The following is a guide for preparing images for RCC club competition. It addresses the steps needed to take the final processed image and make it ready for entry into competition through to entering images into the club competition program, Photo Contest Pro - PCP. If you have questions regarding any aspect of this process, be sure to ask - either your RCC Mentor, an EC member or anyone who regularly competes in the RCC Competitions
Composition considerations - compelling subject, leading lines, watch for distracting elements especially backgrounds, edges and corners, subject should occupy a major part of the visual space and the composition should lead the eye to the subject.
Exposure considerations - is the image well exposed; are highlight and shadow detail present. Does the exposure on the main subject lead the viewer’s eye to the subject.
There are dozens of books and websites that discuss which elements make for a strong image. Here are links to just a few: The Secret: What Makes a Great Photo , 5 Elements of Composition in Photography,
Pictorial - Anything goes - no restrictions on subject matter
Nature - No "hand of man" present in the image (fences, cultivated plants, etc.) See #10 below for additional guidelines for Nature images
Assigned Subject - Subjects are chosen annually and may include 2-3 different Assigned Subject competitions in a season. See RCC website for the current season's Assigned Subject definitions.
Print - Two categories, Color and Monochrome. Images may be printed commercially or by the maker. Prints must be mounted on poster board for judging (board must be between 8" x10" and no larger than 16" x 20"). Print size is the discretion of the photographer. A print number needs to be assigned in advance and affixed to the back of the mounted prints. RCC Print Chairperson assigns numbers and provides labels. Digital version of the print must also be submitted through PCP (Photo Contest Pro). Print Chairperson will provide additional help/explanation as needed.
See Rules of Competition, #4 below, for additional explanation of categories.
Photo Contest Pro (PCP) is the software platform that we use for digital competitions. It is web-based and allows a member to upload images for a specific competition date, category and class.
First time participants will need to become authorized to enter images into Photo Contest Pro. To do so, send an email with your name (your first and last name exactly as shown on the Membership List page) your desired password and the email address you registered with RCC to the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. You may change your password once you are authorized in PCP.
Once a member is authorized to access PCP and is ready to enter a competition, they prepare their image(s) for uploading (see #7 below for details on uploading to PCP).
Here is a link to a Quick Start Guide to Competition Rules
Detailed rules and definitions can be found at this link.
Questions with interpreting any aspect of the rules can be answered by your Mentor, a Competition chairperson or any member of the RCC Executive Committee. Don't be shy about asking - some of this can be a bit confusing at first but will become second nature in no time.
Once you have chosen your images and processed them for final presentation and before uploading to PCP you'll need to resize them and change the color space to SRGB so the projector displays the colors properly. You may also want to put a white border around the images to make them stand out against a black background.
Resizing the image, changing the color space and save as a .jpg file:
The easiest way to resize the image in Photoshop is go to File > Automate > Fit Image and enter 768 in both height and width. OK.
To change the color space to sRGB : Select Edit > Convert to Profile. If it isn't already sRGB, choose it for the Destination Space > OK.
Putting a white border around the image - There are several ways of doing this using Photoshop/Photoshop Elements or various plug-ins that have a frame or border option. This example uses Photoshop CC:
Open the image (that has already been resized and been assigned the sRBG color space) in PS/PSE either directly or through Lightroom. From the Top Menu choose Select > All. The entire image will show as a selection.
Then select Edit > Strokeand choose 1 pixel, Color White; Location Inside (do not choose Outside)
Now you're done. You've resized the image, changed the color space and added a white border. Now just save the new image for uploading to PCP for the Competition. File > Save As and choose Save As Type.jpg
If you have Adobe Lightroom, the process of resizing and changing color space is much easier. You can resize, change color space and save as jpg all from the Lightroom Export screen. You can even create a preset so for future competitions it's just one click. Unfortunately, Lightroom doesn't have the ability to add a small white border.
These are the steps for resizing and changing the color space using Adobe Lightroom:
Export Location: Desktop (or where ever you choose)
File Settings: Image Format JPEG; Color Space sRGB
Image Sizing: Resize to Fit Long Edge 768 pixels.
Then click Export. It will save the new image on your desktop (or where ever you have determined) ready to upload to PCP.
If you are a Lightroom user and want to add the white border in Photoshop, the suggested workflow would be:
Process your image for final presentation in Lightroom (LR).
In LR, select Photo > Edit In > Photoshop (will probably be the first choice listed as LR knows if you have Photoshop installed). The image will open in Photoshop (PS).
