Competition Rules

IOMPS Competition Rules 2020-21

General rules Applicable to all Print and Digital Competitions and Entries – Open, Assignment and Annual


– “Class” refers to either the Intermediate or Advanced Group of members.

– “Section”  refers to Open mono print, Open colour print, open mono PDI, Open colour PDI, and in addition, in the Annual, – Creative, and Nature.

– “Different/Alternative format’ means a change from colour to mono or vice versa, and the image may then be submitted as print or PDI.

1     Eligibility.

Entrants must be fully paid up members of the Society.

The work must be entirely that of the photographer, and must not include copyright-free content or elements imported from other sources such as replacement backgrounds or skies.

The Competition Secretary may query and possibly disqualify any entry which is felt to be inappropriate or contain questionable content, or which is considered not to comply with the subject of an Assignment or Nature competition.

All entries must be titled.

2     Print Presentation.

Prints must be labelled on the back top left corner with the Title, the member’s Class and Membership number,   and whether Mono or Colour. The member’s name must not appear on the back or the front, nor in the title of print or pdi.

All prints must be mounted on either 40cm x 50cm or 30cm x 40cm boards, (and see Supplementary Guidance Note 3 below).

They may be flat mounted (i.e. the print placed on top of the board) or window mounted (i.e. placed behind a framing board and with an appropriate backing board of the same size as the mount). The final thickness of the entry must not exceed 4mm, and there must be no tape or adhesive present on any external surface to avoid damage to other entries.

3     Submission of Entries. All entries must be submitted a minimum of two weeks before the relevant competition (three weeks for the Annual).

Prints should be brought to a Club meeting, and all entries – both digital and a digital copy of all prints – must be uploaded via the Society’s website, using the ‘Competition Entry’ menu available to logged-in members.

 The title should be the same as the file name without any punctuation.

 Each uploaded image must be 1600 pixels wide x 1200 pixels high, saved as a JPEG at the best quality possible, and in sRGB colour space.

If an image is less than these pixel dimensions, the canvas size must be increased to 1600 by 1200 pixels, and filled with black.

There is a downloadable tutorial on this on the website under Information > Documents and Downloads.

4     Re-use. An image may only be used in one Section in the same competition.  The image may be re-used in one subsequent competition in a different format  i.e  if initially entered as a colour entry, may be re-used once as a mono print or mono pdi , or a mono image may be used as a colour print or colour pdi.  An image in colour may only be re-used in mono and vice versa.

An entry may, however, be entered in the same or an alternative format in an Annual Competition (see Annual Rules).

5     Scoring. All entries will be scored by the Judge out of a possible 20 points. Several images may be awarded the same score and the Judge will be required to indicate his ‘Preference’ in each Section  and Class, and award one ‘Best Print’ and one ‘Best PDI’ in Competition.

Supplementary Guidance and Advice

1     Members will compete in either the Intermediate or Advanced classes for competition purposes. New members will initially be invited to join the Intermediate class unless :

  • they request the Advanced class,
  • or already hold qualifications such as LRPS or CPAGB (which would indicate a level of skill sufficient to justify joining the Advanced class)
  • or they may wish to submit a portfolio of their work to the committee for consideration and a decision as to which class to be allocated to.

Intermediate members consistently showing a high quality of work during a season may be considered for promotion to the Advanced class at the year-end. There is no process for relegation.

2     The committee will assume that entries submitted for the Society’s competitions may be used in external competitions to represent the Society or on social media platforms such as our Facebook page.

    Members who wish to submit any of their monthly print competition entries to external competitions or exhibitions such as the L&CPU, or who wish their entries to be considered for such submission by the Society, should note that mounting on 40cm x 50cm boards is a requirement. Any prints on smaller mount boards selected for such submission will need to be re-mounted Also, if any PDI image selected to be sent to an external competition does not comply with that competition’s sizing rules, the photographer will be asked to resize the picture accordingly.

4     Monochrome images may be black & white or toned with a single colour and should be identified as  “Mono” on the entry. An image to which one or more colours have been added to a specific part of the picture must be entered in a Colour Section.

5     Any matters not covered in these rules or guidance notes, or where there is any disagreement over the interpretation of the rules, will be dealt with by the committee whose decision will be final.

Rules for Specific Competitions

Open and Assignment Competitions

The general rules as above will apply, with the following additions / amendments:

1     For both Open and Assignment competitions, members will be able to enter up to two colour prints, two mono prints, two colour pdi’s and two mono pdi’s – a total of 8 possible entries per competition.

2    “Open” competitions have no restrictions as to subject, technique or post-processing. Images that could legitimately be placed in a themed competition are equally acceptable in Open competitions

3     “Assignment” competitions will be on a set theme or subject, the committee may give guidance as to the range covered by the subject.

The Bank Cup

The general rules as above will apply, with the following additions / amendments :

1     In this competition, all members compete equally – i.e there is no split between Intermediate and Advanced members

2     Members are allowed to enter two prints and two PDIs in any combination of mono and colour. The Judge will be required to choose the best print and the best pdi entered and then choose one overall winner (print or pdi) for the Bank Cup.

Print Panel Competition

Please check the program to see if a Print Panel Competition is being held.

The general rules apply, with the following additions / amendments :

1     Entries must be mounted on a single 50cms x 40cms board.

2     Entries should consist of the specified number of prints on a theme of the photographer’s own choosing or as specified for the assignment, none having been entered in any previous competitions.

3     The title may be displayed on the front as part of the panel. It may either stand on its own or, if it contains any pictorial element, it must be classed as one of the specified prints.

Diptych or Triptych Competition

Please check the program to see if a Diptych or Triptych Competition is being held.

