The Gaithersburg Camera Club meets the fourth Monday of the month, September through May (except December), to hold digital and print competitions. In addition, a year-end competition takes place as part of the annual awards banquet in June (the entries for this competition are judged prior to the banquet).

The competition meetings, which are held in Parker Hall at the Asbury Methodist Village, start at 7 PM and typically end about 10 PM give or take a half hour. After a short business meeting, usually around 7:15, the judging starts. There is a brief break for refreshments about half way through the judging, between the digital and print competitions.

Club competitions are designed to honor members for their photographic achievements and to provide members with feedback regarding their work and ideas for improvement. Entered images will be judged in “novice,” “intermediate,” and “advanced” divisions, and classes of “digital projection” (projected digital files), “color prints”, and “monochrome prints.” Competition points as well as ribbons are awarded to winning entries based on their placement (i.e., 1st, 2nd, etc.).

Typically members start out as a “novice” and progress through the divisions based on the accumulation of competition points in each class. New members who are experienced photographers may declare themselves to be in the “intermediate” or “advanced” division as they feel appropriate by notifying the Awards Chairperson. The transition from one division to the next for a given class occurs when the member’s competition points accumulated in that class reach the threshold for the next division. Once an individual has transitioned to the next division in two of the classes, he/she must compete in that division for the third class as well. Accumulated competition points are also used to determine eligibility for merit awards of various levels that are presented at the annual awards banquet. For further details, see the Competition Rules.

Members may submit up to a total of four entries (six in the year-end competition) with no more than two in a given category. Digital entries must be submitted via email by midnight of the Wednesday preceding the competition. Print entries must be registered via the website by the same deadline. (The entry procedures for the year-end competition may differ from these and will be announced in May.) Print entries are to be placed on the appropriate table (per division/class) in the meeting room and the entry list (to be found on the table with the prints) initialed upon arrival at the meeting.

Generally the images submitted must have been captured within 24 months of the competition month. (Occasionally the Board will waive this time restriction, usually for only one month in the club year.) Images eligible at any time throughout the club year are eligible for the year-end competition.

For further details regarding competition entry preparation and submittal requirements, see the Competition Rules, Digital Entry Requirements, and Print Entry Requirements.

Some club competitions have themes; other competitions are open to any entry that meets the time requirements of that competition. In the case of a themed competition, the judge should remove any entry from competition that does not, in his/her opinion, conform to that theme. See Current Year Themes for the specification of the theme or open status for each competition of the current club year.

The entries are generally judged by an individual from outside the club who is considered an expert in some aspect of photography. Occasionally an experienced member of the club will serve as judge. Entries are typically judged based on technical excellence, composition, and impact.

For each class/division, awards will be given such that the total number of awards equals one third of the total number of entries. Normally this will include a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place along with a number of Honorable Mentions. The Awards Chairperson or the Competition Coordinator will tell the judge before each competition how many total awards will be needed for that particular class/division.