HCPC Challenge, Competition and Awards Guidelines

Harbour City Photography Club has photographic challenges, print and digital competitions and awards throughout the year for the purpose of showcasing our members photography and assisting them to improve their craft. Challenges are meant to be fun, no judging, critiquing or scoring, competitions are judges and scored, and the awards in honour of past club members are voted on by the membership. 

Schedule for 2023 – 2024 Challenges, Competitions and Awards

General Image Requirements

These requirements are club requirement for all challenges and competitions: 

  • Photographs must meet the brief as issued by the chairpersons.
  • Photographs cannot have been used in previous club challenges or competitions.
  • Photographs cannot show a watermark or text that indicates the photographer.
  • Photographs must follow the Editing and AI Policy as outlined in this document unless otherwise stated in the competition brief.

Digital Competitions

Digital images are to be uploaded to the Digital Chairperson by the prescribed due date and these are reviewed by a panel of judges and scored, and feedback is documented. The Digital Chairperson then creates a slideshow of the photographs with scores and feedback to be shown at an upcoming meeting. 

Digital Image Requirements

Image Specifications

File Format .jpeg, .jpg
Maximum Width 1920 pixels
Maximum Height1080 pixels
Maximum File Size1.8MB
Colour Space (profile) sRGB
File NameFirst name Last name – Title
(i.e.: John Smith – Trees)

Click HERE for more information about resizing documents.

Note: Smaller images will be accepted by the images size will impact the quality of the image shown on the screen.


Images should be uploaded to the Digital Chairperson on the due date. The upload link will be provided by the Digital Chairperson.

Print Competitions

Printed images are brought to the designated meeting where they will be displayed, and a panel of judges will review the images and provide feedback during the meeting.

Print Requirements

Print Size – prints must be between 8 X 10 inches and 16 X 20 inches including the matte.

Print Presentation

Prints should be backed with core board or cardboard or be matted to allow them hang evenly.

Prints should have a device on the back to allow the Print Chairperson to hang them on the display racks.

Print should be titled, and the title should be printed on a white label and attached to the bottom of the image.

Prints should have a label with the following information on the back of the print: 

  • Print title
  • Photographer’s Name 
  • Photographer’s Contact information 
  • Category (if applicable) 

Note: If either the digital or print requirements documented above are not met the image may be disqualified based on the chairperson’s discretion.


Images will be judged by club members who are skilled photographers and ideally with some experience with judging. There will be between 3 – 5 volunteering judges per competition. It at least 3 volunteer judges cannot be found the competition will be cancelled and the images will be displayed as a showcase only. 


The scores given to the members will be scored out of a total of 30 points, each judge will score the image a score out of 10 points and the total score will be calculated as follows: 

Each image with have the total of all scores from the judges that have submitted scores for the image.  That total will then be divided by the number of judges that have submitted a score for that image.  That score will then be multiplied by 3 to provide a score out of 30.

Judging Criteria

The images will be judged based on the criteria provided by CAPA (Canadian Association of Photographic Arts).

CategoryElementThings to Consider:
EmotionalTitleDoes the title complement or contribute to the vision or message being presented in the image?
MoodDoes the photograph evoke a mood?
ImpactDoes it WOW you?
SubjectIs the subject relevant to the category?
ImaginationDoes the photographer show imagination, is it a common item shot in a new way?
TechnicalColourIs the tint correct?
Is it too cold or warm?
Is it too saturated or unsaturated?
LightIs the light pleasing?
Not too harsh or too soft?
Does it add to the image?
ExposureIs the exposure correct?
Are there portions of the image that are too bright or too dark?
SharpnessIs it focused where it should be?
If it isn’t focused, should it be?
TechniqueDoes the photograph demonstrate that the photographer understands the technique required to capture the subject?
OrganizationalDistractionsAre there dust or sensor spots in the image?
Are there elements in the image that distracts from the main subject?
SpaceIs there enough negative space?
Is there too much negative space?
Is the subject crowded?
CompositionIs the horizon level?
Is the arrangement of the elements of the image pleasing?
Does the placement please the eye or create tension?

The judges will assign scores primarily based on the ‘emotional’ components of the images considering values such a creativity and emotional impact. Secondary emphases will be placed on the ‘technical’ aspects, followed by considerations of the ‘composition’. 

Technical and Organization factors, such as exposure, sharpness, focus, space, and composition, will be considered solely to the degree they do or do not support or reinforce the creative vision and storytelling. Images will not be penalized in scoring for so-called technical rule infractions, such as focus, if that is immaterial to the creative vision and storytelling value of the image. 

Printable Version

HCPC Post-processing & AI Policy

 The Harbour City Photograph Club will follow the CAPA guidelines when it comes to Artificial Intelligence in our club competitions and award events. 

CAPA describes a photographic image as a captured image on a light-sensitive device/surface (e.g., photogram technique, film camera, digital camera, smartphone, tablet, etc…) and recorded on paper, film or in a digital format.” 

Artificial Intelligence renderings generated via text prompt may not be used in whole or part in the creation of a submitted image, unless otherwise stipulated by the Digital or Print Chairpersons. 

AI features that correct or enhance a photograph, are acceptable unless otherwise stipulated by the Digital or Print Chairpersons. Permitted AI features are limited to; de-noise, masking, sharpening, subject selection, tone adjustments, and/or upsizing. AI sky replacement is permitted provided that the new sky was captured by the photographer.  

All components of the submitted image must be the original work of the photographer and cannot contain the elements created or captured by someone else, except for purchased textures, or brushes, providing they do not minimize the main subject of the photograph (e.g.: brushes to create a texture or background element and not the main subject of the photograph).

NOTE: This policy is for internal competitions only. CAPA and other external competitions that the club participates will have their own policies and it is up to the individual members to review these and ensure that they are followed with submitting an image.