Guidelines for Judging

Delaware Photographic Society

Competitions 2023-2024

August 1, 2023


To be considered for competition, images must be uploaded to the DPS website by 11:59 p.m. on the image dates specified on the DPS website.


The scoring system we use permits each of the three judges to score an entry from 1 to 9. Thus, the total score for eachentry can range from 3 to 27. We realize that judging photographic images is largely subjective. However, we would likejudges to adhere to the following approximate scoring guidelines:


1 Disqualification for improper information (name or copyright, image title or other text added on an image, or for completely failing to meet the assigned subject
2 This score is not used
3-4 A poor image or an image barely meeting the assigned subject
5-7 A good image
8-9 An excellent image (potential medal/award)


These guidelines are provided to acquaint you with the judging procedures for DPS projected image competitions,and some general expectations for our invited judges.

  • 3-4 rating is used for images where there are two or more flaws, and this rating would be used for assigned subject evaluation where the entrant does not follow the assignment.

  • These guidelines use “6” as a baseline of a good image:good focus, exposure, composition, lighting, depth of field, etc. A ”5” is at the low end of the good scale where one of the elements listed was inadequate or poor. A “7” is the top of a good rating where one of the elements was very good but not enough to elevate it to a score of “8”.
  • An 8-9 rating is used for an image where the judges feel strongly that the image should be accepted, and if awards were given should receive one of these scores. So, an “8” or 9 should be used where all the elements come together to make an excellent image.


A score of “1” is used for disqualification only (name, title, copyright info or other text placed on image.  Onlythe Projected Image/Print Competition Directors will disqualify an image for any of the following reasons: image previously accepted in a prior competition, the same image entered more than once in different categories (assigned, open and creative) for the same competition night, name or title or copyright info or other text placed on the image, image capture date prior to assigned subject requirement, or image completely failed to meet the criteria for the competition (assigned subject, creative).


According to experience and skill levels, the contestants have been assigned to one of three proficiency classes: ClassB, Class A and Salon. Salon is the class for the most proficient members and Class B for the least proficient.However, judges should not automatically assume that images submitted in Class B are necessarily of less qualitythan images in Class A or Salon but judge each image on its own merits.

Entries in each group (i.e., a given class and subject category) will be viewed and judged together, and separatelyfrom other groups. The only exception is Creative where all images entered are judged together, regardless of Class.


We have four different image categories: Assigned, Color Open Subject, Creative and Monochrome Open Subject.

ASSIGNED SUBJECTS (Color and Monochrome)
Assigned subject competitions are conducted in all classes. Color and Monochrome images

compete together in Assigned Subjects. For the Assigned Subject images, it is the judges’ responsibility todetermine the extent to which each image fits the assignment, and to score accordingly. An appealing image that doesnot fit the assigned subject very well should not score above a less striking image that fits the assignment.

Scoring of Assigned Subject Images:

Judges will be scoring images, grouped by assigned subject for each month, (September, October, November) and(January, February, March and April) since the assigned subject provides the context for scoring such images.


September 2023 Wood Detail:Interesting abstract shape or texture of natural wood
October 2023 Work:People working at a recognizable task
November 2023 Water Reflection:Photograph featuring a subject reflected in water
January 2024 Fall Colors:Showing the warm colors of fall
February 2024 Stairs:Image whose main subject is stairs
March 2024 Nostalgia: place, person or object that evokes nostalgia
April 2024 Funny Image:photo that provides a chuckle or laugh


All images that are to be entered in the Assigned Subject category for the 2023-2024 DPS year must have been captured on or after September 1, 2022.

Any image taken by the club member, at any time, may be entered in the Color Open category, except for images, previously marked as accepted in earlier competitions. Club members are requested to use discretion and propriety when submitting images in this category. The Open category has no date, technique, or subject requirement.

Creative (also known as Altered Reality) is intended to encourage experimental or non-traditional work. The image may be whatever the maker wants it to be. Images must have been manipulated to a form that could not have been captured in the camera. There are no date requirements for the creative category.


An image is considered to be Monochrome only if it gives the impression of having no color (i.e. contains only shades of gray which can include pure black and pure white) OR it gives the impression of being a grayscale image that has been toned in one color across the entire image. (For example, Sepia, blue, red, gold, etc.).  The Open category has no date, technique, or subject requirement.

Judges, who are not current DPS members, will receive an honorarium of $50.00 for judging the images inthese competition.

If you have any questions about these guidelines, please contact Karl Leck, Print Director at or Mark Leary, Projected Image Director at

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