Club Competitions: the 'Why?' and 'How?'

This guide is designed to supplement the formal rules of our competitions. Those rules take precedence if there is ambiguity.

This page contains a lot of information! Use these links to jump to the section of interest:

Entering a competition
Colour and Mono Print Formats
Projected image (DPI) format
Nature and Wildlife Entries
Artificial Intelligence - Guidance
'Cutting' entries
How does judging work?
Winning entries: restrictions on re-use
The Charlie Williams monthly comp.
External Competitions
Awards Night
Consistency Awards
'Best of Season'
Other Trophies
Roll of Honour (in preparation)


Competitions are an excellent way of improving one's skills in photography. On the night of the competition, every entry is scored by a panel of 5 volunteer members, and the work will be critiqued by a qualified judge who gives opinions as to how improvement might be made. Competition nights are well attended because most members seem to enjoy hearing such stuff!

PLEASE don't think that as a new member or a beginner that you can't or shouldn't enter our competitions - it doesn't matter how good you are or what kind of equipment you use - you stand just as much chance as the next member. Also - if this bothers you - you will not be identified as the author of an image unless you have really impressed the judge to the point of being offered a commendation or even a place in the top three, and the buzz you will get from hearing your name associated with a 'place' is very gratifying! Simply put - you will get considered critque and a score which helps you to discover your level compared to other members.


We run a dozen or so competitions spread across the year: themed; open subject (i.e. anything goes); inter-club battles, etc.. Details of these are shown in our programme. Media supported are: Prints: 2 classes - Colour & Monochrome, Digital projection images (DPI): 1 class, which can be either colour or monochrome. The separation of prints into two classes is a throw-back to the days of 'wet' prints produced in a darkroom - the two variants were quite different in the difficulty of production, mono being the easiest to process by far. DPI is the modern equivalent of the old 'slide' or 'transparency'.

There are 6 competitions per year which we call the 'Set' competitions: these are all open class and comprise 3 print and 3 DPI (Digital Projected Image) competitions. The scores for entries to these are assigned by a panel of 5 volunteer members (any member is eligible to join this panel) and are totted up to define who is graced with receiving some silverware at Awards Night at the end of the season in May.

The club now has separate levels of entry to the 'set' competitions: 'General' and 'Advanced'. This is so that less experienced members are not completely overwhelmed by those who are demonstrably more so - it would be discouraging for a member who has only recently entered the fray to feel that he/she doesn't stand a chance against the 'old hands'. The assignment of members into each group is based upon a number of factors, including success in previous competitions (whether inside or outside the club), the perceived skill level of the member (a photographic qualification or distinction?) and also taking the member's desire into account. The process of separation is overseen by the chairman who is always happy to discuss the principles and the decisions based upon them. The intent is to create a level playing field in which all members can develop and achieve the best they have to offer.

Incidentally, we realise that the cost of producing a print is fairly obviously considerably more than the near-zero cost of generating a digital image, so please note that there several members who possess good photo-printers and who are always happy to provide prints for you to enter into competitions. Typically, these members will charge only for the cost of the materials making the production of prints very affordable. Of course, you are entitled to get your prints made anywhere you like but it is fairly sure that 'trade' processors are not going to give you the precise output you would like to see at a price you'd like to pay!

Competitions can often be over-subscribed: however, we need to give the critic enough time per image to give sensible and meaningful feedback, so this means that 80 to 90 entries per competition is about the limit. If there are more than that, the entries will be cut back.....see further down this page for more details on how this is done. 
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Entries to all competitions
...are made by means of our on-line submission system, which can be accessed here (but only if you're a member, of course). For all but a few competitions (which will be notified) your digital submission of either the image of a print or a DPI MUST be submitted prior to midnight on the day two weeks before the competition night. Prints can be handed in one week later so as to be sure that entries have not been 'cut' (see below) and therefore are not required to be printed.


