Camera club competitions are a great way for Members to learn and to improve. Whether participating or observing, competitions provide us with a great opportunity to widen our knowledge and expertise. We learn to listen, with an open mind, to the comments of a judge, accept constructive criticism and then apply the information we have gained when taking our next photographs or working on post processing in the digital darkroom.
Judges teach us to have a critical eye on our own images and recognise the simple flaws that, when corrected, can make the difference between a good image and a great image. It does not have to be a winner every time but if it engages the judge and the audience you, as a photographer, have achieved something very satisfying.
To help with your personal development and growth as a photographer, we feel it is important to run regular competitions throughout the year.
Annual Projected Digital Image (PDI) Competition
This competition consists of four rounds.
Each round is judged by an external judge who provides a short critique of each of the entries identifying what they like about the images and and make suggestions for changes that could be tried that might make the image more satisfying for the author or to other judges.
Annual Print Competition
This competition consists of four rounds. This is an opportunity for Members to present their work in the form of mounted prints. Members are allowed enter up to two prints in each round. This competition is also judged by external judges who again give a short critique of each of the submitted images identifying what they like about the images and and make suggestions for changes that could be tried that might make the image more satisfying for the author or to other judges.
For both the print and PDI competitions, certificates are awarded for images which have achieved top marks (10) and those images qualify for The Best of the Best Competition at the end of the year.
The scores from both competitions are entered into league tables and at the end of the year the results are totalled to determine whether the Member has achieved a high enough score to be promoted to the next division and the best Member across both competitions is awarded a trophy as “Photographer of the Year“.
If Members do not wish to join in the league competitions, they are still invited to enter images ‘for comment only’.
Themed Digital Competitions
To challenge the creativity and skills of Members, there are two themed competitions. Each year different themes are set and an external judge provides a short critique on the images identifying what they like about the images and make suggestions for changes that could be tried that might make the image more satisfying for the author or to other judges. At the end of the critiques the judge then gives awards for the images considered to most match the chosen theme.
If Members do not wish to join in the themed competition, they are still invited to enter images ‘for comment only’ but with the chosen theme.
The Exhibition Competition
In the Spring of each year the Club asks Members to submit a mix of ten prints or digital images. All the image are then exhibited in Bracknell town centre during the Summer. This is a great opportunity for Members to show family and friends their own work and that of other Club members.
An external judge reviews the submitted images and is asked to give awards to images considered to be the ‘best’ in each of ten categories (or genres). Then from all the images the judges then gives awards to the best overall images.
The Clive Harrison Trophy
This is an annual competition for a thematic panel of between three and eight prints. The images should all share a common theme, tell a story or complement each other in some way when viewed together.
Entrants are encouraged to provide a written statement to explain the purpose of the panel or what the images are about.
An outside judge is invited to judge the submitted panels.
The trophy is named after a notable Club Member who died in 2000. Clive was well known for his book, published in 1994, of marvellous images of children titled ‘Age of innocence’. He was a Member of the Licentiate committee of the Royal Photographic Society (RPS) and this prompted the Club to name their panel competition in his honour. He was a Fellow of the RPS, a Member of the London Salon and of the Arena Group.
The Margaret Woods Trophy
This is a nature competition where Members submit nature images to be judged by the Members. The judging consists of multiple rounds with images with the least votes dropping out as the rounds progress.
The Margaret Woods Trophy is awarded to the most popular image as chosen by Members in the final round.
Margaret Woods was a member for a number of years of both Bracknell Camera Club and of the Met Office Camera club, where she worked. She was a talented photographer, whose brother was also a founder member of the Historical Photography Association. A Met Office colleague and friend, also a Bracknell Camera Club member, presented the trophy to be given in her name each year for our Nature competition.
Chris Bradley Cup
The images for the annual Chris Bradley competition are not the usual images that members would submit to our internal competitions that have judges from outside the Club. The images should err more on the humorous side rather than being ones that might please (or even annoy) an external judge. The image should be accompanied with a title that reflects the humour in the image.
The images should be technically OK but the humour in the image is the most important. Members of the Club who have submitted images are asked to score the other images and to submit these scores back to the Club. At the same time as scoring the other entries, Members are asked to suggest alternative titles for the images.
The winner of the Chris Bradley Cup is the image with the highest score. Plus the organisers present a bottle of wine to the author of the best (funniest?) alternate title.
The Cup is named after a long standing member who organised the competition (originally called the Portfolio Competition) for many years and on his retirement as organiser, the Club renamed the competition in his honour.