(April 28, 2022 v1.0)




3.5 TRAVEL (T)
3.7 NATURE (N)









  • Monthly competitions: January through October (see 2.0)
  • Palmer Field trip and End of Year Competition, November (see sections 5 & 6)


  • All full and honorary members may enter club competitions. Members will not be required to be present to compete.
  • Member dues must be in good standing.


Two competition formats are acceptable: prints and digital images. The formats are judged together.


The Competition Chair will keep a record of each competition as a basis for determining awards and advancement. Records will be kept for a period of five years.




  • Each member will compete in one of four levels: B, entry level; I, second level; A, third level; Master, fourth level.
  • New members start at the B level unless advanced to the I, A or MC level per 4.2. 
  • Re-entering members may be reinstated at the level previously attained.
  • Members will compete in their respective levels (B, I, A, Master) in each subject category.
  • In the event there are four or fewer members in the Master level, those members will compete in the A level competition, but their scores will be kept separately. When there are at least five members at the Master level, a Master level will be formed.


  • Monthly competitions are held on the second Thursday of each month, January through October.
  • Competitions shall be open for entry the second Friday of the preceding month.
  • An additional competition will be held the fourth Thursday of January.
  • The Competition Chair shall enter winning projected images, and digital facsimiles of winning print images, in the corresponding Northern California Council of Camera Clubs (N4C) competition (See Section 3.) Images shall be entered into the category entered at SRPS, and images eligible for N4C special categories, such as Authentic Wildlife, shall be entered in those categories as applicable.
2022 Schedule


  • Each member may enter up to three entries per competition meeting. Sequences of two to four individual images, as defined below in section 3.0, N4C Category rules, count as one entry, and are limited to one sequence per member per competition meeting. Entries containing multiple noncontinuous images such as collages or triptychs are not sequences and are only permitted in the Pictorial, Monochrome, and Creative categories.
  • The entries may be divided between the print and digital formats, as well as among the categories.
  • A digital version of print entries is required by the Review Committee, is used for the projected image entry at N4C, and may be substituted for the print entry at competition if the member chooses by notifying the Competition Chair.
  • Identical, substantially similar or derivative images may not be entered in different categories or in different formats on the same evening.
  • An image identical to, substantially similar to, or derivative from a winning image (1st, 2nd or 3rd place) in a prior monthly competition may not be entered in a subsequent monthly competition. A substantially similar image is one taken of an essentially unchanged scene or subject, or one altered by editing variations such as creative effects or cropping, but still readily recognizable as the same or a similar image.
  • An image may be entered a maximum of three times. Submitting the image in a different format does not allow for additional submissions.
  • Any image winning first, second or third place in a regular monthly competition in any category may not be entered in the monthly competition again in any format, including in a higher level if the member subsequently advances. Images receiving an Honorable Mention award may be reentered.
  • When an SRPS member who is also a member of another N4C affiliate club wins at N4C with an image that was entered in the other club, that image cannot subsequently be entered in SRPS competitions.
  • Monthly winners will be entered automatically in the End of Year competition.
  • Submissions must conform to these rules and the document “Preparing Images for Competition” which is found on the club website. Images must be submitted before the published deadline.
  • Further information on entry requirements and procedures can be found in “Competition Entry Information” which is located on the club website.


  • Images will be reviewed for conformance to the rules by a Review Committee on the weekend after the entry deadline.
  • The Competition Chair will notify a member by e-mail if an image does not conform to the Category Rules that were posted on the SRPS website at the time the image was entered. The image will be moved to the appropriate category or the member will have the opportunity to withdraw the image from competition.


  • A qualified non-member, or, alternatively, a panel of any combination of qualified members and non-members will critique and judge each entry. Members may not judge a category in which they have an entry.
  • After the entries have been shown and critiqued, the judge will review them, with the digital entries displayed together on the laptop screen in a lightbox view, and will rank the first,
    second and third place entries in each level within each category.
  • When there are multiple judges in regular competitions, the Competition Chair or designee will ask each judge for his or her first and second choices, tallying the responses to determine first, second and third place winners. If there is a tie, the Competition Chair will ask the judges to resolve it and will keep track of the result.
  • Regardless of the number of entries in a category/level, at his/her discretion, the judge may award:
    • Only a first place winner, or
    • First and second place winners, or
    • First, second and third place winners, or
    • No winners at all.
    • Regardless of whether first, second or third places are awarded, the judge, at his/her discretion, may award as many Honorable Mentions (HMs), as he/she deems worthy, regardless of how many entries are submitted in a category/level.
    • A first place, or “Best of Show” award for the best image among all the first place winners across all categories and levels.
  • Points will be awarded as follows: Ten points for first place, eight points for second, six points for third, four points for Best of Show (in addition to any other points awarded),
    three points for HMs, and two points for all other entries. Points will be cumulative toward advancement, except for the AA level, where point average will determine advancement. (see section 4.4)
  • All first, second and third place winners will be eligible to compete in the End of Year Competition (see 6.0).
  • Additional points will be granted for awards won at the subsequent N4C competition as follows:
    • First place – six points
    • Second place – five points
    • Third place – four points
    • Fourth place – three points
    • Fifth place – two points
    • Honorable Mention – one point
    • Best of Division1 – three points, in addition to first place points awarded for N4C Division (SRPS Category)
    • Image of the Month2 – three points, in addition to first place and Best of Division points awarded
    • Best Authentic Wildlife3 – three points, in addition to any other points awarded.


