2018 Important Entry Rules


Unless stated otherwise under the category rules, the following applies to all entries:


  • Entries must be 100% photographic in origin.
  • All elements in an entry must be the work of the entrant.
  • The use of third party imagery such as stock photography (including skies, borders, backgrounds or textures) is prohibited.
  • Entries must be from original exposures made within the last 24 months of the closing date.
  • The category rules and requirements accompanying the category descriptions in this document (pages ?? to ??) form part of the rules.
  • All imagescaptured, retouched, digitally edited or printed over the duration of a workshop, tutorial, or similar where the primary focus of the event is for education, are ineligible. This is irrespective of whether the image submitted was captured or created under the direct instruction of the educator/presenter or not. This rule only applies to attendees of workshops, tutorials and educational/training events. Instructors, students, emerging members, and attendees of photo-tours where the primary focus is not educational, are not restricted.


  • The purpose of the Awards is to judge and reward visually impactful images. While the same subject rule may have been removed, it is recommended that each entrant submit images that are significantly different.
  • Judges tend to generally score higher for images that are innovative and creatively fresh, so be aware that a repetitive concept or subject is likely to quickly lose favour with the judges.
  • Entries that have been plagiarised, either knowingly or subconsciously, will be disqualified. Plagiarism is where you copy another photograph, painting or image and all or a significant number of the key elements are the same (e.g. same subject, same location, same pose, same crop, same post-production). Copying or being inspired by a style, pose or subject from which you create your own entry is not considered plagiarism.


  • If supplying files to a printing service, the entrant must ensure that the service provider does not make any adjustments beyond minor global colour, brightness and contrast adjustments to match the image file to the printed media.
  • All post-production must have been completed by the entrant or under their explicit instruction.
  • When completing the online entry form, entrants must acknowledge any editor, retoucher, printer and/or other contributors who had any involvement with the preparation of the entry.
  • No titles or marks that identify the entrant are permitted on the front of the entry. Non-photographic copy/text may only be included when stipulated in the category rules and requirements.
  • Analogue photos can be entered into any category. There is a special section for analogue and historical process entries in the Illustrative category but they may be entered into any category so long as they comply with the rules of that category. The exception of the minimum size requirement may be applicable to analogue photos where the process involved produces a result that is dictated by the film size of the camera used.
  • Further information on Composites and Digital Manipulation can be found below.



Photo captions are an integral part of documentary-style images. A well-written caption can add important meaning and value to a photograph and will often clarify the intent of the photographer; a poorly written caption may do the opposite. Accuracy is vital.

A caption should provide the basic information needed to understand a photograph and its relevance. It should primarily cover the Who-What-Where-Whenand sometimes Why of the picture’s content.

Most captions should consist of one or two short declarative sentences. For APPA judging purposes these should cover “the five Ws” listed above as completely and succinctly as possible. If needed, an additional sentence that provides pertinent context may be added to fully explain the image. In certain categories this could include information about special equipment or techniques used in making the image.

For the Nature Category

  • If caption information is provided for Wildlife, this information must be complete and accurate and where appropriate provide the following: species description/scientific name; behavioural observations; background story; location; if the species is critically endangered, vulnerable or threatened per the IUCN Red List (http://www.iucnredlist.org). Captions must also include technical information including specialist equipment or post-processing techniques such as stitching and focus stacking.



Entries into all categories allow for composited images, with the exclusion of Documentary, Nature, Travel and any Single Capture sub-categories.

Where further digital manipulation is allowed, digital technologies can be used to assemble images, manipulate and adjust photographic elements in any manner, but not to create new elements.

Re-photographing existing photographs or images for any purpose other than creating a supporting element or background will be disqualified, unless the existing image is the work of the entrant, 100% photographic and no older than 24 months from the Awards close of entry. Re-photographed images to create supporting elements or backgrounds either created by the entrant or by a third party (such as purchased physical backdrops, publicly displayed advertising, photographs or paintings) may help contribute to the narrative of the entry however they must not be the main subject or focus of the image.

For example, a portrait of a soldier taken in front of a print of a WWII soldier may be acceptable, but entering a re-photographed print of the WWII portrait in it’s entirety is prohibited.

