AS WELL AS BEING FUN & CHALLENGING, THIS CAN HELP YOU DEVELOP YOUR SKILLS AND FOR THOSE IN BUSINESS IT OFFERS GREAT MARKETING POTENTIAL!!
The Guild's very popular and exciting 'Image of the Month' competition involves members submitting images into the sections of their choice. The entries are then assessed by a number of highly experienced Judges who grade them in accordance with international judging criteria, and the higher scoring images are given Bronze, Silver, Gold Awards or maybe even the highly sought after Platinum Bar.
Those which achieve a Bronze Award or above can utilise the relevant logos to recognise their achievement, and the highest scoring images also have the distinction of being an 'Image of the Month', with their associated prizes.
Also, the first person to obtain a Platinum Bar this year will win £500 courtesy of the Guild and our friends at InFocus Insurance
There is even an option for entrants to obtain direct 121 feedback from one of the judges to assist with personal development, and we encourage members who enter to help each other by creating and joining small 'Buddy' groups in order to share learning, advice and feedback.
Entry to the Image of the Month competition also feeds -
- Our 'Photographer of the Year' Title chase (with 'Top 10' Photographer awards in each competition section)
- Our 'Image of the Year' competition (with 'Top 10' finalists and overall winners in each of around 15 genres)
- The quest to become a member of the Photographers Bar (a lifelong distinction)
How this all works will be explained below...
THE COMPETITION SECTIONS THAT CAN BE ENTERED ARE -
The 'Wedding' section Entries into this section must be taken at a 'live' wedding or civil partnership (ie on the day the register is signed). They can be 'documentary' or 'classical' in style, but any images involving a model, pre-wedding or 'trash the dress' type shoots are excluded and should be entered in the People section.
The 'People' section Entries in this section should be shots where capturing an image of a particular person or particular people is the clear purpose of the shot! With that in mind, the subject must be recognisable and not hidden by costumes and/or masks (such images can be entered in the 'Open' section. This section therefore includes boudoir, portraiture and lifestyle images to name but a few. 'Live' Wedding shots and 'Newborn or Baby' images are also excluded, as there are separate categories for these. That said, family shots containing people of varied ages which have a baby (or pet) included are acceptable, as are images from wedding styled model shoots or 'trash the dress' type shots). Landscapes or environment driven images, as well as those captured at live events, that contain people are also excluded if the capture of the landscape, environment or event is the purpose behind the shot rather than the person or people within it.
'Newborns, Babies and Maternity' section This people based section covers maternity shoots and babies up to and including their first birthday. The baby or bump must be the main subject, but there may be an adult, older child or pet present with a baby as long as the baby is the main focus of the shoot.
The 'Pet' section This section is about the animals we love as family members – from Cats and Dogs through to Horses. People can only be included in this section when clearly not the main subject of the image. These can be captured as portraits or outdoor shoots but not when involved in events sport or action based activities (eg horse jumping) - such shots would go in the 'open' section.
'The Natural World' & 'Landscape' section This section is dedicated to the photography of Birds, Animals, Flora, Insects, and Wildlife etc. in their natural surroundings as well landscapes and seascapes. For the purpose of the competition a landscape being "the visible features of an area of land, its landforms, and how they integrate with natural or man-made features". The presence of man-made elements does not matter in landscapes, seascapes and wildlife shots as long as the landscape, seascape or wildlife is the focus of the image. People are excluded as a subject matter as we have a separate section for them, but they are allowed to be within a landscape image if the landscape is the subject. Urbanscapes need to go in the 'Open' section and digital manipulation is permitted but no captive* or pet animals or workshop images are permitted in this section. *Captive includes zoos and commercial 'safari' type wildlife parks but excludes parks where the animals are still essentially wild and free to roam (such as large national safari or conservation parks and reserves etc).
