While we used to host monthly competitions, we felt it was far more important to view the process as a learning experience rather than a competition. We therefore suspended selecting first, second, and third place winners and asked guest judges simply to provide comments and assign scores to all entries. To stress the teaching aspect over the scoring, we now refer to the process as evaluations from judges.
Evaluation Meetings are typically held on the second Wednesday of the month during the club year from September to June, with no sessions during July and August.
Photo entries must be uploaded to Dropbox no later than midnight of the Monday prior to the Evaluation Meeting to give the presenter time to set up the program correctly.
To be eligible to participate, a member must be in good standing with dues fully paid. It is not necessary to enter photos, though having your own work evaluated greatly enhances your learning experience. And submitting the maximum number of entries in the year (36: three for each of 12 meetings) provides the participant with the highest cumulative score by the end of the year.
Typically, a guest judge is invited to critique the entries and assign a score. Keep in mind that, while the best assessments are objective, the judge’s previous experience is bound to come into play. You may not agree with an judge’s comments—take away what YOU consider important and try to avoid taking the rest too seriously.
Participants are divided among three groups based on their level of experience, both in camera club membership as well as photographic know-how:
Added thoughts for visitors and new members to keep in mind:
There are two categories:
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.
About Altered Reality/Creative Edit: Submitting altered reality photographs is encouraged. Entries may deviate from reality in any way, clearly manipulated in the camera (zooming the lens or shaking the camera) or in the computer (using filters, colors, added objects in the frame, and similar departure from reality). These images can be entered in either category, Assigned Subject or General.
Critiquing Versus Scoring
While scores remain meaningful and can be fun, what the judge says is 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 four–point scoring system that spans a high of 9 to a low of 6:
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.
Scores and ranks are recorded monthly for Levels 1, 2, and 3. In September, the member (or members) whose cumulated 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 competition is keener in each progressive level and, once promoted, a member may not return to his former level for a full club year.
There are two categories:
In a given month, members may enter 3 images for evaluation, distributed in any combination (all 3 in one, or 1 in one of the categories and 2 in the other). Neither category is required—participation is totally the member’s choice. Any entry may be color or black and white.
Submitting altered reality photographs is encouraged. Entries may deviate from reality in any way, clearly manipulated in the camera (zooming the lens or shaking the camera) or in the computer (using filters, colors, added objects in the frame, and similar departure from reality). These images can be entered in either category: If dealing with the Assigned Subject, they should go into that category; otherwise, the altered images should go into the General/Open Category.
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. (You can label your Workshop images any way you like):
Label your Evaluation Meeting images with:
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.
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.)
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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