Caveman Camera Club Competition Rules

Competition Rules

Revised August 27, 2017

Competition Objective:
The objective of The Caveman Camera Club Photographic Competition is to better develop our member’s photographic skills and editing techniques on images taken by their own photographic efforts.

1.   Competition Calendar:   Photographic competitions will be held monthly from September through May.  You must be a member in good standing to enter images into the monthly competition.Yearly awards are presented at an Annual Awards ceremony during June.  Monthly competitions will not be held in June, July, or August.

2.   Subject Matter:   Subject matter will be the photographer’s choice between two categories – Open and Assigned Subject.   Explicitly pornographic or libelous material will not be accepted.

3.  Assigned Categories: Assigned categories will be created by the VP for each month of the club’s following year and presented to the membership no later than the current year’s May meeting. The Assigned subjects will be chosen with an educational purpose in mind, encouraging the member to push their own boundaries and try different subjects or aspects of the art and skills of photography. The assigned subjects will be posted on the club’s website and given as a handout.

4.   Entries:

a.  All members may enter color prints and monochrome prints and/or electronic images into its appropriate media and category. By virtue of entry, the entrant certifies the work as their own.

b.  A total of three (3) entries per month may be entered by a member… There is a maximum of two in either electronic or prints (Maximum of 2 electronic and 1 print or 2 prints and 1 electronic).

c.   Any mix of open category or assigned category is permitted.

d.  If there are less than two members with a total of three entries in any category (open or assigned), there will be no competition in that category for that month. Monochrome images will be combined with color images subject to the V.P. category assignment.

e.  An entry that did not win a place (1st, 2nd, 3rd place plus Honorable Mention) may be entered in any subsequent monthly competition.  Any entry that has won a place in its respective competition is not eligible for re-entry in a subsequent competition in any medium.  (The spirit of this rule is for a winning image to not be shown in another competition, allowing others to have an opportunity for winning.)

f.  Entering an image assumes giving to the Club the right to display the image for the club’s purpose (e.g., publicity, educating, informing in the newspaper and website).  The copyright remains the property of the entrant.

g.  All entries that have won a place, including Honorable Mention, during a competition year are eligible for the Annual Awards Competition at the end of that year.

5.   Open Categories: A member may enter an image of any subject matter in the Open category (with exclusions of Section 2 above) of the monthly competition.

6.   Judging:

a.  Entries will be scored by three judges. The three judges may vary among outside guest judges and trained member judges. Effort will be made to vary the guest judges as well as member judges. Member judges must score their own or any entries they have knowledge of by entering “0.” The average of the other two judges will be used for that member’s score.

b.  Critique and scoring will be based on these three photographic elements:

i.  Technical Excellence  —  Exposure, lighting, focus, depth of field, tonality or colors, cleanliness, etc.

ii.   Composition  —  Balanced arrangement of elements, design, leading lines, etc.

iii.   Impact  —  Initial effect on the viewer, creativity, effectiveness of the image.

c.  Each entry will be scored on a scale of 1 to 9 points. The maximum total that an entry may receive is 27 points (9 per judge). The minimum total is 3 points (1 per judge). When the total members present are voting, the scores will be tallied by the judging staff. Supplemental handouts provide further clarification of the scoring.

1 point – Unacceptable or disqualified           6 points – Better than average

2 points – Poor                                                    7 points – Good quality

3 points – Poor, with some good qualities     8 points – Very good quality

4 points – Fair, below average                          9 points – Excellent

5 points – Average

d.  If a judge can’t see how an Assigned subject image reasonably meets the definition of the subject they will give it a score of 1 point. If at least one other judge agrees it will be disqualified and the image will be moved to the Open category for judging.

e.  While a mat, mounting, or “stroke” (thin border on electronic images) affects the overall presentation of an image, the photographs are to be critiqued and scored on the image only (except as 8b below).  Strokes are encouraged for electronic images but not required.