It is the member's choice as to whether or not to provide descriptive titles for images. If you don't wish to apply a specific title, you must enter UNTITLED as the title in the competition submission system: the system will reject a title which is completely devoid of characters.

Full details of image format regulations are shown in the rules and the following is a summary/clarification but is secondary to those rules:
All prints for a competition MUST be mounted. There is no minimum or maximum size of mount, or any rules as to HOW you mount (e.g., bevel cut aperture or simply stuck down flat) but it should be neat, support the print and NOT adhere to the adjacent print in the stack! This latter requirement is VITAL!! In the past, prints have been ruined because members have decided to use the cheapest, nastiest sticky tape which then peels off in transit and becomes oh-so-firmly attached to the face of the adjacent print. PLEASE NOTE that prints found to have peeling tape will be disqualified from the competition without notice. THE CLUB SELLS AT A LOW PRICE A GOOD QUALITY TAPE WHICH WILL NOT PEEL OFF IN THIS WAY, BUT WHICH CAN STILL BE DELIBERATELY REMOVED WITHOUT DAMAGE.
Colour and Monochrome
Each print competition allows you enter an arbitrary mix of four 'C'olour and 'M'onochrome prints - i.e. 4C, M+3C, 2M+2C, 3M+C or 4M but only four in total. It's a good idea to even these out if you want to stand a chance of achieving a 'consistency' award at season-end: see below.

Be sure to prioritise your entries using the 'preference' facility when registering them on the on-line upload system - the image(s) with the HIGHEST preference numbers from all members in either or both categories may be removed from the competition - see 'cutting back entries' below. A (DPI format) digital copy of the print must be supplied via the club's competition upload system prior to midnight on the 'hand-in' date of the competition, which registers the entry and which will provide a judge with a preview. (See below for details on this) HOWEVER, you don't have to hand in the physical prints until the club night which is a week before the competition, by which time the competition secretary will have decided and announced by email whether or not to 'cut' the entries back - this means that you won't have to print something that doesn't get entered.

Incidentally, according to the PAGB rules, a monochrome print is defined thus:

"A black and white image which has been modified by the addition of a tone of single colour to the entire image is defined as a Monochrome Print."


"A black and white image which has been modified by the addition of partial toning or by the addition of one colour to any part of the image is defined as a Colour Print"

So, a print which is (say) sepia toned over its entire image area is monochrome, but (e.g.) a B&W image with a pillar box picked out in red is a colour image.
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Digital Projected Images (DPI):

The club now (as of June 2023) possesses a new Sony 4k projector, so as to portray our members' work in the best possible way. This means that the previous size of 1920x1200 pixels is now old hat! We can still accept and project those images but they will - at 1/4 of the resolution of the new projector - not show the image off to its best, simply becasuse their pixel content will be up-scaled at projection time so as to fill the screen.

Even for print competitions, we require a DPI version of images which have formed the source of the print. This should be IDENTICAL to the print in all respects, especially aspect ratio and crop: the DPI will be used to show everyone in the room what is being inspected and commented upon by our invited critic.

Consequently, we need JPEG files of maximum dimensions 3840 pixels horizontally and 2160 pixels vertically. I.e., a portrait format image MUST NOT EXCEED 2160 pixels high, which will mean that it uses less than the 3840 width. Images should be supplied to the competition secretary by the 'upload' method on this site prior to midnight on the stated hand-in date, or in exceptional circumstance the internal competition secretary may allow the delivery of such data on physical media at his/her discretion. Help can be given to members who might have difficulty in complying with this need. If you want a simple way to down-size a batch of images, the club provides software to do this which runs on Windows PCs - you can download it here. It is free of nasties, so if your Nanny Windows or anti-virus warns you about it, you are quite safe to run it. We do not have a version for Apple Mac, sorry. 
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Nature and Wildlife Entries:

We don't impose the kind of rules adopted by other, very serious competitions for this subject. Make your pictures interesting but don't be daft with them! Our normal competition rules apply to nature and wildlife images.

