Page Created 18 July 2023.
Updated 13 May 2024

Information about TPS Club and Judging

There are three competitive grades in our Club:

  • B grade – inexperienced, beginner photographers or new members to the club. This grade should be judged with care, be provided with the most feedback and be assessed more leniently.
  • A grade – Intermediate or accomplished photographers who have either moved from B Grade or awarded this grade upon joining.
    This grade should be judged to a higher standard than that of B Grade, be provided with reasonable feedback.
  • Salon grade – our most advanced photographers. This grade should be judged to the highest standard with comments as necessary.

The awards range from “Entry” to Honours.  
NOTE: “Entry” – this will attract a score of ONE point.
An out of category image will now only be considered if the image infringes on another artists copyright or contains material of an inappropriate nature. Judges will flag these images with the committee for review.Guidelines for our award system are provided below :

To Print the above scale, use the following link:

How to use a sliding scale:
Take note of the grade you are scoring, the coloured sections are broken up into blocks and shows the score that should be assigned to an image based on the description below it. In some cases an award may encompass several sections below.
For example:
B Grade, an honour should be assigned to an image that fits the descriptions of any of the first three boxes from the left of the table.

A Grade, an honour should be assigned to an image that fits the descriptions of any of the first two boxes from the left of the table.

Salon grade, an honour should be assigned to an image that fits the description of the first box from the left of the table only.

Extra Awards
The Toowoomba Photographic Society has TWO extra awards each month.
These can be awarded from ANY grade of ANY score, it does not necessarily have to be the “highest awarded” image.
We ask you as the judge to chose two images which you feel is deserving of either the following:

  1. Graham Burstow Award – Judges Choice – Mono Image of the Month
  2. Alice Black Award – Judges Choice – Colour Image of the Month.

Click here for End of Year Competition Rules and Guidelines

Image Ownership
All images entered MUST in its entirety be the original works of the photographer. Imagery obtained from the internet or other mediums must not be used in any way shape or form.
This includes but is not limited to (by where the works were not created by you): Sky packs, texture packs, creative elements, AI Generation or additive brushes.
If you have taken a picture of a sky and wish to use it as a sky replacement that is acceptable, if you have photographed something and wish to use it as a texture – that is acceptable etc. Essentially, if you are asked to provide proof that you captured an image, or elements within it (creative for example) you must be able to provide the Original untouched image as proof of ownership – if you are not able to do so then it is recommended that you do not use the image or element.

Any one image may be entered four times only in a competition year – in either; set subject, open or creative subjects.

Where images have content that may be regarded as disturbing, offensive or inappropriate to the majority of our membership or general public TPS may exercise its right to not display such images.

Optimal image size & dimensions

Ensure your image is no more than 1920px on the horizontal and no more than 1080px on the vertical.
File Size: Maximum of 5MB.

Watermarks or image author information is not permitted. Be warned that a judge will likely mark your image down if an image has a watermark.

General Information about Aggregate Competition

AwardsAggregate Points
Highly Commended3
Out of Category0
Alice Black+2 on-top of the allocated score
Graham Burstow+2 on-top of the allocated score

Members eligible for re-grading are advised before the start of the new competition year.  The management committee makes the final decision on re-grading.

To ensure that our monthly aggregate competition remains fair for all members, we have decided to implement a process that involves individually assessing the profiles of members who come close to the threshold for moving up a grade at the end of the year. This approach aims to identify those who have consistently demonstrated the skills and abilities required for advancement. We previously undertook a similar process at the end of 2022, which resulted in six additional members moving up a grade based on their overall performance throughout the year.

This assessment process also grants the committee greater flexibility in cases where there are multiple judgings throughout the year that do not meet the standards outlined in the TPS Judges Handbook. It ensures that the decisions regarding grade advancement are based on a comprehensive evaluation of a member’s body of work.

To clarify the current thresholds for moving between grades, please note the following:

Moving from B Grade to A Grade requires a score of above 55% of the maximum obtainable score (66 points).

Moving from A Grade to Salon Grade requires a score of above 60% of the maximum obtainable score (72 points).

The maximum obtainable score for 2024 is 120.

These thresholds are meant to provide a clear guideline for progression and maintain a fair and consistent standard across all grades.

