Competition Rules and Merit Award System


1.1 In this document, “Digital image file” or “digital file” or, simply, “digital” refers to a computer file containing a digital image. Digital files yield projected images. “Print” is an image residing on a tangible and opaque material, transferred there by either traditional wet darkroom technology or digital print technology.

1.2 Competitions in digital files and prints (monochrome and color) will be held each month except July and August. Digital and Print competitions will normally be held on the third Wednesday of the month. Image shows will normally be held on the last Wednesday of the months of October and January-April; if cancelled, members will be notified in advance through Syrcam.

1.3 The copyright of a digital image file copied to the Syracuse Camera Club (hereafter SCC) computer remains with the creator of the image. Permission to copy a digital image file to the SCC computer grants the SCC no rights other than the right to display the image in an SCC competition or Image Show, and then only at the request of the image’s creator.


2.1 There are three Divisions: Digital, Prints, and Image Shows.

2.2 The Digital and Prints Divisions each have three Classes: Entry, Advanced, and Master. The Image Show Division consists of a single unnamed class.

2.3 Definition of Competition Classes

Entry Class

Appropriate for photographers with limited photographic skill and experience
Provides an opportunity for new members to find their comfort zone within SCC competitions
Provides an entrance for members who might be new to competition

Advanced Class

Appropriate for photographers with advanced skill and experience who want to compete at a higher level
Provides a competitive class for consistent winners at the Entry Class to move into
Judging standards for the Advanced Class are higher than for the Entry Class

Master Class

Appropriate for photographers with a very high degree of photographic skill
and experience who seek the highest level of competition
Provides a competitive class for consistent winners at the Advanced Level to move into
Judging standards for the Master Level are at the highest level, encompassing both artistic and technical merit

Based on these guidelines, members choose the class in which to enter their images based on their ability and on their desire for a particular level of competition. Wherever the member enters at the beginning of the year is where he/she will remain for the entire competition year.

When a member in the Entry Class achieves the 150 point “Photographer” milestone award, that member will automatically be promoted to the Advanced Class the following year.


The competition year for the purpose of determining annual competition awards and merit point award winners will start with the September competition and end with the June competition the following year.


4.1 Competitions are open to all subject matter except when a specific theme has been designated beforehand by the membership, the only other restriction being that of good taste.

4.2 Each member may submit 3 topics for subjects for 3 special themed competitions during the following year. From this list, the top 3 subjects will be selected after each member casts up to 3 votes. No special topic may be repeated over a 3-year period.

4.3 Prints and digital images that have placed first, second, third or honorable mention in any class of any division may not be entered again. However, prints and digital images that have placed first, second, third or honorable mention in any class of any division can be included as part of an Image Show.

4.4 Members may submit up to 2 images in a competition. A member could enter 2 prints, or 2 digital images, or 1 print and 1 digital image. Members are encouraged to compete in both divisions as they wish.

4.5 All entries must be the member’s own work. Members must also fill in the print or digital sign-up sheet for the class they are entering for that competition year (see below).

4.6 Good Sportsmanship: Competitions are for the instruction and entertainment of the membership, and good sportsmanship is expected. It is considered unsporting to enter digital files or prints which represent slight modifications in subject matter, or mounting or cropping of photographs which have won in previous contests. In the interest of good sportsmanship, a print and a digital image of the identical photograph should not be entered into competition.

4.7 Once the meeting on the night of the competition has started, latecomers cannot enter into the competition.

4.8 Digital files, prints, and Image Shows must be entirely the work of the member except where specifically allowed otherwise in these

4.9 Digital files and prints which won in competition during the year cannot be changed in any way for year-end judging.

4.10 In any one competition, the number of awards to be given is as follows.

Class entry total (Awards)
4 to 5 (1) – 1st
6 to 8 (2) – 1st and 2nd
9 to 12 (3) – 1st, 2nd, and 3rd
13 to 19 (4) – 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 1 HM
20 to 23 (5) – 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 2 HMs
24 to 29 (6) – 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 3 HMs
30 to 35 (7) – 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4 HMs
36 to 39 (8) – 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5 HMs

When there are less entries than the minimum, the member may either (a) move to the next highest level for that competition only or (b) withdraw his/her image and be given 1 point for entering. The higher level points would be awarded should the image win. Should the image win in the higher level it must be entered in the year-end competition in the member’s regular (lower) class.

4.11 (rescinded)

4.12 Should a winning entry be found to be in violation of these regulations after competition has completed, that award will be vacated without affecting the remaining awards. The scoring chairperson will report the violation to the Division chairperson and the President whom shall consent to the vacated award.


5.1 For the sake of color accuracy and image quality, it is recommended that entries in the digital projected image competitions be in the sRGB color space. No attempt will be made, however, to exclude entries not in the sRGB color space.

5.2 Image files may be submitted through the online website set up for this purpose, or brought to the competition on a USB drive formatted for FAT or FAT32. Members must also fill in the digital sign-up sheet for each entry. The name of the digital file should be the same as the title entered on the sign-up sheet.

5.3 Image files should be resized to fit within 1920px wide by 1200px high for best projection.


6.1 All three print classes allow both film and digital cameras. It does not matter how the print was made: it could be derived from a slide, film negative, or digital image file.

