Competition rules


Competition Rules

Ratified Sept 10, 2007
Amended Oct 25, 2007
Amended Dec 5, 2007
Amended Aug 7, 2008
Amended Jul 16, 2009
Amended Jun 24, 2010

Amended Jun 16, 2016

Amended July, 2018


  1. These rules are in effect as of July 08, 2013
  2. Only members who paid for the season may enter competitions.
  3. The President will announce, in advance of the first competition night, the schedule of competitions and which competitions are “Open” and which are for a specific “Theme”. This information, including descriptions of themes.
  4. There will be separate competition categories for black-and-white and color at each competition meeting.
  5. The President will announce the maximum number of entries that a member may place into each competition. Starting with the 2009/2010 season, the maximum number of entries is two in each competition category with a maximum of 4 images per competition meeting.
  6. Entries may have been processed by the entrant or commercially. No distinction is made between entries taken with film vs. digital cameras, nor between chemical vs. digital processing.
  7. Any individual photo may be submitted in a maximum of two monthly competitions.
  8. The same image cannot be entered in both color and Black&White in the same month.
  9. As soon as a photo wins an award, it is no long eligible to be entered in a future monthly competition.
  10. If a photo is substantially altered it will be considered a new photo and is subject to the same two competition maximum. Examples of substantial changes include making a vertical picture of a horizontal or vice versa, severe cropping, or sandwiching with other material.
  11. Entries in the print competitions must also be submitted as digital versions of their print, in the same manner as for digital competitions.
  12. The size of the digital version of your photograph must be no more than 1400 pixels wide or 1050 pixels high.
  13. Monthly award winners may submit their photos in the annual Best Of The Best Competition at the Banquet. The award winners only need to visit Banquet Entries where all their award winners for the year will be displayed. The member must check the box next to each entry s/he wishes to enter in the Best Of The Best Competition. The award winners in the print competitions are responsible for bringing their original prints – not reprints – back for judging at the annual banquet.
  14. “Black-and-white”, in these rules, actually includes any image made up of a single color and white. “Sepia-tone” and “monochrome” would be considered black-and-white. Black-and-white prints that contain only one added color are to be judged as black and white prints. Those that contain two or more added colors are to be judged as color prints.
  15. Entries must be family friendly. The print team/digital chair and the president to allow or disqualify an entry at their discretion.

Print competition

  1. All prints must be mounted on mat board or similar stiff medium. No double sticky tape or adhesives may be exposed on the backing. Mats are optional but must be firmly attached to the backing. Framed pictures under glass and pictures with a hanging mechanism on the back, are not allowed in any competitions. All methods of print production, including digital, are welcome.
  2. The minimum print size shall be 49 square inches in area. There is no longer any minimum length or width. Prints may not be larger than 16" x 20". Overall dimensions may not be larger than 16" x 20".
  3. All prints must bear the name of the photographer, the title, the classification (Beginner, Advanced or Salon), and the Theme (“Open” or the specified theme of the evening) in which the picture is to be entered. This information must be on an official Raritan Photographic Society label, which will be available at meetings at no charge. The label is firmly affixed on the back of the print in the upper right corner. Labels have been prepared for each class and are colored coded according to Classification. These stickers are color coded by classification. Beginner is red, Advanced is blue and Salon is green. These are the only acceptable labels for use in our competitions. It is the competitor’s responsibility to fill out the correct sticker with the TITLE, MAKERS NAME and DATE legibly PRINTED in black ink. It is also necessary to circle Color or Black & White at the top of the sticker.The label should be oriented so that the top of the label points to the top of the print. If the photographer desires, the title may be legible on the front of the print. No other information may be on the front.
  4. All Prints must be pre-registered on the RPS web site no later than 6:00 pm on the Tuesday before the competition. You have to log in to the website and then enter your picture through this link "My Print Entries", or through the menus "Member menu"->"My print entries" It is also necessary to upload an image at this time. This sign-in procedure reduces the time required to get all the entries logged in and improve the scoring and record keeping. Prints that have not been pre-registered will not be accepted at the door.
  5. Prints with their completed labels should be delivered to the Print Chairpersons between 7 PM and 7:20 PM on the night of the competition.

Digital competition

“Digital” here refers to how the images are submitted and judged, not how the images are captured or developed. It is considered synonymous with the term “Electronic” used by NJFCC and PSA, but is more commonplace.