Some Do’s and Don’ts of Entering our Monthly competitions

To address some issues noted recently, we’ve put together some do’s and don’ts for entering our competitions:

  • Do – enter your best work
  • Do – familiarise yourself with the set subject and definitions (click here)
  • Do – title your image appropriately so the judge understands your image
  • Do – consider adding a small border to images with dark edges to help the judge identify where the image ends
  • Do – Check you’ve entered into the right competition (print vs digital, open vs set subject)
  • Don’t – include watermarks or signatures on images
  • Don’t – use stock imagery, downloaded images or creative works from the internet, any works that have not been photographed by yourself or created with your own hand

Clarification of Creative Subject

Definition: Creative photography is the altering of reality

Explanation and Guidelines:

It is an extension of conventional photography into creative art, and its purpose is to take the image beyond the literal through the use of imaginative skill or originality of thought.

There should be significant photographic content, and inclusion of mixed media of any kind (paint, transfer, digital etc) is welcome. It can be a collage or a montage. The final result must be all the photographer’s own work.  This includes any tools used to alter the image that are not native to the software used, such as

  • Extra brushes that add photographic elements such as snowflakes, raindrops, leaves etc
  • Replacement pre-sets such as skies, sunsets, scenery
  • Expansion packs

If you use image manipulation software you can

  • Combine two images then experiment with different blending modes and opacity
  • Experiment with the inbuilt tools such as colour replacement, invert, free transform, perspective warp, puppet warp, liquefy
  • Create your own backgrounds by photographing interesting textures, skies, sunsets and scenery

If you are not using image manipulation software there are many other ways of being creative, such as

  • Using in camera effects such as zoom pull, multiple exposures, intentional camera movement
  • Cutting and pasting of printed images to make collages and montages
  • Painting on prints or hand colouring

Creative does NOT mean abstract.

Only TWO entries can be entered in any monthly competition. The images can be shared amongst any of the categories / formats or they may all be entered in one category / format.  Any one image may only be ever entered FOUR  times in one year by choosing 4 of the 5 possibilities – either in ‘Open’ subject, in ‘Set’ subject, in ‘Creative’ or in the End of Year competition.

Note: Where images have content that may be regarded as disturbing or offensive to the majority of our membership or the public in general, TPS may exercise its right to not display such images.

Alice Black & Graham Burstow Awards

At each month’s Aggregate Competition the judge will select an image from the awards of those entered as the monthly Alice Black Image (colour) or Graham Burstow Award (mono) they will use their own criteria to select the image. 

All images submitted in the Aggregate Competition have the potential to become a possible winner of the Trophy as there is no restriction on the grade of the entrant or the medium in which the image is presented. The Alice Black image chosen each month receives an additional 2 points to the points already awarded.

As part of the “End of the Year” competition, the judge will choose the winning image from the eleven images chosen by the monthly judges.  There are no points awarded for the overall winner, in common with other EOY awards.

David Hack Memorial Trophy

In honour of our late member David Hack, the club has introduced the “David Hack Memorial Trophy”.  David was a keen, successful motor sport photographer who lost his battle for life due to Leukaemia.  Each year our members are invited to attend the “David Hack Classic Car Meet” arranged by the Toowoomba North Rotary Club and enter images taken on the day into a special competition.  The best image is awarded the “David Hack Memorial Trophy”.

There are no restrictions placed on members as to subject matter, grade or medium of the images presented for consideration.  The Management Committee of the Toowoomba Photographic Society Inc. will choose a judge each year and the Trophy will be presented at the End of Year Presentation Dinner.

Note that the maximum file size of each image is 5000 kilobytes (or 5 megabytes).

Please do not hesitate to contact the committee if in any doubt.

External Competitions

There are a number of external photographic competitions that photographers can enter.  In particular we encourage our members to enter images into the annual Heritage  Bank Photographic Awards.  Details of these awards and past successful images can be viewed by clicking on the following link – Heritage Bank Photographic Awards .

Additionally, photographers can enter a range of National and International Photographic Competitions to obtain Photographic Honours – details about this can be found at the Australian Photographic Society website by clicking on the link APS Honours and FIAP Distinctions.

Details of upcoming competitions can be found at a number of websites:

Printed copies are uncontrolled.