7.   Places, Points, Awards:

a.  There will be places awarded in each category, Open or Assigned, in each monthly competition.  The number of winning images will be determined by dividing the number of entries in each category by 3, rounded to the nearest whole number or at the discretion of the judging secretary.

b. Ties will stand unbroken in monthly competition. I.e., there can be as many 1st places as have tied for 1st, etc.  Allowing ties may result in not all places being filled out if the allotted number of winners has been used up.

8.   Color and Monochrome Print Competition:

a. Entries may either be printed by the entrant or be processed by a commercial lab. Entries may include prints from negatives, from slides, and from digital images. All photographic elements of the image must be photographed by the entrant, and post-processing must be done by the entrant. The use of commercially available textures and effects (e.g., Lightroom and Photoshop) is an acceptable post-processing technique. Member’s own processing may be by computer and printer or through the wet darkroom process.

b. Prints must be mounted firmly on a backing material or a sturdy, attractive front mounting of mat board or other acceptable material (for example, gallery wrap). Mounting need not be the work of the member. Loose or shoddily mounted prints will be rejected. Mounted shrink-wrapped prints are acceptable.

c.  The smallest print size is 35 square inches (equivalent to 5″ x 7″ inside dimensions).  The largest print size including matting and mounting can be no larger than 24″ x 24″.

d.  Prints must be clearly identified on the back of the mount with:
i. The title
ii. Your Name
iii. Open or Assigned

e.  This identification is to be in alignment with the viewing position to assure that the print is judged in the orientation that the member intended: Top right corner of the back of the image.

f.   Monochrome prints means density variations of one color or tone. Color prints means the use of more than one color or tone.

g.  Members must E-Mail the members name, the name of their print, and whether it is Open or Assigned to the Print Image Coordinator by midnight on the Sunday before the competition.

i. First name Last name, Image name, CATEGORY
ii. Example: Jane Doe, Sunset, OPEN
iii. Example: John Smith, The Jackhammer Story, ASSIGNED

h.  The E-Mail subject line should be only the word CAVE

i.   Prints will not be entered if the above info is not received.

9. Color and Monochrome Electronic Image Competition:

a.  All photographic elements of the image must be photographed by the entrant, and post-processing must be done by the entrant. The use of commercially available textures and effects (e.g., Lightroom and Photoshop) is an acceptable post-processing technique. The entry is not limited to images taken with a digital camera. Images may also be acquired on positive or negative film, modified (if desired), and submitted as a digital image for projection.

b.  Monochrome means density variations of one color or tone. Color means the use of more than one color or tone.

c.  Image file specifications:

i.  Images must be in jpg format and properly sized.

ii. The maximum pixel dimension is 1024 pixels horizontal, 1024 vertical.

iii.  Image file may not be larger than 1 MB.

d.  Image files must be properly named as shown here. CAVE is the proper abbreviation for Caveman Camera Club; do not use CCC!

i.  FirstnameLastname_YourClubsInitials_TitleOfImage.jpg
ii.  example: JohnDoe_CAVE_PrettyFlower.jpg
iii.  example: JaneSmith_CAVE_SeaScape.jpg

e.  Entries must be submitted no later than midnight on Sunday prior to the competition date. Send the image file by email attachment to the Electronic Image Coordinator. The coordinator will assemble the entries for the competition staff.

10.   Annual Awards Competition and Awards Ceremony:

a.  It is the responsibility of the member to enter all place winning images (1st, 2nd, 3rd, and Honorable Mention) in the Annual Awards Competition, after the final monthly competition in May and before the judging review date and as directed by the competition staff.

b.  The jury shall consist of three independent guest judges who are not members of the club.

c.  Based on this juried competition, awards in the following categories may be presented. These and other possible awards will be at the discretion of the Awards Committee and judges. Ties for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places will be broken by the outside judges.

i. Electronic Image of the Year – with up to 5 runner-ups at the discretion of the committee.

ii. Print of the Year – with up to 5 runner-ups at the discretion of the committee.

d. Photographer of the Year (POY) will be presented to the member who has accumulated the most points in all categories for the club year September through May. (See section 7 above.). A minimum of one place winner in electronic and one place winner in prints during the year is required to be POY. The same member cannot win POY two years in a row.

