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N4C Competition

 Click for 2019-2020 Rules

Competitions in each category listed below are held within the North Central Camera Club Council September through May except December. Each club belonging to the Council may submit eight entries per contest category per month on the basis of one per maker. Any entries that receive a ribbon in a monthly competition will be entered in the year-end competition. 
Contest Categories

bulletDigital Altered Reality
bulletDigital Black & White
bulletDigital Journalism
bulletDigital Nature
bulletDigital Pictorial
bulletDigital Travel
bulletAltered Reality Prints (October, January, March & May only)
bulletBlack & White Pictorial Prints
bulletJournalism Prints
bulletNature Prints: Black & White or Color
bulletPictorial Prints (Color)
bulletTravel Prints
bulletPhoto Essay Annual Contest will be held in April
bulletPanorama Print Annual Contest will be held at the Spring mini-convention.
bulletCamera Club Communication Annual Competition in April

Judging Criteria

Judging and points will be awarded on the basis of technique, composition, and interest.

bulletTechnique:  Focus, lighting, color rendition, exposure, print quality.
bulletComposition:  Arrangement of all elements within the picture area so the subject matter is presented as a harmonious, well-balanced photograph.
bulletInterest:  Originality, imagination, interpretation, subject, impact, mood, humor, etc.

    Exception:  Journalism, where special Journalism Rules applies.

Guidelines for Competitions 

PRINTS: Show title, N4C member number, maker's name, address, and name of camera club on back/top of mount. Prints may be of any size up to maximum of 16" X 20" including the mount. Journalism prints must be submitted without mounts or on lightweight mounts not to exceed 8" x 12". 
DIGITAL: 1920 pixels maximum on the longest side, file-size 750KB maximum (approved beginning in October 2018), sRGB color space.
See the following videos about Sizing Photos for Contests:

        [Exporting Contest Entries from Lightroom CC]
        [Lightroom Export Presets]
        [Exporting Contest Entries from Photoshop CC]

Videos by Brian Stockton for Des Moines Camera Club contests.
However the instructions are applicable to N4C contests.
Instead, use Member Numbers assigned by YOUR CLUB.
Use the appropriate N4C contest category code:
        DA Digital Altered Reality
        DB Digital Black & White
        DJ Digital Journalism
        DN Digital Nature
        DP Digital Pictorial
        DT Digital Travel

For more information see:  [How to Name Contest Entries]

Description of Contest Categories

The following subject category definitions are presented as a guide to persons entering the monthly contests so that all entries may be judged fairly and equally. To some extent, their interpretation is subjective and all judges have some personal biases. It is our intent to minimize these differences. These definitions are as clear and precise as we are able to state them, though it is not possible to cover all eventualities and answer all questions. Generally, those entries that conform most closely to the subject definitions have the greatest chance of success in the contests.

Altered Reality
The primary distinction for the Altered Reality category is that the maker intends (and the viewer easily recognizes) that the image is not a representation of reality. The Altered Reality image must have a photographic base of the maker’s own creation. Manipulation of the basic image or images can be done in camera and/or in computer. The use of brushes and textures made by others is allowed in Altered Reality, as is the use of software to create unusual effects. The makers of Altered Reality images should feel free to use a wide range of tools and resources, limited only by imagination.

Black & White
The Black & White category is similar in character to Pictorial, except that the Black & White category is for monochrome images. Images are limited to monochromatic hues or shades of gray, although filters may be applied to give a hue or tint. Different photographic processes and toners give a different hue to a black & white photograph, for example, selenium, sepia and split toning (duo-toning). No fraction of the image shall be given a special color treatment.


Black & White Prints and Nature Prints are evaluated by the same club. It is acceptable to package and send the prints in one container, provided they are wrapped separately and clearly marked.


Black & White prints and digital images may be created from: black & white film; digital black & white captures; or digital color images converted to black & white.


The use of HDR, exposure blending, focus stacking, stitching, and related techniques that combine more than one image is acceptable.

Journalism Photography depicts some event or activity; story telling is emphasized, as in a newspaper or magazine photograph. An element of human interest is a fundamental quality for a journalism photograph.

bulletA Journalism entry can be a single image or a sequence of related images arranged for presentation as a single entry.
bulletOnly minimal digital editing is allowed. In the interest of credibility, photographs that misrepresent the truth, such as manipulation to alter the subject matter, or situations set up for the purpose of photography, are unacceptable. No elements may be moved, cloned, added, deleted, rearranged, or combined. No manipulation or modification is permitted except resizing, cropping, selective lightening or darkening, and restoration of original color of the scene. No special effect filters may be added or applied.
bulletFor the Print competition, PRINTS should be UNMOUNTED or on a lightweight mount not to exceed 8 x 12 inches in size.
bulletThe three (3) jury members shall vote a score of between two (2) and five (5) points. Separate voting for technique, composition, and interest will NOT be made, but will be considered only in connection with the suitability of the work for Journalism competition. The total score for each submitted photograph will range from six (6) to fifteen (15) points.
bulletThe titles or captions of the submitted works will be read at least for the first round of judging. If subsequent rounds are required, it is not necessary to repeat the title or caption.

Nature Photography is the recording of our natural world by some photographic means. Included are all branches of nature except Archeology and Anthropology.

bulletNo photograph is worth distress or injury to any wild creature.
bulletNature photographs may be either black & white or color.
bulletThe hand of man shall not be present in any nature entry except where wild animals have adapted to the built environment (e.g., fence posts and other man-made objects freely adapted for use by wild creatures).
bulletBanding or tagging on nature subjects is acceptable. Photographs at bird feeders are not acceptable if any part of a man-made feeder is shown in the photograph.
bulletPhotographs taken in zoos, animal farms, or game farms are acceptable if the hand of man is not visible.
bulletCultivated plants, domestic animals, and pets are not acceptable.
bulletAdjustments must look natural. The use of HDR, exposure blending, focus stacking, stitching, and related techniques that combine more than one image is acceptable, provided the resulting image is natural in appearance.

In pictorial photography, the artistic quality of the presentation is emphasized. The subject itself is not restricted: All subjects qualify. Pictorialism emphasizes beauty of subject matter, tonality, and composition as opposed to documentation. Thus, there is more freedom for artistic interpretation in pictorial photography than there is in Journalism, Nature, or Travel photography. Limited use of brushes and textures is allowed in Pictorial. Still, there is a clear effort to represent reality; this distinguishes the Pictorial category from Altered Reality.

bulletThe Pictorial category is well-suited for use of modern digital techniques, including HDR, exposure blending, focus stacking, stitching, and related techniques that combine more than one image.
bulletAt the time of writing, computational photography is emerging as a rapidly growing field. The Pictorial category is receptive to the use of modern photographic techniques and innovations, provided the intent of the photograph is to present an artistic interpretation of recognizably real subjects.
bulletPhotos submitted in the pictorial category should be in color. Black & white photos that are pictorial in quality should be submitted in the Black & White category.

Travel implies going to some place other than one’s customary environment; travel photography suggests the photographic depiction of that new environment or the means used to get there. There is no restriction of how far away that environment must be to qualify as “travel” or how different that new environment must be. A strong travel photo is an image that expresses the feeling of a time and place; portrays a land, its people, or a culture in its natural state; and has no geographical limitations. Emphasize the location’s qualities that make the place unique.

bulletEntered prints must be clearly marked as to category. The judging club will be evaluating Journalism Prints as well as Travel Prints. It is acceptable to package and send the prints in one container, provided they are wrapped separately and clearly marked.
bulletAdjustments must look natural and must accurately portray the scene.


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Last modified: 04/25/19