Competitions Guidance

This area contains guidance on entering SPF competitions together with informations our Clubs may find useful when organising their own Competitions.

This includes sections on - Online Entry Guidance Notes – Digital Guidance Notes - Resolutions and Image Sizing - Converting from Adobe RGB to sRGB - Print Capture - Laptops and Projectors etc. – Supplying Images to a Judge – File Naming – Running a Digital Competition – Nature and Mono Definitions – What Is and Isn’t Allowed in SPF/PAGB Competitions

*MAJOR UPDATE JUNE 2023 - Due to the Recent Advancements in AI software. New Rules applying to all SPF Competitions. 

If you need help using the Online Entry Admin Area for entering each of our Competitions please see the illustrated Guidance Notes available below and remember to visit the specific Competition event page under the EVENTS area accessible from our homepage.


Guidance for running Club Competitions

We have recently been asked for advice on how Clubs can run 2 more Leagues, and maintain competitive numbers in every league. The below document shows a couple of formats that have been proven to work.

Other advice that your Club may find useful in running its Club Competitions can be found further down this page under the following section -

'Digital Guidance - including Sizing your Images, Coverting from AdobeRGB(1998) to sRGB, Filenaming, Supplying Images to a Judge, Running a Digital Competition.

'Equipment' - Info on Resolutions, Setting up Print Capture, upgrading Equipment and what to look out for. (Updated 2023 to incude Resolution, Colour Spaces and Graphics Cards)

'Advice on What is Allowed or Not Allowed when entering SPF Competitions' - NEW June 2023 section for a variety of things to consider when drafting your Club's Competition Rules. This section also includes information on the new AI technology

'Definitions' - Give you details of Monochrome and Nature definitions.

See also the General Guidance page (click here) for additional info including -

Advice on Health and Safety, Child Protection, Recording of Online Lectures, Writing a Club Constitution, Data Protection, Risk Assessments.

Advice on What is Allowed or Not Allowed when entering SPF Competitions - NEW June 2023

MAJOR UPDATE JUNE 2023 - Due to the Recent Advancements in AI software*** Entries made into all of our SPF Competitions must now comply fully with the ‘ethos’ contained within the above guidance document, and this compliance will now appear as a ‘Rule’ within our competitions from June 2023. Furthermore, if the SPF is in any doubt of the eligibility of an entry, they may request RAW files or jpegs (incl. neighbouring jpegs).

The above document has been put together to help you distinguish between what is allowed and what is not allowed when entering SPF Competitions. This document is based on questions that have been asked by SPF Clubs or their members.

  • How can I distinguish between what is allowed and what is not allowed when entering SPF and PAGB or FIAP Competitions?
  • Can I use a FILTER from within Photoshop to create a rain-drop effect say - is that allowed?
  • Can I create something digitally in Photoshop like a non-existing planet - is that allowed?
  • Can I create an Image using AI generator software - is that allowed?

The SPF, PAGB and FIAP all have their own statements of what is allowed. The SPF and PAGB are currently the same with the following statement – “Images entered must be entirely the work of the photographer. Composite Images are permitted provided all component images meet this requirement. For the avoidance of doubt, use of images from any source including, but not limited to, royalty free image banks, textures and clipart are not permitted.”

NEW June 2023 - Additionally the SPF now states that – “The use of AI software is allowed provided all images used have been taken by you, and only your own photographs are used in the processing. No modifications are allowed based on AI generated text input or generated using images or elements not taken by the photographer.” “RAW files or jpegs (incl. neighbouring jpegs) may be requested if there is any doubt of the eligibility of the entry.” NB - At this time the PAGB have not yet made a statement on AI.

***See additional ‘AI’ resource material given at the end of the document for more details. 

The SPF’s advice is to try your best to enter images that comply with the ‘ethos’ or ‘spirit’ of this document. The document also contains a few questions received by the SPF, and may also help, but are not meant to be definitive, merely a guide. The document also explains more about AI Generator Software.

An entry is also still subject to any additional specific Competition requirements e.g. Nature or Monochrome Definitions (The current version of these are given below under 'Definitions'). 

Plagiarism in Photography - For more information see an article written by Christine Widdall MPAGB FBPE EFIAP, which has previously appeared in the PAGB e-news, by visiting her website (click here)  Please note this is copyright of Christine Widdall, if you wish to circulate, you must contact Christine for permission.

