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.
An external judge assesses each competition; they give each entry feedback (comments) and a mark out of 20. First, second and third places are given in each section. Placed images gain points (first 3, second 2 and third 1) which accumulate towards annual cumulative points competitions. The person with the most points in each cumulative competition is awarded a trophy at the annual exhibition.
- A maximum of eight entries per author in a competition
- A maximum of three entries per author in any section
- An image can only be entered as either a PDI or print in one pair of quarterly competitions
- No image can have previously been placed in a SPS quarterly or annual competition
- An image can have previously been entered no more than three times in a SPS merit, quarterly or annual competition
- Entries together with an entry form must be submitted two weeks before a competition
- Except for final printing, images must be entirely the work of the author.