Competition

Learn how to submit your images to the N4C competition. More information is sent to club members by email. Find answers to your questions by attending a Dubuque Camera Club meeting.

North Central Camera Club Council
N4C Website
N4C Handbook
N4C 2019/2020 Contest rules

Competing in N4C contests is one of the perks of Dubuque Camera Club membership.

The North Central Camera Club Council (N4C) holds monthly photography contests in a season that runs from September to May. There is no contest in the summer months or in December.

Our club currently competes only in the digital categories. Submissions are typically due before the first club meeting of the month. Our club abbreviation is DA.

Each club member has a member number. You must be an active member (with membership fees paid for the current season) to be eligible to submit to N4C contests.

Judging. Photos are judged on a rotating basis by N4C-affiliated clubs. When our club judges, it changes our submission schedule. On judging nights, three experienced club members will serve as volunteer judges.

Our club judges an N4C category about three times a year. You are encouraged to attend judging nights to learn how the judging process works and to see a lot of great images!

From least to most image manipulation that is allowed, the N4C contest categories are Journalism, Nature, Travel, Pictorial, Black & White, and Altered Reality.

How to submit

Email your submissions before the first meeting of the month to a club N4C representative:

  • Ken Kiss — Nature and B&W
  • Cara Pusateri — All other categories

File Size. Size your photos to 1920 pixels on the longest side, and up to 750KB in size. Use sRGB. Crop to 16:9 for best results on widescreen displays. Always crop to enhance the composition!

File Names. Use our club code (DA) plus your member number, the category, and your image’s title. Separate these items with commas.

Example: DA001,DP,Beautiful Sunset.jpg

You must use commas between the parts of the filename. Do NOT add any spaces around the commas!

DA This is the Dubuque Camera Club code. 

001 Your member number.

If your member number is two digits, you must add a leading zero. In other words, if your member number is 22, add a zero before it and use 022 in the filename.

DP
Category code: *
DJ: Digital Journalism (Minimal editing. Must show “reality.” Related images are OK but must meet file size specs.).
DN: Digital Nature (No “hand of man” should be visible. Wildlife, birds, native plants, natural landscapes).
DT: Digital Travel (Must have city/state or location in file name).
DP: Digital Pictorial (Catch-all category. Portraits, etc. Some manipulation is fine; the final result must look “real”.)
DB: Digital Black & White (Sepia or duotone is fine. No selective color. Any subject).
DA: Altered Reality (Photoshopped images and composites. Must look unreal).
* These are tips only. See the full N4C rules for complete category information.

Beautiful Sunset
The specific title of your image, up to 256 characters. Spaces between words are fine.

.jpg
File name extension (Not .jpeg).

Viewing submissions

We typically look at submissions and returns during the first club meeting of each month. View past submissions in the club’s online photo gallery at photos.dubuquecameraclub.com.

As a club, we may only submit 8 images per category, or 16 if we judged. Our club’s N4C representatives make the final decisions about which images are sent in.

Voting. Club members may vote on their favorites by commenting. Your comment should consist of ONLY your member number. You may vote for up to 5 images in each category. (Note that if you do not have a SmugMug account, you may not be able to vote. You are NOT required to purchase a SmugMug membership.)

How many images can you send in?

Each active club member may submit up to ONE image per category. If there are not enough entries when we go over submissions during the meeting, a call may be issued for more submissions. In that case, it is first come, first served.

N4C rules state: “The maximum number of digital images which may be submitted by any club is eight (8) in any one category; one (1) entry per member.”

Double submissions. When our club judges, it changes the submission schedule. Our entire club is usually allowed to enter up to EIGHT images per category. We cannot submit to a category during a month when we judge that category. The following month, our club can submit double (16) in that category.  Because there is no competition in the summer, if we judge in May, we can submit double for that category in April.

Where to find the complete rules: The N4C occasionally makes changes to contest rules. If you have any questions, it is recommended that you read their rules at n4c.us/competition

Qualities of a strong submission

Over time, our club has noticed that photos with the following qualities tend to do better in N4C competition:

  • Subject is in sharp focus
  • Colors are well-saturated
  • Good lighting
  • Cropped perfectly (for a 16:9 screen)
  • Good use of any negative space
  • Interesting use of texture
  • Depth of field was considered
  • Doesn’t look fake (except for DA)
  • Tells an appealing story that makes the viewer wonder.

To see what type of images do well in competition, look at the past winners on the N4C website.

Attend meetings to learn more

To learn more about submitting to N4C contests, be sure to attend Dubuque Camera Club meetings. We look at N4C submissions and returns during the first meeting of each month.

About three times a year, we judge images from other N4C clubs. On in-person judging nights, you will see a LOT of submissions. Viewing others’ contest entries will make your submissions stronger.

Be an ethical photographer:

In your N4C submissions, and in all of your photography, take care never to harm any living creature. The best photographers always act with integrity. No photograph is worth hurting others, whether they are human, plant, bird, or animal.