Competition Rules

You can download a copy of our Competition Rules in Adobe Acrobat format from here.

Updated 25 April 2023


You should enter via the website, or you may if necessary e-mail entries (for internal digital competitions ONLY) to

Digital versions of prints submitted must also be uploaded to the website, make sure you choose the correct print competition from the programme.



  1. Annual Awards and Competitions are open to all Members of the Shropshire Photographic Society.
  2. Images entered must be entirely the work of the photographer but it is permitted that slides and negatives used in the production of entries may be commercially processed.
  3. Prints can be Monochrome or Colour and may be produced by the entrant themselves in the darkroom or by using a computer. Commercial machine prints are permitted, provided they are produced with no extra enhancement by persons other than the photographer. Prints must be mounted rigidly, e.g. on card or board, not exceeding 20” x 16” (508 x 406 mm) bearing the title and entrant’s membership number on the reverse in addition to the order of priority for entry (see para 6). Any mount with more than one print attached will be deemed to be one print. The digital versions of all print entries must also be uploaded to the website, using the same specifications as for digital entries and in the same way.
  4. Digital images, including any fill-in colour, must be sized to 1600 wide (max) x 1200 pixels high (max) and be submitted in the sRGB colour space. The file name of each image must consist ONLY of the image title using capitals and spaces as required.  Images should be submitted via the online competition entry facility in the Society’s website and a priority order will need to be specified online.  If website entry is unavailable, images should be emailed to the competitions address (as published in the SPS programme). The entrant's name, competition entered image priority and membership number should be put in the message. As a last resort, CD or memory-stick submissions will be accepted. If images are submitted via CD or memory-stick they must be placed in a folder that bears the entrant’s name and membership number.
  5. An image may ONLY be entered in one format: i.e. if an image was originally entered as a print, it may not be entered as a digital projected image in a different competition or vice versa.
  6. The number of entries per Member may be reduced in the Merit, Pictorial, Natural History and Portrait competitions if the total number of submissions exceeds the capacity of the judging evening. Images for these competitions will be retained in the order specified by the entrant on the reverse of the print (see para 3) or as entered in the online entry facility for digital images. Digital images submitted by email, CD or memory-stick, must have the order for entry priority specified by the entrant, but the image file names should consist of the image title only.
  7. An image, (similar versions that are nearly identical will be classed as the same image), may be entered in ONE Merit Competition, and ONE other Annual Award in whichever order the entrant may choose. It may also be entered in the Set Subject competition provided that this is the first competition entered with that image. The image may be used over two consecutive seasons and its title must remain unchanged throughout all submissions unless it has to be changed to meet the requirements of the second competition: e.g. for Natural History.
  8. Entries must be submitted to the appropriate competition secretary at least ONE week in advance of the competition date (unless the competition secretary requests otherwise). Late entries may be accepted at the competition secretary’s discretion only by prior arrangement.
  9. The Merit Competitions Secretary and the Annual Awards Secretary are empowered to reject any entry which, in their opinion, does not comply with the Society’s aims and the competition rules.
  10. The Society cannot be held liable for the loss, misuse or non entry of any images or other material used in Society or external competitions, no matter how this loss or damage may occur, or for the resulting quality of digital projected images entered in the wrong format. Any image/s entered may be used in any form to publicise the Society. Entries for print competitions which have not been reclaimed 4 months after the event will be regarded as abandoned and disposed of by the Committee.


  1. Judges for all Annual Awards, major Society trophies and competitive photographic prizes are to be selected from the lists of approved PAGB/MCPF judges wherever possible.
  2. A copy of these rules will be given to all judges prior to a competition evening.
  3. Members are forbidden from conversing with the judge about any of the competition images until after the awards have been made. Any member deemed by the committee to be engaging in this behaviour will have their entries disqualified from the competition and may be subject to further disciplinary action.


  1. The following are the competitions held by the Shropshire Photographic Society together with their associated awards. Compliance with ‘Criteria’ is compulsory. Where ’Guidance’ is included, it is only to illustrate what might be expected from an entrant and what the judge might be looking for.


  1. Trophies:Competitions Cup awarded for the Member winning most points in the three Merit print competitions
    Alan R Yates Colour Slide Cup awarded for the Member winning most points in the three Merit digital projected image competitions.
    Carol Jones Salver awarded to the NOVICE member winning most points in the digital projected image and/or print Merit Competitions, during their first FULL merit season.

    Number of Prints per entrant: up to 3 per Merit competition.
    Number of Digital Projected Images per entrant: up to 3 per Merit competition.