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Artifical Intelligence:

As mentioned in the rules for competitions (download-able from the menu link at the head of this page), please remember that ALL elements of ayn image submitted to any club competition MUST be the work of the submitting photographer, whether as a whole or a part of a composite picture. The use of any image created or generated in whole or part by a software program is not allowed in any club competition. 
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Cutting Back Entries:
Well-subscribed competitions may require that the competition secretary reduces the number of entries, so that we stand a chance of getting through them in one evening. So PLEASE be sure to prioritise your entries when registering them via the upload system - the fourth and/or third numbered image(s) from all members in any or all categories may be removed from the competition. This causes no hardship for members where DPI entries are concerned but to preclude unnecessary cost regarding the production of prints, you don't have to hand in the physical prints until the club night following the submission deadline, by which time the competition secretary will have decided whether or not to 'cut' the entries back - this means that you won't have to print something that doesn't get entered. Entries that are 'cut' are classed as not having been entered and may be re-submitted to a future competition in the same season. 
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How are they judged?

There are two methods: (1) for the 6 'Set' competitions, we invite a panel of 5 members to score the images, the aggregate of which provides the rankings per competition. The members on the panel are different for each competition and are selected at random (but with an eye on non-repetition in a season) from a list of those who have signalled their willingness to be involved (see below). Scoring is done on-line. At the end of the season, the authors' images/prints with the highest total of the 2 highest entry scores per class per competition (Colour prints, Mono prints and DPI) are awarded trophies at awards night. We used to use external judges for this purpose but we became very disenchanted with the lack of consistency between them. Using 5 members - who have disparate views on what makes a 'good' picture - levels that out. Any member can serve on the judging panel, no qualifications needed! On the night of the competition we invite a critic (possible and erstwhile judge) to offer comment and suggestions as to how an image might be improved - this, of course, is extremely subjective but does not affect the rankings decided by our member panel. He/she is asked for a '1,2,3' rank simply to gauge the worthiness of his/her comments when comparing with our panel rankings.

(2) For all other competitions, we use a single judge - this might be an experienced club member, a SIG group leader, or an external judge.

Any member can elect to join the judging panel by logging-in to the club forum, clicking the link (top left, under the camera logo) to his/her user control panel, then clicking the tab headed 'Profile', scrolling to the bottom and entering 'Y' in the text box alongside 'Judging Panel'. This will signal to the competition management system that the member is willing to assist. It is likely that a panel member will be asked to officiate only once or twice during a season, and full guidance is given as to procedure. 
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Winning entries:
Anything that gains a 'commended' or 'highly commended' distinction cannot be entered into another club competition during the same season. Anything that gains a 1st., 2nd., or 3rd., can never be entered into any future club competition, which in the spirit of things should be read to include 'cross-media' entries (e.g. the image of 1st. placed print should not be entered into a DPI competition and vice-versa).

The Competition Upload System is our unique means for you to submit your entries into club competitions. The system is used for all media (Prints and DPI) and the specifications for the images to be uploaded are given above. The software was designed by us, is simple to use and has shown itself to be very robust. Instructions for use are almost unnecessary due to the intuitive operation. You can be certain that an entry is registered if you are able to see the thumbnail images when you inspect the 'view your entries' function'. If you experience any difficulties, don't leave it to chance - get in touch with the competition secretary, either personally or by email. DO REMEMBER TO PRIORITIZE YOUR ENTRIES BY ADJUSTING THE 'PREFERENCE' FUNCTION!!

