2023 Topic Guidelines


Every month we have the following topics available, as well as some additional topics that vary from month to month. You can enter 4 photos per month, and a maximum of 2 of those entries into one topic. Sometimes a 5th image may be submitted when there is an Interclub or other competiion being contested

  1. Set Subject
  2. Open
  3. Nature and Wildlife
  4. Monochrome
  5. Macro / Close-Up
  6. Creative / Altered Reality
  7. Photo Journalism / Sport

General Rules

  1. Our Conditions of Entry will apply. If you submit an image, it indicates you agree to these conditions.


Open – Manipulation is allowed – Colour Only

  • In this category the subject matter is totally open, there is no restriction of subject.
    All elements must be photographic; if graphic elements are included they should enhance the photographic image but not take over from it. Any graphics used should be created by the photographer using his/her own artwork.
  • Any manipulation is allowed.
  • Colour images only

Beginner Tips

  • Ideas: travel, portraiture, landscapes, fashion, architecture.
  • When photographing people or pets, it is important that the eyes are in sharp focus.
  • Be aware of how to compose a good picture. Read more here.


Nature and Wildlife – Manipulation is not allowed – Colour Only

  • Nature photography records all branches of natural history except anthropology and archaeology.  This includes all aspects of the physical world, both animate and inanimate, that have not been made or modified by humans.  Nature images must convey the truth of the scene that was photographed.  A well-informed person should be able to identify the subject of the image and be satisfied that it has been presented honestly and that no unethical practices have been used to control the subject or capture the image.  Images that directly or indirectly show any human activity that threatens the life or welfare of a living organism are not allowed.  The most important part of a Nature image is the nature story it tells.  High technical standards are expected, and the image must look natural.  Adding a vignette or blurring the background during processing is not allowed.  Objects created by humans, and evidence of human activity, are allowed in Nature images only when they are a necessary part of the Nature story.  Photographs of human-created hybrid plants, cultivated plants, feral animals, domesticated animals, human-created hybrid animals and mounted or preserved zoological specimens are not allowed.  Images taken with subjects under controlled conditions, such as zoos, are allowed.

    Controlling live subjects by chilling, anaesthetic or any other method of restricting natural movement for the purpose of a photograph is not allowed.  No modification that changes the truth of a Nature image is allowed.  Images may be cropped but no other technique that removes, adds or moves any part of the image is allowed. Techniques that remove elements added by the camera, such as dust spots, digital noise and lens flare are allowed.  Images of the same subject that are combined in camera, or with software, by focus stacking or exposure blending are allowed. Multiple images with overlapping fields of view that are taken consecutively and combined in camera or with software (image stitching) are allowed.

Beginner Tips

  • Don’t crop off part of the animal (e.g. tail).
  • Better to have a good pic of an ordinary animal than an out-of-focus pic of a rare animal.
  • Be careful of pics of tiny animals or plants – might be better placed under Macro.


Monochrome – Manipulation is allowed*

  • Subject matter is totally open. 
  • Monochrome is a black and white image. A black and white work fitting from the very dark
       grey (black) to the very clear grey (white) is a monochrome work with the various shades of
  • A black and white work toned entirely in a single colour will remain a monochrome work
       able to stand in the black and white category.
  • On the other hand, a black and white work modified by a partial toning or by the addition of
       one colour becomes a colour work (polychrome) to stand in the colour category.

Macro / Close Up – Manipulation is allowed* – Colour Only

  • Macro photography is extreme close-up photography, where you get close to a small subject by
    physical or optical means. The size of the subject in the finished photograph is usually greater
    than life size and reveals detail which cannot easily be seen with the naked eye.
    *Macro fits as a subsection of Open as well as Nature; when entered in a Nature section,
    manipulation is NOT allowed.
  • Colour photos only

Not Allowed

  • Inserting of other subjects/objects into the picture.

Beginner Tips

  • Ideas: insects, flowers, machine parts.
  • When insects, it is important that the eyes are in sharp focus.
  • Use a flash – it makes the animal must easier to capture.


Creative / Altered Reality – Manipulation allowed

Create an image by altering reality in an obvious manner. You can use any method in camera or in post-processing, but the result should still have photographic content. The aim should be to create a new image that embodies a concept, or that conveys a specific feeling, a message, or a story. 

This topic can include:


An exercise in composition for the sake of art. The real identity of the abstractionist’s subject is
not important and the result is not intended to be anything.

Altered Reality
An image created by altering reality in an obvious manner, created digitally or in camera. The
intention is the creation of an image that conveys a feeling or message, or tells a story.

Creative or Visual Art
Images that go beyond the straightforward pictorial rendering of a scene. The image does not
have to employ derivative or manipulative techniques to be Creative or Visual Art.

Not Allowed

  • Any elements that you combine in your photograph must be created by you. You can’t use clip-art or similar sources created by others.

Beginner Tips

  • For Altered Reality, manipulation of the image is key to success.


Photo Journalism / Sport – no manipulation allowed 

Entries in this category should have informative content and emotional impact.  In the interest of credibility, images that misrepresent the truth and model or staged set-ups are not permitted. 

Photojournalism entries are images with informative content reflecting the human presence in our world and emotional impact which usually include human interest, documentary, news or sport. The journalistic value of the image shall receive priority over the pictorial quality. In the interest of credibility, PJ images that misrepresent the truth and model or staged set-ups are not permitted. 

Street photography records unposed scenes in public places. The primary subject is people and/or symbols of people, at rest or in motion, alone or with others, going about their everyday activities.

Sports photography covers any aspect of a sporting event.  Images must depict an active pastime or recreation involving physical exertion and/or skill that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often of a competitive nature.  The level of sport can range from children playing a sport to the Olympic Games.  Images in this section could include the spectators or judge or umpire in a sporting event.  Dance productions like ballet and Air Shows are deemed not to be sport and hence not allowed in this category.

Not Allowed

  • Any adding or removing of pixels. E.g. No cloning or modifying of the image (Cropping is allowed. Removing dust spots is allowed.).
  • HDR or photo stacking.

Beginner Tips

  • Black and White popular, but not compulsory. Increase the contrast to make your blacks black and whites white (but don’t blow-out your whites too much!).
  • In this topic, a pic that tells a great story is rewarded, even if not the best technically. But get your basics right.