Photo competitions have been a part of the Nature Photographers of the Pacific Northwest since its inception.  Although our competitions are informal and our judges are volunteers chosen from among our peers, this is a chance  to acknowledge each other’s work, be stimulated by diverse points of view, and thrive through competition.

We invite all members to submit their digital or print images for competition at our next meeting.  Please see the Submission Guidelines page for details on how to participate.

Related: Guidelines for Critiquing Images


(click for a PDF version to download)

  • Use the 65—99 point scoring system described below.
  • Be Consistent.  Don’t change your scoring in the middle of a judging session.
  • Set aside your personal biases on subject and style.
  • Do not indiscriminately apply the “Rules of Composition.”  Evaluate composition based on how it works in the image, not just how it follows or fails to follow the rules.
  • Do not give a disproportionate number of high or low scores (see scoring table below)
  • Take artifacts, scratches, and dirt into account, if significant.
  • Keep in mind that this is nature photography.  Limited or minimal “Hand of Man” will be the overall guide.  For example, a bird sitting on a fence post or barbed wire would be acceptable, providing the bird and/or its natural environment is clearly the main subject. Images with evidence of more than minimal “Hand of Man” should be scored slightly lower.
  • If you are the maker of an image or you are otherwise biased, you may recuse yourself from voting by tapping the Recuse button on the keypad and the score will be averaged from the other two judges’ scores.
Score Description
65 The image is WEAK in impact, shows serious technical defects – gross under or over exposure, poor focus, significant camera movement, or similar problems.  Inappropriate category.
66-69 The image is reasonably SOLID, with interest.  Technically okay.
70-79 The image is STRONG.  Technical aspects and image contents are a notch above competent, and the image rewards contemplation.
80-89 The image is EXCELLENT.  Unique content, strong design, and technical excellence create a high impact, or WOW factor! You should feel excited about the image.
90-99 The image is SUPERIOR – No design, compositional, or technical fault.  Outstanding impact. Equal to the best you have ever seen.

Some winning images from past competitions

Nature Photography at its Best

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