How to Enter Poly Competitions

Our monthly competitions consist of three parts: the Project competition and two  Open competition categories.  Each member may enter one image in the Project competition and two in the Open competition. Here’s how to prepare and send your images.

Entries must be attached to an email (attach all three images to a single email) and emailed no later than 5 p.m. the night before the competition. The email address for entries is available to members and is not published here on the website.

Our computer uses Windows. Please be sure to send your images as attachments to your email. Mac users need to be aware that the default behavior of the Mac email software is to embed images into the body of email. These we cannot use.

File Names in General

Proper naming of your files is important. Images which are not properly named will be rejected.

The file name of each image must include the title, the word “by”, and your name in the following specific format. If the image and maker cannot be identified, it will be rejected from competition. Here’s the required format:  Category Title of Image by First Lastname.jpg. For example: CAT1 Big Horn by Alan Haynes.jpg.

Open Competition

As of January 1st, 2017, Poly’s open competition is made up of two categories. Descriptions of each category are shown below.

It’s up to you which category to enter. You may enter both of you images into one category or enter one in each category.

Once you’ve decided which category to enter, be sure to add the category at the beginning of your image’s filename. For category one, use “CAT1” and for category two, use “CAT2.” As an example, if the name of your image is Water Abstract and your name is Jay Pegg, your filename would be either CAT1 Water Abstract by Jay Pegg.jpg or CAT2 Water Abstract by Jay Pegg.jpg depending on the category you’ve decided to enter.

Category 1

All adjustments must appear natural.  Any cloning is allowed only for the purpose of eliminating spots, blemishes, and extraneous elements that detract from the wholeness of the image (e.g. telephone poles, power lines etc.).

Adding/importing new elements from other sources outside of the image itself (“compositing”) is not allowed. Images with this type of manipulation can be submitted in CATEGORY 2.

Techniques such as HDR and focus stacking are allowed. Stitching for the purpose of creating a panorama, and conversion to gray scale / monochrome is also allowed.  There are no restrictions on subjects for images in this category.

Category 2

Images not qualifying under Category 1 may be entered here. Entered images must be created by the entrant and start with his/her original photograph. They may not be completely constructed of graphic elements created with a computer.

When any graphic elements other than original photographs are incorporated into an image, the maker-produced photographic content of the completed, final image must still prevail.

There are no restrictions on the subjects, workflow, or software used to create Category 2 images.

Project Competition

Project entries must begin with the word “PROJECT”. If you decide to give your image a title, place it after the word “PROJECT” such as PROJECT Water Drops by Alan Haynes.jpg. If your project image does not have a title, just use “PROJECT” as your title in the file name like this: PROJECT by Alan Haynes.jpg.

Although the title of the project image will not be announced during competition, it may be used when the winning project entries are posted on our website or in the year-end competition.

File format and size

Images MUST be in JPEG format. We cannot accept TIF or PSD files.

Our projector has a maximum resolution of 1920 by 1080 at 72 pixels per inch, so there is no advantage to entering a file any larger than that.

For horizontal images, make the image 1920 pixels on its longest side and let the shorter side be adjusted to whatever size necessary to maintain the proper aspect ratio. For vertical images, make the longest side 1080 pixels.

Images slightly larger than this are fine as our software will automatically shrink them to fit, but do not submit images at their original in-camera resolution as these will be too large.

When converting to JPEG, use maximum quality (minimum compression). If done correctly, your file will be around one, two or three megabytes in size.

For accurate projected color, be sure your images use the sRGB color space (not Adobe 1998 or ProPhoto). Convert them to sRGB as necessary.


For ideas on the kinds of images that do well in competition, look at the winners posted in our Winning Images galleries.

Since we use a variety of judges and judging is very subjective, you never know what will do well. After you’ve been to several competitions, you’ll have a good idea what the judges are looking for. So, enter what you like and have fun.