Revised July 5, 2017 by the law firm of Dewey, Cheetem & Howe

Processing Electronic Images For Competition

Video links for resizing:

Resize with Elements

Resize in Lightroom with Preset

05 July 2017


All elements of the Caveman Camera Club “Competition Rules” apply.
Subject category is “General” unless otherwise stated.
Entries are not limited to images taken with a digital camera.
Images may be acquired on film (slide or negative) and then digitized (scanned), modified (if desired) and submitted.
No name or identification shall be on the image proper.

Image File Specifications    Images must be properly sized, formatted and named.  

A) The maximum dimensions are 1024 pixels horizontal and 1024 pixels vertical. 

B) Images files must be in the JPG format and not larger than 1MB.      

C) Image File-Naming Convention 

  1. FirstnameLastname_YourClubsInitials_TitleOf Image.jpg
  2. For example: JohnDoe_CAVE_PrettyFlower.jpg
  3. For example: JaneSmith_CAVE_SeaScape.jpg.
  4. Note: CAVE is the proper abbreviation for Caveman.  Do not use CCC 

Send appropriate image file by email attachment to Electronic Image Coordinator.
Multiple entries should be multiple attachments on one e-mail.
Competition Name goes in Subject Line.
Entries must be submitted by Sunday at midnight 4 days prior to the Wednesday competition meeting.
At the current time, Russ Williamson is the coordinator.
Russ will assemble the entries and deliver them to the Competition Staff.

The Competition Staff will provide a Summary of the Judging to the participants.

Critiquing Principles

Be Positive  –  Remember you are looking at someone’s pride and joy.  Always start with a positive point in the photograph, such as “you have placed the subject very well in the frame” or “the ____ leads my eye directly to the subject without any distraction.”  Then let them know what little thing might have improved the photograph, such as “I think that late evening light might have given you a richer color and looked better; don’t rush the time of day.”

Don’t Find Fault  –  Remember that you don’t have to find something wrong with the photo.  If it isn’t an above average photo, you can just let them know how it could have been improved.  Sometimes they can’t change what would have helped the photo (they can’t move a mountain or a tree), but you can ask if they could have changed the angle or location when they took the photo and explain how that would improve it.

Exposure  –  Would the photo have been better if the subject had been lighter or darker?  Explain that the subject blends into the background and would have been better if they had taken the photo at a different time of day so that the light was better.  If they wanted a silhouette, then the other areas should not have details in them.

Focus  –  Is the image sharp or was it intended to be soft?  It may be that the depth of field could have been changed to make a better photo.  Maybe a soft focus lens was used to achieve a specific mood.  Point out the benefits of using different depth of fields and how it could improve or change the photo.

Personal Bias  –  Don’t inject your personal bias into the judging and critique of the photograph.  We all know that babies and bunnies are cute, but a landscape or an abstract is just as beautiful and should be given the same respect.  This is probably the hardest thing to leave behind when you judge.  Just remember you must be fair.

Difficulty Level  –  Don’t let your personal perceived level of difficulty enter into the scoring of the photograph.

Safety  –  Don’t make comments that might encourage the photographer to take chances to improve a photo, like “Bears aren’t dangerous; you should have gotten closer.”

Images should be judged on primarily on these three elements:

Technical Quality

Exposure & lighting  –  Are areas over- or underexposed?  Is the image too light, dark, or just right?  Is the lighting too flat, too contrasty, or just right?  Does the lighting enhance or detract from the subject?  Is the time of day beneficial to the image?

Focus & depth of field  –  Is the image sharp?  If not, is it intentionally soft and successful?  Is the focus appropriate for the situation?  Does the depth of field work in this shot or should more (or less) of the photo be in focus? Is it free of scratches, dust spots, lens flares, etc?

Tonality or colors  –  In a black & white image, is there a true black and true white with a good range in between?  Is the image too gray?  Regardless, does the tonal range work for this photograph?  In color, are the colors saturated appropriately for the image, or are they too vivid or not vivid enough?  Is the white balance correct?  Is there an interesting use of primary, secondary, complementary colors?


