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Grand Photos' competitions offer an opportunity for members to exhibit their work, together with the work of other members. The competitions focus on categories which can be presented differently by each photographer, while maintaining the same requirements for all entrants. The competitions enable photographers to compare their work to that of their contemporaries and set a higher standard for themselves.


Entering club competitions helps members to focus on new challenges and techniques thereby helping them to improve their abilities. Competitions turn participants into their own best critic. As a consequence, they learn to objectively criticize their own work.

Pre-Competition Checklist Presentation


Grand Photo Award Winners

Season 2024 Competition

Sandhill Feeding Her Baby a Snail
White Pumpkins in Basket

Best of Show Spring 2024

Sandhill Feeding Her Baby a Snail

Ray Surges

B Division

Best Of Show Spring 2024

White Pumpkins in Basket

Peggy Boike

A Division

2025 Competition Information

Digital Competition Dates to Remember

Digital Submission Begins: January 1, 2025
Digital Submissions End: February 13, 2025 [11:59pm]
Digital Judging: TBD
Award Presentation: March 10, 2025 [6:00pm]

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Each Season, September, to the following April, Grand Photos holds one independently judged Photo Competition exclusively for its members.

Entry Process - Photographers will enter into one of two divisions: Division A or B.

Smartphones – For those of you using smartphones, don’t be afraid of competing with people using “old style” cameras. The picture quality of newer smartphones is surprisingly good, and several awards in previous competition went to images taken with smartphones.

Abstracts - The ABSTRACT category will remain for the this competition. Abstract images may also be entered other categories as well.

Expanded entry opportunities - Because some members have clear photographic interests, the Team has made a change to the number of images that may be entered into the competition categories. In the Digital Competition members may enter a maximum of 4 images in a category but is still limited to 12 submitted images total.

Image entry Fees - To keep up with the competition costs - ribbons, judge’s honorariums, to name just two items, the cost of entries will remain at $1.25 per image.  

Finally – After the competition, we will be holding image analysis reviews where you can ask for feedback on your submissions.

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This document provides general guidelines (rules) and specific requirements applicable to all Grand Photos Competitions. Individual competitions may have additional or different guidelines. Currently, Grand Photos holds one competition each year, spanning January thru March. It will be a Digital Competition only. These competitions usually have different Chairmen, are judged separately, and may include different categories and specific rules. A Grand Photos Competition Show is held at which time all images, results and awards are presented.

·       Competitions are open only to paid-up members of Grand Photos.

·       Every effort will be made to safeguard member entries; however, Grand Photos assumes no responsibility for any misuse of copyright, and will not accept liability for lost or damaged entries.


Grand Photos strives to provide opportunities for members to compete in a peer group with those of similar experience in photography and competition. 

Division B - Those with less than 110 points from past Grand Photos competitions.

Division A - Those with 110 points or higher from past Grand Photos competitions.

Anyone new to competition at Grand Photos, even those having experience in photography and/or competitions elsewhere, will initially be listed in Division B with a score of zero (0).  

However, anyone listed in Division B has the option to enter all of their images in Division A. You must declare this intention on the submittal form

Click here for a table of each member's current point total and Division. Members who have never competed, or who have not competed in the last three years, will not be listed in this table.


Once anyone competes in a Grand Photos competition their points are listed on the "Grand Photos Competition Points and Division" spreadsheet. If they become "Inactive" by not maintaining Grand Photos membership or not entering a GP competition for a period of time (presently 3 years) their name and points are kept on an "inactive" list and restored to the main list with their previous points should they reenter a competition. 


1. Awards will be given based on a minimum number of entries in a category as follows:

A. There must be a minimum of 4 entries to have a first place.
B. There must be a minimum of 6 entries to have a second place.
C. There must be a minimum of 8 entries to have a third place.

If there are less than 4 entries in a specific Category and Division, those entries will be combined for judging and awards with the other Division entries in that Category. The 1st place winner of such combined categories will be entered in the Best-of- Show competition for the Division in which it was judged (e.g. the winner of a category combined from the B and A Divisions entries will compete for Best-of- Show with the winners of the Division A categories, even if that winning entry is from a Division B member.

2. Ties will be broken for First, Second, and Third places by the judges.

3.Digital entries will have a Best of Show for each Division which will be determined by judging the first place winners from each category. 

4. Ribbons: Best of Show receives a ribbon. First, Second and Third places receive ribbons (Ties for these awards will be broken during the judging). Honorable Mention (HM) ribbons will be given to entries that were originally tied for Third place, or, if there are less than 8 entries, to ties for the lowest place ribbon awarded. If there are 8 or more entries but no ties for Third place then entries with the next lower score will receive Honorable Mention ribbons.

In the event that these guidelines result in an award distribution that seems inappropriate, the Competition Chairmen and/or Coordinators may use their best judgment and make an adjustments as they deem necessary. 

