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Grand photos

 Photo Club of The Grand in Surprise, AZ


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

Please note that final arrangements for the 2024 Print competition have not yet been completed. The information pertaining to the 2024 Print competition will be updated when it is available

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.
  • Because some members have clear photographic interests, the Competition Team has made a change to the number of images that may be entered into the competition categories.  In the Small Print competition 1 to 4 prints may be entered per category with a limit of 10 prints total for each participant.  Due to technical difficulties the new entry plan will not be available for the Digital competition this Fall. 
  • To keep up with the competition costs - ribbons, judge’s honorariums, to name just two items, the cost of entries will be $1.25 per image in both the Digital and Print competitions.  
  • 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 Nature), 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.  The final decision regarding the suitability of an image or print 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 or prints, 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 final decision will be made by the Chairperson 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.  If composite images, such as sky replacement or combining elements from multiple photographs, are allowed by the category definition, all of the elements must be taken from the photographer’s own images.  All entries must be images that the competitor captured with a digital or film camera or related device such as a smartphone. The process may include scanning of prints, negatives, or slides provided the original image was taken by the entrant.  However, to ensure against any unfair bias in the judging process, identification of the image maker (photographer) in any way on an image is prohibited.  Identification includes, but is not limited to, the photographer’s name, initials or identifying watermark.  Violation of the competition guidelines and rules may result in the disqualification of the image or print. Final judgment about entries meeting Grand Photos Competition guidelines or rules, and any penalties, shall be made by the Competition Chairpersons.

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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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 B.  However, anyone listed in Division B always has the option to enter all of their images in Division A.  Each competitor is still limited to the allowed number of entries per person per category and the total entries per person.   Click here for a table of each member's current point total and Division.  Members who have never competed, or who have not competed in the last three years, will not be listed in this table.

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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 B - Those with less than 110 points from past Grand Photos competitions.

Division A  - Those with 110 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 other 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 in which it was judged (e.g. the winner of a category combined from the B and A  Divisions entries will compete for Best-of- Show with the winners of the Division A categories, even if that winning entry is from a Division B 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 more than one category 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).  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.

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 adjustments as they deem necessary. 

5. 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 B to Division A (currently requires 110 points); Entering competitions for the first time; Receiving the greatest total number of points in  any given competition, regardless of Division.

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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).

  1. Judges will be asked not to discuss the entries unless a tie cannot be broken after several attempts.
  2. Each tie breaker print will be placed in the light box.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. There should be no audible comments from anyone that might influence or distract the judges.

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A. Becker


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