Grand Photos



Why Compete?


Competitions are held to encourage club members to improve their photographic skills by learning to take good (or better) pictures; optimize them, if needed, in programs such as Picasa, Elements, Photoshop, etc.; print and show them with other competitors and club members. Such competition provides a unique challenge for each photographer to put forth his/her best effort. Most competitors find this a positive learning experience and enjoy sharing their photos with an audience composed of others who share their love of photography.


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General Information about Competition


This document provides general guidelines (rules) and specific requirements applicable to all Grand Photos Competitions. Individual competitions may have additional or different guidelines.  Traditionally, Grand Photos holds two Competitions each year, Spring and Fall. Each usually consists of a Print Competition and a Digital Competition. These competitions usually have different Chairmen, are judged separately, and may include different categories and specific rules. For both Spring and Fall competitions, a Grand Photos Competition Show is held at which all images, results and awards are presented.


  • Competitions are open only to paid-up members of Grand Photos.

  • There will be a $1 fee for each image entered in print or digital competition.

  • Competitors may enter a maximum of two (2) entries in any category of print or digital image competition.

  • A maximum of eight (8) print and ten (10) digital images may be entered by each competitor.

  • Every effort will be made to safeguard member entries; however, Grand Photos assumes no responsibility for any misuse of copyright, and will not accept liability for lost or damaged entries.


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In All Fairness


A member may not submit two or more entries bearing marked similarity in the same competition, even if entered in different categories (example: Open and Creative), or in different media (Digital or Print). Please note that markedly similar images remain so even after cropping, color change, or creative alteration. Additionally, if your photograph (or any image bearing marked similarity) has previously won a Grand Photos competition Place award (first, second, or third), it may not be entered into any subsequent Grand Photos competition regardless of media (digital or print) or category. Otherwise, an image may be submitted up to three different times.


An entry may not be a photograph of a painting or another photograph by another artist or photographer (3D objects like buildings or statues or sculptures are permitted - final say on the suitability lies with the competition chairperson. (Note: prior to some competitions there may be insufficient time for the chairperson to carefully review all of the images, therefore the Chairperson may, at times, miss problems that should have lead to an image's disqualification. Issues that are identified after the judging are difficult to handle and may or may not be fixed, the Chairperson will decide on a case by case basis. PLEASE READ THE RULES CAREFULLY AND IF YOUR REALIZE AN ENTRY MAY PRESENT A PROBLEM, INFORM THE CHAIRPERSON BEFORE THE JUDGING. We depend on the integrity and awareness of the competitor to know whether an image meets the requirements and limitations of a specific category.


By virtue of entry, the entrant certifies the work as his/her own, both the photography and any post-processing, and certifies that it is in compliance with the posted Grand Photos competition category definitions and guidelines. All entries must be images that the competitor captured with a digital or film camera or related device. The process may include scanning of prints, negatives, or slides provided the original image was taken by the member. Violation of competition guidelines may result in zero points or ribbons being awarded to this entrant for each category of each media, digital or print. Final judgment about entries meeting Grand Photos Competition guidelines and any penalties is reserved for the Competition Chairpersons and Director. By entering, the entrant also agrees that 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners (when announced and if requested) will supply a digital copy of their print which is no greater than 1400 x 1050 pixels for possible posting on our website and in our newsletter. (Grand Photos already has digital files of the Digital entries. The entrant also agrees that digital images may be posted at reduced resolution.


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General Print Competition Requirements


Print entries will have a single adhesive SCG Competition label attached to the top left corner of the back of the mounting board. This label will be provided and used for both competitor information and scoring during judging.  Labels will be available at the Studio and may be picked up ahead of time, or they may be completed at the Print Turn-in.


Complete each label with the following information clearly printed.


    Entrant's Name (Artist)

    Image title, (the title must be the same as on the entry form. The judges do NOT see titles (unless specifically noted). Please keep them short!

    Entrant's phone number.

    Circle Division (1, 2, or 3) and category being entered, (Nature, Open, Vista or Monochrome)


Please remove or black out any other labels that may be on the back of the mounting board, and be sure no sticky, rough or loose edges remain that can damage another Print. The position of the new label, on the top left corner of the back of the mounting board, will serve to indicate which way the print is to be viewed, so no arrow is required.


Prints must be securely mounted, unframed and un-matted, on a black or white 16 x 20 mounting board (no construction paper). Foam board is permissible in Grand Photos competitions; however, note that some other clubs and competitions do not accept this type of board. The maximum thickness of the mounted image is 1/8”.  Each photo and its SCG Competition label must be firmly attached to the board.


Borders, strokes, frames and the like are allowed in each category but have specific restrictions in the Nature Category.


B&W images may be entered in all Categories.


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General Digital Competition Guidelines


Digital images must be submitted online and paid for online as JPEG (or .jpg files). They must not exceed 1400 pixels in the horizontal direction nor 1050 pixels in the vertical direction, including any borders or strokes, and will be shown to the judges at that resolution. (These dimensions match the pixel dimensions of the computer and screen used to show them to the judges.)


You can reduce the pixel size of your image in Adobe products by clicking: Image; Resize; Image Size. Please insure “Constrain Proportions" and "Resample"; are checked. It is generally recommended that you set "Resample Image" to "Bicubic Sharper" or, if that is not available, to "Bicubic". Change the pixel width to 1400. Check that the resulting pixel height is 1050 or less. If it is more than 1050, change it to 1050 and let the width go below 1400 pixels. The final width should now be 1400 or less and the final height should be 1050 or less. Click OK. (Remember - the width and height maximums are NOT interchangeable.) We do not recommend increasing the pixel dimensions of an image because it may soften or pixelate.