All entrants must be able to supply a copy or proof of each element used to create the final image (to prove its photographic origin) if requested. Failure to provide such proof may result in the disqualification of the entry.


Post-Processing Guidelines for Documentary, Nature, and Travel

Unless stated otherwise in the individual category rules:

Prohibited post-production includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Compositing elements from multiple captures.
  • Altering the content of a picture by adding, rearranging, reversing, distorting or removing people, objects or elements.

For example you can’t remove:

  • physical marks on an object or a body
  • objects or elements in the picture
  • objects that may contravene the Nature category rules e.g. fence posts or power lines
  • reflected light spots, e.g. lens flare
  • shadows
  • extraneous items on a picture’s border (but cropping is permitted)

Similarly, you can’t add elements or areas by

  • cloning or adding objects, details and sky
  • painting in object details and textures
  • photo montage
  • replicating material on the border of a picture to make a neat crop possible.
  • Images with special effects, borders, textures and added backgrounds.
  • Whilst desaturation and conversion to B&W are permissible, changes in colour tone and hue to such an extent that the colouration of the resulting image diverges significantly from the original capture are nor permitted.
  • Changes in density, contrast, colour and/or saturation levels that serve to obscure or eliminate backgrounds or background elements or materially change the content or authenticity of an image.

The Awards Team reserves the right to request original RAW file(s), slide(s) or negative(s) and/or to disqualify images where post-processing is deemed to have exceeded acceptable photo-journalistic practices.

Please note, it does not matter whether you think your entry complies with these rules. It is the Awards Team that needs to believe your entry complies with the intent of the rules to provide an even playing ground for all entrants. If you are in doubt about your entry complying with the specific rules for a category, then enter into another category.




  • “Commissioned”: A commissioned work is a product of a commercial agreement between a photographer and their client. Volunteer work is not considered commissioned, even when a professional agreement has been entered into.
  • “Immediate Family”: This includes yourself, children, parents, grandparents, grandchildren, siblings and their immediate family, and pets.
  • “Eligible Entrant”: Is defined as entering 4 images into the one category and therefore eligible to win that category.


  • Images entered into a previous APPA judging are ineligible.
  • Entries previously entered into the AIPP Epson State Awards or any non-AIPP photographic competitions are eligible.


  • Entries must strictly comply the presentation requirements stipulated on page 28. Entries not complying may be disqualified at the discretion of the Awards Team.


  • It is the entrant’s responsibility to obtain all legal permissions required (which may include model releases, property releases and/or the copyright owner’s permission), to have the entry judged and possibly displayed and published.
  • The AIPP reserves the right to reproduce (with suitable attribution), in any form or media, awarded entries for publicity and educational purposes, in Australia and overseas. This includes on reproduction on the AIPP’s website and in the AIPP Journal.
  • Category winners agree to their entries being printed as a composite, framed and presented to the sponsor. This will be produced at APPA’s expense. APPA may use the digital files provided with your entry without further contact with you.
  • A category sponsor may also reproduce a category winner’s photographs to advertise or publicise their sponsorship of the category. The four photographs are to be reproduced together and credited with the full title of the award (e.g. John Smith, 2018 AIPP Australian Landscape Photographer of the Year, sponsored by Sponsor’s Name).
  • Category sponsors and the AIPP are able to use your images (with suitable attribution) for marketing and promotional purposes until the following APPA. The category sponsor does not have unrestricted rights to use your photograph in any other manner without permission from you.
  • Whilst an entry may be inspired by another photographer’s style, entrants must not replicate or copy another artisan’s work. Where an entry has been creatively inspired to the extent that it may be perceived as that of another entrant, acknowledgment must be made of the original creator and disclosed as a creative contributor in the online entry form. Any promotional display of that work must also pay homage to the original creator. Failure to disclose creative contribution may result in a plagiarism ruling.

