Club Competition Information

Entering your first Competitions?

Why Enter Competitions?

Participation in club competitions is an excellent method of developing your photography. It provides you, the entrant, with the opportunity to do what you like doing best – taking photographs / making images – while encouraging creativity and self-critique. This is followed by feedback from the competition judge that is usually very constructive in nature. The entries of other members are a wonderful source of inspiration too.

However, many people find it difficult / intimidating / stressful / nerve-wracking to enter their first competition. If you feel that way, push yourself out of your comfort zone now and take the leap – you will be so glad that you did. And below are some pointers to help reduce the stress of doing that.

OffShoot Club Competitions follow the format:

  • Announcement of competition theme and submission date – The Club Program will specify the hand-in night and theme for forthcoming competitions. Typically members have a few weeks to produce their entry. The theme usually allows lots of scope for individual creativity and interpretation.
  • Hand-in of entries – Entries are handed in, fully mounted and labelled as per the competition rules, at the club meeting on the submission date.
  • Judging Night – Judging normally takes place 1-2 weeks later. The judging is the “main event” for that club night. This allows the judge ample time to get through all of the entries and provide critiques on them.

Competition Rules

Before you begin, you must get familiar with the Competition Rules. These cover:

  • Theme
  • Colour
  • Size
  • Mounting
  • Labelling
  • Entry Category

Once you have taken / selected the photo which will be your entry, it is advisable that you take due care with printing and mounting.


Many members are surprised to see that their printed image looks different from the image they see on their screen when processing the image. This is usually a calibration or screen brightness issue. Talk to your fellow members and check out the tutorials to help you with this. There are many options in relation to printing your images. Wherever you choose, you need to be happy with the quality of the final printed image.


The rules specify that window mounting is required, preferably size 16” by 20”. This rule helps protect your image and the entries of other members from damage. As for printing, there are options in relation to mounting. A neutral mounting (in white / cream / black) usually looks best. Some members do their own mounting – from cutting the mount to assembling the mounted image, and will happily share their expertise with you.

Others buy window-mounts and “backing boards” from art supply shops, and put together the mount. Many members send their images to photographic printers who return them fully mounted. An OffShoot Member has a business of this type, and some members choose to send their images to him for printing and mounting.

OffShoot Formal Competition Rules


  1. Entries must originate as photographs, made by the entrant on photographic film or acquired digitally (i.e. by digital camera or other digital means).
  2. All imagery MUST be the total and exclusive work of the submitting author and may not include any element that was originated by or is the copyright of other photographers. (Textures or masks inserted from editing software are acceptable).
  3. The Club assumes no liability for any misuse of copyright for any image put on display.
  4. Entries will be treated with care, but no liability is accepted for loss or damage.
  5. The entrant is responsible for the collection of printed images from the competition secretary. Uncollected images may be disposed of after a reasonable period.
  6. Each entry must relate to the theme.
  7. Entries may be in Monochrome or Colour.
  8. Maximum Image size 12 x 16 inches (30.5cm x 40.6cm).
  9. Image must be window mounted, with a maximum mount size of 16 x 20 inches (40.6 x 50.8cm) – this is also the preferred mount size
  10. As bigger mounts will not fit into the competition box, they will not be eligible.
  11. Maximum 2 (two) entries per member at Level 1, and 4 (four) entries at Level 2 and Level 3.
  12. Entries must have the membership number written clearly on the rear of the mount. Membership numbers will be available (for fully paid-up members) on the submission night.
  13. There must be no identification, other than the membership number, of the photographer. This is to ensure impartiality.
  14. A title may be written on the back but it is not essential.
  15. Entries should be submitted at designated the Weekly Meeting, or earlier by arrangement with the Competition Secretary ( if this is not possible. Judging and results usually take place 2-3 weeks later.
  16. Images may only be entered once in OffShoot Club competitions including similar and conversions e.g. to Black & White – the Competition Secretary’s decision on whether an image has been previously entered is final.
  17. 1st, 2nd and 3rd position will be awarded in Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 along with two “highly commended” in each category.
  18. The judge’s decision is final. The judge will use his / her own criteria (see below) for determining the placing.
  19. We may photograph or copy the award-winning images for (i) the competition reports on the OffShoot website (ii) the end of year Competitions report and (iii) for possible use, with the photographer’s permission, in IPF club competitions. If you do not wish this to happen, please mark “Do Not Photograph” on the rear of the image. As always, all rights remain with the photographer, and none of the images will be used in any other way without permission of the photographer.
  20. By submitting an entry into a competition you accept the rules as defined above.