      1. N4C Division is equivalent to an SRPS Category, i.e. Travel, Nature, Monochrome, etc.
      2. N4C “Image of the Month” is the top award across all N4C Divisions (SRPS Categories), for all levels.
      3. The “Genuine Wildlife Image” box must be checked on an image  and must fit the N4C definition of “Authentic Wildlife” in order to be considered for this award.



The category rules shall follow those of the Northern California Council of Camera Clubs (N4C) for projected images and are reprinted below.


The following holds for all Competition Divisions.
The Northern California Council of Camera Clubs subscribes to the Ethics Statement of the Photographic Society of America. Consistent with that Ethics Statement, all images submitted for competition in both Print and Projected Image mediums, and in all Competition Divisions shall originate as photographs by the entrant on photographic emulsion or acquired digitally.

By virtue of submitting an entry, the photographer certifies the work as his/her own. No clip art, digital art or photographs other than those made by the entrant may be used in whole or in part in any portion of the image. Images may only be manipulated as noted in individual division definitions. When graphic elements other than photographs created by the entrant are used in an image, photographic content must still predominate.

Maximum image size must conform to what is required by N4C, which for 2019 is no more than 1920 pixels in width and 1200 pixels in height.


Pictorial photography is the use of the photographic medium as an art form. The emphasis is on interest, visual impact, composition, and technical excellence. Images in the Pictorial division are not confined to any particular subject, type, or style of photography. Pictorial images may be manipulated in the darkroom, on the computer or in the camera in a manner consistent with the standards stated in the preamble to these definitions. The term Pictorial includes color and monochrome images.


The Pictorial Monochrome category follows the same guidelines as the Pictorial category, except that only monochrome images are allowed.

A monochrome image refers to an image in black and white (grayscale), but also includes images made of tones of a single color. For example, sepia images, which display tones from light tan to dark brown, or cyanotype images (blueprints) are also monochrome. An image modified or giving the impression of having been modified by partial toning, multi toning or by the inclusion of spot coloring does not meet the definition of monochrome and shall be classified as a color work ineligible for submission in the Pictorial Monochrome category.


Creative photography is producing an image through the use of imaginative skill or originality of thought including the altering of reality. No image should be eliminated from competition simply because it looks realistic, provided it shows originality of concept.

Creative images may include modifications in the darkroom, on the computer, or in the camera, as well as unusual points of view, imaginative use of subject matter or lighting, or any other presentation that begins with the maker’s photograph or a collection of photographs.

All Creative images must be consistent with the standards stated in the preamble to these definitions.

3.5 TRAVEL (T)

A Photo Travel image expresses the characteristic features, culture, or feeling of a land as they are found naturally. There are no geographic limitations. Images from events or activities arranged specifically for photography, or of subjects directed or hired for photography, are not permitted. Close up pictures of people or objects must include features that provide information about the location.

Techniques that add to, relocate, replace, or remove any element of the original image, except by cropping, are not permitted. The only allowable adjustments are removal of dust or digital noise, restoration of the appearance of the original scene, and complete conversion to grayscale. Other derivations, including infrared, are not permitted. All images must look natural. The title should give the location and complement the travel story.


Journalism entries shall consist of pictures with informative content and emotional impact, including human interest, documentary and spot news. Sequences in Journalism show a chronology of events or tell a story. Two to four images are permitted in a Sequence in the Journalism division.

The journalistic value of the photograph shall be considered over pictorial quality. In the interest of credibility, photographs which misrepresent the truth, such as manipulation of the image, or situations which are set up for the purpose of photography, are unacceptable in Journalism competition. The primary concern is to make story-telling and/or newsworthy photographs.

