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. You must be an active club member (with membership fees paid for the current season) to be eligible to submit to N4C contests. Our club competes in six digital categories. Starting in the 2021/22 season, our club also competes in N4C print contests. PRINT and DIGITAL submissions are due by the Sunday before first club meeting of each month.


Send your submission(s) before the first meeting of each month to a club N4C representative:

PRINT contest (drop off at 1st meeting or before 7th of each month)
• Stephonie Schmitz — All print categories

DIGITAL contest (send by email)
• Ken Kiss — Digital Nature and Digital Black and White
• Cara Pusateri — All other Digital categories

PANORAMA PRINTS (April in person at Mini Convention)
• Jennifer Tigges — N4C Representative

PHOTO ESSAYS (send download link via email due March 31)
• Ronald Tigges — videos made from photos


Click here to download labels for your N4C print submissions.
Click here to view a concise version of the N4C Print contest rules.


The following tips can help you create strong contest submissions. For complete N4C rules, see their website.

File Size. Size your digital submissions to 1920 pixels on the longest side, and up to 750KB in size. Use an RGB color space for onscreen viewing. 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 This is where your member number goes.

If your member number is two digits, you must add a leading zero. In other words, if your member number is 54, add a zero before it and use 054 in the filename.

Category code: *
DJ: Digital Journalism (Minimal editing. Must show “reality.” A panel of related images is fine but must stay within size specs.)
DN: Digital Nature (No “hand of man” should be visible. Wildlife, birds, any plants, natural landscapes. Cultivated plants are fine!)
DT: Digital Travel (Must have city/state or location in file name.)
DP: Digital Pictorial (Catch-all category. Portraits go here. Some editing is OK.)
DB: Digital Black & White (Sepia or duotone is fine too. 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.

File name extension (Not .jpeg).

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

Viewing Digital Submissions

View submissions in the club’s online photo gallery at The club reviews submissions and returns during the first club meeting of each month. Our club may submit 8 images per category, or 16 if we judged. Our club’s N4C reps make the final decisions about which images get sent in.

Voting. When extra images are submitted to a category, club members may vote. Votes are via comments in the club’s online gallery. The comment should consist of ONLY your member number. You may vote for up to 5 images in each category. (You do NOT need to purchase a SmugMug membership to comment.) NOTE: You are always welcome to compliment member photos or to make constructive verbal comments about images during meetings.

Judging. Monthly contests are judged on a rotating basis by N4C-affiliated clubs. On months when our club is scheduled to judge a category, three experienced club members will be selected as volunteer judges. Judging allows us to see a lot of great images from other clubs! When our club judges, we cannot submit in that category that month. In either the following or preceding month, our club will be allowed to submit double images.

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.

Qualities of a strong digital submission

Over time, our club has noticed that digital 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

Where to find the complete N4C rules:

♥ Always be an ethical photographer. In your N4C submissions, and in all of your photography, take care to never harm any living creature. No photograph is worth hurting others, whether they are human, plant, bird, or animal. When photographing a rare plant or vulnerable animal, be cautious about sharing exact locations or embedding GPS coordinates. Do no harm!