COMPETITION RULES – revised November 2022


Rules Affecting All Categories

Competitions are only open to members in good standing of the Stony Brook Camera Club. For existing members to participate in competition, all dues must be paid in full.

A new member shall compete in Class B unless that member has competed in a higher class in another club. A new member without experience in other clubs may request competing in a higher class by submitting a portfolio of their work for evaluation by the competition committee.

Image Ownership and Use of AI. All images must be entirely the submitting member’s own work. In all categories, images must originate as photographs made by the entrant. Images created in whole or in part by image creation software (frequently called Generative AI images) are not allowed.

Images may not incorporate identifiable elements produced by anyone other than the submitter (for example: clip art or stock images) or produced via AI software. Editing or alteration of images, including use of advanced capabilities in photo editing products, is permitted within the limits specified in the relevant category definitions. For example, skies may be replaced and textures may be added as long as the submitter took the original image of the sky or texture, and as long as such editing is permitted in the relevant category definition.

The same shot or multiple shots taken of the same scene [i.e. images taken at the same time, from the same position, with the same equipment] may not be entered in more than one medium or category during any one monthly competition.

Images winning First, Second or Third place awards in any past Stony Brook Camera Club competition may not be re-entered in the same or any other category or media in subsequent SBCC competitions. It is the entrant’s responsibility to ensure that winning entries are not resubmitted. All such entries will be disqualified.

An image not winning a place award may be re-entered in subsequent competitions.

No signature, watermark, or copyright notation that would identify the maker may appear on any digital or print submission.

No make-up entries will be allowed. This includes make-up entries for images that have been disqualified.


Rules That Apply To Print Competition Only

Print Competitions have no subject matter restrictions.

Commercially made prints and mats can be used. The backing of each print must be a flat, single sheet of cardboard, mat board, or foam-core, no more than ½” thick.  Prints on sheet metal are allowed and require no backing. Canvas prints are allowed, but only on a mat board backing, not on a wooden stretch frame.  Prints may be matted or not matted, but either way should be attached firmly to the backing. Whether matted or not matted, the overall quality of image presentation may affect a print’s score.  No hanging materials or frames are allowed, including on metal prints.  Your print must be able to lay flat in a pile with other prints without danger of damaging the other prints.  Please attach your print label with your name and print title on the backside of your print in the upper left corner in the orientation that you expect the print to be displayed.

Makers may have their prepared print images entered by proxy by another member if they can’t attend a competition.

Please refer to this weblink for our expanded print competition rules - Print competition rules.

Image Of The Year Competition (Digital and Print)

Any image receiving a 1st, 2nd or 3rd place award ribbon during a regular competition shall be eligible for the Annual Image of the Year Competition for the Category in which the image received the award. The following categories are eligible for Image of the Year: Digital Open, Digital Nature, Digital People/Portraits, Digital Black & White, Color Prints, Black & White Prints.

Entries submitted for the Image of the Year competition must be the same as used in the regular competition. Print entries that have been modified in accordance with judge’s comments shall not be allowed.

Digital Category Definitions (Each category competes three times per season and members are allowed 2 images per category for each competition)

Open (Class B, Class A and Class AA)

There are no limitations on subject matter or techniques used for image capture or post processing. The images can be color or monochrome. Toned or selective coloring of B&W images are allowed.

It is suggested, but no longer mandatory, that nature images be entered in the Digital Nature competition category. Any images entered in the open category will be judged on pictorial value, not the nature story.

Images of nature subjects that have been manipulated or modified outside of the enhancements allowed by the nature definition below should be entered in the Open competition category.

Natural landscapes and seascapes may be entered in either Open or Nature.

Nature (Class B, Class A and Class AA)

The definition of “Nature” is taken from PSA (Photographic Society of America) It is reprinted here in its entirety: 

Content Guidelines:  Nature photography records all branches of natural history except anthropology and archaeology. This includes all aspects of the physical world, both animate and inanimate, that have not been made or modified by humans.

·  Nature images must convey the truth of the scene that was photographed. A well-informed person should be able to identify the subject of the image and be satisfied that it has been presented honestly and that no unethical practices have been used to control the subject or capture the image. Images that directly or indirectly show any human activity that threatens the life or welfare of a living organism are not allowed.

