Annual Changes

Each competition year may herald changes from the previous year. These are detailed here.


S4C essentially follows definitions used by the Photographic Society of America (PSA) for its exhibitions, and updates its definitions as PSA's defintiions are modified. S4C, however, restricts or clarifies these definitions where necessary to avoid confusion. Entrants to S4C competitions are advised to read the definitions and other entry requirements carefully to ensure that entered images are in conformance and are not DQed (disqualified).

Competition Changes for 2018-2019

The following outlines the changes approved by the S4C Board starting with the October, 2018 competition. Entrants are encouraged to read and famliarise themselves with the definitions in detail.

  • A change has been made in the method used for assigning HMs and Awards to images. Previously images were "graded on the curve" with the objective of assigning an HM or an Award to about 35% of images in a given Section and Skill Level. In future, certain scores at a given Skill Level will be assigned either an HM or Award. So, for example, an image entered into Skill Level A will receive an HM if it  scores either a 23 or a 24; and an Award if it scores 25 or greater. Click here for a table that shows the breakpoints for all Skill Levels.
  • new higher AAA Skill Level has been introduced into the Pictorial Individual Color and Nature General section competitions.
  • Image sizes must not exceed 1400 pixels in width and 1280 pixels in height. Click here for a document on how to downsize images to meet S4C's requirements.
  • To maintain consistency with the Photographic Society of America (PSA) - of which S4C is a member Council - images that are substantially the same are now considered the same image regardless of whether they are color, spot color, or monochrome images - and must bear the same title. However, derivations of an image that make it  substantially different may be entered into Pictorial Creative with a different title.

    To facilitate this change, the qualifiers "mono" and "bw" may no longer be used for new monochrome images.

  • The definition of Arranged Color and Arranged Monochrome has been slightly modified to make it clearer that, with defined exceptions, only a single element of the image has to be controlled by the maker to make the image qualify for the Arranged category. So, for example, an image still qualifies for an Arranged category even if it includes a light-painted foreground as the only controlled element.
  • The Border Width constraints for images entered into Nature, Photo Travel, or PJ have been changed to reflect the larger image sizes now in force (see above). Single white or grey borders of 3, 4 or 5 pixels in width are permitted. Smaller, black, or color borders are not permitted. Entrants are advised, however, that borders less than 5 pixels may not appear complete in S4C catalogs because of the smaller image sizes used and the possible introduction of jpeg artifacts. The new requirements are also consistent with S4C International Exhibition requirements.
  • The exclusion (with a defined exception) of flower and blossoms in Nature competitions has been clarified to say that any stage of development a flower or blossom (such as buds, seedpods, fruit) is excluded. The definition, however, has also been clarified to note that incidental use of small flowers, hybrid or not, are not excluded if they are not part of the nature story.
  • The Board also wishes to emphasize to clubs and Interclub cooordinators that they should assess fairly an entrants Skill Level into Interclub competitions and not just rely on the Skill Level currently assigned to the entrant by S4C for the Pictorial Individual Color section. The latter should only be regarded as a minimum - it is quite possible, for example, that an entrant has not been moved to a higher Skill Level because they have not entered sufficient images at their current Skill Level. It is not fair to other clubs to enter an entrant into Interclub at the A level when they are manifestly capabale of AA work. If in any doubt, the club is welcome to consult with the S4C Competition Chair.