austin shutterbug club

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​STANDING RULES FOR CLUB COMPETITION AND AWARDS

Club competitions are for the enjoyment and educational benefit of all members. The club holds its competition event with critiques six times per year during the regular meeting venue every other month starting with the January meeting.

Paid members may enter up to two (2) images in each monthly digital competition. Two may be of a General Subject, or two may be of an Assignment Subject, or one of each.

Images must be submitted by email and conform to the restrictions set out below. An invitation to submit images will be sent to all paid members approximately two weeks prior to each competition and an electronic mailbox will be provided for submission. Scores will be announced at the meeting and published on this website in a timely manner.

Digital, General — Color or monotone images, or any variation, of a General Subject taken with either a film or digital camera and converted to a digital image for projection. The General category is all-encompassing and allows any image, any subject, any technique, and may have been captured at any time.

Digital, Assignment — Color or monotone images, or any variation, of the Monthly Assignment taken with either a film or digital camera and converted to a digital image for projection.

The Monthly Assignments are published by the Competition Committee. Assignment images must have been made after the announcement of the assignment (generally in the year prior to the competition date.) Judging of assignment images will be based on the image’s ability to convey the assignment theme as well as impact, content, and photographic technique.

The assignment list can be found here.


  • Sizing of Images

The native resolution of the digital projector is 1050 pixels for the longest side, therefore all images must fit within those dimensions. However, to assure a comparable viewing area for vertical as well as horizontal images, all images for competition and judging should be the same maximum dimensions. To assure the best viewing for everyone, please comply with the following guidelines for image projection:

Image Size: long dimension 1400 pixels maximum

Resolution: 300 ppi

File Format: JPEG

Color Space: sRGB preferred for projector compatibility.

  • Naming of Images

Image file names are standardized for consistency throughout the year. Image files should use the naming convention as follows:

(Use no other characters or spaces.)

  • Category is DG for Digital General or DA for Digital Assignment
  • Image# is either 01 or 02 depending on how many images you have in the category.
  • A dash (-) separates the image number and first letter of your name.
  • Firstinitial is the first letter of your first name.
  • Lastname is your last name (if your last name is unusually long, you may truncate it to five or six letters).
  • MMYY is the month and year the competition is held.

Example: DA01-bloflin0524.jpg   (DA digital assignment category)
Example: DA02-bloflin0524.jpg
Example: DG01-bloflin0524.jpg  (DG digital general category)
Example: DG02-bloflin0524.jpg

Submitting of Images

For each image to be submitted for competition:

  1. Compose an email to the designated mailbox for the competition.
  2. Attach the image file.
  3. The subject of the email must be the name of the image file your are sending (i.e. DG02-bloflin0524.jpg)
  4. The body of the email should include the following information:

  • Photograph name (i.e., “Austin by Moonlight”)
  • Your name
  • Category—either Assignment or General

Entrants will receive an email acknowledging acceptance or rejection of the file. Any files rejected must be corrected and resubmitted before the deadline. If an acknowledgement is not received prior to the deadline (remember--emails are occasionally “lost”), you are encouraged to follow up by email or telephone to the Competition Chairman.

The Competition Committee shall select three experienced judges from the standing pool of members qualified to judge the entries. The judging will take place prior to the regular club meeting during Evaluation and Review months. The six competition months for 2020 are January, March, May, July, September, and November.

Members are “qualified” to serve as a judge by having a demonstrated strength in their personal photography successfully participating in previous club competitions and by successfully completing a Judges Training Workshop.

A member may judge an Evaluation and Review in which he or she has a photograph entered. That judge must score their image a "Zero" and the score entered for that judge shall be the average of the two other judges' scores.

Each judge is allowed to score from 1 to 9 for each picture for a minimum total of 3 and maximum of 27. The score appears on the judging box when the last judge makes their decision.

The judges briefly scan the picture for the key elements of technique, composition, and impact, and in the case of Assignment images, how well the image meets the assignment. Scores are as follows:

  • Score of 1: This is an ineffective competition image or is disqualified based on not fitting assignment category.
  • Score of 2-4: This image is below average and possesses few of the key elements and/or has significant flaws; a “record shot', frequently without impact.
  • Score of 5: This is an average and acceptable image which contains at least one key element. It has no significant flaws, but also has no significant strengths.
  • Score of 6-8: This is a very good image, much better than average. Displays good use of technical and creative tools. Flaws are very minor and at least two key elements are used. May have impact.
  • Score of 9: This is an exceptional image, contains exceptional use of all key elements. While the image may not be perfect, it should demonstrate true photographic excellence, and a 9 should not be given without good reason.

All judges see photos differently. A critique is a learning tool. Competitors should not be discouraged by the critique of their work, but should use the critique to improve their work.

Competitions are held every other month starting in January through November.

The top 20 percent of all images for the year shall be eligible for end-of-year competition. The score threshold for end-of-year eligibility shall be determined by statistical analysis of the scores for all images entered in all categories.

The End-of-Year Competition shall be judged by qualified judges who are not members of Austin Shutterbug Club.

Top images in each category shall be award prizes at the discretion of the judges who may decide to give one or more awards in each category.

From all winning images, one image shall be awarded "Photograph of the Year".

The photographer with the highest average score for images chosen for the EOY competition shall be named "Photographer of the Year"

Special awards for other achievements may be presented at the discretion of the Executive Committee.


Study the scene. Develop a feeling for what you want the picture to convey to the viewer.

  • Include enough material in the image to tell the complete story and remove unwanted material.
  • Keep the picture as simple as possible, repetitious objects may make the picture look busy and lessen the impact.
  • Fill the frame and keep most subjects out of dead center.
  • Keep the horizon level.

Photo by Barbara hunley​​

Become a Better Photographer and Have Fun Too!

Three basics for a good picture:

Technique—is how well the photographer uses the tools of photography. Sharpness and exposure are key elements. Lighting, focus and lens selection, as well as and/or digital darkroom technique are all factors.

Composition—is the art of combining parts of a picture to produce a harmonious image. Use of compositional elements such as “S” curves, rule of thirds, and triangular arrangements may help in structuring the picture. Often placing heavy elements on the right side of the picture keeps the eye in the picture.

Impact—is the instantaneous interest we perceive when first seeing the picture. Mood and story are two photo techniques helpful in setting the impact or "wow power" ability of an image.

Additional attributes for evaluation are (but not limited to): a clearly defined subject, good story-telling ability, freshness, originality, creativity. The photo should not be a cliché or a photo of another photographer's art. Avoid edge or tone merges.