Techniques that add to, relocate, replace or remove any element of the original image, except by cropping are not permitted. All adjustments must appear natural. Conversion to monochrome is allowed. Good titles are important and should add to the photo-story. All Journalism images must be consistent with the standards stated in the preamble to these definitions.

3.7 NATURE (N)

Nature photography is restricted to the use of the photographic process to depict all branches of natural history, except anthropology and archeology, in such a fashion that a well-informed person will be able to identify the subject material and certify its honest presentation. The informative and nature story telling value of a photograph must be weighed more than the pictorial quality, while maintaining high technical quality.

Images entered in the Nature division can have landscapes, 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 humans for food.

However, photographs of human-created hybrid plants, cultivated plants, feral animals, domestic animals, or mounted specimens are ineligible. Also human elements shall not be present in the image and are ineligible except in situations where wild animals have been tagged with scientific bands, tags or radio collars; in situations where nature subjects (e.g. barn owls, storks, eagles, etc.) have adapted to an environment modified by humans, and these human elements are an integral part of the nature story; or where those human elements are in situations depicting natural forces, like hurricanes or tidal waves.

Any form of manipulation that alters the truth of the photographic statement is not permitted. This includes techniques that add, relocate, replace, or remove pictorial elements except by cropping. Infrared images (either direct-captures or derivations), are not permitted and are ineligible.

Techniques that enhance the presentation of the photograph without changing the nature story or the pictorial content, or without altering the content of the original scene, are permitted including HDR, focus stacking and dodging/burning. Techniques that remove elements added by the camera, such as dust spots, digital noise, and film scratches, are allowed. Stitching is allowed to complete the natural image. All allowed adjustments must appear natural. Color images can be converted to grey-scale monochrome.

Sequences in Nature are permitted and should show a chronology of events or tell a story. A Projected Nature Sequence may have a series of up to four images, which count collectively as a single image; and no composite of multiple-images-in-one are allowed.

In Nature competition the title should be factual and descriptive. Scientific names are encouraged but are not required. All Nature images must be consistent with the standards stated in the preamble to these definitions.


Authentic Wildlife is 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. 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.


In addition to the above N4C categories, this category is for any image in good taste, a place where all members (regular, associate or honorary, in any level) may submit images which do not fit in the competition categories, and/or where members can receive constructive feedback about their images without entering them into competition. Members submitting Non-competitive entries must be present to have the entries shown.



The goal is to have members compete at the level in which peers possess comparable photographic skills while also ensuring equitable advancement based on competition performance.


  • The Advancement Committee (AC) will consist of the Competition Chair and four members appointed by the Vice President, with the Vice President serving as an alternate.  At least two of the five Advancement Committee members will be a Master.
  • The Advancement Committee, under the direction of the Vice President, will determine the level at which new and existing members will first compete if members petition to first compete at a level other than Basic (B), and which members meet the qualifications for advancement.  This entails reviewing petitions to initially enter competitions at the Intermediate (I), Advanced (A) or Master Candidate (MC) level, reviewing mid-year (Jun 1 – July 31) petitions for advancement, reviewing the year’s competition results to determine which members are eligible for advancement, and confirming that candidates for the Master level have satisfied all requirements.
  • End-of-Year advancement and Master Candidate eligibility will be announced at the Annual Awards Banquet.  Advancements by mid-year petition will be announced on a first-in first-out sequential basis soon after each portfolio review is completed.  Reviews for advancements of new and existing members first competing will be expedited and announced to enable competition as soon as possible.
  • In the event that any Advancement Committee member, whether by petition or competition, becomes eligible for advancement, that member will be replaced by the Vice President with any member not eligible for advancement, including the Vice President.
  • Advancement Committee decisions will be determined by a majority vote of at least three of the five members.  