·  The most important part of a Nature image is the nature story it tells. High technical standards are expected and the image must look natural.

·  Objects created by humans, and evidence of human activity, are allowed in Nature images only when they are a necessary part of the Nature story.

·  Photographs of human-created hybrid plants, cultivated plants, feral animals, domesticated animals, human-created hybrid animals and mounted or preserved zoological specimens are not allowed.

·  Images taken with subjects under controlled conditions, such as zoos, are allowed.

·  Controlling live subjects by chilling, anesthetic or any other method of restricting natural movement for the purpose of a photograph is not allowed.

Editing Guidelines
:  Processing or editing must be limited to making the image look as close to the original scene as possible, except that conversion to grayscale monochrome is allowed.

Allowed editing techniques:

·  Cropping, straightening and perspective correction.

·  Removal or correction of elements added by the camera or lens, such as dust spots, noise, chromatic aberration and lens distortion.

·  Global and selective adjustments such as brightness, hue, saturation and contrast to restore the appearance of the original scene.

·  Complete conversion of color images to grayscale monochrome.

·  Blending of multiple images of the same subject and combining them in camera or with software (exposure blending or focus stacking);

·  Image stitching – combining multiple images with overlapping fields of view that are taken consecutively (panoramas);

Editing techniques that are not allowed:

·  Removing, adding to, moving or changing any part of an image, except for cropping and straightening.

·  Adding a vignette during processing.

·  Blurring parts of the image during processing to hide elements in the original scene.

·  Darkening parts of the image during processing to hide elements in the original scene.

·  All conversions other than to complete grayscale monochrome.

·  Conversion of parts of an image to monochrome, or partial toning, desaturation or over-saturation of color 

Black & White (no classes assigned)

Black & white images may be toned in one shade of color other than black (like sepia or cyan), but images that have elements that are selectively colored are not allowed in the black and white category and can only be entered in the Open category.

People/Portraits (no classes assigned)

People/Portraits should have a person or group of people as the main subject matter in the image. The image may be a traditional portrait, environmental portrait or variations thereof.

Portrait photography or portraiture is photography of a person or group of people that displays the expression, personality, and mood of the subject. Like other types of portraiture, the focus of the photograph is usually the person's face, although the entire body and the background or context may be included.

An environmental portrait is a portrait executed in the subject's usual environment, such as in their home or workplace, and typically illuminates the subject's life and surroundings.

Digital Category Definitions (each category competes once per season and members are allowed 2 images per category for each competition)

Macro/Closeup photography

Digital Macro/Close Up photography we define as the act of photographing small objects such as flowers or insects, but not limited to those subjects, in close range so the subject you are photographing fills or nearly fills the frame. In other words, it's the act of photographing subjects close up. To keep things simple, we would say that the photographed subject should be no larger than 4”x6”. We would not be strict about this, but the size reference should give you an idea of the range of subject size.

Altered Reality

Images in this category should be photographs that have been digitally altered, either by use of creative camera techniques or in post process using photo-editing software.  The goal is to present photographic subject matter in a way that is unique, appealing and causes the viewer to marvel at the ingenuity of the image.  All elements of the work must be created by the maker.  Clip art is not allowed.  The maker must not violate any copyrights.


A 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.

Multi-Club Competition Categories

The intent is to encourage members to create photographic images that meet the definitions of any of the current-year multi-club competition categories.  See the listing and definition of those categories here:  Multi-Club Competition 2023-2024  Images will be judged upon how well the subject matter meets the multi-club category definitions and also for their artistic and technical merits.

Print Category Definitions (Each category competes three times per season and members are allowed 2 images per category for each competition)

Print Open (single class)

There are no limitations on subject matter or techniques used for image capture or post processing. The images can be color or monochrome. Toned or selective coloring of B&W images are allowed.

Print Black & White (single class)

Black & White images may be toned (shades of color other than black). Selective coloring by computer or otherwise are not allowed.



Note: No more than 6 ribbons will be issued on a competition night per award group. An award group is the group of images that were presented to the judge. Example - Digital Open Class B is an award group.


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