Getting started

A couple of things to do before you can enter a competition:

  • Get an account
    Get an account
    You must be a logged in user to participate in competitions. If you don't already have an account, just register for free.
  • Join a group or create your own
    Join a group or create your own
    • To enter a competition, an individual must belong to a group.
    • If you already know of a group on the site, you can ask the group administrator(s) to invite you. They can then send you a link by email so you can submit a request to join the group.
    • Alternatively, you can create your own group and then invite others to join you.
  • Host your own competition or participate in someone else's
    Host your own competition or participate in someone else's
    • If you are a group administrator, you can create your own competition and then invite other groups to participate if you wish.
    • Your group may be invited to join an inter-group competition. The host group administrators simply send a link to your group's administrators, they accept the invitation, and then you have access to the competition.

Competition components

Our competitions are modelled on the format typically used by camera clubs, but we do have a few unique additions so you'll need to understand our terminology:

  • Groups and host groups
    Groups and host groups
    • To enter a competition, an individual must belong to a group that is participating in that competition.
    • A group can be a camera club, a class of photography students, a group of friends, or any group of individuals you like. That means you can have a competition between groups, or you can have a single-group competition where the competition is just between the group members. (This means that both the typical camera club competition and inter-club competitions are possible.)
    • You can also use a one-off group created for a single competition. This means you can create a competition open to the public. To enter the competition, individuals simply join the one-off group and then enter their images.
    • The group that creates a competition is known as the host group. The host group sets the parameters for the competition, such as scoring regime, who is judging, and so on.
    • Host groups are not required to participate in their own competitions. This means that, for example, a federation of camera clubs can create a competition and then invite its member clubs to participate. The federation does not have to participate itself, but it does manage the competition rules and process.
  • Administrators and host administrators
    Administrators and host administrators
    • Every group must have at least one administrator, although a minimum of two is recommended. The person who creates the group is initally given administrator status.
    • Group administrators can change the group parameters, such as name and description. They can also appoint other administrators and remove non-administrator members from the group.
    • A group administrator can create a new competition. Their group is then the host group, and the administrators of the group are the host administrators. The host administrators manage the parameters and process for that competition.
    • Host administrators can send out links to administrators of other groups inviting their groups to participate in the competition.
  • Judges and observer judges
    Judges and observer judges
    • Each competition must have at least one judge. You can also have several judges to make up a panel.
    • Judges are invited by the competition host administrators. They don't have to belong to any group, but they do need a user account.
    • Judges give images scores, which determine the competition results. The competition host administrators may also allow or require judges to leave comments on images, either written or audio.
    • The host administrators may, if they wish, allow participating group members to score and comment on images too. This is known as observer judging. The observer judge scores are kept separate from the competition judge scores, and they do not affect the results. However there are various tools for analysing the results, so for example you can easily see where observer judges agreed with the competition judges and where they disagreed.
  • Classes
    • Classes are created and managed by the competition host administrators. They divide a competition into different categories, and are typically used to create different entry levels, such as Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced.
    • Different judges can be allocated to different classes, and observer judge settings can vary by class too.
  • Awards
    • Awards are created and managed by the competition host administrators.
    • Awards can be used for any purpose, but are often used to designate the overall winning image and class winning images.
    • A People's Choice award could also be created to show which award received the highest average score from the observer judges, and Commended awards might be created to show which images the judges particularly admired. The choice is entirely up to the host administrators.

Managing a group

Group administration is straightforward:

  • Inviting and removing members
    Inviting and removing members
    • To join a group, a user (with an account) must click on a link to submit a join request. Group administrators can either choose to make that link available on their public group page, or they can keep it hidden and email it only to people they wish to invite.
    • When a join request is submitted, group administrators are informed and can accept or reject the request.
    • Members can leave a group at any time, and group adminstrators have the power to remove members as well.
  • Entering competitions
    Entering competitions
    • A group can only join another group's competition by invitation. A host group adminstrator emails a link to the invited group's administrators, and with a couple of clicks the group becomes a participant.
    • The invited group administrator can manage their group's entries to an extent. While the competition is open to entries, group administrators can remove images from the competition entered by their members, and they can also edit image titles.
  • Tools to assist group members unfamiliar with computers or the Internet
    Tools to assist group members unfamiliar with computers or the Internet
    • Because not everyone is at ease using a website, any group member can choose to enable group administrator control for their group.
    • Group administrators can then upload images and enter them on behalf of members who have this feature enabled.