Photographing in Public Places or Copyright - Need more information? For an interesting article on UK Photographer's Rights please visit the following Sirimo website (click here) (Please note Sirimo has no connection with the SPF. This has been added here as a general resource for those Photographing in Public places)


The above definition documents explain the Definitions for the various events you or your Club may enter.

Nature General Rule Change from 1st Sept 2023 for all SPF Competitions  - When entering SPF Competitions and trying to assess what entries should be included as part of your allowed Nature quantity, as stated in that competition’s Rules, from 1st Sept 2023 you should consider all entries that ‘look like nature, as nature’. Your quota of allowed Nature entries, should therefore include pure nature and modified nature as defined in the ‘PAGB Nature Eligibility’ 

Additionally, the only entries that should now be indicated as ‘nature’ when uploading your entry to the SPF website are those that are eligible for the competition’s ‘Best Nature Award’ by complying fully with the stricter ‘SPF Nature Definition’ given below. No other images will be eligible for the Best Nature Award and should not be marked.

See 'Nature Definition and SPF Competitions' download for full details as well as the 'SPF Nature Definition' and 'PAGB Nature Eligibility'. Also included in this document is the current FIAP Nature Definition.

Monochrome Definition - When entering SPF Competitions please see the 'Monochrome Definition and SPF Competitions' download for full details as well as the 'PAGB Monochrome Eligibility'. Also included in this document is the current FIAP Monochrome Definition.

Standard SPF Resolution 1600x1200 from 1st Jan 17
Equipment Guidance

Over the years we have also been asked if we could supply help or advice in sourcing or setting up projection equipment. We do not recommend equipment, but the notes below of what we use should help you start the process. These notes are supplied only as basic guidance to anyone who wishes assistance, and hopefully they will give you areas to consider.

We have added some updates in the guidance notes 'Downloads' area below. These updates were further to enquiries from several Clubs who were looking to update their equipment, and who enquired if there was any update on our previous document 'Notes on Projectors and Laptops for the New 1600x1200 size - Nov 15'

Guidance on 'Print Capture' as used by the SPF at their Print Championship is included in these downloads.

Also, see the Digital Guidance section for more details. If you require further information on these please contact Libby Smith.

When choosing what resolution your Club should use; The first priority for Club Internal Competitions is what your Club equipment is capable off. Images should be capable of being viewed at 100% i.e pixel for pixel. – The SPF and PAGB will always do this. This may mean that some Clubs cannot view the new 1600x1200 size at this time.

Clubs should therefore be going with the image size they can project at 100%, and never just fill their screen with the image e.g. 1400x1050 should not fill a 1920x1080 screen but just appear smaller. If a 1400x1050 image is entered to the SPF Competitions it will be projected at 100% and will show smaller on the 1600x1200 projection area – Hence the new 'Insight in to Resolutions Notes' supplied below.

Summary of SPF, PAGB or FIAP General Event Requirements Applicable to all Entries

Summary of SPF, PAGB or FIAP General Event Requirements Applicable to all Entries  - This is in addition to all Event Rules

  • SPF Competitions require that an Individual only enters for one SPF Club per event.
  • PAGB Competitions require that an Individual only enters for one Club per event
  • SPF and PAGB Competitions require that a photographer’s image has not been used in the same competition in any previous year.
  • SPF entry to PAGB events requires SPF to ensure that an Individual’s work is not being used by any other Federation to avoid the entry being disqualified. By extension any Clubs entering PAGB events require to ensure the same. - The PAGB now count disqualified scores of zero first.
  • As the SPF select work from our own SPF Competitions to make our entry into FIAP or PAGB events. The SPF require to ensure that this work is eligible to be used by us in these events.
  • Long-term members of an SPF Club, who have moved away, are no longer eligible to enter SPF events with their Club. - The PAGB currently limits Clubs to one photographer per event from more than 30 miles from the Club’s Federation border
  • Any club member living outwith Scotland is not eligible to submit to FIAP via SPF – FIAP Rule
  • All SPF, PAGB events are entered on the photographer’s behalf by the organisation’s Competition Secretary, who requires to confirm the eligibility of the entry and permission to use that photographer’s entries on behalf of that organisation when submitting
  • “To be eligible to enter SPF competitions individuals must be resident in Scotland* or via application to the SPF”

Please also see the section on SPF Club Members and Eligibility to enter SPF or PAGB Competitions for more details, particularly as regards those who are members of more than one Club, or for members who do not reside in Scotland.

