The rules below are General Rules governing all competitions hosted by CTPS. By participating in the contests, you understand, acknowledge and unconditionally agree to abide by the following Rules:

PHOTO CREDIT: Jean Bradshaw

Competition Rules


This document constitutes the By-Laws of the Cape Town Photographic Society

drawn up and approved by the Council of Cape Town Photographic Society in terms of Clause 4.3.14 of the Constitution. These By-Laws establish the Rules for the various prints, projected images (digital and slides) and audio-visual divisions of the Cape Town Photographic Society under which the Society’s competitions shall be held, the various awards shall be made and trophies and medals shall be awarded. The Council shall be responsible for the making of awards and awarding trophies.

1.1 CTPS usage of a member’s images

1.1.1 CTPS website and newsletter

Once submitted via Photovaultonline, the CTPS member accepts that his/her image(s) may be published on the CTPS website and in the Cape Camera newsletter. This usage does not infringe on a member’s copyright or ownership of an image.  The author retains full copyright of the image. 

1.1.2 Interclub and similar competitions

CTPS also reserves the right to enter a member’s image(s) into any PSSA, Western Cape Photographic Forum or Interclub Competition. CTPS will first seek permission from the author before submitting the image(s) into the above-mentioned competitions.  Please note that these bodies may in turn then display these images on their platforms, according to their competition rules.

1.1.3 CTPS exhibitions

CTPS also reserves the right to hold an exhibition of members’ images. Again, permission from the author will be sought before the image is exhibited.


2.1 Classification of Photographers
For competition purposes photographers shall be ranked as Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, or Salon. Master status can be awarded to a
Salon ranked photographer according to the rule in paragraph 2.3.2. Promotion from one rank to the next shall be by accumulation of points, gold awards and Salon acceptances gained in competition as prescribed in paragraph 2.3 below. A new member of the Society shall be ranked as Beginner unless he/she substantiates to the satisfaction of the Council that he/she has gained a higher status at a photographic society/club recognised by the Council in which case the Council shall determine into which rank such member shall fall. Should the work entered in Society competitions by a Beginner or Intermediate ranked photographer, in the opinion of the Council, show him/her to deserve classification in a higher rank the Council may invite him/her to present a panel of 6-12 prints or projected images (as the case may be) for the purpose of promotion to an appropriate ranking. The panel may include work previously entered in Society competitions.

2.2 Society Competitions

Society competitions for prints and projected images shall normally be held once in each month. Photographs entered for projected images and print competitions must have been taken by the entrant. The photographs entered into competitions must be original and must not have been entered previously into any other CTPS competition in which ranking points are awarded.

The number of entries permitted in the different subject categories in the monthly projected images and print competitions shall be determined by the Council. Prints or projected images may be entered once only unless material alterations have been effected in which case re-submission shall be permitted and points gained for both entries shall be credited to the entrant. A simple monochrome conversion of a colour photograph (and vice versa) is not regarded as a material alteration.

Competition entries shall be judged by one or more judges appointed by the Council. (A judge may not score their own image and the average of the other judges will be added instead). The judges shall award points up to a total of 30 for each entry. No account will be taken of the classification of the entrant thereof whose name and classification shall not be known to the judge(s) at the time of judging. 

No member may influence the judge in any way so as to persuade him or her to favour the said member’s images, or in any way identify themselves to the judge as being the photographer before a score has been announced. No member may confront the judge, or in any way negatively engage with the judge, after the marks and comments have been given in a competition. Such behaviour, once corroborated and substantiated by the judge or a member of Council, will result in the images for the said member being disqualified for that competition. Repeated offenses could result in the member being removed from the membership of the Society.

The original image must be made by the entrant with a camera. All images must be original and must not incorporate elements produced by anyone else. By virtue of submitting an entry, the entrant certifies the work as his/her own. The club assumes no liability for any misuse of copyright by the entrant. Any modification of the original image must be made by the entrant.

The points so awarded shall gain for the entrant a Gold, Silver or Bronze award on the basis of the following minimum number of points.

Salon and Master 242016

2.2.1 The number of entries allowed

Images may be entered in either medium, PDI or print, and may be entered in either the Open or Set categories. A maximum of three images is allowed. No more than two images may be entered in the Open category. In a Print and PDI competition, three of these may be submitted as prints but only two may be submitted as PDIs. There is no date limit for when a photograph submitted in the Open category should have been taken, but photographs submitted in the Set category must have been taken within the preceding 365 days (one year). The number of images entered will be reviewed by Council from time to time and may be amended as deemed necessary.

2.2.2 Submission Deadlines:

Projected Digital Images must be uploaded to the Photovaultonline website by 24h00 on the Wednesday preceding the competition.  See the CTPS website competitions page for instructions.

