External competitions offer VCC members access to a world of photography beyond our Club. All VCC members can enter the external competitions in which our Club participates, providing they meet the requirements of the individual competition. Some competitions, for example, have certain residency requirements. Look at the individual competition listing for restrictions.
Look at the current “2023-2024 Competitions Summary” page under the “Competitions” drop-down menu to see a list of the coming season’s competitions in a calendar listing.
One of the duties of your External Competitions Committee is to select our Club entries in accordance with the rules of each contest, and in a way that is fair and considerate of all of our members. Your committee members will each independently judge every entry from members (except their own) using Club software. Judges will not know the name of the photographer. One Committee member will scan the top entries for compliance with photographer limits. The judges will then discuss the rating results and make final selections in accordance with contest rules and their own best judgment. The Committee may invite a “guest” judge from time to time.
Once the VCC entries have been selected by the Committee, members will be notified which entries were selected and the Committee will enter the selected entries.
Managers of competitions are currently paying special attention to the rules regarding artificial intelligence. At the time of writing, CAPA, for example, strictly prohibits the use of AI renderings created through text, but they do allow AI assisted features such as "clear, de-noise, masking, sharpening, subject selection, tone adjustments, and/or upsizing" in contests where post-capture editing is liberally allowed. Look to the editing rules in individual contests. CAPA is in the process of reviewing their criteria in this area over the summer of 2013. The External Competition Committee will strive to update our VCC pages as needed to comply with any future changes. CAPA publishes their "Eligibility Criteria" as a separate page, accessible through their web site.
Some competitions allow both club and individual member entries, provided you are a member of the sponsoring club or organization. Members may not compete through more than one club, nor may they submit the same photo in a contest as club member and individual member. We strive to notify our members of the selected photos in any contest in time for members to enter individually if they are qualified to enter. Members should understand that their entries not selected as Club entries can still be entered as individual entries if the Member is eligible.
Why should you enter an external competition? For those members that care about how our VCC is perceived among other clubs, external competitions maintain our Club’s presence in the photographic world. The main benefit of competition for an individual is that the act of submitting your own work for scrutiny by others is one of the steps in escaping your own subjective biases: this has the effect over time of forcing upon you a more objective view of your own work. Will you sometimes be disappointed? Of course. Will the judges always be right? No! However, overall, and over time, you will be led in the direction of better work. In addition, by paying attention to greater contests, you will see a lot of really good work.
First, look through the drop-downs to see which contests might be of special interest to you. Then, make sure you read both the rules of the sponsoring society, and, where they exist, the special rules and definitions particular to the selected competitions. We will post updated information in our “drop down” pages for each external competition the Club will enter, in which we will summarize the criteria for entry, and we will tell you the special rules for the themes.
If you have never entered an external competition, you might start with a competition that allows clubs more than 6 entries. Eastwood, for example, requires each club to select 30 entries, 15 from novice/intermediate members, and 15 from advanced. This particular competition also requires the judges to provide comments on every photo.
Note that CAPA is trying something new in their Pacific Zone competition this year: they have limited the number of entries per Club to 5 (from the previous 6) and to 2 (from the previous 3) for Individual members entering, but they are promising to provide the commentary of one judge for every entry.
You can see the photos VCC selected for external competitions on our web site, but you can also go online to view complete results of closed competitions. CAPA, for example, publishes contest galleries which are open to anyone to view.
If you want to go beyond merely participating in external competitions through the VCC, consider a personal membership in national organizations like CAPA and PSA.
To submit images to a competition, click Competitions-Submit Images to a Competition.