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 - 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

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.

*NEW RULES APPLYING TO ALL SPF COMPETITIONS* - Please See the following section below for Full Details - 

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Secretary and Photographer alike if it happens at a public event or results in a placing, trophy or medal being withdrawn.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 – “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 above.  You can also download a copy of this website item for circulation to your members

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 out with 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.
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.

New Standard SPF Resolution 1600x1200 from 1st Jan 17
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.

Over the years we have also been asked if we could supply some help in how to manage digital files for competitions, or help 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 in running digital competitions. There are several different ways to do everything here you will find a few things to consider.

New Guidance Added

We have added some updates in the guidance notes 'Downloads' area below. These updates were required for the SPF NEW '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. 

The first five are the NEW additions, in addition Guidance Note 5 has also been updated. Guidance on 'Print Capture' as used by the SPF at their Print Championship is included in these downloads. The remaining Guidance Notes 2 to 6 should be read in conjunction with the new additions, and the sizing substituted as required dependent on your Club’s own equipment.

If you require further information on these please contact Libby Smith.

New Guidance Notes -

There is a new ‘How to size to 1600x1200’; Additional guidance on what the new 1600x1200 pixel image size means (An Insight into Resolution) in relation to previous sizes; Additional information on equipment for the new 1600x1200. Guidance Note 5 has also been updated to reflect the new 1600x1200 size, and some weblinks have been updated or added. The last is an overview of the 1600x1200 size introduction which can be used as a poster for your Club.

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 feel they 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 on the screen. 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.

Advice on What is Allowed or Not Allowed when entering SPF Competitions

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?

These are just a few of the questions received by the SPF recently. We have therefore put together the following information for your Guidance.

The SPF, PAGB and FIAP all have their own statements of what is allowed.

The SPF and PAGB are currently the same – ‘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’   

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').

FIAP is slightly different and is given separately at the bottom of this article.

This statement is not normally expanded upon as it is difficult to police all aspects of what is meant by this statement, and may vary in interpretation by different Judges and Competition Organisers.

The SPF’s advice would be to try and enter images that comply with the ‘spirit’ of these rules when entering our Competitions. The below PDF Download contains the SPF's advice which follows this ethos, but is not meant to be definitive, merely a guide.

For more information see an article written by Christine Widdall MPAGB FBPE EFIAP on Plagiarism in Photography, 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.

Need more information on Photographing in Public Places or Copyright - 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 following definitions are currently the only ones applicable to SPF Club competitions (except the Scottish Salon). Please refer to the definitions on the Scottish Salon’s own website for the Definitions for that event.

Please Note for the avoidance of any confusion, that the PAGB Nature Definition (2018) is not applicable to SPF Competitions, only those of the PAGB. Also the new 2022 PSA and FIAP Nature definitions are also not applicable to SPF or PAGB Competitions. The FIAP definition will be come applicable for FIAP Nature biennials however.

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.