Digital copies of print images must also be uploaded to Photovaultonline by the deadline. The Prints need to be presented to the convenor by 18h40 on the night of the competition.  

 2.3  Promotion

Promotion from one rank of photographer to the next shall be achieved by accumulation of the number of points and Gold awards in Society competitions and acceptances obtained Salons, as prescribed below. The Salons referred to are South African National, and South African International, Salons with PSSA patronage, held within the borders of South Africa.  For this purpose, points shall be awarded on the basis of 3 for each Salon acceptance and 3, 2 & 1 respectively for a Gold, Silver and Bronze award referred to in paragraph 2.2 above.

It is the duty of the Salon entrant to advise the Competitions Convener of the name and date of the Salon, and of the titles of accepted work, within three months of the date of the Salon.

2.3.1  Requirements for promotion are:

From Beginner to Intermediate: 40 points (including any gained from Salon acceptances, as per paragraph 2.3) and including a minimum of 5 Gold Awards in Society competitions.

From Intermediate to Advanced: 50 points (including any gained from Salon acceptances, as per paragraph 2.3), and including a minimum of 10 Gold Awards in Society competitions, and including 5 Salon acceptances (as per paragraph 2.3) or 10 scores of 24 points or higher in CTPS monthly competitions whichever is achieved first. Salon acceptances may be carried over from the previous ranking and are thus cumulative. A single image may collect a maximum of three acceptances in different salons.

From Advanced to Salon: 50 Gold Awards in Society competitions and including 15 Salon acceptances (as per paragraph 2.3). Salon acceptances may be carried over from previous rankings and are thus cumulative. A single image may collect a maximum of three acceptances in different Salons.

Excess points, either from Society Competitions or Salons, gained for any one ranking shall not be carried over for purposes of promotion to the next rank. Salon acceptances from Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced are cumulative.

2.3.2 The title of Master photographer will be awarded to a member who has gained the rank of Salon and who gains a minimum of 10 CTPS Gold awards and 10 Salon acceptances for the competition year (October to September). The Salons referred to are South African National and South African International Salons with PSSA patronage. An image that gains an acceptance may only be used once for promotion purposes. If the requirement is not met by
the end of the competition year the award will fall away.

2.4 Category Winner Awards

Awards to the winners of the various categories in the monthly competitions will be given at the discretion of the Council.  Only images that achieve a Gold award will be considered for a category award.


3.1 Entries must be named with the image title, e.g. Eastern Cape sunrise.jpg. It is not acceptable to have a title reading ‚ÄúUntitled‚ÄĚ. No title, watermark or identification of the maker shall be visible anywhere on the image.

3.2 Image format

Images must be in the following format: JPG/JPEG file format (using the .jpg or .jpeg extension). File size may not exceed 2 MB. No image may exceed 1920 pixels on the horizontal axis and 1080 pixels on the vertical axis. Either the width must be exactly 1920 or the height must be exactly 1080 pixels.

No text or wording may be added to images. Frames or borders are acceptable, subject to the size limits set out above. It is recommended that the submitted images be saved in the sRGB colour space, since it cannot be guaranteed that the colours of an image saved in any other colour space will be displayed correctly during judging.

It is recommended that monitors are calibrated so that images are displayed correctly during judging.

3.3 Projection software

Software to project the images will be The Other Project (TOP) or similar. The projector will be calibrated using a screen calibrator such as a Datacolor Spyder or similar on a regular basis.


4.1 All print entries must be named with the title of the image only, e.g. Eastern Cape sunrise. Digital copies must be uploaded to Photovaultonline by the deadline which is the Wednesday preceding the competition.

4.2 Presentation of Prints

Prints shall have the Print Entry Form completed and attached using masking tape. This will identify the Title, Entrant’s Name, Category entered and the Date.  There must also be an arrow on the back of the print to indicate the top of the photograph.

Prints should be mounted.¬† The maximum size of the mount board may not exceed 400 mm x 550 mm (16‚ÄĚ x 22‚ÄĚ).

Prints shall be a minimum size of 150 mm x 200 mm (6‚ÄĚ x 8‚ÄĚ), excluding the mount.

Prints shall be a maximum size of 300 mm x 450 mm (12‚ÄĚ x 18‚ÄĚ), excluding the mount.

It is recommended that a protective covering, which can be flipped back during judging, is used to help to protect the prints.


5.1 CTPS bases its definitions of categories on the guidelines provided by the Photographic Society of South Africa (PSSA).

The original image and all elements therein must have been taken by the photographer, whatever photographic medium is used. All actions in reaching the final presentation must be made by the photographer with the exclusion of film processing, un-manipulated commercial scanning, and printing.

