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HUPS Photo Contest Awards and Rules

These Rules become effective on January 1, 2013

Monthly Photo Contest Rules

December Meeting "Best of HUPS" Photo Contest Rules

Photographer of the Year

Monthly Contest and General Rules

All monthly photo contest entries will be judged on an equal basis.  Images are judged on the following:

  • Adherence to the month’s contest topic description.
  • Technical image quality - sharpness, exposure, and lighting.
  • Composition.
  • Impact, drama.
  • Degree of difficulty.

Categories of Photographers

Any person may, at any time, appeal their category assignment to the Photo Contest Coordinator.


The Novice category is for those that meet the following criteria

  • Photography is a hobby.
  • Have never taken best of show or 1st - 3rd in national or international photographic competitions.
  • Has not been a HUPS Photographer of the Year.
  • Has not won a ‘Best of HUPS contest.
  • Has not advanced to the Intermediate Category.


The Intermediate category is for those that meet the following criteria:

  • Photography is a hobby.
  • Have never taken best of show or 1st - 3rd in national or international photographic competitions.
  • Has won HUPS Photographer of the year in the Novice category.
  • Has not been a HUPS Photographer of the Year in the Intermediate or Advanced categories.
  • Has demonstrated intermediate level skills and petitioned the Photo Contest Coordinator for permission to participate in the Intermediate category.
  • Has not advanced to the Advanced Category.
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The Advanced category is for those that meet the following criteria:

  • Photography is a hobby or profession.
  • Has won Photographer of the Year in the Intermediate category.
  • Have taken best of show or 1st-3rd in national or international photographic competitions.
  • Has demonstrated advanced level skills and petitioned the Photo Contest Coordinator for permission to participate in the Advanced category.
  • Club members who have won Photographer of the Year in the Advanced category will continue to be eligible to compete in future year’s Advanced competitions.

Entering Images

Each HUPS member will be allowed to enter three (3) images per contest in the category for which they are eligible.   However, from time to time it may be necessary, at the discretion of the Photo Contest Coordinator, to reduce the number of entries from three to two or even one per photographer in one or more of the entry categories.

Contest entries must be e-mailed to by 10 pm on the Friday prior to the meeting. Photos submitted after this deadline may be accepted by the contest Chairperson, at his or her discretion and availability.

The photographer does not have to be present at the monthly meeting to enter their image(s).

Types of Images / Editing

Images should be submitted as JPEG or JPG files with an sRGB color profile.

Images must be captured underwater using a digital or film camera.  Only digital files are allowed in the contest, so film images must be scanned into the required digital format.  Images will be projected via a digital projector. In the event no projector is available, judging will take place via a laptop monitor. The original content of the image captured may not be changed or augmented. Removal or addition of subjects or objects is not permitted.  Extreme computer manipulation is not permitted.

The following minor computer adjustments are allowed:

  • Resizing and cropping.
  • Adjusting levels, curves, brightness, contrast, and color.
  • Backscatter removal and sharpening.

If images do not meet the above criteria, or if they are not consistent with the category description, they will not be considered for judging. Photographers who submit a photograph that is rejected may be notified and permitted to resubmit a conforming photograph (time permitting), which must be received before the contest deadline.

Image Naming Structure

Images should be named as follows:

  • Contest code + First initial + Last name + Number 1, 2, or 3.

The contest codes are:

  • Novice – Nov
  • Intermediate - Int
  • Advanced - Adv

Spaces, dashes, or underscores may be used to separate file name parts.

For example, if John Doe (a Novice contestant) entered three images for the contest his files could be named using any of the following formats:

  • NovJDoe1.jpg
  • Nov JDoe 2.jpg
  • Nov_JDoe_3.jpg

Image Size

Beginning with the July 2011 contest, images may have a vertical dimension up to 1080 pixels. An image with a 1080 pixel vertical dimension will make full use of the projectors capability. The horizontal dimension may be up to 1920 pixels at the discretion of the photographer to achieve the desired composition.

If the contest requires a vertical composition, then the horizontal dimension must be less than the vertical dimension.

The file size should not exceed 1 Megabyte for each image.

Other Restrictions

No aquarium or pool shots; unless a monthly contest topic specifies such.

Photographs with divers stressing marine life will not be judged.

Entries that have won 1st, 2nd, or 3rd, in previous HUPS contests, or any major competition are ineligible. The only exceptions are permitted during the Best of HUPS night at the December meeting.

Images may not display copyright or any other identifying markings (except for the December contest).

Images will be disqualified if in the opinion of the Photo Contest Chairperson and monthly judges, the images do not meet the monthly subject matter, or do not meet one of the aforementioned rules.


