Notes for Guidance for the SLPS Annual Competition to be read in conjunction with Competition Rules in the Syllabus and the instructions on the Entry Form


This category should be self-explanatory however please see the guidance below.

Portrait (Human)

  • May contain the whole or part of one or more persons
  • If only part of a figure is shown, the image must include a substantial part of the head
  • Any view of the head is allowed as long as a substantial part of the head is included in the image
  • The figure(s) or part(s) must be the main focus of the image
  • There is no minimum proportion of the image which should be occupied by the figure(s) or part(s) which form the main focus of the image but any other elements present should be secondary interest
  • Animals by themselves are not included in this category

Figure Study

  • May contain the whole or part of one or more persons
  • The head or part thereof is not an essential element of a figure study
  • The whole or part of the human body must be the main focus of the image
  • There is no minimum proportion of the image which should be occupied by the main focus of the image but any other elements present should be of secondary interest


Possibly the most difficult to understand. A subject would be pictorial in its approach where the use of lighting helps to create drama, mood or atmosphere etc. In respect of an Illustrative approach this would include an image recording something being done, for example this would include People carrying out their work. Sport and Photo Journalism and. Still life would also be included in this category. To do well the emphasis primarily should be Pictorial or Illustrative or even better an image combining the two qualities.

e.g. A photograph of a Canal with a barge coming from under a bridge with beautiful evening light, casting long shadows and reflections – This would be pictorial

e.g. A photograph of the same barge tied up to the canal bank showing an artist painting the scene or an artist painting some of the decorative paintwork on the barge – This would be illustrative

Additional guidance

  • Everything that cannot be included in all the other sections
  • An image that depends upon lighting, mood or atmosphere for its impact would be Pictorial

e.g. An image entitled “Evening light on Anglican Cathedral”

  • Still life, Sports and Photo Journalism etc are subjects which would normally be illustrative
  • Subjects in this section could include domesticated animals, cultivated plants, formal flower arrangements, mounted specimens


This section should not use a pictorial approach in viewpoint or lighting such images should be placed in the Pictorial and Illustrative category. A Record photograph is an image showing all or part of the detail of an object or building without any alteration to its original state. It must be technically correct and a true and accurate representation of the original item. A good record photograph should be able to assist in the recreation of the subject matter if it was destroyed. It is important to include a title, which is accurate.

e.g. A photograph titled “North Entrance, Liverpool Anglican Cathedral” – would be Record & Architecture however a photograph titled “Evening Light on the Anglican Cathedral” – would be classed as a Pictorial photograph and therefore should be placed in the Pictorial and Illustrative section.

Record and Architecture

  • The title should be accurate, specific and descriptive of the subject
  • The image should show all the detail of an object or building or part thereof, without alteration to the original state
  • The image should be a true and accurate representation of the subject showing full detail consistent with the viewpoint of the author. (This recognises that it is often not possible to be square on to high or low subjects and that most members do not own shift lenses) However members should try to minimise converging verticals.
  • Images will not depend upon mood or atmosphere for impact (A non-pictorial approach)
  • Technical quality is important


Images must be an accurate representation of the species or subject matter. Titles must be specific and correct. Creatures are expected to be alive and free in the wild, not domesticated or in Zoos etc.  If controlled conditions are used this should be declared with the exception of micro or macro detail. Geology, weather, climatology and ecology are permissible but should be correctly titled to show their significance in the natural world. Derivations or any form of manipulation that alters the truth or photographic statement are ineligible.

  • Subject matter will be living creatures and uncultivated plants shown in their natural habitat or geological or other natural phenomena
  • Images should not show domesticated or zoo animals or cultivated plants (Such images should be entered into the Pictorial and Illustrative section)
  • Titles should identify the subject matter accurately
  • If controlled conditions are used, this should be declared
  • Any form of manipulation which alters the truth of the photograph is ineligible


Creative photographs are images where photographers use their skill and equipment and technique to create images which are different from the norm whether by using for example unusual view points, extreme wide angle lenses, shutter or aperture control, multiple exposures and montage etc. All images must be originally created in the camera. Creativity may be created by post processing in the darkroom or by computer manipulation.  In respect of Avante Garde, anything goes, all parts of an image must generated in camera. Such images can be defined as altered reality but should be contemporary, experimental, radical, breaking edge, pushing the boundaries or even something daring etc. Any technique can be used to create the finished image. Such an image should show the individuality and creativity of the worker.

  • The image must be generated in camera
  • Any form of manipulation is allowed at the taking stage, and also in post processing in the darkroom or using digital manipulation
  • Avant-Garde is a term which covers techniques and ideas which are experimental or in advance of those generally accepted, radical or daring, altered reality
  • Traditional images should not be placed in this section as the judge will be looking for images which show an obvious creative input of photographic and or processing skills of the author


If you are still unsure about any aspect of the competition sections please seek clarification from a committee member or Martin Reece. From time to time the rules or sections will change so please ensure you are using up to date information. These notes have been created as a guide to help members understand the types of images that can be placed in the various sections.


MR 2015