» the virtual camera club

The Rules

Photo Challenge Rules

Latest Update: April 25, 2015


  • The club is open to anyone, and the more participants we have the more fun it will be so please invite your friends!
  • Please contact us (using the link above) if you have any questions, or you can post questions in the comments below.
  • There are two challenges per month, with submissions due on the 15th and last day. We try to have three open challenges at any time so if you do the math that works out to 6-8 weeks to complete the challenge from the time it’s announced.
  • We will post the images as soon as possible (usually a day or two) after the deadline date and set one week or so to vote.
  • Up to three submission allowed per person unless the theme specifically states otherwise.
  • A collage of photo’s is not allowed unless the theme specifically allows them.


  • Each challenge has a theme and some interpretation of the theme may be required. The person setting the theme is free to provide any thoughts, directions, unique instructions or limitations that they like, but are under no obligation to do so. Beyond that, you have to interpret it for yourselves. This is about creativity as much as skill, so go get creative! We retain the right to add certain details or limits to each theme for clarity.
  • If you are voted the winner of a theme, please be sure to send me your new theme idea as soon as you can so that we can post the newest challenge.
  • When submitting a new theme, please submit a sample photo from your library to illustrate the idea.


  • Format: Photo’s should be size to 1800 px wide .jpg format, or smaller if you choose.  The ideal is to have a file size under 500 kB or so.
  • File Name: Image files are to be named as follows: “## – your image title – your name.jpg”, where ## is the challenge number.
  • Meta Data: Your image must include the following within the EXIF/IPTC data, using your photo software of choice:
    • Your image title within the Title block.
    • Your name/copyright in the Caption block. (example: Image © Glenn Hubbers)
      Optionally, you may also include a sentence description of the image within the Caption block.
      This information is carried directly into the gallery posting, so please take care to get this correct.
  • Email each submission separately to with the subject line being the image file name.

Editing Levels:

  • The person setting the theme can optionally choose a level of editing allowed using Photoshop, LightRoom, Aperture, Elements or any other similar software, but we strongly encourage no limitations since we feel that editing skills are an important part of photography these days.  If you do decide on limits, we suggest as follows:
    • Basic: You are allowed to crop, straighten, adjust exposure; stuff that you actually should have and could have gotten right in the camera.
    • Intermediate: In addition to the Basic editing, you can adjust white balance, sharpen, adjust contrast and saturation, apply curves, Dodge & Burn, and pretty much do anything that affects the image as a whole or in part. But you are not allowed to add, delete, modify or composite any actual elements in the photo (like removing that unwanted fat guy in a speedo or changing heads!)
    • Advanced: In this level anything goes, including combining images, deleting artifacts and otherwise pushing pixels around. No limits!
  • Please note that if no limitations are specified, the Advanced level of editing will be assumed. That comes from our personal philosophy that it’s the final image that counts, not how you get there!


  • Everyone who submits a photo to the current challenge or has submitted within the previous two rounds is eligible for their votes to count.
  • That said, anyone and everyone is welcome and encouraged to vote and comment, regardless of whether they are an eligible voter. Non eligible votes will be (and have been) used as a tie breaker.
  • Voting is done via the comments on the challenge post.
  • Vote for your top three choices in order, and be sure to give some feedback for your voting such as what you like about a photo and what you thought could be improved. Or simply ask questions. We are all in this to learn from each other.
  • Don’t just limit your comments and questions to the three you are voting for. Feel free to ask questions or comment on any photo in the group.
  • Voting starts as soon as the pics are posted and ends once all eligible votes are in or at the voting deadline specified.
  • We’ll add a comment to announce the winner, and take all eligible votes that are in before that update.
  • Points: 3 points for 1st place, 2 points for 2nd place, 1 point for 3rd place.
  • The winner with the most points gets to pick the upcoming theme. A tie is decided by the greatest number of first place votes and following that using the non eligible votes.
    • You can’t vote for your own photo!
    • Your image can’t win the challenge if you don’t vote!  People have lost out on wins before, so don’t let this happen!


  • Recognition from the group!!!
  • You get to choose the next theme!!! Seriously, this isn’t a contest. It’s a challenge. The idea is to get constructive feedback so that we all improve and we all win! ;-D

If you have questions, or suggestions for rule changes, please comment below and we’ll consider it and/or we may do a post to discuss the idea as a group.

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