Competition Rules

Eligibility to enter

Only financial members of the Williamstown Camera Club can participate in competitions. All financial members will be assigned a Williamstown Camera Club Competition Number.

Policy on AI and Digital Tool Usage in Photographic Competitions

In the spirit of fostering originality and celebrating the individual creativity of our members, no main part of an image may be created using an AI tool. This includes primary subjects, background items, or any composited elements. Advanced AI tools, such as Dalle and Midjourney, are strictly prohibited for generating or creating any part of an image for the purpose of competition entries. However, AI tools within editing applications, such as Photoshop, that assist in tasks like selecting, masking, and healing, are permissible. Tools that replace elements, such as the sky, may be used, but the replacement image must be the photographer's own work; AI-generated or stock images are not allowed. This policy maintains the competition's integrity while allowing members to harness modern post-processing techniques to refine their submissions.

Number of competitions

Typically, there are seven Club Competitions per year: six Competition Rounds, and an End of Year Competition

The club may also be invited and elect to participate in multiple inter-club competitions throughout the year. At last revision our club participates in three inter-club competitions: Knox Monochrome Inter-club, Camberwell Inter-club, and the VAPS Annual Competition.


Members of Williamstown Camera Club participate in competitions in grades. We run two grades at Williamstown Camera Club:

  • A-Grade: for advanced photographers, and 
  • B-Grade: for members learning and refining their photography skills.

New members to the club will automatically be placed in B-Grade unless they elect to submit images for grading to qualify for A-Grade, this must be done prior to entering their first competition.

New members wishing to be graded for A-Grade competitions must submit a minimum of 6 images taken within the last 12 months for grading. The Competitions Subcommittee will assess the images and report back to the member their decision.

For all members, grading will be reviewed annually at the completion of the competition season and movement between grades for the following year will be communicated to the members.  In regrading members, the Competitions Subcommittee will take into account the member’s performance throughout the year and any new skills and experience shown.

Throughout the year members participate within their grade. Movement between grades during the year is not permitted.

Club Competition Categories

Each competition round is made up of a Set Subject and an Open category in the two grades across two formats; Print and Digital.

Set Subject

Six Set Subject categories are nominated and defined by the Committee prior to the start of each year. All images entered in this category must satisfy the definition of the Set Subject as provided. The definition will be provided to the judges, however, the Club has no control over the judge’s interpretation, acceptance, or non-acceptance of the definition. The subjects and definitions are outlined on our main Competitions page on the website.


In addition to the set subject category for each round there is an Open category.

The Open category enables the member to submit an image of their choosing with no requirement to adhere to a theme; though it must comply with the technical specifications detailed below.


Photographs may be entered in two formats: Print and Digital.


There are no restrictions regarding the width to height ratio of printed works provided they meet the specifications detailed below.

Print Specifications

  • All work must be mounted.
  • Minimum size: 15 cm x 10 cm excluding the mount.
  • Maximum size: 40 cm x 50 cm including the mount.
  • Maximum thickness is 5mm and includes: mount, matte and print.
    • 5mm foam core backing is banned from 2019.
      If you are wanting to use foam core backing, you may use 3mm foam core backing which is readily available. Total thickness of 3mm foam core and 1mm mat board will be about 4mm.
  • All prints must be labeled as follows:
    • Name of the club.
    • Category (Set Subject title, or Open).
    • Title of the image.
    • Member’s grade and competition number (e.g. A021).
    • Label must be placed in the upper left corner of the rear of the print.
    • An arrow must be on the back of the print indicating the top of the photo so there can be no confusion as to which way the image should be viewed.
  • A digital copy of each printed entry must also be provided adhering to the Digital entry requirements below. Failure to provide a digital copy will result in your printed image being removed from the entry pool.

Prints must be mounted correctly so that the mat board does not separate from the print or foam backing board. If you use double sided tape it must be 20mm wide and completely tapes around all four sides. Good quality masking tape (not painters masking tape) is available from any hardware store.  Framing tape is preferable for attaching the print along the whole top edge to the mat board.

Prints should not be wrapped in cellophane as it has to be removed for judging and therefore creates extra handling and work for the competition steward.

Prints that have backing thicker than 3mm, or start to fall apart because they are not mounted correctly, will be withdrawn from the judging and exhibition.


Also known as EDI (Electronic Digital Image), DPI (Digital Projected Image), the digital format is an electronic format. Images may be created with a digital camera, created with a conventional film camera and scanned into electronic format, or may be created by use of a scanner.

