Although competitions are a big part of our activities, there is no requirement on members to participate in them. Competitions are held regularly throughout the year. They are a way for authors to receive feedback on their images. It is intended that authors use the feedback that they and others receive to improve their images. Depending on the competition, images may be entered as projected digital images (PDIs) or mounted prints. The competitions are split into several types as follows:

  • Merit Competitions (four per year) These competitions are about showing any colour image (colour open) or any “black and white” image (monochrome open) that an author has taken, and working to a brief (set subject). Results in these competitions contribute to cumulative points competitions that run across the calendar year.
  • Quarterly Competitions (three PDI and three print per year) These competitions allow the demonstration of standard photographic techniques namely pictorial recording of an artefact (record); depiction of a person (portrait); depiction of an animal or plant in its environment, or a naturally occurring phenomenon (natural history); work in monochrome (monochrome open); work in colour (colour open); and working in a set photographic style (set subject). Results in these competitions contribute to cumulative points competitions that run across the calendar year.
  • Annual Competitions (one PDI and one print per year) This ‘fourth quarterly’ competition is the same as the other quarterlies except that trophies are awarded to the authors of winning images and that there is a beginners section.

Only members of SPS can enter competitions.

  • Merits Competitions

    All four merits competitions are split into two parts; PDI and print. The PDI part has three sections monochrome open, colour open and set subject; whereas, the print part has two sections monochrome open and colour open. Details of the set subject for each competition are published in the SPS syllabus and on the SPS website. Read more
  • Quarterly Competitions

    The six quarterly competitions are organised as three pairs. Each pair consists of a print competition and a PDI competition. A competition has five sections (definitions below) which are record, portrait, natural history, monochrome open and colour open. Read more
  • Annual Competitions

    There are two annual competitions; a print competition and a PDI competition. Each competition has six sections which are beginners, record, portrait, natural history, monochrome open and colour open. Read more

Section Definitions

  • Beginner Section Definition

  • Colour Open Definition

    There are no restrictions on the subject of an open image, but an image that would be a better fit for another section may not do well. An image can be any colour except monochrome
  • Monochrome Open Definition

    There are no restrictions on the subject of an open image. The basis of a monochrome image is one that only has pure black, shades of grey and pure white tones. This basic image may be entirely toned by a single colour. An image that is partially or split toned, or is colour popped is a colour image.
  • Nature Definition

    The definition of nature is that defined by the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain (PAGB) in February 2018 []: Note that images already meeting the separate FIAP Definition of Nature will satisfy this less restrictive definition. Nature photography is restricted to the use of the photographic process to depict all branches of natural history, except anthropology and archaeology, in such a fashion that a well-informed person will be able to identify the subject material and certify its honest presentation. The story telling value of a photograph must be weighed more than the pictorial quality while maintaining high technical quality. Scientific bands, scientific tags or radio collars on wild animals are permissible. Photographs of human created hybrid plants, cultivated plants, feral animals, domestic animals, or mounted specimens are ineligible, as is any form of manipulation that alters the truth of the photographic statement. Processing of the captured image, by cropping, exposure adjustment, colour correction, noise minimisation, dodging/burning, HDR, focus stacking and sharpening, is allowed. Cloning of image defects and minor distractions, including overlapping elements, are permitted when these do not distort the truth of the photographic statement. Images entered as Nature can have landscape, geologic formations, weather phenomena, and extant organisms as the primary subject matter. This includes images taken with the subjects in controlled conditions, such as zoos, game farms, botanical gardens, aquariums and any enclosure where the subjects are totally dependent on man for food. Access to biological subjects may be restricted. By entering a PAGB event, Photographers warrant that they have followed relevant codes of practices and hold any necessary licences. Guidance Guidance on implementation and interpretation of the PAGB Definition of Nature is available separately, and may be read in conjunction with this Definition. Wildlife Images entered in Wildlife sections are further defined as one or more extant zoological or botanical organisms free and unrestrained in a natural or adopted habitat. Landscapes, geologic formations, photographs of zoo or game farm animals, or of any extant zoological or botanical species taken under controlled conditions are not eligible in Wildlife sections. Wildlife is not limited to animals, birds and insects. Marine subjects and botanical subjects (including fungi and algae) taken in the wild are suitable wildlife subjects, as are carcasses of extant species. Wildlife images may be entered in Nature sections.
  • Portrait Definition

    A portrait image is a representation of a person or a facial picture of a person or persons. They may be formal (in a studio setting), or environmental (such as showing a person’s work or hobby). The best portraits show more about the person than just a straightforward snap shot.
Image Preparation
  • Submitted Digital Projected Images (DPIs) must be jpeg. These can be presented in either landscape or portrait format; whatever the
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  • Prints must be mounted on board with a maximum size of 400mm x 500mm and a minimum size of 375mm
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