  • The AIPP reserves the right to not publicly display entries that, in the opinion of the Board or the Awards Team, may cause offence to the public or the subjects of an entry.
  • We reserve the right to reject any entries that the Awards Team considers to be pornographic or inappropriate.
  • If an entrant contravenes the terms and conditions of these Awards, the entry may be disqualified and any Awards may be reclaimed. Where applicable a penalty of up to five Merit Points may be deducted from your accrued total and non-members may be barred from entry in future years.
  • If you are fortunate enough to win an Award, you agree to be respectful of the AIPP and the sponsors of the Awards. You are not entitled to use these Awards to make any personal or competitive representations that may be antagonistic to the sponsors.
  • The Awards Team will interpret the application of these rules and make decisions on questions not specifically covered. No correspondence will be entered into regarding any decision, but constructive feedback and comment is always welcomed.
  • Award sponsors are able to contact you from time to time with information about their products and services. After the initial contact, you will be given the opportunity to opt out if you wish.
  • The Awards Team and/or nominated rules referee reserves the right to disqualify any entry before, during or after judging. This decision will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  • All enquiries should be directed to the AIPP National Office: Please visit www.aipp.com.au for contact details or email: [email protected].
  • Approved by PhotoWatchDog  , and rated as TopDog


  • Public, online or social media attacks by an entrant on the integrity of the judges, their qualification to judge, or the process under which they act, that are deemed to be offensive, may result in the disqualification of the entrant.
  • If an entrant calls the judging or feedback from the judges into question in a public or social media forum, without displaying the related image to offer context to the discussion, the Awards Team reserves the right to post the related image(s) in question to give a proper basis for discussion.


  • Entries must be shipped in an official APPA print case using the printed PDF mailing label found at the end of your online entry. Only one entrant’s photographs are allowed per case. Insurance is the responsibility of the entrant.
  • Entries will be returned pre-paid to the entrant, but only in an official print case.
  • A print case can be purchased from the AIPP National Office www.aipp.com.au. Please allow two weeks for delivery. (Students do not require a print case. It is preferable for students’ submissions are sent in their Institution’s special print case otherwise secure wrapping is acceptable.)
  • SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR OVERSEAS ENTRANTS: Overseas entrants may send their entries without a print case. Overseas entrants may also elect not to have their entries returned, in which case a print case is not required. However, if overseas entrants require their prints to be returned, they must include payment for a print case, and a further $60 for NZ or $110 for the rest of the world for return shipping. If no payment is included, entries will not be returned.
  • Overseas Entrants’ Instructions for Shipping to Australia: To ensure your entries are passed through Australian Customs, without additional fees and taxes, please mark your Customs Declaration as follows: “Printed Matter Only. No Commercial Value.” The AIPP will not be responsible for paying import duties or fees and entries requiring such will not be accepted.


A panel of five judges assesses each entry. Entries are judged anonymously. No distinguishing marks are permitted on the front of an entry.A panel chair, aided by an assistant, administers the activities of the panel. One or more identical judging set-ups may operate in separate rooms, simultaneously judging a category.Each judge scores the entry out of 100 and the panel’s average is the initial score. A majority of judge scores will then determine whether a Silver or higher award is given, from which the final score is derived. If the final score is 79, 84, 89 or 94, a second panel of five judges will review the image for consideration of one additional point, bringing it into the next award category.In rare cases a judge or panel chair may also request that an entry be considered by the chairman of jurors for re-judging; in which case the second panel’s announced score is the final score.


95 – 100 Gold with Distinction
90 – 94 Gold
85 – 89 Silver with Distinction
80 – 84 Silver
50 – 79 Below Award Standard

Certificates are issued for all award entries that score 80 or above.



Accredited Members of the AIPP and the NZIPP receive Award Points towards Associate, Master of Photography, and Grand Master of Photography levels.

To advance from Full Member to Associate Member, a photographer needs to earn five Award Points in four consecutive years (minimum requirement is three full Award Points and four Half Award points).

An Associate requires a further ten full Award Points in five consecutive years to become a Master of Photography.

The following score ranges receive these Award points:

90 – 100 = 2 Award Points
80 – 89 = 1 Award Poin
78 – 79 = Half Award point

NB: Up to four Half Award points can be used to gain an Associateship. No Half Awards can be used for Master of Photography.