The general rules apply, with the following additions / amendments :

    Entries must be mounted on a single 50cms x 40cms board, and should consist of 2 (Diptych) or 3 (Triptych) elements, none having been entered in any previous competitions.

2     The images can be a single image split into two (Diptych) or three (Triptych) parts, or separate, but related images.

3     The images can be printed on a single sheet or can be printed separately, and may overlap, provided the border between the images is clearly defined, e.g. with a black border line.

Rules for Annual Competition

The general rules apply, with the following additions or amendments:

1     Re-use.  An image may only be entered in one Section in an Annual – i.e. may not be entered as both a print and pdi, nor as both a colour and monochrome image.

However, an image may be re-used once in an alternative format in a subsequent Annual Competition  i.e  if initially entered into an Annual Competition as a Colour image, it may be re-used in one subsequent Annual as a Mono image, and a Mono image may be re-entered in one subsequent Annual, as a Colour image. An image in Colour may only be re-used in Mono and vice versa.

Entries from Open and Assignment competitions are eligible for entry into an Annual Comp in their present or an alternative format, but must not have been used in the same format in a previous Annual.

An image first used in an Annual may be re-used in a subsequent Open or Assignment Comp in the same format, but any further re-use in these competitions or a future Annual would require a change of format as per the stated rules.

2     Sections and Categories. Note This section of the rules has been updated as new Annual Comp rules apply.   

A maximum of  8 Prints,  and 8 pdi’s per member, spread across the various sections defined below.

No more than 4 images can be entered in any one section.

Entries must be numbered in order of priority, with 1st being the most important. Depending on the total entry numbers , not all images submitted may be judged. Those numbered 6th,7th, and 8th may not be put forward to the judge. However, all images that are judged will be commented on and marked by the judge. And members should note that any images not judged are eligible to be submitted into future competitions, without any change in format.  


  • Open Prints (Monochrome)
  • Open Prints (Colour)
  • Nature Prints (Monochrome and Colour)
  • Creative Prints (Monochrome and Colour)

Record Prints are no longer in a separate section and should be entered as Open Prints


  • Open pdi’s (Monochrome)
  • Open pdi’s (Colour)
  • Nature pdi’s (Monochrome and Colour)
  • Creative pdi’s (Monochrome and Colour)

Record DPIs are no longer in a separate section and should be entered as Open PDIs

3     Submission of Entries. All entries must be submitted not later than the date shown in the programme, (3 weeks before the comp date), as per the general competition rules, together with  the entry fee , which is £5 for prints and £5 for PDI. That is a possible total of £10.  Entry fees will be waived for Junior members, whose entries will be eligible for selection for the L&CPU Young Photographer of the Year competition.

Prints must be labelled as in the General Rules, including the Section, Open Mono, Open Colour, Nature, Creative.   NB Nature, and Creative may be Mono or Colour.

Supplementary Guidance for the Annual Competition

“Open” Any subject matter is permissible except for true Nature.

Subjects such as Record, Still Life, Landscapes and Portraiture should be entered in this section. Composite images that are not obviously ‘creative’ may be entered in Open or Creative. (see notes under Creative and Record below). The judge may decide to award an additional ‘Judge’s choice’ for an outstanding image in a particular genre.

“Nature” Nature photography depicts all branches of natural history, except anthropology and archaeology, in such a way that a well-informed person will be able to identify the subject material and certify its honest presentation.

The story telling value of a photograph must be weighed more than the pictorial quality while maintaining high technical quality. Human elements shall not be present, except where those human elements are integral parts of the nature story such as barn owls or storks, adapted to an environment modified by humans, or where those human elements are in situations depicting natural forces, like hurricanes or tidal waves. This includes images taken with the subjects in controlled conditions, such as zoos, game farms, botanical gardens, aquariums and any enclosure where the subjects are totally dependent on man for food.

Scientific bands, tags or radio collars on wild animals are permissible. Photographs of human created hybrid plants, cultivated plants or flowers,  domestic animals, or mounted specimens are not eligible, as is any form of manipulation that alters the truth of the photographic statement.
No techniques that add, relocate, replace, or remove pictorial elements except by cropping are permitted. Techniques that enhance the presentation of the photograph without changing the nature story or the pictorial content, or without altering the content of the original scene, are permitted including exposure adjustment, colour correction, sharpening, HDR, focus stacking and dodging/burning. Techniques that remove elements added by the camera, such as dust spots, digital noise, and film scratches, are allowed. Cloning of image defects and minor distractions, including overlapping elements, are permitted as long as these do not distort the truth of the photographic statement. All allowed adjustments must appear natural.  Stitched images are not permitted. Colour images may be converted to monochrome. Infrared images are not allowed.
Geology, weather, climate and ecology are permitted but should be accurately titled to show their significance in the natural world.

“Creative” May be defined as “altered reality”. Abstracts, derivations, or any image considered modern or contemporary, irrespective of the method used to produce it, should be in this section. Digital images must be from original exposures made by the photographer, and all manipulations must have been carried out by the photographer. NB Composite images that appear natural are allowed, but may do better entered into an Open section. Any use of copyright-free images or material that is not the photographer’s own work is not allowed.

“Record” NB There is no separate Record section. Record images may be entered into the Open Sections. This definition is included for guidance. The image must be clearly depicted and informative, from which the subject is readily apparent and could be re-created. Titles must be factual and may include the date, location, circumstances or purpose, but should be short. Architecture and industry fall into this category. No human figure or animal should appear in the image.

“Monochrome”    Images may be black and white or toned with a single colour. Images to which one or more colours have been added in specific parts of the picture may not be entered in the Monochrome Section, but may be entered in the Open Colour or Creative Sections.

Please note that any images entered in the wrong Sections, or any that do not comply with the rules, will not be judged, but remain  eligible to be submitted into future competitions.