Entering internal competitions

UPDATE 2019: The Club standard for internal PDI competitions has been increased to 1600 pixels wide x 1200 pixels high as from September 2019. Sizes for external competitions may vary from these and we will address these on an individual basis.

Note: Updated file naming guidance Dec 2013.  Other updates Feb & Aug 2015.

We try to make entering our internal competitions as easy as possible as we know it can be daunting if you haven’t submitted pictures before (and of course not every member wishes to).  However it can be good fun and help you to develop your own particular style of photography so this is a note about our three main internal competitions, a how-to on preparing and submitting entries, and the judging.

For our two main competitions, members can submit entries into either or both of two classes, namely Prints or PDI’s (projected digital images).  For our light-hearted “Ladies v Gents” team competition, we only use PDI’s so it should be easy for hopefully every member to submit at least one image.

Prints can be any size or aspect ratio and mounted on a card of maximum size 16 by 20 inches.  Prints can be simply stuck onto the face of the mount or you can use a mount with an aperture: mounts are not judged as such but a good mount can help set off an image to maximum advantage.  Popular print sizes are between half and full A4 for ease and cheapness of printing but some members go up to A3.  (Do chat to members about how they make or buy their own card mounts.)  Normally, you only need bring your prints with you on the competition night but we do need your picture titles 4 days (i.e. the Sunday) before the meeting (by phone or email).  This is so on the competition night, the Competition Secretary can put a sticky label with your name, print title and space for the score on the back.

PDI’s are simply jpg files.  We ask these to be to be uploaded online via the link on our home page but if you encounter any problems please contact Chris or Helen (as the competition secretaries) on their email or by phone (01963 370900): we always acknowledge every entry as soon as possible so you’ll know if your entry has got lost.  Our competition software and projector display onto a six foot wide by 4½ foot high screen so there has to be a club jpg standard for pixel size and file naming.  In brief, this is 1400 pixels wide and 1050 pixels high with a file name similar to

01_Dorset in Winter_Your Name.jpg,      02_Stourhead revisited_Your Name.jpg,    etc.

If necessary we’re happy to help you master all this but please don’t leave your entries until the last moment!  The deadline is normally the Sunday before the meeting.

The first competition in each season is normally the first round of the Shuffell Trophy.  Members can enter the Print and/or the PDI classes, i.e. two prints and/or two PDI’s with the image subjects “open”.  A further two prints and/or PDI’s will be required for each of the subsequent rounds, often with a special “set subject”.  For all rounds, we ask an accredited guest judge to comment on all images and to award a score ranked out of 10: generally scores range from 5 to one or two 9.5’s or 10’s.  The winner of the Shuffell Trophy will be whoever scores the highest aggregate score for their images: there is a trophy for each class.  Please remember judging is a very human and inexact science: we are very grateful to our guest judges who are very brave to attempt to rank a wide range of subjects, standards and experience without knowing who took what or what experience or equipment they have.  Different judges like and look for different things so one may score an image lowly while another give it a “10” but the feedback they give during each image’s assessment is always instructive.  Please never take scores too personally (unless of course you get a 10!) – even an experienced photographer may get a disappointing score when  experimenting with a new subject or technique.

Another competition most seasons is the team challenge “Ladies v Gents”.  Two team leaders are appointed well before the meeting to organise their selection process.  Generally they will invite PDI images from every member with a guarantee that everyone who gives them images will have at least one selected: there is likely to be a limit how many images may be selected from any one member in order to better balance the team strengths and to make sure it is a fair team-based competition.

The final internal competition each season is usually the “Print and Digital Image of the Year”.  Members can submit up to two images in the Print and/or PDI classes and once again an invited guest judge will score each out of 10 and in addition, they will award 1st, 2nd and 3rd places to the top scoring pictures.

Chris W

PS. By the way, competition results are posted on our web but you need to log-in to view them because each year we have a number of friendly PDI and/or Print competitions with other clubs.  The images will be those that have scored well in internal competitions during the past one or two years (although sometimes it may be necessary to remount or reprint the image).  PDI’s are also used on our web site (at a relatively low resolution) to showcase the club’s work.