    Criteria: There are 3 Merit print and 3 Merit digital projected image competitions per season all of which are open thereby allowing any subject. All members compete together and each image will be awarded points out of 20 by the judge. An overall league table of points will be produced at the end of the season to determine trophy winners. Each print or digital image entered in any competition must be from a different capture or exposure in the camera.


  1. For annual competitions judges will select first, second and third place-winners and may award Commendations (highly commended and commended) at their discretion up to a maximum of one per 6 entries. Each print or digital image entered in any competition must be from a different capture or exposure in the camera.
  2. Panel Competition.

    Trophy: President’s Cup awarded for best panel of 3 or 4 prints.
    Number of Prints per entrant: 3 or 4: each entry of either 3 or 4 will earn four Photographer of the Year points (see Para 23).
    Number of Digital Projected Images per entrant: Nil

    Criteria: Three or four prints on any subject to be related, separately mounted, but shown together so that they suggest a complete unit, and judged as an aesthetic panel. The order of presentation layout must be specified on the rear of the mounts. An overall title is required, but the individual prints may be separately titled if desired.

    Guidance: Emphasising pictorial rather than record attributes, images should have balance, harmony and symmetry in terms of the print colours and density as well as content. They will look best if mounts are identical sizes and colours and complement the images. Prints can be mounted in ‘portrait’ or ‘landscape’ formats (or a mixture) and shown 2x2 or linearly

  3. Pictorial Competition.

    Trophies: R G Lewis Cup awarded for the best Pictorial print.
    Wace Cup awarded for the best Pictorial digital projected image.
    Number of Prints per entrant: up to 4 and/or
    Number of Digital Projected Images per entrant: up to 4.

    Criteria: Prints and digital projected images on any subject to be judged individually.

    Guidance: Rather than a straightforward record, artistic ideas and creativity take precedence aiming to convey ideas or feelings about the subject, its mood or atmosphere. Work can be impressionistic and light or back-light used for form, modelling, atmosphere, mood etc. Special techniques, equipment or effects in processing or in camera can be helpful in creating a Pictorial image.

  4. Nature Competition.

    Trophies: Harold Griffiths Natural History Cup awarded for the best overall Nature print or digital projected image.
    Jim Stowe Memorial Natural History Plaque awarded for the best Nature digital projected image if the above Cup is won by a print or vice-versa.

    Number of Prints per entrant: up to 4 and/or
    Number of Digital Projected Images per entrant: up to 4. 


    Criteria: Prints and digital projected images are to be judged individually.  Awards are for the best record of a natural history subject and NOT for pictorial merit. Images should be technically accurate and show the full detail in shadow and highlight areas and be colour correct. Titles must be factual, see guidance below.

    The Club rules are in accordance with Photographic Alliance of Great Britain Nature Definition (May 2020).

    Nature means Images where living organisms are the primary subject matter. The story telling value of an Image will normally be weighed more than the pictorial quality.

    Nature includes:
    Images taken with subjects in controlled conditions such as zoos, game parks, botanic gardens, aquariums and enclosures where the subjects are dependent on man for food. Scientific bands, tags or collars are permissible.

    Nature excludes:
    Images where the subjects are obviously domestic animals or plants.
    Images where an obviously artistic treatment has been applied.

    Processing of the captured image, by cropping, exposure adjustment, colour correction, noise minimisation, dodging/burning, HDR, focus stacking and sharpening, is permitted, as is cloning of image defects and minor distractions including overlapping elements. An Image appearing to meet these criteria will be accepted as Nature. The Judges will normally assume that any Image presented to them is eligible. Access to some biological subjects may be restricted. Where that is relevant, then Photographers warrant that they have followed relevant codes of practices and hold any necessary licences.

    Guidance: Although Monochrome images are permitted it is advisable to submit colour photographs of Nature subjects in order to accurately show the truth of the subject in its environment. Images of a specific part of the organism (e.g. a portrait of just the head) are acceptable but it is usually advisable to include the whole. Titles should include the correct common name of the species, or the Generic name, and you may if you wish, also include the Latin name, but this is not essential. A description of any activity by the animal or the location may be added, for example, “Reddish Egret canopy fishing, Florida”, but avoid human anthropomorphisms or “cute titles” such as “Eagle eating his dinner”. 

    Although images for this competition can now be taken in zoos and game parks, and scientific bands/tags/collars are permitted, it is still advisable to keep any elements of human intervention to a minimum in your photos.  For example, evidence of zoo cages, fences, bird feeders, bait, jesses and hoods on birds of prey is likely to be marked down by a nature judge. But if, for example, a wild bird is sitting on a fence post, a wall or a road sign, it is showing that it has adapted to its human environment which might be seen as enhancing the narrative.

