N4C is an acronym for the North Central Camera Club Council. It is an organization of 43 camera clubs located in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Our club joined N4C almost two years ago. Since we had started a new master schedule with fewer competitions at our regular meetings, we wanted to offer additional competition opportunities for our members without having it become the mainstream of our culture.
The N4C year runs from September to May so a new N4C year is about to begin!
N4C has competitions every month from September to May (but not December) and they refer to these as contests. There are six digital contest categories which include Black and White, Creative, Journalism, Nature, Pictorial, and Travel. There is also a Photo Essay contest in April, and a Panorama Print contest in the spring.
Member clubs take turns judging the month’s entries, and each image is given a score for three different criteria:
- Technique – focus, lighting, color rendition, exposure, print quality.
- Composition – arrangement of all elements within the picture area so the subject matter is presented as a harmonious, well balanced photograph.
- Interest – Originality, imagination, interpretation, subject, impact, mood, humor, etc.
Judging clubs are also encouraged to make constructive comments on each image. Our club will be judging three times this N4C year, including September 17, when we will judge Black and White.
The entry deadline for contests is the tenth of each month and for details on how to enter, please see the N4C Competition Rules, for sizing, naming conventions and category descriptions as well as N4C bulletins and handbooks. Most people have been submitting images on their own, but Michael Waterman and I will fill up as many spots as possible (up to eight for each category) by using salon images and by reaching out to members for entries.
N4C also has two conventions each year, a mini convention in the spring at Springbrook, Iowa, and a bigger convention in the fall, which is September 29-October 1 in Fargo, North Dakota, this year. At the main convention “Best of the Best” awards will be given based upon all of the images that received 1st , 2nd, 3rd place and honorable mentions throughout the year. We should find out by October if any of our members received any of the annual awards. The N4C web site is here.
The Fear That Everything Has Already Been Done
A couple years ago, I submitted a photo for a competition salon that I thought was one of the best I’d ever taken. The judge was not impressed, saying that it was one of the most photographed places in the US. At the time I hadn’t known. It took the wind out of my sails, and I let those comments change the way I felt about the photo for a long time. Now I am back to thinking it is still a pretty great photo. Don’t let that happen to you, letting one comment put you down. It’s okay to compete, but it’s okay to please yourself, too.
Here is a YouTube video that touches on the subject.