  • While Club members entering competitions for the first time generally enter at the Basic (B) level, those with higher levels of skill and experience may petition to initially enter competitions at the Intermediate (I), Advanced (A) or Master Candidate (MC) level by submitting both a portfolio of 20 images into the Club’s competitions website for Advancement Committee review, and relevant information about photographic skills, experience, awards, publications, etc. to the Vice President by email.  The Advancement Committee will decide on the appropriate initial competition placement level.
  • Petitions for advancement by actively competing members may be made mid-year (June 1 – July 31) by submitting a portfolio of 20 images into the Club’s competitions website, and may submit relevant information to the Vice President by email.  The Advancement Committee will evaluate the portfolio for photographic skills commensurate with each higher competition level, including any submitted relevant information, available competition performance data, and aspects of club participation, and will then decide on the appropriate competition placement level.  The Vice President will then inform the petitioner of the Advancement Committee’s decision.  Portfolio improvement feedback based on the AC’s portfolio analysis will be provided to the petitioning member from the Vice President upon request.  Additional petitions may not be submitted within a period of 4 years by a member to whom an advancement by mid-year petition has been granted, and the portfolio within any additional petition must not include photos taken prior to the previously granted mid-year petition with the exception of composited photos used in the Creative category.  In general, photos included in any granted petition may not be submitted again in any subsequent petitions for advancement.
  • Image Portfolios for Advancement Committee review are submitted into either the current year’s Portfolios for Mid-Year Advancement by Petition or Portfolios for Initial Competition Placement, as applicable, as one would to a regular competition.  The mid-year submittal window opens June 1st and closes July 31st at 11:59pm.  Portfolios by members entering competitions for the first time may be submitted at any time of the year.
  • Should a member move to a new level as the result of petitioning, points already earned at the lower level are not transferable to the higher level.


  • Following the End-of-Year Competition in November, the Vice President will receive from the Competition Chair recommendations for automatic advancement from Basic (B) to Intermediate(I) level and from Intermediate(I) to Advanced(A) level. The Competition Chair may also recommend consideration of other individuals or clusters of individuals whose scores indicate significant achievement during the year. See Section 4.4 for Advancement to MC rules.
  • To be eligible for advancement, the member must have submitted a minimum of fifteen entries in any combination of categories in the Monthly Competitions during the year. If the member was advanced to a higher level during the calendar year, only entries at the new level are considered.
  • The eligible members in the B and I levels receiving the highest and second highest total scores in all categories of the Monthly Competitions combined will automatically advance to the next level.
  • The Advancement Committee will determine if additional members will advance to I or A. The committee will base the decision on the total scores in all categories of the Monthly Competitions combined. In the event there is a cluster of top scores, all members represented in that cluster will be advanced, provided they have met the minimum submission requirements.


4.4.1 Purpose

It is the intent of the Santa Rosa Photographic Society to recognize outstanding accomplishment in the field of photography by promoting qualified members to the Master level.

There are three (3) different paths to Master’s Candidate (MC) as follows:

  1. Achieve First, Second, or Third in A-level Overall Point Average TWICE within a four-year period.
  2. Achieve First, Second, or third in A-level Overall Point Average AND win a first place in one of the categories in the End of Year Competition (section 6) within a four-year period.  Minimum two years to meet these two requirements.
  3. Advancement Committee decides if Master Candidate is the correct level to place a petitioning member.  The photographer’s portfolio and experience are taken into consideration.

4.4.2 Qualifications

  • A member will have four consecutive years in which to qualify as a Master level Candidate. In the event a member has not qualified within the four-year period, the oldest year of achievement will be dropped at the beginning of the following year. The minimum time for a member to remain in the Advanced (A) Level is two consecutive years, provided all other requirements are met.
  • Qualification requirements are based on two factors: active participation in the club and notable levels of achievement in the monthly competitions. To meet the “active participation” requirement, the Master Candidate must have participated during the Master Candidate year or the previous four years in at least one of the following:
    • Served as an SRPS Officer, Committee Chair, or active Committee member,
    • Presented an educational program at an SRPS Program Night outside of the Master Candidate presentation, or to a local outside organization as an SRPS representative,
    • Organized and/or led an SRPS field trip,
    • or any other activity pre-approved by the Vice President.
  • The member must have submitted at least 15 images in each of the two qualifying years to qualify for advancement.
  • The member must rank first, second or third based on highest overall average score for at least one of the years.
  • During another of the qualification years, the member must win a first place in one or more of the competition categories in the End of Year Competition (section 6). This condition is waived if the member achieves first, second or third rank based on highest overall average score, in at least two of the years.