The Photo Contest Coordinator will create a slide show from the submitted images for each category of photographer. Each image will be anonomous to the judges.

All contest judging will be performed by a permanent panel of six qualified judges selected by the HUPS Photo Contest Coordinator, except on nights when it is announced that the general membership will judge – such as the Best of HUPS contest in December.  Judges will be directed to use the Judging Criteria as stated above.

The judges will independently rate the Novice, Intermediate, and Advanced entries on a scale from 1‐10 and return their votes to the HUPS Photo Contest Coordinator for tabulation before the Monday meeting.

The Photo Contest Chairperson will prepare another PowerPoint show that identifies the winning images and who took them. This will be shown at the meeting in place of our previous contest. In addition, the judges are being asked to provide comments on images that they like. The comments will be mostly positive but they may also make suggestions on what might be done to make them even more impressive. We will encourage people in the audience to add their comments during the presentation. This is a new benefit that we really think will help our members become better UW photographers.


Each of the three judges scores each image from 1 to 10 points.

The total points for each image (between 3 and 30) will be recorded.

  • The image winning the most points in each category will win 1st place.
  • The second most points will be 2nd place.
  • The third most points will be 3rd place.

Ties will be awarded for photos having the same number of points.

In addition to the points awarded for each image, extra points will be awarded for the first, second, and third place images as follows:

  • Entering the contest = 1 point
  • Placing third = 3 points
  • Placing second = 6 points
  • Placing first = 9 points

A running total of all points earned will be maintained for the months of January through November. December is not included, as it is a separate contest.  The "active" HUPS member in each category accumulating the most points from January through November will be the HUPS Photographer of the Year in that category.

Contesting Results

If a member wishes to question the results of a contest, they must submit their complaint in writing to the Photo Contest Coordinator or any club officer.

The complaint must include: complainant's name, questionable image, nature of complaint (indicating rule broken), and the proof behind complaint. The Executive Committee will review the complaint, and if they find merit, they may disqualify the image.
If a first, second, or third place winning image is disqualified, the photographer will receive no points for that image, and the image(s) with the next higher point total(s) will be declared the first, second, or third place winner.

Use of Images

Persons entering a contest, including those with winning digital images, agree to allow HUPS to retain and use the images in the newsletter and on the web page or for other club-sponsored activities.  HUPS agrees, in return, to not abuse this privilege by marketing the image in any form, and will use it in promotional literature only with the advance consent of the photographer owning the image and with full recognition of said ownership of image(s).

December Meeting "Best of HUPS" Photo Contest Rules


There are four categories:

  • Novice
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • Creative

The first three categories are the same as the monthly contest (including the limitations on image size, image manipulation, submission to 48 hours prior to the meeting, etc.) with some clarifications:

  • Any image that has won 1st, 2nd, or, 3rd in a monthly contest is eligible.  Any image that was won a previous ‘Best of HUPS' contest is not eligible.
  • Any underwater subject may be used.

Anyone can enter the fourth "creative" category.

  • The overall photo should have an underwater context or connection of some sort. For instance, a school of fish swimming through the "canyons of New York City" is a perfectly acceptable entrant even though most of the image may be a cityscape.
  • Any image is allowed as long as it has been taken or created by the person entering the photo. One cannot take photos of other photos or take images off the web, etc. 
  • Any form of digital manipulation is allowed.

Three images may be entered in each category for which the photographer is eligible.

Judging and Scoring

Judging will be done by everyone at the December meeting using paper ballots.  Each person participating as a judge will award 3 points for the best photo, 2 points for the next, and 1 point for their third choice in each of the four categories.

The points will be totaled after the meeting, and the results will be announced on the website, in the January newsletter, and at the January meeting following the contest.

Points in the December contest DO NOT count toward Photographer of the Year.

Restriction on Future Use

Best of HUPS winning images are no longer eligible for any other HUPS contest.

Photographer of the Year

A Photographer of the Year is recognized in each of the Photo Contest entry categories: Novice, Intermediate and Advanced.  The winner of this award is determined by an accumulation of points as stipulated in section 1.9 Scoring.

To qualify for a Photographer of the Year, one must be a member in good standing and "active" in the club by participating in three (3) meetings or workshops or a combination of both in the year of the contest, or has participated in an annual HUPS trip within the current or previous year of the contest. Once a member has qualified, they will be grand fathered in for any subsequent year if they move away from the area and cannot attend the meetings or participate in the trips.

Members in good standing who do not meet this standard may enter monthly contests, but they will not qualify for Photographer of Year. If during the year, a member does fulfill the standard, they will be able to compete for the current year’s award.
The Photographer of the Year award will be presented at the TGCC Banquet.  The award includes a Banquet ticket for the award recipient.


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