Your digital entries must adhere to the following specifications:

Digital Specifications

  • JPEG format (file extension .jpg).
  • RGB Colour Profile - this is pretty standard, and is how it comes out of your camera.
  • A maximum file size of 10MB.
  • Named in five (5) segments as follows:
    • Grade: A or B
    • Competition number three digits with leading zeros, as required, followed by an underscore: 021_
    • Category followed by an underscore: Open_ or Set_
    • Image title, with words separated by underscores: Wave_Pool_High_Tide
    • File extension .jpg
    • Resulting in: A021_Set_Digital_Wave_Pool_High_Tide.jpg

Note: For all competitions your digital images will be resized to fit within the dimensions of 1920 pixels wide x 1080 pixels high before transmission to the judges. This is a ‘fits within’ resize rather than a ‘long edge’, meaning a portrait image will be sized to a maximum height of 1080 pixels rather than a long edge height of 1920 pixels high.

Entry Submissions

Entries are due as per the closing date set out on the Competitions main page, these will always coincide with a club meeting.

Print entries are to be placed in the entries box at the meeting on the due date.

Digital entries and digital copies of Print entries must be emailed to the Competition Steward ( no later than 11:59pm on the closing date.

Once submitted, images cannot be replaced. Entries that fail to meet the specifications above will be removed from the entry pool.

Competition Round Entries

A maximum of four entries are permitted per round. One image in each of the four available category and format combinations:

  • 1 x Set Subject Print
  • 1 x Set Subject Digital
  • 1 x Open Print
  • 1 x Open Digital

Note: An entry that has previously placed (1st, 2nd, 3rd) in any round, including in previous years, may not be reentered into subsequent competitions rounds, but are more than welcome in the End of Year Competition (for the year originally entered) and any Inter-club competition for which it meets the criteria of entry.

End of Year: Image of the Year Entries

End of Year entries must have been entered in one of the six competition rounds throughout the year. It’s not necessary for entries to have gained a place to be eligible for entry.

Images may be reworked for submission. Images must be supplied with the same file name and the same format as previously entered so we can confirm the image has been entered previously.

A maximum of four entries are permitted:

  • 2 x Print
  • 2 x Digital

Judging and Scoring Club Competitions

After the closing date, images will be forwarded electronically and delivered physically to independent VAPS judge/s for assessment, scoring, and critique.

In judging our images the judges will assess based on the following criteria:

  • Technical skill: Focus, exposure, depth of field etc
  • Aesthetic & Artistic Ability: Point of interest, balance, colour, leading lines
  • Concept & Subject: What holds the viewers interest and stands out? The ability to elicit an emotional response from the viewer.

See What Judges Look For? for more detail.

Competition Rounds

The judge will attend a club meeting as per the schedule and present their critique to members having already assessed and scored the work prior to attendance.


A Score out of 15 will be given for all images in the A and B Grades, in each Category, for each format.

As a guide to the scores consider the following table

Score Explaination
14-15 Exceptional image technically and compositionally in concept and originality.
12-13 An image above average quality in concept, composition and technique, with no major technical faults.
10-11 A basically sound image in concept, composition and technique, but lacks the impact of the above categories.
8-9 Significant deficiencies in technique, composition, and subject selection.
7 Does not meet the rules of entry.


In addition to the score, the Judge will award Placings of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. The judge may also award Highly Commended awards to entries they feel deserve it. All placings may, at the judges discretion, have multiple winners.

Note: Scores and Placings are independent. A score of 15 – 1st place, 14 – 2nd place and so on. There may be multiple scores of 15 given, with the judge determining the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd placings. E.g. We may have two images scoring 15, and three images scoring 14. From the 15s the judge will determine the 1st and 2nd place and will decide a 3rd place from those scoring 14. As stated above they may also decide to award multiple placings if they so choose.

End of Year Competition: Print and Digital Images of the Year

A panel of three or more judges from another camera club will assess the images presented. The panel may elect to attend our End of Year Awards night to present their assessment and awards.

There are only one award per grade per format:  

  • 1 x Digital Image of the Year - A Grade
  • 1 x Print Image of the Year - A Grade
  • 1 x Digital Image of the Year - B Grade
  • 1 x Print Image of the Year - B Grade


Competition Rounds

1 st, 2nd, and 3rd placings as well as images deemed “highly commended” by the judge (at their discretion) will be announced on the night of judging in each format and category combination for your grade. A Williamstown Camera Club certificate of recognition will be issued at the time.

Images receiving an award during the year may not be entered again in in subsequent competitions.

