N4C Photo Contests

The DSCC is a member of North Central Camera Club Council (N4C), a council of 44 clubs within 7 states. The N4C coordinates monthly photo contests that are judged by one of the 44 clubs. The DSCC judges both digital and print N4C contests between 1 and 3 times a year.

For complete details – including winning images for all prior competitions – visit the official N4C website.

Competitions in each category listed below are held within the North Central Camera Club Council September through May except December. Each club belonging to the Council may submit eight entries per contest category per month on the basis of one per maker. Any entries that receive a ribbon in a monthly competition will be entered in the year-end competition.

N4C Definitions and Rules for the Competition Categories:


Journalism Photography depicts some event or activity; story telling is emphasized, as in a newspaper or magazine photograph. An element of human interest is a fundamental quality for a journalism photograph.

  1. A Journalism entry can be a single image or a sequence of related images arranged for presentation as a single entry.
  2. Only minimal digital editing is allowed. In the interest of credibility, photographs that misrepresent the truth, such as manipulation to alter the subject matter, or situations set up for the purpose of photography, are unacceptable. No elements may be moved, cloned, added, deleted, rearranged, or combined. No manipulation or modification is permitted except resizing, cropping, selective lightening or darkening, and restoration of original color of the scene. No special effect filters may be added or applied.
  3. For the Print competition, PRINTS should be UNMOUNTED or on a lightweight mount not to exceed 8 x 12 inches in size.
  4. The three (3) jury members shall vote a score of between two (2) and five (5) points. Separate voting for technique, composition, and interest will NOT be made, but will be considered only in connection with the suitability of the work for Journalism competition. The total score for each submitted photograph will range from six (6) to fifteen (15) points.
  5. The titles or captions of the submitted works will be read at least for the first round of judging. If subsequent rounds are required, it is not necessary to repeat the title or caption.


Nature Photography is the recording of our natural world by some photographic means. Included are all branches of nature except Archeology and Anthropology.

  1. No photograph is worth distress or injury to any wild creature.
  2. Nature photographs may be either black & white or color.
  3. The hand of man shall not be present in any nature entry except where wild animals have adapted to the built environment (e.g., fence posts and other man-made objects freely adapted for use by wild creatures).
  4. Banding or tagging on nature subjects is acceptable. Photographs at bird feeders are not acceptable if any part of a man-made feeder is shown in the photograph.
  5. Photographs taken in zoos, animal farms, or game farms are acceptable if the hand of man is not visible.
  6. Cultivated plants, domestic animals, and pets are not acceptable.
  7. Adjustments must look natural. The use of HDR, exposure blending, focus stacking, stitching, and related techniques that combine more than one image is acceptable, provided the resulting image is natural in appearance.


Travel implies going to some place other than one’s customary environment; travel photography suggests the photographic depiction of that new environment or the means used to get there.
There is no restriction of how far away that environment must be to qualify as “travel” or how different that new environment must be. A strong travel photo is an image that expresses the feeling of a time and place; portrays a land, its people, or a culture in its natural state; and has no geographical limitations. Emphasize the location’s qualities that make the place unique.

  2. Entered prints must be clearly marked as to category. The judging club will be evaluating Journalism Prints as well as Travel Prints. It is acceptable to package and send the prints in one container, provided they are wrapped separately and clearly marked.
  3. Adjustments must look natural and must accurately portray the scene.


In pictorial photography, the artistic quality of the presentation is emphasized. The subject itself is not restricted: All subjects qualify. Pictorialism emphasizes beauty of subject matter, tonality, and composition as opposed to documentation. Thus, there is more freedom for artistic interpretation in pictorial photography than there is in Journalism, Nature, or Travel photography. Limited use of brushes and textures is allowed in Pictorial. Still, there is a clear effort to represent reality; this distinguishes the Pictorial category from Altered Reality.

  1. The Pictorial category is well-suited for use of modern digital techniques, including HDR, exposure blending, focus stacking, stitching, and related techniques that combine more than one image.
  2. At the time of writing, computational photography is emerging as a rapidly growing field. The Pictorial category is receptive to the use of modern photographic techniques and innovations, provided the intent of the photograph is to present an artistic interpretation of
    recognizably real subjects.
  3. Photos submitted in the pictorial category should be in color. Black & white photos that are pictorial in quality should be submitted in the Black & White category

Black & White

The Black & White category is similar in character to Pictorial, except that the Black & White category is for monochrome images. Images are limited to monochromatic hues or shades of gray, although filters may be applied to give a hue or tint. Different photographic processes and toners give a different hue to a black & white photograph, for example, selenium, sepia and split toning (duo-toning). No fraction of the image shall be given a special color treatment.