Digital Guidance

The notes supplied below in 'Downloads' should help you enter any of the SPF’s Projected Digital Imaging (PDI) events. These notes should be read in conjunction with the particular Competition’s rules.

We have added some guidance notes 'Downloads' area below. These are based on the SPF 'standard' 1600x1200 pixel size that came in to effect as at 1st Jan 2017. The previous 1400x1050 size will still be accepted by the SPF so that Clubs can choose what suits them. 

Over the years we have also been asked if we could supply some help in how to manage digital files for competitions. These notes are supplied only as basic guidance to anyone who wishes assistance in running digital competitions. There are several different ways to do everything here you will find a few things to consider.

Guidance Notes include - ‘How to size to 1600x1200’ and what the 1600x1200 pixel image size means in relation to previous sizes 'An Insight into Resolution' as well as how to convert to sRGB colour space.  

Also, see the Equipment Guidance section for more details. If you require further information on these please contact Libby Smith.

SPF Club Members and Eligibility to enter SPF or PAGB Competitions

Over the past two years, Clubs have been inventive in continuing their activities using on-line methods for virtual meetings. This has been largely beneficial, with the ability to entertain speakers from a much wider geography. One behaviour which has become much easier is wide-area recruitment of members by Clubs, and several Clubs are on record as advertising such membership even to overseas members. This is different from Clubs having long term members who live at a distance perhaps through moving away who they know very well.

SPF Clubs are autonomous and can take members from wherever they like, and an Individual member’s work can be used in their Club’s internal competitions bound only by the restrictions of that Club. But care requires to be taken by the Club and Individual before using that member’s images in external events, particularly those of the SPF, PAGB or FIAP.

The SPF must ensure the eligibility of any submissions made to its own events together with its own entry into PAGB or FIAP competitions, as should Clubs, to avoid any duplicate images or duplicate photographers in events. Otherwise, this can cause embarrassment for Club, Competition Secretary and Photographer alike if it happens at a public event or results in a placing, trophy or medal being withdrawn.

As many more individuals are now members of multiple Clubs, that are not geographically close, or even in Scotland, this makes it difficult for the Clubs or SPF to establish eligibility before an entry is made. In some cases, the club may not know that one of their members is entering with another club. Although this situation has been exacerbated due to the pandemic, several Clubs are considering continuing hybrid membership to keep speakers, members and money coming in from further afield, so the indication is this issue is likely to continue.

The PAGB and SPF have both had discussions over the best way to tackle this. The PAGB will take their own decision in due course.

After some deliberations the SPF have taken the decision to introduce the following eligibility rule for all of its events from 1st Sept 2022 to help all concerned avoid any embarrassing situations occurring, keeping the rule as simple as possible, and following the ethos of our SPF Constitution of only having SPF membership open to Clubs based in Scotland.

NEW RULE 2022 on – “To be eligible to enter SPF competitions individuals must be resident in Scotland* or via application to the SPF” *An exception is made for members of Clubs close to the Scotland/England border who stay in the north of England provided they indicate they do not wish to enter through NCPF.


  • Clubs require to ascertain at the start of each club season if any of their members are also members of other UK Clubs (not just SPF Clubs) and ask the individual to declare which club they wish to enter with for SPF/PAGB competitions for the coming season.
  • The Club Secretary who deals with the Club’s external competitions requires to declare to the SPF, those details for all of their members with multiple club memberships, before any entries can be used by the Club or Individual for that season.
  • Individuals can indicate which club they wish to enter SPF competitions through directly to the SPF if they wish, but they must also make sure that all clubs of which they are a member of are also informed (including any non-SPF clubs).
  • An SPF Form is now available for this purpose for use by Clubs and Individuals alike. Forms are available from the downloads area below.  You can also download a copy of this website item for circulation to your members.

In addition to this section please see Summary of SPF, PAGB or FIAP General Event Requirements Applicable to all Entries.

Entering Competitions Using the Website Admin Area - Online Entry

The Admin Area gives access to the Online Entry area for Club Main Contacts and Competition Secretaries, who use this area to log in and enter our SPF Competitions.

Guidance Notes are available for our events from the downloads area below which explain how the online entry process works and how to log in.

Contact Libby if you require any assistance.

Creative / Traditional Consultation

This consultation process was entered in to following an AGM directive some years ago. This documentation is therefore historical in nature but as some may find the points raised of interest, we have left it on our website for those who are interested.