Competition Guide


Please note changes in the scoring system for the monthly and Photographer of the Year Awards.

Determination of a Member’s Category

A ‘Beginner‘ is a member who is new to photography and not having been in another club.
This status will normally have a maximum duration of 2 years.

Members will first opt for the category they think is most appropriate with the agreement of the Competition Secretary or deputy.  In the event of disagreement the Committee will arbitrate. New or recently joined member’s category will be reviewed in their first few years.

An ‘Experienced‘ member will be determined by the knowledge and skill demonstrated by the member’s work or experience, for example the receipt of awards, regular high scores in competitions or external events.

Judges’ scoring will be given as objectively as possible, irrespective of the category of the member.  The judge should then provide feedback depending on the member’s category.

Please note that the Set Subjects are chosen each year by the Committee from members’ suggestions and agreed at the AGMs.

Eligibility of Entries

Only members who have paid their annual membership subscription will be eligible to enter any of the club competitions.

The same image may not be entered in any competition as both a Print and Projected Image.

Entries that have been awarded 17 points (see scoring below) or more are not eligible for entry in any subsequent Monthly competition, but may be entered, as appropriate, in Annual Print, Projected Image or Portfolio competitions whether Monochrome or Colour.

All images entered must be the author’s own work.

Standard Presentation of Prints, Slides & Digital Files

The Judge and the Competition Secretary will not have seen your image before and may not understand what it represents unless it is properly labelled and titled.

Each Print or Slide entry must be marked with the Title only.
On submission all entries will be registered against your Membership Number by the Competition Secretary advising your category Beginner or Experienced in order that your work may be given feedback against the appropriate category by the judge.

DO NOT put your name on any Print, or Slide entry.
Remove author, your name, from the PI metadata along with camera details.


In the case of Prints along with the competition name, e.g. Stephens Brae, your Title only must be recorded on the back, bottom left preferred.
Labels are available which you are asked to use for prints.

Clearly indicate on the back of Prints which is the top where this is not obvious.

Members are asked to mount and package both Prints and Slides carefully to minimise any risk of damage during handling and transit.

Prints should be mounted complete with a backing card to reduce risk of damage.

When mounting Prints please avoid using cheap or low tack decorator’s masking tape which can easily peel off and damage other members’ entries.

The maximum Print size is 20” x 16” (50cm x 40cm approx.) including mount (except Portfolio Competition which are limited to A4 size).

Prints exceeding these dimensions will not fit in the print boxes for delivery to the Judge and will be excluded from entry.

This, 2023-2024, year the club is making extra effort to encourage members to present printed material.
Information will be posted to members by e-mail about additions evenings and what resources are being made ort encourage prints being made.


The club is in transition about slides whether to still accept these since finding a judge is problematic.

Only 35mm Slides may be entered.  Slides may be masked or ‘cropped’ to improve composition.  When marking with your entry details, DO NOTiccduck use ‘Sellotape’, peelable labels or labels with poor or old adhesive.  These may detach themselves and jam in the projector, which can result in costly repairs.

Remember to “spot” your Slide properly – viewing from the correct side with the slide the right way up, the spot should be in the bottom left corner.  When placed in the projector it will look like this image.

     Digital Images      

Digital files will only be accepted via e-mail, pen drive or on CD.
They must be submitted with the following details:
member number, image title and, if appropriate, the trophy name.

e-mail entries to

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

On submission include your member number in the subject field and enter the number of images attached in the body of the message.

Images must be saved as maximum quality JPEGs and be in sRGB colour space. The maximum permissible file dimension is 1400 x 1050 pixels, i.e. landscape images must be no more than 1400 pixels wide and portrait images no more than 1050 pixels high.

Maximum size for square images is 1050 x 1050 pixels.

Entries should be submitted using the following format: member number and image title, e.g. 19 Sunset Scene.

If no confirmation e-mail is received your e-mailed entries have not been delivered.  In this event, contact the Competition Secretary within 1 day after the end of the hand-in date.

For CD and Pen Drive entries image files should be saved in a folder with your member number.

These are standard rules that apply for all monthly competitions but there are variations for Annual and Portfolio Competitions.
Any differences are detailed in the relevant competition section.

Monochrome Print Definition

For Monochrome, our Club applies the following extract from the SPF rules:

‘ A Monochrome work fitting from a very dark grey (black) to the very clear grey (white) is a monochrome work with various shades of grey.

A Monochrome work toned entirely in a single colour will remain a monochrome work able to stand in the black and white category.’


Competitions provide the opportunity to demonstrate their strengths through the Open class and provide an opportunity help members develop their abilities through tackling the Set Subjects.
The titles of the Set Subjects may be interpreted quite broadly to encourage imagination as well as participation.

Usually the Month 3, this year 13/12/2023 Set Subject was “Patterns” with hand-in night 22/11/2023.

Annual Set Subject is “Water” on 13/3/2024 with the hand-in 21/2/2023.

Images may be produced in the computer or darkroom.
No distinction is made between trade, digital and traditionally produced work and the same standards should apply, whichever way they have been produced.

Monthly Competitions

Each month there are 4 separate trophies to be won over the year for Colour Prints, Monochrome PrintsColour Projected Images (PIs) and Monochrome PIs.

The Club Web Programme contains information on the dates of each competition together with the hand-in dates (printed in bold against the date).

The SPF requires clubs to have competition material to judges 2 weeks before the competition night which means that the hand-in night is 3 weeks before the competition.

