2023 CWGS Photo Contest Rules

Who can participate?

Eligibility to enter this contest is limited to CWGS members (whose membership is and will remain current during the contest). In addition, photographers that earn less than 51 percent of their income from photography may participate in this contest.

Entry Period

Entries will be accepted in the 2023 Photo Contest from 12:00 a.m. MT on September 4th through 11:59 p.m. MT on September 20th, 2023. Entries submitted before or after the Entry Period will not be eligible.


1. Water Lilies and Lotus
2. Marginal Plants
3. Whole Plant Collections/Gardens
4. It's Alive - Pollinators, Fish, Birds
5. Container Gardens
6. Water Features/ Fountains
7. Black and White Photographs

Additional Rules

• Submitting a photo for this contest signifies your acceptance of all the rules and guidelines of this contest, including the items within the separate Intellectual Property, etc. paragraph below.

• All photographs should accurately reflect the subject matter and the scene as it appeared. Photos that have been digitally altered beyond standard optimization (removal of dust, cropping, reasonable adjustments to exposure, and contrast, etc.) will be disqualified. This includes color modifications, artistic vignette, modifying saturation, or any other filters.

• Entries must be submitted as a .gif, .jpg, or .png file. No physical photos will be accepted.

• No name, title, date, or text is to be on the photo itself.

• An individual photo may only be entered in one category. CWGS reserves the right to reassign entries to proper categories.

• Each qualified entrant must adhere to the entry limit of three photographs per category and may enter no more than twenty-one total entries in the contest.

• Entrants may only win first place in one category but may place second or third in multiple categories.

• Photo entries may be shot in 2023 or in years previous.

• Photo entries must have been shot by the contest entrant.

• Winning photographs will be published in the CWGS Newsletter and on the CWGS website and on social media, crediting you as the photographer.

• Photos that contain sexually explicit, nude, obscene, violent, or other objectionable or inappropriate content are ineligible, which CWGS shall determine in its sole discretion.

• Photo entries that do not conform to the contest categories listed above or to the other requirements of this contest, and photo entries submitted by persons who are ineligible to participate in this contest will be disqualified.

• CWGS is not obliged to return or destroy the photos you submit.

How to Enter

Simply use this link https://forms.gle/DhXC5isxw6euGqpL7 to submit your photographs.

You will be asked the following information, including an icon to click on to download your photo!

• Name
• Email Address
• Phone Number
• Photo Category
• Photo Title
• Photo Caption (description of subject name or name of plants if known)
• Place where the photo was taken
• Equipment used for this photo

Judging Criteria

Entries will then be judged by one or more persons who in CWGS sole opinion have sufficient expertise. Here are some of the points the judge(s) will consider, bearing in mind that mission focus, the presence of aquatic plants, authenticity and correct category will carry the most weight:

Authenticity: The goal of the contest is to gather beautiful digital images of aquatic plants, natural landscapes and related subjects. Photos that have been altered beyond reasonable optimization, such as cropping, exposure, contrast, and color adjustments and heavy digital manipulation, will be disqualified. However, high dynamic range (HDR) images that are made of multiple exposures or focus stacking where multiple images are combined into a single image to increase depth of field, are acceptable. The judging committee reserves the right to determine if images meet these?requirements.

Category: Does your photo entry conform to the category? Does the photo include and emphasize the required subjects?

Composition: Be sure that the composition of your photo is interesting enough to attract attention and show off the subject of the photo.

Color: If your entry is a color photo, be sure that the colors look true to life without any distracting color cast. Unless you deliberately shot the photo for a certain effect, it’s best that the photo has a normal color balance.

Creativity Matters: Keep in mind that creativity is important. A straight-ahead, perfectly exposed, and tack-sharp photo of a water lily may display the flower very well for identification purposes – but another photo of the same water lily taken from a different angle, with different lighting, and maybe with the background blurred out, may show the flower “in a new light.” And it’s this new light that photo contest judges often look for and reward.

Sharpness: Is your photo appropriately sharp and in focus? It’s not necessary (or even possible or desirable sometimes) for every part of every photo to be sharp and in focus but be sure that the parts of your photos that should be sharp are sharp and in focus.

Exposure: Is your photo properly exposed? Is there detail in the highlights and the shadow areas? Is it too dark or too light? Unless you deliberately shot the photo for a certain effect, it’s best that the photo has a normal balance of light, dark, and contrast.


The judge(s) will evaluate all valid entries and pick one Best of Show winner who will be awarded a $50 prize. First place winners will be awarded various prizes in the following categories: Water Lilies and Lotus, Marginal Plants, Whole Plant Collections/Gardens, It's Alive - Pollinators, Fish, and Birds, Container Gardens, Water Features/Fountains, and Black and White Photographs.

On October 5th 2023, all winners will be announced, and their photos will be published in the CWGS Newsletter, on CWGS social media, by email, and on the CWGS You will have no claim against CWGS if your photos do not win a prize, regardless of the reason.

Intellectual Property, etc.

(a) You certify to CWGS as follows: You are the sole photographer of the photos you submitted, you alone have all rights to the photos, and you did not receive any help to create the photos.

(b) You give CWGS permission to reproduce, display, and distribute the photos and to use your name, in print and electronically, in any media, publications, and platforms, for the time, duration, educational, advocacy, promotional purposes chosen by CWGS, and in connection with CWGS collaborations, partnerships, activities, and ventures with third parties, (“CWGS Partners”) as determined solely by CWGS, without your inspection or approval, including cropping the reproductions and sizing the displays. You do not expect any compensation from CWGS.

(c) If the image of any person or of any structure or other thing that is protected by any trademark, copyright, or other property right, appears in your photo, you guarantee the following to CWGS: Before you submitted the photo to CWGS, you obtained written permission from those persons, from their parents or guardians, or from the property owner, as applicable, allowing use of the photo, by you and by CWGS, as permitted by the contest rules. You will send CWGS a copy of that written permission when you submit your photo. CWGS may reject your photo if you do not submit the written permission or if, in CWGS sole opinion, the content of the written permission is insufficient.

(d) You release, and you will hold harmless, defend, and indemnify, CWGS, CWGS Partners, and the members, employees, agents, and contractors of CWGS and CWGS Partners, and you will not sue any of them, from and for any and all damages, injuries, claims, causes of actions, and losses, of any kind, including the fees of attorneys, experts, and consultants, occurring in connection with your photos, your other participation in this contest, or use of your photos by CWGS or by CWGS Partners.

(e) You may not, for any reason or under any circumstance, revoke or change anything to which you have agreed, undertaken, or granted to CWGS or CWGS Partners by or within these contest rules, even if you do not win a prize or receive any other compensation from CWGS, or even if CWGS does not publish or otherwise use your photos as provided or contemplated by these contest rules.

(f) You retain all copyrights and all other rights to your photos except as granted to CWGS and CWGS Partners by these contest rules.

(g) These rules and guidelines constitute the entire statement of the photo contest rules and guidelines and cannot be changed by anyone. You will disregard any oral or written statement you receive from any source or any person that differ from these rules and guidelines.


Questions and inquiries about the contest, including the contest guidelines and rules, can be emailed to kimkimpton1@gmail.com. Please do not submit entries to this email address.