The maximum file size for Digital images is 1.5 MB. If your file size is larger than 1.5 MB, it is a JPEG file and the pixel dimensions are proper then reduce the quality level (reduce the JPG compression below 12 only until the file size is below 1.5 MB).


Submit Digital JPEG image files online using the link to the entry page found on the Grand Photos web site.


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Category Definitions


Categories may vary from one competition to the next. The competition chairperson will define any ‘special’ categories that are included,  and will post the current categories and definitions on the web site before each competition. The Grand Photos Category Definitions may not always be the same as those used by other organizations such as ACCC or PSA or even those used in past Grand Photos competitions.


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Competition Divisions


Grand Photos strives to provide opportunities for members to compete in a peer group with those of similar experience in photography and competition. Anyone new to competition in Grand Photos, even those having experience in photography and/or competitions elsewhere, will initially be listed in Division 1. However, anyone listed in Divisions 1 or 2 always has the option to enter all of their images in the higher Divisions of 2 or 3. Each competitor is still limited to the allowed number of entries per person per category and the total entries per person.  


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Division Transition Points


The issue of competition Divisions is, and will always be, "work in progress".  The goal of this effort is to be sure that members are, to the best of our ability, competing with their peers.


Division 1 - Entry Level - Those with up to 70 points from past Grand Photos competitions.


Division 2 - Intermediate Level - Those with 70 to 150 points from past Grand Photos competitions


Division 3 - Experienced Level - Those with 151 points or higher from past Grand Photos competitions


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Inactive List


Once anyone competes in a Grand Photos competition their points are listed on the "Grand Photos Competition Points and Division" spreadsheet. If they become "Inactive" by not maintaining Grand Photos membership or not entering a GP competition for a period of time (presently 3 years) their name and points are kept on an "inactive" list and restored to the main list with their previous points should they reenter a competition.


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1. Awards will be given based on a minimum number of entries in a category as follows:


    A. There must be a minimum of 4 entries to have a first place.

    B. There must be a minimum of 6 entries to have a second place.

    C. There must be a minimum of 8 entries to have a third place.


If there are less than 4 entries in a specific Category from a Division, those entries will be combined for judging and awards with the next higher (or lower, if necessary) Division entries in that Category. The 1st place winner of such combined categories will be entered in the Best-of- Show competition for the Division most convenient to the judging process. (e.g. the winner of a category combined from the #1 and #2 Division entries may compete for Best-of- Show with the winners of the #2 Division categories, even if that winning entry is from a Division 1 member.


2. Ties will be broken for First, Second, and Third places by the judges.


3. Both Digital and Print entries will have a Best of Show for each Division which will be determined by judging the first place awards from each category. There must be multiple categories in a Division in order to award a Best of Show.


4. Ribbons: Best of Show receives a ribbon. First, Second and Third places receive ribbons (Ties for these awards will be broken during the judging if possible). Honorable Mention (HM) ribbons will be given to entries that were originally tied for Third place, or, if there are less than 8 entries, to ties for the lowest place ribbon awarded. If there are 8 or more entries but no ties for Third place then entries with the next lower score will receive Honorable Mention ribbons.


HM Adjustment*: If there are ties for 3rd place but not enough to provide the following minimum number of HMs based on the number of entries, then HMs will also be awarded to all entries receiving a combined judge's score 1 point below 3rd place.


Entries: Minimum HMs from ties for 3rd


    9 to 18         1


    19 to 29       2


    30 to 41       3


    42 to 54       4


    55 or more   5


Acceptance ribbons will be awarded to entries one point below Honorable Mention. (No acceptance awards will be given in Division 3)


Acceptance Adjustment*: If the above schedule does not award ribbons to at least 25% of the entries in a category, then Acceptance ribbons will also be awarded to the next lower score in 1 and 2 Divisions only.


(*) The HM or Acceptance Adjustment will not be made if their application results in >60% of a category receiving ribbons. No Acceptance awards will be given if the HM awards already result in 50% of a category receiving ribbons.


In the event that these guidelines result in an award distribution that seems inappropriate, the Competition Chairmen and/or Coordinators may use their best judgment and make an adjustment. (Before the Competition Show).


5. Cumulative points in Grand Photos competitions are awarded as follows: BOS = 2, 1st Place = 5, 2nd Place = 4, 3rd Place = 3, HM = 2, Acceptance = 1.


6. Certificates will be awarded to members for the following achievements in Grand Photos competitions:


Moving from Division 1 to Division 2 (currently requires 70 points).


Moving from Division 2 to Division 3 (currently requires 150 points).


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Judging Guidelines


Entries will be judged by a minimum of three qualified judges unless a judge fails to show. In this case, only two judges will be used (a third judge may be selected from attendees for part or all of the Competition if no conflict of interest is seen).


  • Judges will be asked not to discuss the entries unless a tie cannot be broken after several attempts.

  • Each tie breaker print will be placed in the light box.

  • Judges will use a five to nine scoring scale where a score of six is considered average, and seven would indicate that judge believes the image should get an Acceptance or better award.

  • Prints will be judged at a distance of 6 to 7 feet from the judges to the light box. The judge(s) may approach the print for closer observation; however, the  print will remain in the light box. Digital images will be projected on a screen and viewed at an appropriate distance.

  • The print competition and digital competition judges may be different judges and the judging sessions will probably be done in different places or at different times.

  • The print and digital competition judging will be open or closed to Grand Photos members or competitors at the discretion of the Chairman or Coordinator in charge of the session.

  • There should be no audible comments from anyone that might influence or distract the judges.


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Grand Photos is a proud member of the Photographic Society of America (PSA)

All photos are copyrighted by the maker.

Grand Photos is located at Sun City Grand, an active adult community in Surprise, AZ