No images or parts of images may be downloaded from the internet or copied from any source whatsoever.

5.2 Manipulation

Manipulation shall constitute any or all of the following modifications to the original image: Adding an element to the image that was not contained in the original capture; Removing an element from the image that was contained in the original capture; Moving or repositioning an element of the image that was contained in the original capture.

5.2.1 Digital Manipulation

In the categories Nature and Photo Journalism manipulation is not allowed. In the Open category there are no restrictions whatsoever in the way authors choose to process an image.

The following actions are allowed and are not seen as manipulation:

  • Cropping and resizing.
  • Correction¬†of lens distortion, chromatic aberrations, purple fringing, lens¬†vignette and vertical/horizontal perspective adjustments.
  • Removal of dust spots or scratch marks from sensor or scanned images.
  • Due¬†to the limitation of digital sensors regarding dynamic range, the¬†blending of different exposures of the same scene to broaden the dynamic¬†range (e.g. HDR).
  • Adjustments to exposure and contrast, including dodging and burning.
  • Adjustment/correction¬†of colour balance. This can either be done by selecting an appropriate¬†white balance during the conversion in the RAW images, or by¬†adding/subtracting colours in the photo editing software. The post¬†capture application of digital colour correction filters like warming or¬†cooling filters, similar to the 81 and 82 series of filters, is also¬†allowed.
  • Application of colour saturation. Non-selective saturation that is applied to the whole image is permissible.
  • Reduction of digital noise, especially in high ISO images from digital cameras, or film grain in scanned images.
  • Sharpening¬†of the image. All modern sharpening algorithms and techniques such as¬†edge sharpening. Luminance sharpening and mode sharpening are¬†permissible. Focus stacking to widen the depth of field especially in Macro photography.

In the case of Nature and Wildlife, HDR, stitching for panoramas and focus stacking will not be considered as manipulation and may therefore be used provided that the end result is a faithful representation of the original scene. HDR, Stitching and Focus stacking are not allowed in Photo Journalism.

No manipulation is allowed in the following sections: Nature, Sport, Photojournalism and Photo-Travel (see definitions below). Work that has been digitally manipulated (see definitions below) will only be accepted in the Pictorial category. The committee reserves the right to request the author to submit the original RAW file or negative to verify the image’s authenticity. Where
no RAW file or negative is available, the committee will evaluate the entry and the author may be asked to submit evidence to the committee. The committee’s decision is final. By entering the competition the author implicitly accepts the ruling of the committee in this regard.

5.3 Category definitions

5.3.1 Open

In¬†this category the subject matter is totally open. All elements must be¬†photographic ‚Äď if graphic elements are included they should enhance the¬†photographic image but not take over from it. All graphics used should¬†be created by the photographer using their own artwork.

5.3.2 Monochrome

A monochrome image is a black and white image. A black and white work fitting from the very dark grey (black) to the very clear grey (white) is a monochrome work with the various shades of grey.

A black and white work toned entirely in a single colour will remain a monochrome work able to stand in the black and white category.

On the other hand a black and white work modified by a partial toning or by the
addition of one colour becomes a colour work (polychrome) to stand in the colour category.

 5.3.3 Nature Definitions

NATURE photography is restricted to the use of the photographic process to depict observations from all branches of natural history, except anthropology and archaeology, in such a fashion that a well-informed person will be able to identify the subject material and to certify as to its honest presentation.

Human elements shall not be present, except on the rare occasion where those human elements enhance the nature story. The presence of scientific bands on wild animals is acceptable. Photographs of artificially produced hybrid plants or
animals, domestic and farm animals, mounted specimens, or obviously set arrangements, are ineligible, as is any form of manipulation that alters the truth of the photographic statement. Manipulation includes but is not limited to adding or removing any element by means other than cropping. Please read the full definition for manipulation.

The faithful representation of what was captured at the time of shooting must be maintained. Digital & printing adjustments are only acceptable if limited to minor cleaning work (removing dust spots), levels, curves, colour, saturation and contrast work, dodging and burning. Sharpening is allowed.

Compositing, multiple exposures, sandwich/montage shots and double exposures are not permitted except for new digital techniques such as HDR, stacking and stitching where the end result is a faithful representation of the original scene.

Adding or removing animals, parts of animals, plants, distractions, people etc. into/from the image is not allowed.

Borders, if used in digital projections, should be unobtrusive and generally limited to a thin stroke that separates the image area from the black projection background.

5.3.4 Wildlife

Falling within the Nature category is WILDLIFE which is defined as one or more organisms living free and unrestrained in a natural or adopted habitat. Therefore, while photographs of zoo or any other animals in captivity, insects or other creatures photographed in the studio or other controlled locations are NATURE subjects. They are not WILDLIFE and could not be entered in a Wildlife section. Animals living free and unrestrained on game farms, private game reserves and National Parks are
considered to be wildlife.