Judges Remarks

The emphasis should be on encouragement as well as advice on improving technique and composition – especially for Beginners as we are particularly keen to encourage our newer members to participate in these competitions.  We usually have SPF judges who ought comply with their criteria, especially for our Annual competitions.

The titles of Set Subjects may be interpreted quite broadly to encourage imagination as well as participation, bearing in mind that the judge’s decision may be different from yours.


The SPF advise judges to follow local club scoring rules.

Marks can be awarded for composition, technical competence and presentation.
Please note slight changes to the scoring system this year.

The judges have been asked to make the following awards for each of the monthly competitions.

First, only one top image
, with up to 2 images with equal result.
Third, with up to 3 images with equal result.
Highly Commended (HC) and Commended (C) as many as they deem fit.

For scoring the accumulation score for the Photographer of the Year points will be awarded as follow:

First gets 20 points.

Those who images have been judged 2nd awarded 19 points.

Those who images have been judged 3rd awarded 18 points.

Those who images have been judged as HC awarded 17 points.

Those who images have been judged as C awarded 16 points

All other entries awarded 15 points.

All 4 monthly scores go towards Monthly Competition Trophies with 1 image per section per month.

Award of Monthly Competition Trophies

Each Member is invited to enter a maximum of 1 image in each of the four Monthly Competitions, viz.

           MacLeod Quaich         Colour                        Print

           Stephens Brae             Monochrome             Print

           Harvey Shield              Colour                        Projected Image

           Culloden Cup               Monochrome             Projected Image

In each of these four sections the marks awarded to each entry are totalled over the 4 monthly competitions.

A possible maximum score for each trophy 80 points i.e. 4 x 20.

At the end of the year trophies are awarded to members, That member, Beginner or Experienced, who have achieved the highest points score in each section.

The Competition Secretary will produce cumulative scores following each competition.


Award of the
 Ernest J Cooke Cup 
‘Photographer of the Year’

The marks awarded to each author’s scoring entries from the Colour Prints, Monochrome Prints, Colour PIs and Monochrome PIs are accumulated each month and the highest overall scores gives the annual total.
a possible maximum score for the year of 4 x 4 x 20 = 320 points.

The member with the highest points score out of 320 points will be awarded this trophy.

The Competition Secretary will produce cumulative scores following each monthly competition.

Portfolio Competition

Prints and Projected Images entered in Monthly competitions may also be entered in the Portfolios.
This includes entries awarded a score of 17 or more.
(i.e. those month – 1st, 2nd, 3rd and HC awards)

The Portfolio competitions are open to Beginners and Experienced members who may enter a portfolio of 4 to 6 Prints and or 4 to 6 Projected Images (either slides or digital files but not a mixture of both) on a subject of their own choice, i.e these are OPEN subjects portfolios.

           Elena Mae Cup 

Prints may be any size up to a maximum of A4,
(297mm x 210mm), (11.69” x 8.27” approx).
All prints, however, MUST be presented on individual up to A4 mounts and include a hanging diagram to be eligible for entry.

The size is, again, under review and a decision will be made by the end of November for the January hand-in for the February competition.

           June Trevail Quaich 

In the case of Projected Images, they should be numbered in the order in which they are to be projected.

All portfolios MUST be given a theme name.
Individual images should be numbered, but not titled.
If entering via e-mail enter the portfolio theme name in the subject field of the e-mail as well as your member number.
Other than print sizes, the Standard Presentation Rules apply.

Annual Competitions

Prints and Projected Images entered in Monthly competitions may also be entered in the Annuals.
This includes entries awarded a score of 17 or more. 

Members may enter a maximum of 2 images for each competition.

Standard presentation rules apply.

Beginners’ entries will be eligible for the Beginners’ best:
Campbell Cup:
Presented to the winner of the best beginners’ Annual Open Monochrome or Colour Print or PI

Highland Shield:
Presented to the winner of the best beginners’ Annual Open Monochrome or Colour PI.
(digital [slide to be determined whether these can be accepted as finding a judge is problematic]).


Projected Images may be entered as slides or digital files. 

Standard competition rules apply with the following exceptions:
Prints or slides must also be marked with the name of the trophy being competed for.
e.g. Tyrell Cup.

For digital Projected Images entries please send one e-mail per competition entered and include the trophy name
e.g. Tyrell Cup in the subject field as well as your member number.

Ideally digital files be e-mails as detailed above.
A pen drive (USB) or CD can be used for all competitions entered in these Annual (digital) competitions, provided that all entries are placed in separate folders. The name of the folder should be the name of the trophy competition the photographs are to be entered into, e.g. Tyrell Cup.
Each individual photograph should have your member number followed by title as the file name e.g. Beautiful Scene

Slides should be marked with trophy name.

Should any competition be poorly supported no trophy will be awarded if the top image is not of a sufficiently high standard.


Annual Set Subject 

Print Awards

Fleming Cup – Colour

Holm Cup – Monochrome

Projected Image Awards (digital only tbc)

Essich Cup – Colour

MacDonald Cup – Monochrome

The 13/3/2024 hand-in for the for these trophies.
The set subject for this year is “Water“.


Annual Open Awards

Print Awards

Ness Cup – Colour

Nairn Cup – Monochrome

Projected Image Awards (digital only tbc)

Tyrell Cup
– Colour

Culduthel Cup – Monochrome

Details of all trophies, hand-in dates, competition dates with judges are usually given in the competition booklet issued on renewal or applications to the club; for now see Competition Diary