The 'Open' section This section covers everything else, eg architecture, urbanscapes, captive animals*, commercial photography, digital art (ie where the image is more about effects than a subject matter), street photography, events, sports and more – basically anything that does not fit into the other sections eg People can be within these entries if they are not the purpose of the shot, as in event photography where a sportsman may be captured in action, street photography where its about the environment as much as any people in it, or art nude where the subject is the picture itself rather than the model.
THE SCORING PROCESS
Entries are assessed by very experienced Judges in accordance with national competition judging criteria and graded as follows –
A Platinum Bar .. Images of exceptional or outstanding quality (only awarded to the ultimate of images)
A Gold Bar .. Images of particular distinction (very rare)
A Silver Bar .. Images that are very well crafted (difficult to achieve)
A Bronze Bar .. Images of a strong standard at a national competition level (something to be proud of)...Those scoring a High Bronze, not far from Silver will be notified.
Classified .. Images of a standard worthy of acknowledgement relevant to the genre entered but which are not deemed award winning at national competition level. In many cases it is possible that with one or two small tweaks these images could have scored even higher, so feedback could be of value.
Not scored .. Images that do not reach our 'Classified' level score will not be given a grade. Often images in this position do evidence competition potential, but require some things to be different for the image to score higher in a national competition. In some cases it can be just one thing that prevents a higher score such as dust spots which are clearly visible or the accidental inclusion of a business watermark. Feedback would be of value in these cases so it is well worth considering it.
Those who are awarded a Bronze Bar or above can download the corresponding logo to place on their website against their image.
An album of all the Gold and Silver winners is created and placed on the Guilds external Facebook page* and all Gold and Silver scoring images will be entered into the Image of the Year competition (the final round of which is done in print format). Images that achieve Gold Bars will also be published in the Guild's Creative Light magazine.
Also, our Chair of Judges will choose 4 'Images of the Month' from any sections as the 'Images of the Month' and one of these 4 will also be selected as the overall winner. All 4 will receive a designed product of their image supplied by our friends at the fantastic 'One Vision Imaging'. The rare Guild 'Image Of The Month' logo will be tastefully placed on the print, so you can show your achievement to the world.
*Please note that any images involving nudity cannot be published externally by us but will be scored in the same way as all other entries.
The Image Of The Month competition demands high standards and the Platinum Bar is proving elusive! Some images came very close last year, so in order to encourage that push to award one, the Guild, together with our friends at InFocus Photography Insurance are offering a cash prize of £500 to whoever gets our first Platinum Bar!
THE ASSOCIATED ANNUAL AWARDS
THE IMAGE OF THE YEAR TITLES
At the end of the year 'Image Of The Year' Winners and Finalists in around 15 categories will be chosen from all the entries we have had.
- In December a shortlist of around 10-12 finalists in each of the 15 or so categories will be selected from all the entries we have had that were given Silver Awards or above in the monthly competition following reassessment by our Judges. The Finalists are notified of their achievement at this point so they can celebrate and make the most of their achievement publicity wise, should they choose to.
- The shortlisted images are then all printed and our Judges then review those and make their final selection of a Winner and Runner-Up in each of the categories.
- Each category Winner and Runner-Up will receive a trophy and those shortlisted will receive 'Finalist' certification.
- There are also two Guild overall Images of the Year – 'The Judges Choice' (chosen from the Image of the Year category winners in printed format) and 'The Members Choice' (chosen digitally from all the Gold award winners through the year).
THE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR TITLE CHASES
As the Image Of The Month competition is divided into 6 different sections there are 6 different 'Photographer of the Year' Titles to be won –
- Wedding Photographer of the Year
- Newborn, Baby and Maternity Photographer of the Year
- People Photographer of the Year
- Pet Photographer of the Year
- Natural World Photographer of the Year
- Open Category Photographer of the Year
The person who gets the highest overall score in any of these also becomes the Guild's Overall Photographer of the Year .... and the person who gets the highest overall combined score from any TWO sections will be the Guild's 'All-Round' Photographer of the Year!