First resize the image in PS as noted above. (File > Automate > Fit Image).
Add the white border in PS as noted above. (Select All > Edit > Stroke).
Save the image in PS (not Save As) and it will come back into LR as a .psd file with a -Edit appended to the file name (example: Filename-Edit.psd) already resized to 768 and with the white border.
Once back in LR take the new .psd file and follow the LR steps above for exporting as a .jpg file with the sRGB colorspace.
Now you're done. you've resized the image, changed the color space and saved the image. It's now ready for uploading to PCP for the Competition.
Click on this Photo Contest Pro link or go to the RCC website and then go to Club Compeititon>Enter Images and log in using your email address, password and Ridgewood Camera Club as your Organization
From the top menu go to Submit Images and then select Method 1, the preferred method. If this method does not work you may have a problem with Microsoft’s Silverlight, especially if you are a MAC user. If this happens you can use Method 2.
Select the Contest and Class for the competition you want to enter.
Use the New Picture button and navigate to where your prepared image is and select it.
Enter the Picture Title of the Image
Then click on Save Picture and Info
Wait until the file is uploaded and then check your entry in the Your Pictures panel in the center.
Enter all your images for the competition (maximum of 2 images per digital competition, 3 images BW & Color for print competitions) and you are finished.
All images must be submitted by the Sunday prior to the competition date.
All files for all competitions must be received by the Sunday prior to the competition. Please adhere to the schedule and give yourself enough time to get your images in by the deadline. Circumstances outside of our control can cause you problems if you wait until the deadline is close.
If you are not using a color and luminance calibrated monitor to preview your image there is a possibility that the projected color and brightness of your images in competition may not be to your expectation. (The lawyers made me write this.)
Below are the explicit rules from the RCC website related to Nature competitions. If you are unsure about an image - whether is qualifies as Nature or which Division to submit it in - you should ask the Nature Competition chair or an EC Member.
"Nature photography is restricted to the use of the photographic process to depict observations from 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 to certify as to its honest presentation. Human elements shall not be present, except on the rare occasion where those human elements enhance the nature story. The presence of scientific bands on wild animals is acceptable. Photographs of artificially produced hybrid plants or animals, mounted specimens, or obviously set arrangements, are ineligible. Any adjustments shall appear natural. Scenics, zoo shots and game farm shots are acceptable. Color images may be converted to grayscale monotone. Infrared images are not allowed".
Since this category may have some ambiguous interpretations, we've given a simplified bullet point guideline below it.
No human element or "hand of man" present in the image. This might include a bridge, fence, lighthouse, boat, etc. in a scenic/landscape image.
Human elements would also include cultivated flowers such as roses, decorative and cut flowers or crops.
Zoo animals or banded animals in the wild are acceptable.
Images entered in the wrong Division (i.e. Landscape in the Botanical Division) will be disqualified.
Any form of image manipulation that misrepresents the true situation or that alters the content of the image is not permitted. Minor cloning to remove small incidental distractions in the image is permitted if the cloning operation is undetectable by the judge. Image adjustments must appear natural - cropping, dodging, burning, etc. Obvious processing such as special effects, over-processed HDR, compositing will be disqualified.
Grayscale conversion from color is allowed, infrared images are not.
NATURE COMPETITIONS - Nature images are judged in four divisions; General, Botanical, Ornithological or Zoological. An image that is entered in
the wrong division will be disqualified. Definitions of divisions are as follows:
(a) ZOOLOGICAL: Images of animals, insects, spiders, fish, reptiles, amphibians, eggs, etc. The presence of scientific bands on wild animals is acceptable. Domesticated animals such as dogs, cats, sheep, cows etc. are specifically excluded.
(b) ORNITHOLOGICAL: Images of birds.
(c) BOTANICAL: Images of plant life - wildflowers, ferns, mushrooms, lichen,
seed pods, tree buds, leaves, etc. Cultivated plants and flowers are specifically excluded.
(d) GENERAL: Images of landscapes, seascapes, rock formations, tide pools (for RCC members in B Class, all Nature images will be entered in this Class (new for 2014/2015).
Since entries in RCC Nature competitions are often also entered in competitions sponsored by the New Jersey Federation of Camera clubs, the competitor should be acquainted with the Federation’s Nature rules, which
differ from RCC's. For the Federation’s rules, see NJFCC Website PSA nature rules are also different. For the PSA rules, see the PSA Website