5. Points in Grand Photos competitions are awarded as follows: BOS = 2, 1st Place = 5, 2nd Place = 4, 3rd Place = 3, HM = 2, Acceptance = 1.

6. Certificates will be awarded to members for the following achievements in Grand Photos competitions:

  • Moving from Division B to Division A (currently requires 110 points); 
  • Entering competitions for the first time; Receiving the greatest total number of points in any given competition, regardless of Division.


Entries will be judged by a minimum of three non-member qualified judges unless a judge fails to be present. In this case, only two judges will be used (a third judge may be selected from attendees for part or all of the judging if no conflict of interest is seen).

  1. Judges will be asked not to discuss the entries unless a tie cannot be broken after several attempts.
  2. Each tie breaker print will be placed in the light box.
  3. Judges will use a five to nine scoring scale where a score of six is considered average, and seven would indicate that judge believes the image should get an Acceptance or better award.
  4. Prints will be judged at a distance of 6 to 7 feet from the judges to the light box. The judge(s) may approach the print for closer observation; however, the print will remain in the light box. Digital images will be projected on a screen and viewed at an appropriate distance.
  5. The print competition and digital competition judges may be different judges and the judging sessions may be done in different place or at different times.
  6. The print and digital competition judging will be open or closed to Grand Photos members or competitors at the discretion of the Chairman or Coordinator in charge of the session.
  7. There should be no audible comments from anyone during the judging that might influence or distract the judges.

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A member may not submit two or more entries bearing marked similarity in the same competition, even if entered in different categories (example: Open and Nature), or in different media (Digital or Print). Please note that markedly similar images remain so even after cropping, color change, or creative alteration. Additionally, if your photograph (or any image bearing marked similarity) has previously won a Grand Photos competition Place award (first, second, or third), it may not be entered into any subsequent Grand Photos competition regardless of media (digital or print) or category. Otherwise, an image may be submitted up to three different times.

An entry may not be a photograph of a painting or another photograph by another artist or photographer. 3D objects like buildings or statues or sculptures are permitted. The final decision regarding the suitability of an image or print lies with the competition chairperson. (Note: prior to some competitions there may be insufficient time for the chairperson to carefully review all of the images or prints, therefore the Chairperson may, at times, miss problems that should have lead to an image's disqualification. Issues that are identified after the judging are difficult to handle and may, or may not, be fixed. The final decision will be made by the Chairperson on a case by case basis.

By virtue of entry, the entrant certifies the work as his/her own, both the photography and any post-processing, and certifies that it is in compliance with the posted Grand Photos competition category definitions and guidelines. If composite images, such as sky replacement or combining elements from multiple photographs, are allowed by the category definition, all of the elements must be taken from the photographer’s own images.  All entries must be images that the competitor captured with a digital or film camera or related device such as a smartphone. The process may include scanning of prints, negatives, or slides provided the original image was taken by the entrant. 

To ensure against any unfair bias in the judging process, identification of the image maker (photographer) in any way on an image is prohibited. Identification includes, but is not limited to, the photographer’s name, initials or identifying watermark. Violation of the competition guidelines and rules may result in the disqualification of the image or print. Final judgment about entries meeting Grand Photos Competition guidelines or rules, and any penalties, shall be made by the Competition Chairpersons.


We depend on the integrity and awareness of the competitor to know whether an image meets the requirements and limitations of a specific category.

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Categories may vary from one competition to the next. The competition chairperson will define any ‘special’ categories that are included, and will post the current categories and definitions on the web site before each competition. The Grand Photos Category Definitions may not always be the same as those used by other organizations such as ACCC or PSA or even those used in past Grand Photos competitions. 

Please note that in many cases the judges or competition chairman cannot tell if the definitions have been rigorously adhered to, particularly with respect to manipulations used, hybrid plants, etc. Therefore, we must depend on the integrity of the competitor to follow the category definitions and competition guidelines and keep our competitions fair.

NOTE: Borders or strokes: Digital images in all categories may optionally include a white stroke on the perimeter of the image to set it off from the black projected background. The stroke may be a maximum of 5 pixels wide and must be included in the maximum width and height pixel dimensions.


Digital Categories for 2023-2024: Abstract, Monochrome, Nature, Open/Color, Scapes and Travel



  • Images in this category depend on light, shadows, shapes, forms, colors, and/or textures to create an interesting composition, which may appear unreal and unrecognizable.  All in-camera techniques are allowed, including ICM (intentional camera movement) and double exposures.

  • Post processing is limited to brightness, contrast, and color adjustments, sharpening, cropping, monochrome conversion, rotating and flipping.  
  • Digital manipulations that make the image notably different from the in-camera original are not allowed; for example, the use of creative art apps, grunge and painterly filters.

