General categories include anything not specifically covered by Applied or Other. Some examples are shown below. All are eligible for the General competitions and in these they are shown all together. In some years there may be specific competitions for some categories.

In all cases, the final image and all its components must only be the work of the author.



A photographic creation by the author, including the use of manipulation through the camera, or digital techniques. Computer generated images are accepted.

Special effects may be carried out to the original image and other pictures/imported photographs may be added to provide extra detail.

This is your opportunity to show what you can do in any way you wish. Let your imagination run riot!


An abstract image is an image that does not attempt to represent a recognisable object or external reality, but rather seeks to achieve its effect using shapes, colours, patterns or textures. This may be created in camera and/or by use of post-processing.


AlthoughContemplation-alt the trophy is the Portraiture Cup you do not have to confine yourself strictly to a portrait. But the main focus of your images should be on people. An emotional content or interaction between any subjects should also be considered important to show Humanity in all of its forms.

We encourage creative work in this section which could, for example, include: portraits, sports, cultures, fine art nudes, street photography, re-enactments, theatre, dance, goths and photo-journalism.

Journalism, Sport and Documentary

These images cover news or sporting events or provide information about a particular subject. They will be presented with truth and integrity, and be suitable for publication or an historical record.

Sport photographs will usually feature the sport being played, but might include sports people immediately before or after playing. Journalism photographs may cover just one aspect of a subject: they will record the actual scene but not necessarily give the full story (eg a performer on stage). Documentary photographs will contribute to a balanced view and understanding of a subject (eg a sequence showing a performer at work and at leisure and perhaps comparison with other performers).


Includes recreations, domestic animals and gardens.

Pictorial Colour and Pictorial Mono

The objectTwistleton-Sunset---alt of pictorial photography is to produce a picture that arouses an emotional response in the viewer. The “WOW” factor. The “I would like to have that picture hanging on the wall” reaction. Emotions are not all pleasant: anger, greed, fear and despair are all emotions which can be aroused by a picture as well as pleasure, CK898-Aldeburgh-Beach-altjoy, nostalgia, etc.

The intensity of the response is the primary criterion for judging the picture. Technical matters such as definition, exposure and contrast may (or in some cases may not) contribute to an overall effect, but they are secondary to the emotional response.


A ‘scape’ image View-toward-Heptonstall-and-Stoodley-Pike-Monument-by-Geoffrey-Smith-alt shows us a vista. This can include, but is not restricted to, landscapes, cityscapes, seascapes, waterscapes and skyscapes. Individual elements such as a single tree, boat, building or a person must not dominate but rather be part of an overall image adding to the mood or atmosphere of the environment captured.

Still life

An arrangement of ordinary objects by the author. These objects will predominantly be inanimate and may include dead animals, fruit or flowers. The photographic approach may range from record to artistic to include added textures and composites. Images may feature interesting patterns, colours and shapes.


Images that capture spontaneous (not posed) chance encounters and random incidents, in public spaces (not necessarily a street) all around the world. People will usually feature. A scene without people must project a decidedly human character.


Themed competitions such as Water, Weather and Seasons require us to interpret and explain the competition theme in our images. The theme should be the key component of the image whether it, for example:

  • celebrates the magic of a season (winter, spring, summer or autumn);
  • explores the ways in which water occurs in nature (water, ice, steam) or in the interaction of water with mankind;
  • describes an example of the huge variations in our weather and its impact on us, the environment or the landscape.

All of these competitions may be entered with colour or mono images and may range from record to artistic images.