Balance  –  Is the image aligned correctly or is it crooked?  Is the main subject in the center of the frame?  Is it on a third?  Somewhere else?  Does the chosen composition work?  Would it be better if the “weight” of the subject(s) were placed differently or if the light or dark areas were handled differently?

Design  –  Is the arrangement of the visual elements effective?  Is there a strong center of interest, pattern, or design?  Is the cropping effective, or should it have been cropped tighter or given more space (if possible)?  Is the arrangement of the visual elements effective?

Leading lines  –  Is there good use of visually interesting elements such as diagonal lines or S curves?  If applicable to the subject, does the photo have a fore, middle, and background?  Does the overall composition make you want to look deeper into the photo?  Is your eye drawn into the photo or out of it?

Emotional Appeal

Impact  –  Does the photograph get your attention and interest?  Is there a mood conveyed through the image to the viewer?  Do you like the photo?  Does it excite your imagination and have a “wow” factor?

Creativity  –  Was the photo taken at the “right” moment?  Does it show a familiar subject in a new and unusual yet effective way?  Is there an interesting creative process shown in the image?  Does it show a very unusual subject in an effective way?  Is the image artistically provocative or just a missed attempt at something different?  Is it unique and memorable?

Using the 9 Point Scoring System


Caveman Camera Club
Guidelines for Using the 9 Point Scoring System

*   Any image receiving a score of 4 or less, deserves a constructive critique so that the photographer can learn how to improve the image.

1.*   Use this score to disqualify an image.  An image may be disqualified if you feel that it clearly does not meet competition rules, including adequately meeting the spirit of the Assigned Subject category.

2. *   The image shows serious (and clearly unintended) technical defects  –  gross under- or over-exposure, poor focus or significant camera movement, or similar problem.

3.*   The image either has significant technical defects, serious shortcomings in image content, or some combination of these problems.

4.*   The image does not have significant technical defects or serious shortcomings in image content.  However, it may have minor defects (composition, lighting, etc.) or the content is not well handled.

5.     The image is acceptable in most respects but does not create any significant interest.

6.     The image is reasonably solid, creating at least some interest.  Technical aspects and image contents are all reasonably well handled, but not exceptionally so.

7.     The image has good artistic value, and the image continues to hold the viewer’s interest.  Technical handling is very good with minor flaws at a minimum.

8.     The image is extremely interesting – unique and worthy of recognition.  There should be no noticeable technical flaws.

9.     The image has exceptional impact, and the technical quality is impeccable – one of best you have seen at the Caveman Camera Club.

                                           Revised by Rimmer & Hartwell 5/2013 CCC

Flash Photography

Off Camera Speedlights

by Dennis Ruga

Caveman Camera Club
April 21, 2010

The following assumes that we are using speedlights in MANUAL MODE.  

Key: When shooting with flash, we have to account for TWO separate exposures: 

  1. One for the natural light (at times, underexposed to create shadows)
  2. One for the flash exposure (used to fill the shadows)
    • F/Stop controls the flash exposure
    • Shutter speed controls the ambient light

What can I do with just ONE simple strobe?

Use it in conjunction with natural light, as the main/side/backlight

to give you nearly studio lighting and now light a subject with “two” lights. 

Continue reading

Techniques to Improve your Image

–Post-Production techniques to improve your image –

by Stephen Payne

Issue: Judges often comment that there’s no central point of interest in a photo; they’re not sure what the main subject is; it’s not clear what the photo is trying to say. One solution is to reduce distractions that compete with the central point. Simplify the image by removing distractions so that the focal point jumps out and the message is clear. Several ways to do this are:
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Composition Essentials in Photography

by Gene Rimmer

Though we refer to them as rules, the following are guidelines to help photographers produce better images. Every image cannot contain every element listed here. And remember, rules can be broken and a wonderful photograph produced, but it is important to know how to take the guidelines and apply them or ignore them intelligently and purposefully. If you do not know what to look for in your image to make it better, you can’t improve on your work. Some issues are more important than others in a particular photograph. Composition essentially means a good placement or arrangement of the subject(s) of the image. The photo shows harmonious proportions and a dynamic symmetry in the placement of the most important objects plus attention to details. The following points help to explain this concept further.

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