Abstract Examples


  • Monochrome is defined as a black and white image which contains only various shades of grey. The optional addition of a uniform tint of any single color to the entire image is permitted.  Composite images, such as sky replacement or combining elements from multiple photographs, are permitted.  However, all of the elements of a composite image must have been taken from the photographer’s own images. 



  •  Images in this category depict landscapes, wild animals, and non-hybrid plants in a natural habitat and must be an accurate record of the subject and environment as the primary factors which results in an image that is a true representation of the actually observed scene. 


Exclusions in this category include:

-All images of hybrid plants, such as roses and tulips which will be assumed to be hybrid and disqualified unless the Chair is convinced to the contrary by the submitter before the competition. 

-Formal floral arrangements, mounted specimens and domestic and feral animals (including all horses) will also be disqualified.

-Evidence of “hand of man” in any part of the image, will be disqualified. One exception to this rule is that scientific bands on animals in zoos or in the wild are acceptable. Photos of zoo animals are acceptable only if the zoo setting replicates a natural setting with no man-made objects such as cage wire or feeding dishes in the scene. 



-Limited modifications are permitted in this category. Cropping, adjustments to sharpness, contrast, brightness, color and saturation are acceptable. Techniques such as HDR and focus stacking are permitted.          

-Post-processing exclusions include stitched and composite images, such as sky replacement. Removal of items that are part of the scene, such as posts or wires, through any selective process such as cloning is not permitted in this category. 

Note: The Grand Photos “Nature” definition is NOT the same as the current ACCC or PSA definition.  

Open - Color- 

  • Any image is eligible for this category Except for images meeting the “Monochrome” definition.  Composite images, such as sky replacement or combining elements from multiple photographs, are permitted. However, all of the elements of a composite image must have been taken from the photographer’s own images. 


  • Images for this category should be sweeping, wide angle views of scenery, landscapes, seascapes, cityscapes, etc., such as you would capture from a viewpoint. Such images may include living things and man-made objects often referred to as the “hand of man”. Images may be horizontal or vertical. Images using “panoramic stitching", “photomerge”, HDR and helicon focus software to combine multiple overlapping images of the scene are allowed as long as the result honestly depicts the actual scene as it appeared at the time it was photographed. Cloning is allowed, but only to remove items that are not normally part of the image, such as trash, contrails, and similar items.  Composite images, such as sky replacement or combining elements from multiple photographs, are permitted. However, all of the elements of a composite image must have been taken from the photographer’s own images and the resulting image must honestly depict the actual scene as it appeared at the time it was photographed.


  • A Photo Travel image expresses the characteristic features or culture of a land as they are found naturally. There are no geographic limitations. Images from events or activities arranged specifically for photography, or of subjects directed or hired for photography are not permitted. Close up pictures of people or objects must include features that provide information about the location.
  • Techniques that add, relocate, replace, or remove any element of the original image, except by cropping, are not permitted. The only allowable adjustments are removal of dust or digital noise, restoration of the appearance of the original scene and complete conversion to greyscale monochrome. Other derivations, including infrared, are not permitted. All images must look natural.
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All images, and payment, will be done using an online entry form accessed through a link at the bottom of this page. When completed, the entry form will contain all the information necessary to enter the competition, images will have been uploaded for judging and fees paid.

The fee is $1.25 per image ($15.00 max). The fee will be paid when the images are uploaded. PayPal will be used.  It is not necessary to have a personal PayPal account to pay the fee. All that is required is a credit card.


Each member participating may enter up to four (4) images in any category however, the member is limited to twelve (12) images total. The opening date for submitting entries will be January 1, 2024; the closing date is February 15, 2024 by 11:59pm

Early Turn-in: You are encouraged to submit Digital images early.

Image format & size:

The maximum pixel dimensions for this Grand Photos competition is 1400 pixels (in the horizontal direction) x 1050 pixels (in the vertical direction), including any borders or strokes. (Remember - the width and height maximums are NOT interchangeable.) The maximum file size for digital image entries is 1.5 MB.

Images must be submitted as .jpg files. This is an issue that is specific to our submission software. A format of .jpeg will be disallowed.


Naming information - Keep in mind that each image has an "image title" and a "file name". The entry page asks that you enter yourimage title for each image that you enter. The entry page then asks you to choose (locate) the image on your computer, at which time the file name, and its location, are automatically recorded on the entry page. When you submit your images, your image title becomes associated with your image. However, the file name is automatically changed in accordance with the system's file naming convention. Therefore you no longer have to rename your files in accordance with any naming convention.

Dennis Hilgar, Digital Chair, is available at Dennis Hilgar to answer any questions which you may have along the way.

All photos are copyrighted by the maker.

Grand Photos is located in The Grand, an active adult community in Surprise, AZ