we ask the evaluator to suggest ways to improve these pictures.

In the last year or so, software has become available that will create a photo just by writing a suggestion. For example, giving the suggestion “show the New York Skyline at sunset,” produced a photo that was recognizable but the quality was poor. It would not be a competition photo but in the next year or two (perhaps sooner) it could be.

The Camera Club guidelines allow for and encourage the use of the “digital darkroom” which is the software such as Photoshop, Lightroom, etc. used for editing. The software today allows us to replace the sky, change the background and make many other changes to enhance the original RAW or JPEG that came out of the camera.

Accordingly, the following Rules go into effect immediately:

  1. All submissions must start with a photograph you took with a camera or a cellphone camera.
  2. Any sky or background replacements must be from photos you took NOT supplied by the software company or purchased.
  3. The same applies to Altered Reality “Creative”, it must start with an original photo. Since it is Altered Reality, you can add items that were not original to you.
  4. No A.I.-created images will be accepted at either the Workshop or the Evaluation meetings.

We rely on an honor system and expect that our club members will follow the above rules.

Scores and ranks are recorded monthly for Levels 1, 2, and 3. The club calendar runs from September through the end of August. In September, the member (or members) whose accumulated score is (are) the highest in Levels 1 and 2 is (are) invited to move to the next higher Level. The end-of-year cumulative score for Level promotion purposes will factor in the number of images submitted.

Moving up is not required, but people are encouraged to move in fairness to those in each lower level as well as in recognition of their increasing skills.

Regardless of their scores, anyone in Level 1 and Level 2 may request and be granted promotion to the next level. This choice should be considered carefully since the evaluation is stricter in each progressive level and, once promoted, a member may not return to his former level.

Digital Submissions Guidelines

  • Evaluation Meetings: Paid club members in good standing can submit up to 3 images to each Evaluation meeting (or up to 3 additional images [make-ups] if they did not submit all 3 the previous month). Members who submit images but cannot attend an Evaluation meeting can ask another member to record evaluators’ comments and scores.
  • Workshop Meetings: Members can submit a maximum of 2 images for critique by other members.
  • Note: Zoom Workshop and Evaluation meetings are recorded and the link to the recording of each meeting is emailed to the club membership within several days following the meeting.
  • Evaluation Entries:
    • All digital entries must be in JPG format, using 72dpi.
    • Each photo must be at least 2000 pixels on the longer side.
      • If you don’t know how to ensure this, please ask a member for help.
  • Workshop Entries:
    • Since we will be manipulating images and teaching techniques, raw files are acceptable (DNG, CR3, NEF, ARW etc)
  • Because we are submitting images via Dropbox, there is no file size limitation.

So that your Evaluation Meeting images can be sorted correctly for judging, they must be labeled with only 5 digits, with an underscore after the first 3 digits

Label your Evaluation Meeting images with:

  1. Your membership number (available on the website score page if you don’t remember it)
  2. The initial identifying the subject category (A for Assigned Subject, G for General, and M for Make-Ups)
  3. The number 1, 2, or 3 to further identify the image 
  4.  DO NOT add a photo title—we’d like our judges to assess your images with their own interpretations

      1. For two Assigned and one General: 812_A1   812_A2   812_G1 
      2. For three Generals and one Make-Up: 812_G1   812_G2   812_G3   812_M1

You can label your Workshop images any way you like with a suffix of your level attached. For example:

  • Submission 1: [your title here]-L1.CR3
  • Submission 2: [your other title here]-L2.ARW

Each month, all entries for Workshops and Evaluation Meetings must be submitted via Dropbox. You DO NOT need a Dropbox subscription to use Dropbox.

Before each meeting, you’ll receive an email that includes the Dropbox link. (For Evaluation Meetings there is a different link for each member level.) 

Images must be submitted no later than midnight of the Monday BEFORE the Workshop or Evaluation Meeting.

NOTE: Because we are currently conducting our meetings on Zoom and not in person, WE CANNOT ACCEPT PRINTS FOR EVALUATION

As explained in the instructions About Our Competitions, paid club members in good standing can submit either three prints or three projected images in each competition.  While most competition meetings will cover both prints and projected, this is not guaranteed.  Ample notice will be given to all members.  When we offer both, the two mediums can be used interchangeably across the club year, with all three projected entries substituted for three prints in months when a member cannot be present at a club meeting.  (Members who do the latter, especially snow birds, can ask another member to record evaluators’ comments.)

  • The minimum size that can be submitted is an 8”x10” photograph.  Panoramic pictures may be entered in any subject category, with the minimum size of the photograph 10,” on the long side.  The entrant should keep in mind that, while less expensive to offer a smaller print, smaller sizes have lower impact, thus typically do not score as well as larger prints.

  • The maximum outside (mat) dimension that our light box can accept is 24”, making the print measurement smaller, allowing mat to show.
  • Each print must be mounted separately on its own mat; this means that mats containing two prints is not allowed.  Either black or white mat board, considered more “professional” and museum quality, is required.  The print can either be “floated” atop a solid mat board or can be attached behind a professionally pre-cut mat frame with a window appropriate to the amount of photograph the member wishes to expose.

  • Mats/mat boards are to be neatly cut, which is why we recommend buying your preferred size and re-using them if cost or storage space is an issue.

  • Mats and mat frames can be bought ready-made at art supply stores such as Michael’s or Jerry’s Artarama in Deerfield Beach.  (Two on-line sources: jerrysartarama.com and NASCO Arts & Crafts at www.eNasco.com.) They are available in various sizes, individually or in packs.

  • Mats with pre-cut windows and solid mat boards can be re-used if prints are attached to them using artist tape, which can be bought from an art supply store; it looks like masking tape, but with a different adhesive designed for attaching pictures to reusable mats.  An alternative is  painter’s blue adhesive tape, which can be removed neatly without damaging either print or mat if separated slowly on an angle.

  • It is important that no tape be visible because during the competition exposed tape may inadvertently attach to another print, something to be avoided.

  • If the print is “floated,” simply wind the tape on itself, attaching between the back of the print and the front of the mat.  If the print is placed behind a pre-cut mat, make sure the tape is firmly affixed; it is best to attach a mat board backing so no tape is showing.  No frames, hooks, or sticky substances are allowed on the front or back of any part of the presentation.

  • There can be no signature, photo title, or other writing on the front of the print or mat.

All entries must have a label affixed to the back of the print in the upper left corner, providing your name and membership number.  The club will supply these labels at each meeting.  Labels can be re-used on mats that are re-used by simply crossing out the old score.

All entries must be submitted before the start of the evaluation.

If special circumstances arise (illness or other unavoidable circumstances) which prevent the member from attending the meeting, the person can send entries with another member or choose to do a make-up the following month.

  • A maximum of three make-ups are allowed in a club year, but no make-ups can be allowed for the assigned subject of the missed month.  The make-ups are intended for those meetings that a member cannot attend due to illness or other commitments.  Because scores are accumulated only for the club year (September-June), they are wiped clean and start anew in September, so there are no make-ups in September.

  • Make-ups are limited to one month at a time, that is, all three missed entries to be submitted together with regular entries the first month that the member attends a meeting.  Put another way, a given member can enter a maximum of six prints (and/or projected) in any given month.  Thus, if the member missed two months and needs two make-ups, these must be entered on the two separate  Evaluation Nights that the member attends.

  • As stated earlier, if print entrants know in advance that they are unable to attend a meeting and choose not to ask other members to bring their work, the three images may be e-mailed by the previous Sunday as projected entries.

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