6.2 Prints may be either color or monochromatic and, if the latter, they may be hand colored, tinted, or toned.

6.3 Prints must be securely mounted on matte board or foam core not smaller than 8 x 10 inches or larger than 16 x 20 inches. They may be any size up to 16 x 20 inches and not smaller than 5 x 7 inches. Prints may not be framed.

6.4 All print entries must bear the competition class, the title, and the member’s name clearly marked on the back of the print. Each print must be positively identified and upright position indicated, if not obvious. Members must also fill in the print sign-up sheet for each entry.


7.1 An Image Show is a photo essay on any subject. It may consist of still images, slide shows, prints, or video, and may be accompanied by a verbal, written, or recorded narrative or music.

7.2 Definitions:

A Maxi Show is from 20 to 45 minutes total presentation time.
A Mini Show is no more than 20 minutes total presentation time.

7.3 Image Shows will be scheduled by the Image Show chairperson(s) in consultation with members. Members should submit an entry request to the Image Show chairperson(s) as early as possible (written or verbal). Entrants may submit up to two Image Shows per month at the discretion of the Image Show chairperson, depending upon availability of scheduling time.

7.4 When using the club’s computer and/or LCD projector, it is the responsibility of the presenter to ensure that his/her Image Show displays properly on the club’s equipment.

7.5 Originality: In general, images and narrative must be the work of the individual entrant. However, in recognition of the fact that the development and continuity of a theme are essential ingredients for success of a show, the entrant will be allowed to use not more than ten percent of the total number of images from other sources, or copied from publications, or reused from a previous winning set, where needed to achieve continuity, completeness of narrative, or for use as titles.

An image or images previously used in a prior Image Show may be used in another Image Show as long as the new Image Show is one with a theme completely distinct from the previous show. Good sportsmanship should dictate that the image or images being reused should be kept to a minimum.

7.6 A Maxi show will be awarded 20 points and a Mini show will be awarded 10 points. Points awarded for Image Shows will be recorded for each member and will go towards the member’s yearly point total for the Congel award (see below).

7.7. A member may present any number of shows, but will only be awarded points for a maximum of one Mini and one Maxi per club year.


8.1 Objectives: To encourage and honor consistent photographic excellence, the Syracuse Camera Club has established awards for the best digital files and prints of the year.

8.2 Awards: At or before each June year-end competition, the Digital and Print chairpersons will collect all entries which have placed first, second, third, or HM in each of the monthly competitions back to and including the previous September. These will be entered in the final competition with the consent of the makers.

8.3 Digital images and Prints will be judged by a panel of qualified judges, not members of the club. The first three places in each class of each division will receive awards for first, second, and third place. Runners-up, in number 10% (rounded to the nearest integer: e.g., 25 entries mean 3 runners-up) of competitions in each class and each division, will receive HM ribbons. These awards will be presented at the June banquet.

8.4 Digital Image and Print of the Year: The first place winning digital images in the Entry Class, Advanced Class and Master Class will each receive an award for projected Digital Image of the Year. The first place winning prints in the Entry Class, Advanced Class and Master Class will each receive an award for Print of the Year. Each of the winners will receive an engraved rotating trophy which he or she may retain for one year. The rotating trophy becomes the permanent possession of any member who wins it three times (over any time period), and a new rotating trophy will be purchased.

8.5 The Ron Olcott award. To honor a long time member and master printer of images, the Ron Olcott award was established to recognize excellence in the Print Division. At the Year-End competition the three first place prints from Entry, Advanced and Master Classes will be judged together and the winning print will be awarded the Ron Olcott award. A rotating trophy will have the recipient’s name engraved.


9.1 Objectives: To encourage and honor consistent photographic excellence over time, the Syracuse Camera Club has established Merit awards for points accumulated during each competition year, and Milestone awards for points accumulated over more than one year.

9.2 Merit Award Point system: Merit points will be credited to club members for their participation and winning in Syracuse Camera Club monthly digital file and print competitions, and Image Show presentations according to the chart below (section 10).

9.3 Year End Merit Awards: The member with the highest number of points in each class of each division will receive a year-end Merit award at the annual June banquet.

9.4 Year End Milestone Awards: Merit points accumulated in Digital and Print competitions, in whatever class they were received (e.g. Entry, Advanced and Master) will be accumulated from one year to another and form the basis for the Milestone awards. These Milestone awards will be presented in June to members who have accumulated a specific number of points (see section 11). The awards will consist of appropriately engraved plaques or certificates.

9.5 The Peter Congel Award: To encourage diversity of photographic effort, and to perpetuate the memory of one of the Camera Club’s most honored members, the Peter Congel Trophy has been established. The award is given to the member who has accumulated the most points through the competition year from among all members who have competed in at least two of the club’s three divisions. The award will consist of an annually rotated trophy engraved with the name of each year’s winner. The member winning the trophy three times will keep the trophy. If no one succeeds in winning the trophy, it will be retired to club ownership.

9.6 President’s award. A desk paperweight trophy will be awarded to each president at the end of his or her term. If a president serves for more than one year in a row the trophy will be awarded when a new president is elected.


Master Class Advanced Class Entry Class
First Place 16 13 10
Second Place 12 10 8
Third Place 10 8 6
HM (each) 8 6 4
Non-winning entry 1 1 1



Digital/Print Division