Trophies will be presented to the Winner and Runner-Up in each of the categories detailed above, courtesy of InFocus insurance.
Please note that these categories could be further split if it is deemed that there are sufficient entries in a particular field to warrant an additional Title Chase. By contrast if there are insufficient numbers in a section to justify a Title Chase we reserve the right to merge Titles and Categories.
THE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 'TOP 10' AWARDS
As well as the Titles detailed above those who obtain a score which finishes in the Top 10 of a genre at the end of the year will also be recognised as a 'Top 10 Photographer', and certification will be presented to acknowledge the achievement. Please note that the figure '10' is the norm but may be subject to change dependent on the circumstances at the end of the year (eg if a category attracts a very high number of entrants and/or particularly high scores the Guild may choose to acknowledge a 'Top 20', and by contrast if not enough entrants meet the required minimum criteria* the number could be reduced).
HERE'S HOW IT WORKS ..
Points are awarded to images entered into our 'Image of the Month' competition and the photographers getting the highest total of points in each section from any 8 months of the year (or less) will become the Guild's 'Photographer of the Year' or a 'Top 10' photographer for that category (eg 'Wedding Photographer of the Year') - subject to a minimum 6 months entry in that section
Members can enter as many images as they want to the competition of course, but a maximum of 3 images per section can earn them points in that categories Title chase, to make it fair to everyone. .If an entrant does submit more than 3 images in a category, they are required to identify the 3 selections to be awarded points towards the titles with the available 'Tag' at the time of submission. If no selections are made by an entrant, the first three images submitted (as numbered by the upload process) will be the ones to accrue the points
The 'All-Round Photographer of the Year' title is awarded to the person with the highest combined score from any 8 months of the year (or less) in ANY TWO of the sections, subject to a minimum entry of at least 6 months in both scoring sections. It really is that simple.
HOW ARE THE POINTS AWARDED?
For the purpose of the Photographer of the Year Title chases, the points awarded to Image of the Month entries are as follows -
Platinum – 10 points, Gold – 7 points, Silver – 4 points, Bronze – 2 points.
A bonus of 2 points will be awarded to images selected as one of the Judges 'Images of the Month' and the overall monthly winner (ie the 'Image of the Month') will get a bonus of 3 points (obviously these bonus points do not apply to any images not pre-selected as Photography of the Year Title Chase entries by an entrant who submits more than 3 images in a genre within the same month).
Your points from 8 months of the calendar year will be combined to determine your final score in the Title chase of the sections you have entered. If you enter more than 8 months in the year, your highest scoring 8 months will be the ones that count.
In the event where photographers obtain the same number of points at the end of the year - If more than one person gets the same points at the end of the year the one who obtained those points with less entries than the other(s) will be the winner. If they have entered the same number of images, there will then be a count back of the actual scores/points awarded to their chosen images by the judges, during their best scoring 8 months (excluding bonus points). The one with higher such score will be deemed to be the winner. If still drawn at this point the position will be declared drawn. The minimum criteria for a 'Top 10' Award is 18 points from at least 18 images selected for entry during 6 months.
FINALLY - THE PHOTOGRAPHERS BAR
Becoming a member of the Photographer's Bar is a unique distinction awarded to those photographers who have had images assessed by the Guild via the Image of the Month competition over the course of a competition year, attaining a score the equivalent of a point for each entry made.
In other words any member who can secure 24 points* in one section of the Photography of the Year Title chases from 24 images in any 8 months of the same competition year (ie your chosen 3 POTY images X 8 Months in the same category) will be awarded honorary life membership of the 'Photographer's Bar' in order to acknowledge the fact they have submitted strong images consistently throughout the year in competition judged in accordance with national scoring criteria - a distinction that is very difficult to achieve!!
Membership of this exclusive club is clearly something to aim for…and achieving it also has great marketing potential for those in business.
* Bonus Points do not count towards the Photographers Bar