  1. Portrait Competition.

    Trophies: John K Bromley Cup awarded for the best Portrait print.
    Bill Haddock Memorial Shield awarded for the best Portrait digital projected image.

    Number of Prints per entrant: up to 4 and/or
    Number of Digital Projected Images per entrant: up to 4.

    Criteria: Prints and digital projected images are to be judged individually and must be of one or more people (humans). The eyes (or eye if a profile) of at least one person must be visible but do not need to be open or looking at the camera.

    Guidance: Aim to reveal something of the nature, character and expression of the subject. Subjects can be posed or unposed (i.e. candid). Shots can be taken either in a studio, on the street or in the environment with which the person is associated. The subject/s should be the main focal point in the frame.

  2. Record Competition.

    Trophies: Richard Palgrave Record Trophies: one awarded for 4 related Record prints and another for 4 related Record digital projected images.

    Number of Prints per entrant: 4
    Number of Digital Projected Images per entrant: 4.

    Criteria: Four related images to be judged together. The subject can be any object, or set of objects, or an event (except those eligible for a Natural History Award). The accurate record of the subject is the prime requirement - digital or other manipulation of the original image must be restricted to minor retouching and not alter the content of the original scene. Prints and digital projected images should bear brief relevant information and have descriptive and factual titles. The set must have an overall title and each individual image may have its own title.


    The entries are NOT required to be presented as an aesthetic panel (unlike the Panel Competition). The order of presentation (e.g. for storytelling) may be specified by numbering the file names of digital projected images and the reverse of prints. Although advisable, there is no requirement for prints to be mounted similarly.

    The subject must be photographed in such a way as to illustrate it in as informative a manner as possible. The emphasis is on the technical ability of the photographer, sharpness and correct exposure, with detail in both shadows and highlights. Artistic skill or interpretation are important only if they do not adversely affect the accurate recording of the object in question.

  3. Set Subject Competition.

    Trophies: Eldred Trophy awarded to the entrant gaining the most points.
    Misses Jones Salver awarded for the best Individual image.

    Number of Digital Projected Images per entrant: up to 6 (one per theme).
    Number of Prints: Nil.

    Criteria: Only one image may be entered per subject which must be new, taken between the announcement of the subject and its closing day. If the entry is a composite image, individual elements can have been taken at any time but the final image must have been assembled during the required time period. Image metadata may be checked for compliance by the competition secretary. Images must not have been seen in any Society competition prior to the final judging (see para 7).

    Guidance: To encourage taking pictures throughout the year, 6 subjects are drawn during meetings at intervals specified in the programme (four to six weeks). Titles will be posted on the website and noticeboard and it is not necessary to enter all subjects. At the end of the season images will be judged on interpretation of the subject as well as technical merit: subjects will be judged separately with images marked out of 20. In addition to the trophy awards, each subject will have an overall winner which will receive a certificate. When competitors’ marks are totalled, Photographer of the year points (see para 23) will be awarded as follows: 1st: 6 points, 2nd: 5 points, 3rd: 4 points, 4th (Highly Commended): 3 points, 5th (Commended): 2 points, Entry: 1 point.

    Choosing subjects: At the Season’s first meeting Members will be invited to write down a subject (can be submitted in advance by email) which should, within reason, demand imagination (not as straightforward as ‘landscapes’ and not so esoteric as, say, an emotion). Subjects should not be too difficult to achieve and not require additional expense nor special equipment such as macro or super-telephoto lenses. Subjects should not be time or season dependent (a subject of ‘Autumn Leaves’ cannot be photographed if drawn in May!) but should be accessible to all Members (no South American tree frogs!). Suggestions will be filtered by the competition secretary to ensure they meet this guidance and do not resemble previous subjects.

  4. Photographer of the Year Award

    Trophy: Danny Beath Memorial Trophy.

    Criteria: Awarded to the member gaining most points in the Annual Competitions. Points for each Annual Competition are awarded as follows:

    1 point for each image entered (but for President's Cup see below)
    2 points for Commended
    3 points for Highly Commended
    4 points for Third
    5 points for Second
    6 points for First

    In the Record and Set Subject Competitions a point shall be awarded for each digital projected image or print entered rather than a single point for the whole entry, however in the President's Cup 4 points will be awarded for each panel entered, regardless of whether it is 3 or 4 prints.