4.4.3 Advancement Procedure

  • Following the End-of-Year Competition in November, the Competition Chair will notify the Vice President of any Advanced A-level members who have become eligible for the Master level.
  • The Vice President will submit relevant information to the Advancement Committee for review. The Advancement Committee will confirm the member’s eligibility for Master Candidate status. Decisions will be made in conformity with club rules.
  • Following qualification, the member begins a one-year period as Master Candidate. During this year the member will compete at the Master Level.
  • The Vice President will inform the Master Candidate of his/her eligibility, of the requirements to be met, and of the procedure to follow during the year of candidacy. Notification of Master candidacy, if not given at the Awards Banquet of the qualifying year, will be given by the end of January at the latest so the candidate has sufficient time to prepare the Master’s Presentation Outline.
  • The Master Candidate is required to give a Master’s Presentation for club members during the year of candidacy.
  • The Master’s Presentation will be a photographic presentation and lecture of a minimum of 45 minutes in length in the medium of the candidate’s choice. The purposes of the presentation are to educate club members and to demonstrate the candidate’s proficiency in a specific area.
  • By April 1st, the Master Candidate will give the Vice President a “Master’s Presentation Outline.” The Vice President will distribute the Outline to the Advancement Committee, requesting approval of the topic and contents of the proposed presentation and suggestions for improvements as necessary.  If the MC was advanced by the Advancement Committee, the MC has 4  months to provide the Outline to the AC for approval.  The qualifying year begins when the MC is informed of eligibility.
  • The Vice President will notify the Master Candidate of the Advancement Committee’s recommendations and confirm a date for the Master’s Presentation as one of the regular programs during the year.
  • Failure to give the Master’s Presentation within the candidacy year results in loss of eligibility, and the member will need to begin the qualification process again.




All members compete in one group, regardless of level. Awards do not count toward member advancement.


The Palmer Field Trip Competition is held the second Thursday of November.


  • Images must be taken on club Field Trips, as designated by the Field Trips Coordinator, and can be of any style.
  • Each member may enter up to two entries per Field Trip, up to a maximum of four. Prior winners from regular monthly competitions are eligible.
  • Images winning the Palmer Field Trip competition are eligible for future regular monthly competitions unless they have already won first, second, or third place in a regular monthly competition.


  • Members will view and may discuss entries as time allows.
  • Members will vote for winners by writing three titles on a paper ballot, or by an equitable procedure as directed by the Competition Chair.
  • The Competition Chair will score the results of member ballots to award first, second, and third place.
  • Winners will be announced at the Awards Banquet.




  • Eligibility: All first, second and third place award winners in the Monthly Competitions during the year are eligible for submission in the same category and level in which they won. In the case of members advancing to a new level during the year, only entries winning awards in the member’s new level will be eligible.
  • Entries do not have to be resubmitted.


  • After the last Monthly Competition, all of the year’s monthly competition winners (first, second, third), including the digital facsimile of prints, shall be judged by an online panel of at least three judges.
  • Each judge will rank the entries in each category level using the competition website.
  • The Competition Chair will receive the automatically calculated average ranking of each category level.
  • Any ties for the first, second, or third place winners in each category level will be resolved by a tie breaking round, with a minimum of three judges.
  • The First, Second and Third place winners in each category level will be announced at the annual Awards Banquet.
  • A Best of Show will be chosen from among the twenty first place entries (first in each category level), to be designated the Al Shelton Award. A minimum of two non member judges, in addition to the member winner of the prior year’s Al Shelton Award are required. In the event that the member judge has an entry or entries under consideration, the prior year’s runner up for the Al Shelton Award will be asked to judge. The Judges Chair may enlist additional judges as needed.
  • The Al Shelton Award will be announced at the annual Awards Banquet. The winner of the Al Shelton Award serves as an online judge of the next year’s Al Shelton Award.


The top five images in each category-level, plus ties, will be shown to the membership, in no particular order, at the End of Year Meeting, to be held the Monday before the fourth Thursday of November. No further judging occurs at the End of Year Meeting.



Awards are presented to deserving members at the Annual Awards Banquet. To be eligible for High Point Total and/or Category Awards, a member must submit a minimum of fifteen digital and/or print images. There is no minimum number of submissions required for the winners of the End of Year (EOY) competition. The awards are as follows:

  • High Point Total Awards: An award is given to each of the four members, one at each level, who achieves the highest point total for all categories combined. In case of a tie, multiple awards are given.
  • Category Awards: Awards are given to the members who achieve the highest average score and second and third place winners in each category at each level. In case of a tie or ties, multiple awards are given. A minimum of six image submissions, including digital and print, are required within the Pictorial category to be eligible for an award in that category, and a minimum of three image entries, including digital and print, are required to be eligible for an award in the Monochrome, Nature, Travel, Journalism and Creative categories.
  • End of Year Competition: An award is given, as determined by the results of the End of Year Competition, for first, second and third place winners in each category level.
  • Palmer Field Trip Award: An award is given for the first, second, and third place winners.
  • Al Shelton Trophy Award: An award is given for the image selected best from among all the first-place winners in each category level in the End of Year competition. (Best of Show).



Current Open Competitions can be found at the Competition Website. New members will need to obtain access.