In addition to the placings, all entries will receive the following points towards our aggregate end of year awards:

Note: Entering into all 4 available categories in each competition round will see you awarded a minimum of 24 points toward the end of year aggregate awards: 6 comps x 4 format category combinations x 1 point for entry in each = 24 points.

End of Year Awards

At the end of the year we celebrate the year that was with the following awards:

Aggregate awards

The aggregate awards are based on the combined points from the 6 club competition rounds throughout the year. Points for Set Subject and Open categories are combined to provide a total for Print and Digital aggregates.

Trophies are awarded for:

  • Grade-A Aggregate Print Category award: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.
  • Grade-A Aggregate Digital Category award: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd
  • Grade-B Aggregate Print Category award: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.
  • Grade-B Aggregate Digital Category award: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.

In the event of multiple 1 st or 2nd places, 3rd places will be awarded at the discretion of the committee based on a score count back.

Print of the Year and Digital of the Year

Trophies are awarded to the Print Image of the Year and Digital Image of the Year in both Grades A and B. There can only be a single winner per format and grade combination:

  • Grade-A Print Image of the Year
  • Grade-A Digital Image of the Year
  • Grade-B Print Image of the Year
  • Grade-B Digital Image of the Year

In addition to a trophy, the winners of the Print and Digital images of the year will have their names added to our perpetual shields.

Inter-club Competitions

The inter-club competitions we compete in from time to time will be governed by their own rules and specifications. For the large part they maintain the same specifications as above as we are all guided by the VAPS competition rules and specifications. Where these rules differ they will be conveyed to the members by the Competition Steward when entries are requested.

Often times the number of images we are able to submit for inter-club competitions are restricted, entries by members may go through a selection process by the Committee or the Competitions Subcommittee. Members will be notified of the final submission when these have been made.

Maker’s Own Work

All images must be the maker’s own work and the entrant must be the sole copyright holder of the work. Images may be enhanced or manipulated using dark room or software editing techniques, however, the entire work must constitute the maker’s own work.

Right to display

By entering any of the Williamstown Camera Club competitions, the entrant is granting Williamstown Camera Club a non-exclusive right to present their work across all mediums in perpetuity. This includes using images for display on the Williamstown Camera Club website (, and other domains) and for the purposes of entering inter-club competitions and for club promotion across all media.

At all times maker retains copyright of their image and, where possible, the maker will receive attribution for their work.

Shoot with Intent

While not expressly a “rule”, the Williamstown Camera Club encourages members to make their images for the competition theme, rather than go through their archives and find images that fit the theme. 

We understand if you have an amazing photo from a trip taken years ago, or an aged image you wish to rework for the competition, we welcome those images, however, wish to convey the intention of competitions at Williamstown Camera Club is for members to make new images and expand their skills through the experience of doing so.

What Judges Look For?

Technical Skills Aesthetic & Artistic Ability Concept & Subject
Sharpness & blur Impact Choice of subject
Aperture & depth of field (DOF) Focal point Relevance & audience
Shutter speed & camera shake Distractions Set subject & definitions
ISO / grain Aesthetics Planning
White balance & colour casts Art elements: 
  • Line
  • Tone
  • Colour
  • Texture
  • Shape
  • Space
Gear & lens choice Unique perspective
Exposure Purpose / intent / meaning
Details in shadows / highlights Design principles:
  • Balance
  • Emphasis
  • Contrast
  • Movement
  • Rhythm
  • Pattern
  • Repetition
  • Unity
  • Variety
  • Proportion
  • Scale
Lighting Influences & inspiration
Time of day Mood & emotion
Editing Art Concepts Story telling
Printing & mounting Composition & Cropping Unity & cohesion
Timing Camera angle & perspective Creativity (pre & post production)


Workshop: Flash Theory and Practical - Not Studio Flash

We're going to be working with standard flash units. On and off the camera. We'll look at the pros and cons of the many different ways to use your flash in photography for portraiture work and for lighting macro photos.

We will also following this up with a practical day on the weekend to practise using our flash outdoors.

Entries due for competition 4: "Red" and Open

Walker Close Community Centre
25th June 2024 7:30 pm
Presentation: Negative Space in Photography & Landscapes Part 2

James will join us via Zoom and take us through the concept of Negative space in photography can how it can be used to create an emotional response to your images or to focus on a singular subject.

Following this we will have part 2 of the landscape presentation by Neil and Ian Street.

Walker Close Community Centre
9th July 2024 7:30 pm

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