S4C monthly and year-end competitions are intended as a learning experience. Since S4C is a Photographic Society of America (PSA) Member Council, among other benefits of the competitions are preparing entrants for entering PSA international exhibitions; as such S4C competition rules essentially follow entry rules for these PSA international exhibitions. Violations of these rules lead to entries being Disqualified (DQed). These rules can be complicated for newer entrants, which is why many experienced S4C participants willingly volunteer their time to detect violations and mentor newer entrants who are likely to experience many DQs. However, it is also expected that entrants have fewer and fewer DQs as they advance in skill levels and gain experience.

All entrants are expected to read and understand the rules (see Competition Requirements and Division/Section Definitions) before submitting entries. If questions arise and help is not available from an experienced S4C participant within the entrant’s own club, the entrant can email for assistance the appropriate Division Chair if the question is about definitions, or the S4C Competition Chair about general matters.

Out of respect for the time of volunteers who spend their valuable time detecting and mentoring - time that should be devoted to less experienced entrants - S4C adopts the following policy:


Any entrant who has an excessive number of DQ’ed (disqualified) images in a specified time shall have a verbal, cautionary consultation. If the entrant continues this pattern of behavior following the caution, the entrant shall not be allowed to enter S4C competitions for a specified number of months (suspension).

For these purposes:

(a) Receiving the same type of DQ*, even across competitions, more than 3 times in any 6 competition month period shall initially result in a verbal caution being issued to the entrant. Any further recurrence of the same type of DQ within the next 12 competition month period shall result in an immediate suspension of entry privileges for a period of 6 competition months.

*such as entering a sports action image in a Photojournalism Human Interest Competition; or violations of the S4C Re-Entry Policy.

(b) Receiving multiple types of DQs, even across competitions, more than 10 times in any 12 competition month period shall result in a strong verbal caution. If more than 2 additional DQs are received by the entrant within the next 12 competition month period following the caution, the entrant’s entry privileges shall be suspended for a period of 12 competition months.

(c) DQ’s experienced by the entrant will not be counted if received in competitions where the entrant is at E Skill Level.

It should be noted that some types of DQ’s may involve ethical considerations, such as including images or parts of images not made by the entrant. These may subject the entrant to additional penalties.