  1. Digital images are presented to the judge and the audience using a digital projector, displaying the entry’s “actual pixels” (no re-sampling).
  2. Submitted images should be no wider than 1400 pixels and no taller than 1050 pixels. (Portrait-oriented images must still be no taller than 1050 pixels). Resolution (e.g. pixels per inch) of the submitted image does not affect how large the image appears on the screen.The software will automatically resize larger images to the appropriate size to fit within these dimensions
  3. All files must be in jpeg (.JPG) format and submitted through the My Digital Entries link on the RPS website no later than 6:00 PM on the Tuesday before the competition. The digital image competition chair may extend the deadline at his or her discretion.
  4. There is no restriction on how you name your image files.
  5. Digital image makers will compete at the same skill classification level in digital competitions as they do in print competitions. A competitor may have different classification levels in color and b&w digital competitions. The competitor is subject to reclassification, as described below.


The purpose of classification is to give photographers a chance to compete with others of comparable ability.

  1. There are three skill classes: B (Beginner), A (Advanced), and S (Salon).
  2. Those who have never competed before would normally enter the B (Beginner) class, except when three RPS members appointed by the President are of the opinion, the competitor should be placed in the A (Advanced) class after his/her second entry.
  3. Once classification has been set, a photographer in class B may ask to be moved to class A.
  4. After the annual banquet at the end of the season, the scores of all photographs that were submitted in the B class will be examined. Photographers whose photographs have earned an average score of 7.00 or greater and entered at least 60% of the total possible entries in each category will be advanced to the A class. Scores earned for each submitted image and awards are tallied to construct an overall point score.
  5. Reclassification from Advanced to Salon is determined separately for color and B&W categories. For each category the reclassification process is as follows:
    1. Only Advanced members who submit at least 60% of the total possible entries in each category during the season, and whose season average score is 7.3 or better, will be considered for promotion.
    2. Those members being considered will be ranked in order of their average score for all images they submitted in the category during the season.
    3. Up to two of the highest ranked members may be promoted to Salon by the Board at their discretion.
    4. If there are less than two members exceeding the 10 image minimum, the lesser number is promoted.
    5. In the case of near-ties, the planning committee can vote to promote 3 advanced members instead of 2 in a category.
    6. A member may decline a promotion to Salon one time. If a promotion is offered again in a subsequent year that promotion must be accepted.
  6. At the annual banquet, all photographs by an entrant will be judged in the classification in which the photograph had won in the monthly competition.
  7. A photographer may have different classifications in different categories (e.g., A in black and white, B in color).

Judging and awards

  1. The scale for judging is on a scale of five to nine points, where 5 is the worst and 9 is the best.
  2. The scorekeeper will indicate to the judge the number of competing images and the number of awards to be selected for each competition.
  3. In any competition, the entry must receive a score of 7 or better to receive an award.
  4. Approximately twenty-five percent (25%) of all entries in each category will receive awards. These will honor first place, second place, third place, and as many honorable mentions (HM) as are required to fulfill the 25% requirement
  5. In each category, the following number of awards will be given:
Number of Entries
Min. Max. First Second Third HM
1 5 1 0 0 0
6 9 1 1 0 0
10 13 1 1 1 0
14 17 1 1 1 1
18 21 1 1 1 2
22 25 1 1 1 3
26 29 1 1 1 4
30 33 1 1 1 5
34+ 25% of entries
  1. Award winners will receive ribbons at the next meeting following the competition. Members who do not wish to receive ribbons for their awards are invited to so notify the awards chair.
  2. The titles of all photographs that receive a score of 8 or better, and the names of the photographers who produced each of these pictures will be announced, and the pictures shown at the end of the competition (time permitting). With the individual judge’s consent, members will be allowed to request the judge to expand upon his comments at the end of each category.


The procedure for handling competition rule violations shall be as follows:

  1. Anyone observing a suspected rule violation may file a protest with the president.
  2. If the president judges the protest to be plausible, s/he will discuss the protest privately with the alleged violator.
  3. If the president concludes that there was indeed a violation, s/he will issue a warning to the violator and keep a record of it. The warning may include related rules that were reviewed at the same time.
  4. If the president judges the competitor violates a rule that s/he has been warned about, including any related rule recorded as above, the president will disqualify the entry (or entries) involved, meaning that the entry will lose any award it received, the entry will not be eligible for the banquet, and the entry will not count toward promotion.
  5. Disqualification of an image will not change the scores or awards given to other images.
  6. These procedures must be conducted discreetly, such that they do not disrupt or delay the competitions themselves.


The print team and digital chair may still reject entries on procedural grounds (e.g. exposed tape) without filing a protest. The competitor can appeal to the president if they disagree.

In all cases where there are questions or disagreements concerning the interpretation of the rules, the decision of the President and/or a committee appointed by the President shall be final. Only the persons presenting the images and the president or his delegate should speak to the judge about these rules before or during the competitions. Others having pressing concerns should discreetly speak to the president or his delegate. As much as possible, the president will only speak to the judge about procedure between categories.

Rules archive

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