Remember - if you're wondering how to manage resizing your images for the upload system, or are fed up with the effort involved with your current method, why not try our resizing utiliy - very simple to use and free to download from here
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The Charlie Williams Memorial Trophy

This Competition is designed to push members' image making skills ever onward and upward. Starting in September each year, it comprises ten, themed, monthly on-line competitions to which members can submit one image. The entered images are then judged on-line by all (and only) the members who have entered the competition. When the scores are in, there is a de-brief meeting where individual critiques are offered prior to the winner being announced. The member with the best 8 months' aggregate scores out of the monthly competitions is awarded the Charlie Williams Trophy. Entries are made and scored by using our submission system and more details can be found on the members' forum here

External Competitions

We encourage our members to enter external competitions, all of which help the profiles of both our club and its members. A number of these are club-based whilst others are designed for individual entry. Some are free to enter, others bear an entry fee. Our External competition secretary keeps a close eye on what is going on, and will post notices, warnings, calls for images and results in the 'Competitions and Exhibitions' forum. 
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'Awards Night'

Our annual Awards Night is the last evening of the formal season, usually at the end of May (but the club continues to meet through the summer!). The evening is a mix of handing out the trophies which are assigned to the various competitive activities which occur during the season, plus a specific 'Best of Year' competition. Our trophies are a collection of various types, with histories and donors ranging back to the start of the club in 1971, and a list of trophies and their purpose is offered below: 
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'Consistency' Awards, and other trophies.

These are assigned to members whose two best-scoring entries in each class (Colour and Mono prints, and DPI) into the 6 'set' competitions each year have accumulated the highest scores from our panel judges in each of the 'General' and 'Advanced' sections:

Mono Prints
First - Advanced10 X 8 Tankard
First - GeneralGlass trophy
Second - AdvancedPlatinum Properties Trophy
Second - GeneralGlass trophy
Third - AdvancedJohnston Cup
Third - GeneralGlass trophy
Colour Prints
First - AdvancedBeryl Richardson Tankard
First - GeneralGlass trophy
Second - AdvancedJohn Bailey Trophy
Second - GeneralGlass trophy
Third - AdvancedSusan Layton Cup
Third - GeneralGlass trophy
Digital Images (DPI)
First - AdvancedThe Williams Cup
First - GeneralGlass trophy
Second - AdvancedJennings Posy bowl
Second - GeneralGlass trophy
Third - AdvancedThe David Jackson Trophy
Third - GeneralGlass trophy
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'Best of Season' Awards.

These are given out according to the decisions of an invited judge. Any entry previously made into one of the 6 'set' competitions in the season is valid for submission to this competition (full details of what to do to register entries is given in the competition entry system) and on the Awards night our judge will reveal his choices for Commended, Highly Commended, 3rd, 2nd, and 1st. places.

The trophies awarded are as follows:

Mono Prints
FirstBilbrough Cup
SecondTom White Print Trophy
ThirdThe Thompson Trophy
Colour Prints
FirstMalvern Gazette Cup
SecondFred Smith Shield
ThirdBetty Bevan Cup
Digital Images (DPI)  
FirstThe Wendy Jones Cup
SecondThe Dorothy Wilkins Cup
ThirdPeter Warner Digital Photography Tankard
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Other Trophies.

This list relates to other, sometimes ad-hoc, competitions. For those held within Special Interest Groups, occasionally a trophy might not be presented due to to small a volume of entries, or dormancy of the group.

Chairman's ChallengeRichard Williams Tankard
Malvern Hills ChallengeThe Edith Smith Tankard
Charlie Williams Monthly CompetitionCharlie Williams Memorial Cup
Portraiture The Ruth Handley FRPS Cup
Nature/WildlifeThe Nature Cup
Beginners and ImproversRichard Williams Tankard
Audio-visual - Photo HarmonyThe Photo-harmony Trophy
Audio-visual - SequenceThe Audio-visual Trophy
Audio-visual - NoviceThe Audio-visual Novice Trophy
'Street' PhotographyThe TonyMac Trophy
The 'Practical' challengeThe Malvern Hills Hotelier trophy
The 'Roll of Honour'.

Competitions have been happening ever since the inauguration of the club in 1971. Information on trophy winners from the past 15-or-so years is quite complete, due to electronic record-keeping. However, that from previous years is a little sketchy, due to notes kept on paper. We are attempting to gather all the data into as complete a form as possible and when this is done, we will be publishing all that history on this website as a 'Roll of Honour'. 
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