  1. There are three categories, Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3.
  2. Anyone with a Licentiate (L) or higher distinction from the Irish Photographic Federation (IPF), or equivalent, or a track record of photographic accomplishment (as decided by the OffShoot Committee) must enter at Level 3.
  3. Level 2 is for members who have been successful in competitions at Level 1.
  4. Level 1 is for members who have just started photography recently, and are mainly concerned with getting the technical aspects right (focus, exposure, holding the camera steady). They may or may not be familiar with Photoshop or similar tools.
  5. There will be an ongoing review of ability based on entries, and in subsequent months of the competition, we may reallocate Members to Level 2 or Level 3.


  1. Entrants must be fully paid-up members. As part of membership, you will receive a membership number. If you are unsure of your membership number please contact
  2. You must also have been assigned to a category as described above in Categories.

Guidelines for Judges

  1. A copy of the rules given to members is above.
  2. A spreadsheet (softcopy and hardcopy) are provided, showing each entry.
  3. There are three levels, Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3.
  4. We would like you to judge on the overall concept/idea as well as the photograph(s) used for each entry.
  5. Please ignore print mounting and presentation aspects unless they significantly detract from the quality of the photograph – any entries not meeting mount and size criteria will not be allowed to go forward for judging by the OffShoot Committee.
  6. Please use whatever you feel is the appropriate judging criteria for each entry but please briefly state your criteria to the meeting before dealing with individual entries.
  7. Please provide some commentary, ideally for each entry, or at least one where a member has entered two shots.
  8. Please award 1st, 2nd and 3rd in each category, and two Highly Commended.

Recent Competitions Results

Club Competition – Food (Projected)

Club Competition – Food (Projected)

On the 15th March the second formal competition for 2024, 'Food Projected', was judged by Michael O'Toole. Thanks to all who took part in the Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 categories and to Michael for the detailed and encouraging feedback provided to our members on...

read more
Club Competition – Open (Projected)

Club Competition – Open (Projected)

On the 26th February the first formal competition for 2024, 'Open Projected', was judged by Mark Taylor. Thanks to all who took part in the Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 categories and to Mark for the detailed and encouraging feedback provided to our members on their...

read more
Club Competition – Street Photography

Club Competition – Street Photography

On the 20th November the fifth formal competition for 2023, 'Street Photography', was judged by Sean Baker. Thanks to all who took part in the Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 categories and to Sean for the detailed and encouraging feedback provided to our members on...

read more
Club Competition – Mono

Club Competition – Mono

On the 25th September the fourth formal competition for 2023, 'Mono', was judged by Jimmy McDonnell from Greystones Camera Club. Thanks to all who took part in the Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 categories and to Jimmy for the detailed and encouraging feedback provided...

read more
Club Competition – Movement

Club Competition – Movement

On the 12th June the third formal competition for 2023, 'Movement', was judged by Joe Doyle of Malahide Camera Club. Thanks to all who took part in the Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 categories and to Joe for the detailed and encouraging feedback provided to our members...

read more
Club Competition – Natural World

Club Competition – Natural World

On the 17th April the second formal competition for 2023, 'Natural World', was judged by Aidan White of Living Earth Photography. Thanks to all who took part in the Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 categories and to Aidan for the detailed and encouraging feedback provided...

read more