NOTE: Wildlife subjects are not limited to birds and mammals. Insects, reptiles, amphibians, sea creatures and botany are also eligible wildlife subjects as long as they are not captive subjects. The main subjects must be living organisms therefore landscapes are not eligible wildlife subjects.

5.3.5 Pictorial

These are images with wide visual appeal. Any subject that is treated pictorially, embodying the elements of good design, arrangement or composition, which reflects the personal interpretation of the photographer may be considered. Any general type of image which does not fit into the Nature section may be entered into this category. Manipulated Nature, Sport, Photojournalism and Photo-Travel images may be entered in this category. Landscape images should be entered under this section.

5.3.6 Photojournalism and Photo-Travel

Entries shall consist of images or sequences with informative content and emotional impact, including human interest and documentary news. In the interest of credibility, images which misrepresent the truth, such as manipulation to alter the subject matter, or situations which are set up for the purpose of photography, are unacceptable in the Photojournalism and Photo-Travel sections. Typical images in this section should be what we see published as newsworthy in magazines and newspapers.

Photojournalism is distinguished from other close branches of photography by the qualities of:

Timeliness ‚ÄĒ the images have meaning in the context of a recently published record of events.

Objectivity¬†‚ÄĒ the situation implied by the images is a fair and accurate
representation of the events they depict in both content and tone.

Narrative ‚ÄĒ the images combine with other news elements to make facts relatable to the viewer or reader on a cultural level.

5.3.7 Abstract

This is an exercise in composition for the sake of art. The real identity of the abstractionist’s subject is not important and the result is not intended to be anything.

5.3.8 Altered Reality

An image created by altering reality in an obvious manner. It can be created digitally or in camera. The intention is the creation of a new image that conveys a feeling or message, or tells a story.

5.3.9 Human Interest

An image depicting a person or persons in an interactive, emotional or unusual situation.

5.3.10 Landscape

A genre intended to show different spaces within the world, sometimes vast and unending, but other times microscopic. A landscape comprises the visible features of an area, including physical elements such as landforms, the sea, living elements of flora and fauna, abstract elements like lightning and weather conditions.

5.3.11 Macro

A photographic situation where you get close to a small subject by physical or optical means. Starting at approximately 1/4 life size i.e. when the subject being photographed is four (4) times the size of the film plane (i.e. film or digital sensor). There is no limit on the upper end.

5.3.12 Panorama

An image with
elongated fields of view, with an aspect ratio of 2:1 or larger, the
image being at least twice as wide as its height.

5.3.13 Portraiture

A likeness, personality, and mood of a living subject where that subject is dominant in the image. Portraiture is not restricted to head and shoulders and may include just a part of the face, a back view or even a full length study.

5.3.14 Sports Photography

Sports photography covers any aspect of a sporting event. Images must depict
an active pastime or recreation involving physical exertion and/or skill that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often of a competitive nature. Images in this section could include, for instance, the judge or umpire in a sporting event.

Sports Action Photography depicts people in action. Images must depict an active pastime or recreation involving physical exertion and/or skill that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often of a competitive nature. The level of sport can range from children playing a sport to the Olympic Games.

5.3.15 Still life

An image depicting mostly inanimate subject matter.

5.3.16 Table Top

Table top is an image depicting mostly inanimate subject matter arranged in an artificial setting such as on a table top.

5.3.17 Visual Art

Photography¬†as a means of expression and as a vehicle for the author to make a¬†personal photographic statement. Pictorial images can be Visual Art and¬†Visual Art images can be Pictorial ‚Äď the important part of the¬†definition for Visual Art is that these images should go beyond the¬†straightforward pictorial rendering of a scene. The image does not have¬†to employ derivative or manipulative techniques to be Visual Art.


The annual competitions will run from 1st July to 30th June of the following year.  The following awards may be made:

6.1 Awards may be made in each of the individual ranking categories for best performance in the Set subject category and in the Open category of the monthly competitions.  The award will made to the photographer with the highest aggregate points for 10 images submitted during the year in each of the Set subject and the Open categories for each ranking.   

6.2 An award may be made for Photographer of the Year for the best overall  performance in combined Monthly Competitions, the Annual Competition and Salons. Points will be allocated to winners of the Monthly Competitions, first, second and third places in the Annual competition, and Medals, Certificates of Merit, and Acceptances in salons.     

6.3 Awards may be made to winners of the individual categories of the Annual Competition as well as to the overall winner and runners up.  

6.4 Awards may be made to the winners of the different categories in the Audio-Visual section.