Monthly Image Competition Rules

Photo by Glenn Carpenter, Moraine Valley Community College



Image Categories

Please note that only Full UPAA Members can enter all MIC categories except category 9. Student and Associate. This means you are currently employed full-time as a University Photographer or in a similar capacity. Associate and Life Members may enter the Personal Vision category. All categories, except Personal Vision, MUST be images photographed in the service of your university or college. Images for all categories, including Personal Vision, MUST have been taken within the prior month to the competition date unless otherwise notified. For further clarification of the time limits, please see #6 for Competition Schedule.

Submissions in all categories are limited to single finished images. You can utilize multiple exposures, layering of elements, etc. as long as the finished entry is presented as one still image. There is currently no category for photo essays or printed pieces (such as, but not limited to, posters) that display several images.
Please note : Your entries are not required to have been published or displayed by your academic institution. This competition is designed to showcase photographers’ choices and edits of their own work.

There are 9 categories in the competition: 
If you are not sure what category is appropriate, keep in mind that you will be judged by a diverse group of people who may deduct points if they believe your print is in the wrong category.


Photographs taken of athletes/coaches/staff in action during competition or practice. Cheerleading and mascot action photographs along with action photographs of intramural sports are also eligible in this category.

This category is intended for all other sports related imagery; fans, bands, and athlete portraits or extracurricular activity. Photographs of cheerleaders and mascots, not engaged in active routines, would be appropriate in this category. Entries in this category may be posed or candid.

Open to photographs of individuals or groups, posed or candid, in the studio, on your campus or elsewhere in a university or college related situation.

Open to photographs of buildings, structures, or grounds on and around your campus and college community.

Images of found subject matter (unposed and uncontrolled) documenting your university or college-related events as they occur naturally. Photographs in this category must adhere to accepted photojournalistic standards.

Open to any subject matter photographed in the service of your university or college. Also open to any digital photo illustration.

Open to photographs taken in the lab, classroom, field, or in the studio for clinical, educational or illustrative purposes.

Open to photographs of any subject that were made to satisfy your personal interests.

Only Student and Associate members may enter this category. Entries may be of any subject. Winning images will receive recognition, but are not eligible for Best of Show and no points will be awarded towards ranking.


Uploading of files is done by simply browsing and selecting an image from your computer.  Ensure you click on the “Submit Another Entry” button to register you image in the competition.


  • Required fields are: The image, of course, title of image and caption. Please do not add your identity/photo credit in the title or caption field.
  • You can change any of these fields by choosing "View My Entries" and then making appropriate changes.
  • Changes / Deletions to submissions can be done at any time until the closing of the submission phase, noted on your member dashboard; the system automatically submits at that hour whatever was the latest edit of selections entered.
  • To delete your entry choose "View My Entries" for options to edit and delete.
  • Unless otherwise notified submissions will be accepted from the 1st day until the 15th of each month regardless of what days these dates fall on. This time block is referred to as the MIC submission phase.
  • Dates and Times for entry and voting are displayed on your member dashboard and based on the timezone set in your member profile. Check that this is set correctly by choosing "Edit My Profile" at the very bottom is the timezone option. Click "Save" when finished.
  • You may submit a maximum of 4 images per month, each taken in the previous month. These images can be spread over any or all of the categories.
  • Each image is to be sized 1600 pixels on the long side maximum at 72 dpi. Cropping within these dimensions is at the discretion of the participant.
  • A title and description is required.
  • Images must be in 24-bit JPEG format (RGB, 8 bits per channel), sRGB is the best color profile for web.
  • Images in CMYK cannot be displayed in the competition even if accepted by the server. It is the member's responsibility to verify uploaded images display in their preview submission screen and ensure images have been converted to a RGB profile, sRGB preferred.
  • You cannot enter the same or similar image into more than one category at a time.
  • The Competition Chair reserves the right to reject any image that is essentially a duplicate of another done that month by the same UPAA member. In other words, you must work within the category system to find the best match for your entries.
  • Members are not allowed to “shop around” a strong image in several categories to see where it does best. Choosing the appropriate category for image selection is one of the challenges of the MIC.
  • The Competition Entry form will stop you from entering more than the allowed amount of images with a notification in the submission window. You can also review your submission details by clicking View My Entries.

Image Viewing and Voting
The galleries will be active from the 18th end of each month regardless of which days they fall on. This is referred to as the MIC voting phase. Please note there is a two day “Off” period allowing the MIC Committee to review the system and entries for errors.

Note: During this period a random selection of image will be reviewed to ensure compliance to the entry submission requirements. (i.e. images must have been captured during the previous month – 1st to end of the previous month). See item 6 for the competition schedule for clarification.

Once the voting phase is open, members can view the galleries multiple times. The gallery default is to view all entries; however you may select each individual category from a drop down list.  It is recommended you judge each category on its own rather than an all in one approach.  This is at the discretion of the voter.

Navigation through the images is accomplished by clicking on the forward/back arrows on the page. If you would like to view an image larger click on the image to open it. When done close the lightbox and vote on the image.
Members will rate EACH image in each category on a star scale from 1 to 7 as per the Print Competition. Members will not be required to complete the voting in one session, but can return multiple times prior to the end of the month. You are required to rate all images for any of your votes to be registered.

Your vote can be changed at any time up till the end of the voting phase.

The database will calculate the scoring and determine Best of Show and 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th in each category (except Personal Vision).

Personal Vision will be awarded 1st and 2nd place only on a monthly basis. It will not count towards the member's accumulated points or Best of Show for this competition. Points for Personal Vision are tallied and kept separately in order to acknowledge members who have submitted strong work in this category at the symposium in June.

Best of Show is calculated as the highest points awarded (most popular image of the competition) by the voting regardless of category (eligible categories being Sports Actions, Sports Features, People & Portraits, Campus Environment, News & Campus Life, Features & Illustrations, Science & Research). Once selected it is removed from its scoring category and the remaining images in that category move up by one position, and are awarded 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th places accordingly.

Point Totals and Awards

All photos submitted to the categories eligible to Full Members receive points (except for Personal Vision) towards the end-of-year Monthly Image Competition overall winner. Honor images presented in the Winners Gallery will be Best of Show, 1st through to 5th only. The top two images in Personal Vision will be presented in the Winners Gallery. Rather than assigning points to the Honor awards the actual vote totals will be used and accumulated per member winning the place to determine positioning in the overall competition. The Formula is Average rating x 100= Final Score Ties in any category will each be awarded and the vote totals accumulated for the member. Place winners will receive certificates from the competition chair on a monthly basis. Vote totals are accumulated from month to month by eligible participating members and tallied at the annual symposium in June. Highest standing in this competition is awarded Winner of the Monthly Image Competition.

Competition Schedule
The monthly image competition will run from September 1st until June 15th of each academic year.

  • September 1st - 30th: images from June 1st through August 31st.
  • October 1st - 31st: images from September 1st through September 30th.
  • November 1st - 30th: images from October 1st through October 31st.
  • December 1st - 31st: images from November 1st through November 30th.
  • January 1st - 31st: images from December 1st through December 31st.
  • February 1st – 28th or 29th: images from January 1st through January 31st.
  • March 1st - 31st: images from February 1st through February 28th or 29th.
  • April 1st - 30th: images from March 1st through March 31st.
  • May 1st - 31st: images from April 1st through April 30th.
  • June 1st - Early June, check your membership dashboard for exact dates: images from May 1st through May 31st.