Ethics of Competition

Images entered in PCC Competitions are to be original artwork, conceived and exposed only by the photographer.  Images made using another person’s posed or arranged subject, or another person’s flash or studio lighting arrangement are ineligible.  


General Rules 2023 - 2024 Competition Year

1.       Members in good standing are eligible to compete.  Associate members are not eligible.

2.       Two entries per category are permitted, up to a total of twelve entries per month.

3.       You may choose to compete in either the A or B class.  You do not need to compete in the same class in prints and digital.  Once chosen, you may not switch during the competition year. 

4.       Authorship:  All entries in all categories must originate as a photographic image (film or digital) exposed by the entrant.  Direct copies of 2-Dimensional artwork such as paintings, drawings, or another photographer’s work by themselves are ineligible but may be a minor part of a composition. 

5.       No computer generated graphics or drawings are allowed in any category including Creative.  This includes all AI generated images.  Narrow single-color borders generated by extending canvas are allowed.  

6.       Re-submission:  Any entry that receives an award in a PCC competition may not be re-submitted in any category.   A monochrome version of a color image is considered the same image for purposes of this rule.  No entry may be submitted more than 2 times in any one category.  If you enter the same image in 2 categories in the same month, and it takes an honor in the first category judged, it will be disqualified and not judged in the second category, so don’t do it!  Any image which is substantially the same as an award winner is also ineligible to be submitted in the same category

7.       Manipulation rule for Color, Black & White and Pano:   Adding any element or object to an image that was not in the original capture is not allowed, by any technique (whether in post production or in camera). Skies may not be replaced and backgrounds can not be digitally added or heavily altered. This includes significantly darkening, adding black, white or any color, blur, pattern or artistic filters such as motion blurs, liquify, water color effects and the like.  

a.       Allowed:  Multiple exposures of the same scene may be stacked for purposes of HDR, increasing depth-of-field, or stitching together a panoramic.  You may clone out minor distracting objects. The goal should be to keep the scene as true to how you saw it as possible.

b.       Theme, Nature, Photo Travel and Creative:  Please refer to the Category descriptions. 

Phoenix Camera Club Use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Competition Images

[Approved by the Board on 11/09/2023]

Artificial intelligence (AI) is entering all facets of our lives, but today’s photography world is arguably at the forefront of this technology advancement. The term AI is being applied to new, cutting-edge image creation tools and techniques while, at the same time, traditional photo refinement tools that have been around for years are being relabeled AI. This has created confusion on the use of various tools for photography competitions. The Phoenix Camera Club board of directors would like to provide guidance on the use of AI and AI-rated tools for club events and competitions. Please review and follow these guidelines when participating in club events.  Should you have any questions, please contact one of the VPs of Competition on the board.

In general, photography artificial intelligence tends to fall into two categories: 

1)    AI refinement features and enhancement tools such as sharpening, de-noise, basic color and exposure adjustments, dust spot removal, etc. that refine basic elements of a photographer’s image, but DO NOT add content to an image continue to be permissible. These traditional tools have been available for many years but are frequently being relabeled as AI features in Photoshop, Lightroom, Topaz and similar software programs. The club is not changing any rules regarding the use of these tools. They are permitted as outlined in our general and category-specific club competition rules. 

2)    Generative AI refers to any computer program, algorithm, or other automated processes that generates content, or alters a photograph through the use of text or speech keywords.  It is the creation of new images, new image content, or new elements using computer programs and large databases using non-photographic processes to create an image.  In its simplest form, generative AI is a method of adding elements that didn’t exist in the photographer’s original capture with a camera (film, digital, smartphone, tablet, etc.) and, as such, is not permitted in club competitions. No part of an image can be created with AI software using text or speech inputs. All elements must be the photographic capture by the photographer submitting the image for competition. Images may not include content, elements, or images produced by anyone else or a computer.  The PCC remains committed to the principle that photographs should be the original work of the creator – no exceptions. These restrictions on the use of generative AI apply to all competition categories, including Creative.

Submissions to the Creative category may continue to use filters, effects, and composite content, assuming all content was created by the photographer. There are no changes to the Creative category rules. 

Establishing exactly what is and isn’t the product of AI may become increasingly hard to discern.  If there is reasonable doubt that a photograph has been generated or significantly altered by AI tools, the club may request additional information (including the RAW file) to validate an image for competition.

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