Frequently Asked Questions

New members often have questions about activities at Beckenham Photographic Society.  We have gathered some of the most frequently asked questions and provided answers.  We hope you find these useful.  If you have other questions please do ask members of the Society.


Why should I join the Beckenham Photographic Society (BPS)?

Answer:  BPS is a friendly, welcoming society that encourages new members to develop their photographic interests and skills through lectures, workshops and competitions.  We are always open to new members and visitors are welcome to come along to one of our Wednesday evening events to help decide whether to join.

The Society hosts a large number of competitions.  What is the reason for this?

Answer:  BPS runs a very varied programme of events, including talks from expert photographers and from our own members.  Our internal competitions are judged by external judges who provide feedback to help members develop their photographic skils. As well as these, we take part in inter-club events run by the Federation of South London Photographic Societies (FSLPS) and the Kent County Photographic Association (KCPA).  Each year we also take part in three friendly competitions involving local clubs.

Can you explain the different internal competitions?

Answer:  Each season we run four internal competitions for prints and four for digital images (PDIs), which are marked out of ten by an external judge.  Members who enter each round of the competitions are also eligible for end-of-year trophies. 

We hold two other competitions for panels of images:  The Dennis Berry competition for a sequence of 5-9 digital projected images judged by club members and the Caithness Bowl (Standard Class) and Blackbourn Trophy (Advanced Class) for panels of 5-9 prints, judged by an external judge.  You can choose your own theme for these competitions but the images should be linked in some way.  In the past members have appreciated images that tell a story in the Dennis Berry competition.

In the 2016-2017 season we are planning to hold a monochrome competition.

Do you welcome new members entering competitions?

Answer: Yes.  Internal competitions are open to all paid-up members of the club and new members are encouraged to enter as soon as they feel confident with the formats.  We have two classes in our print and digital competitions: standard and
advanced.  In these competitions members are invited to submit up to two images. 

Entry to competitions is entirely voluntary.

How are the standard and advanced classes decided upon?

Answer: Members choose their class at the beginning of the season and stay in that class throughout that season.  In most cases new members will want to begin in the standard class because the judges will usually offer more comments and feedback.   Speak to a committee member if you want more advice on which class to choose.

Is it complicated to enter the competitions?

Answer: No.  You can find details for entering the competitions on the BPS website or from the Competition Organiser (Steve Wilbur). Club members are also very happy to give advice.  A key point is that prints should be carefully mounted on card.  This protects your images and improves their presentation.

Mounts for the normal competitions should be no smaller than 25 x 20 cms but if it is possible members are advised to use mounts of 50 x 40 cms as this is the size used in our annual exhibition and external competitions.  Using this size also helps reduce the risk of damage to other members’ prints when they are being carried.  For the same reason use good quality tape to fix your images to the mounts.

Digital images must be in a JPEG format.  If they are in landscape format the maximum pixel size must be 1400 wide and 1050 high; if they are in portrait form they must still be a maximum of 1050 pixels high with the appropriate related width.  Use image sizing in Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Lightroom or other imaging software and be careful that you do not accidentally alter the proportions of your image.  If you are unsure how to do this please ask members of the club. 

Can I include images in the panel competitions that I have already used in individual Competitions?

Answer: Yes. Images entered in the regular series club competitions can be entered in either of the panel competitions.

Can I put an image that I have entered in a club print competition into a club PDI competition or vice versa?

Answer: No. Images can only be entered once into regular club competition series. The only exception is that if an image scores 7 or less it can be re-entered in the same form (print or PDI) during the same season, although only the higher score counts.

What does it mean when an image has a latin name after it or is read out as "latin name given"?

Answer: This is an indication that the photograher wishes the image to be treated as a natural history record shot, rather than a pictorial image. Such images must be taken in the wild rather than in captivity. Definintions of "in the wild" vary with external competitions. Very limited post-processing of such images is acceptable, usually limited to tonal adjustments only (no sharpening, no removal of twigs by cloning and no additions).

How are images chosen for external competitions?

Answer:  The External Competition Organiser and members of the BPS committee select images from those that have performed well in internal competitions in the previous season or are provided by members.  The committee aims to use images from a range of members but the goal is to perform at a high level in competitions as a way of attracting more members.

How do I make mounts for my images?

Answer:  A number of members do cut their own mounts and David Wood is the person to go to for advice on this and for buying the necessary card from the Wideangle Market.  He will also cut mounts for a small fee.

You may also find it easier to order mounts.  Some members use Cotswold Mounts (; members can group together to share delivery costs etc.

Can I use colour mounts for my images?

Answer:  Yes, but the Society normally recommends using antique white or light cream mounts as these improve the presentation at BPS’ annual exhibition. However, this is a matter of fashion.  These days coloured mounts are rarely seen, although black and dark grey are often used for monochrome images.

How do I print my images?

Answer:  Many members do print their own images but this does require a high-quality image printer (and for larger images, an A3 printer) so others use a variety of options such as:

Printspace – good quality prints on different papers; images can be submitted on line via the company’s website.
DS Colour Labs (DSCL)
Snappy Snaps – branches in Bromley, Beckenham, Sydenham and Croydon

What software is recommended for organising and editing my photos?

Answer:  Members use a variety of packages including Lightroom, Bridge, Photoshop and Photoshop Elements among others.  Whatever package you use there are numerous videos on YouTube to help you through the necessary steps.

What is the Wideangle Market?

Answer:  David Wood organises the Wideangle Market for the benefit of members.  He usually has it set up on a side table at meetings and will show you the supplies before the meeting or during the refreshment break. Supplies include: printer ink, paper, batteries, memory cards, mounting board and pre-cut mounts are available at very competitive prices; a current list is available on the BPS website.

The market’s funds help support the Society’s activities such as purchasing projectors and laptops which otherwise would require extra fund-raising activities such as raffles or collections.

If David does not stock items you want it is worth asking him because he may be able to source them at a reasonable price.