  1. Black & White Prints and Nature Prints are evaluated by the same club. It is acceptable to package and send the prints in one container, provided they are wrapped separately and clearly marked.
  2. Black & White prints and digital images may be created from
    a. black & white film,
    b. digital black & white captures, or
    c. digital color images converted to black & white.
  3. The use of HDR, exposure blending, focus stacking, stitching, and related techniques that combine more than one image is acceptable.

Altered Reality

The primary distinction for the Altered Reality category is that the maker intends (and the viewer easily recognizes) that the image is not a representation of reality. The Altered Reality image must have a photographic base of the maker’s own creation. Manipulation of the basic image or images can be done in camera and/or in computer. The use of brushes and textures made by others is allowed in Altered Reality, as is the use of software to create unusual effects. The makers of Altered Reality images should feel free to use a wide range of tools and resources, limited only by imagination.

Rules for All Print Competitions

  1. Prints may be commercially made or produced by the entrant.
  2. With the exception of Journalism, prints may be any size or aspect ratio from a minimum of 8 x 10 inches and not to exceed 16 x 20 inches. Mounting or matting of the prints is optional with the overall size not to exceed 16 x 20. Journalism prints may not exceed 8 x 12 inches; journalism prints should be UNMOUNTED or on a lightweight mount not to exceed 8 x 12 inches in size.
  3. Any contingency not covered by these rules, the definitions that follow or the Inter-Club Contests Procedures & General Rules will be referred to the Chair of the appropriate N4C Competition whose interpretation and decision will be final.

Rules for All Digital Competitions

  1. Image Format — Image files must be in jpg file format. Saving jpg files using sRGB color space standard is recommended for consistent color under the projection conditions used for judging the contest. No logo or copyright is to appear on the image for judging. Copyrights may be included in the file metadata.
  2. Image Size – The longest side must be no more than 1920 pixels. The file size must be no more than 750 KB.
  3. Naming Image Files – Example: 01,CE028,DP,Beautiful Sunset.jpg. Following this naming convention is vital as this information takes the place of any further entry forms.
    a. 01, = to be used on all entries. It may be changed later and used to sequence the judging. The N4C Contact of the entrant’s camera club will use this number to sequentially number the filenames being submitted – normally from 01 up to 08.
    b. CE028, = entrant’s personal N4C Member Number. : (CE is the “Club Code” designation of the entrant’s camera club – See the section on “N4C Member Numbers” 028, = entrant’s personal ID Number within their club assigned by the entrant’s camera club. Get a personal ID Number from the N4C Contact of the entrant’s camera club)
    c. DP, = the Digital Pictorial contest category DN, = the Digital Nature contest category
    d. DT, = the Digital Travel contest category
    e. DB, = the Digital Black & White contest category
    f. DA, = the Digital Altered Reality contest category
    g. DJ, = the Digital Journalism contest category
    h. Beautiful Sunset = the entrant’s title for the image.
    i. jpg = the file extension indicating the format of the file (.jpg)
    j. Commas are used to populate the electronic record keeping system for tracking and judging.
  4. Entrants are to submit their digital image entries (jpg files) to their own club N4C Contact who is responsible for the N4C Digital Contests. The N4C Contact will consolidate all the entries, modify entry file names with the desired sequence numbers described above and below, and forward all entries to the appropriate month’s digital contest judging clubs.

Submitting to N4C:

Printed images are submitted and returned at DSCC club meetings. See the Print Rules for reference on sizing and presentation.

Digital images are to be uploaded through this site’s Digital Submissions page. Files should follow the N4C format guidelines:

  • File size maximum of 750KB.
  • Dimension maximum of 1920 pixels along the longer side.

All entries must have specific information.  All digital files should be submitted in .jpg format. File naming convention is detailed below. See the Digital Rules for additional reference.

 01,DJ000,DP,Duluth’s Landmark.jpeg

 01 (entry number), DJ000 (your assigned N4C ID number), DP (category), Title of image (The Travel category requires an indication of location in the title).

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