Competition process

Each competition follows the same process:

    Draft > Open > Closed > Judging > Review > Published
    Competition status

    A competition moves through several stages from its first beginnings to the final published results:

    • Draft. The host administrator creates the competition, sets the rules, create classes (such as Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced) if desired, and invites groups to participate.
    • Open. Members of participating groups upload their entries. Host and group dministrators are able to view images and check that numbers and format correspond to the entry requirements. Group administrators can edit titles and remove images within their group.
    • Closed. Images can no longer be entered. Entrants can view their own images but cannot add, edit or remove images. The host administrator checks entries and is able to edit titles and remove images if necessary.
    • Judging. The competition judges score images and make comments as appropriate. If the host administrator has selected the corresponding options, entrants or members of participating groups will also be able to score images and make comments. These scores and comments will be displayed separately from the judges' and do not affect the official result.
    • Review. If there is more than one competition judge, each judge can now see all the other judges' scores. At this point, judges can propose images for awards, such as 'Overall winner' (if one or more images are tied), 'Commended', or a favourite from each judge. The host administrator finalises the awards, previews the results and then publishes them.
    • Published. Initially, only group administrators can view results, and there is the option to present the results in a projector-friendly format. Then administrators (either host or group depending on the competition settings) can give access to entrants to view the results. Administrators for each group may also choose to create a publicly viewable version of the results. Various options are available to control what is publicly displayed.

Managing a competition

Host group administrators can tailor each competition and manage the process from beginning to end:

  • Designing a competition
    Designing a competition
    • Many of the competition parameters can be chosen on creation, but most can be amended right up until the competition moves to the Judging phase.
    • For example, host group administrators control the score range, whether group members can score and comment, the number of judges, which groups participate, what classes and awards are available, and who sets what results are publicly available.
  • Inviting groups and judges
    Inviting groups and judges
    • Invitations are sent as a link via email. Acceptance takes a couple of clicks.
    • Host administrators have control over whether judges should comment. If classes are used, judges can be allocated by class.
  • Managing the process
    Managing the process
    • The host administrators move the competition from one stage to the next.
    • Checks and prompts are provided at each stage to help guide administrators through the process.
  • Presenting and publishing results
    Presenting and publishing results
    • Once the results are finalised, but before they are published, group administrators can present the results at a meeting of members if they wish.
    • The results are provided ready for projection in a format that most camera clubs will be familiar with. The presentation is also available in an offline version so it can be projected without internet access.
    • After any presentations, group administrators can publish the results on the site for their members to view. Stats are also published that analyze where there was agreement among judges and where there was not - between competition judges, between observer judges and competition judges, and between observer judges only.
    • Once all groups have published the results to their members, group administrators can choose to create a public version of the results. Various options are available to customize which images, scores and comments are publicly accessible.


Although we support the traditional camera club method to judging we also offer some alternative approaches:

  • Judging in advance vs judging 'on the night'
    Judging in advance vs judging 'on the night'
    • For entirely online competitions where the group members never get together, judging must obviously be done remotely in advance. However the system is also designed to support a traditional camera club competition, where the images are projected to the audience, and the judge makes comments while scoring each image.
    • For competitions at a club, some judges may prefer not to see the images in advance. Some may want to see them in advance but score them on the night. Others may wish to score them in advance and then simply comment on the night. (Although each score can still remain hidden on the night until its image is presented.) All variations are possible.
  • Written or audio comments
    Written or audio comments
    • Written and recorded audio comments are supported.
    • Written comments must be provided in the form "What I enjoy most..." and "In my opinion, even better if...". An "even better if" comment can only be left if the same person also leaves a "What I enjoy most" comment.
    • Mp3 files of audio comments can be uploaded and are then available for playback on the site.
  • Some (fairly obvious) principles
    Some (fairly obvious) principles
    • No-one can assess their own image.
    • No-one sees image author names until after Judging has finished, and even then only if the image author chooses to display their name in the results. Host administrators and group administrators are the only exceptions. They must be able to see who has entered what in order to manage the entries process (in much the same way that someone has to collect the entries for a typical club competition).
  • Review and moderation
    Review and moderation
    • The Review stage follows the judging stage. At this point, if a the competition has a panel of judges, all judges can now see each other's scores.
    • This allows discussion over awards, and amendment of scores by the host administrator if necessary. However all judges are informed automatically of any changes made.
    • The host administrator can also moderate any comments prior to publishing. Again, the comment author is automatically notified of any changes made.