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2016 Open Horticultural Photography Contest

Sponsored by Pi Alpha Xi – The Honor Society for Horticulture
Contest Submissions: April 1, 2016 to June 30, 2016
Note: Entries are taken on-line only, not at the ASHS Annual meeting


To promote Pi Alpha Xi (PAX), to support PAX’s scholarship program, and to encourage horticulture-related photography. All horticulture-related subjects and commodities are welcome, including fruits, vegetables, flowers, all plant habits, landscapes, production situations, and traditional horticultural settings. Contestants need not be members of PAX to participate and all participants are encouraged to review, “Creating a Better Image: An Introduction to Selected Rules of Composition.”


Entries may be submitted online between April 1, 2016 and June 30th, 2016. (Note: Payment of entry fee is required before uploading any submission. Final fee payment date is June 25th. This allows us time to create your account and email the upload instructions.) Entry fees can be paid at the ASHS Online Store.


  • Perfect Partners – These images represent what the photographer believes to be outstanding plant combinations. These can be container, bed or floral design compositions. The images should show clearly how the two plant partners are being used, IE landscape setting, etc.
  • Horticulture In The Kitchen – Images should show the end result of horticultural products we use for food. The horticultural product must be recognizable to the viewer, example: Apple Pie cut-away. Fruits, Roots, Tubers, Leafy Greens, Vegetables, Herbs and Spices are all fair game.
  • Serendipity – This image must represent a rare or unexpected, or “right place, right time” moment that the photographer did not, could not, control or stage during the taking of the image. Examples: Coconut palms at sunset, frost on strawberries, Erythrina in full bloom in a fog, fall color on Heuchera, or a hail decimated garden would qualify.
  • Garden Visitors – Humans are not the only entity that engages gardens. Images are to show other life forms visiting / interacting with gardens, landscapes and indoor plants. In this category, staging of animals/insects etc, is permitted. However, the image must be balanced in regards to the impact of the visitor and the horticultural item. Specifically, close ups of cats and dogs no do not qualify. A cat sleeping inside a carved pumpkin, a hummingbird visiting a flower, or a deer munching on pansies would qualify.


The entry fee is $10 (USD) per image. Payment of entry fee is required before uploading any submission. You can purchase the option to upload 1 or 2 images for 1,2,3 or all four categories – (maximum 8 images in total). Entry fees can be paid at the ASHS Online Store.


Summa Cum Laude (First Place) $20
Magna Cum Laude (Second Place) $10
Cum Laude (Third Place) $5
Best of Show $25 – awarded at the judges’ discretion to one or more photos that exhibit outstanding, unique, and/or special qualities.

There will be no ties for the Summa Cum Laude Awards and all winners will be announced at the American Society for Horticultural Science's (ASHS) annual conference and online afterwards.


  • Images must be the original work of the person entering the contest.
  • All entries must have a TITLE and CAPTION.
  • No identifying or distracting artifacts (copyright symbols, dates, etc.) may be visible on images.
  • Images must be in JPG or PNG format. In the interest of judging fair comparisons, it is recommended that images have a minimum resolution of 1024 x 768 and not exceed 2056 x 1532.
  • Images processed using HDR, or significantly altered images where filters and special effects using software such as Photoshop and Lightroom, will not be accepted. The photographer may adjust contrast, crop a larger image and/or adjust horizon, or other adjustments which do not change the basic integrity of the image.
  • Photographers will retain original copyrights to their photos but grant PAX and ASHS the right to make use of their entries in advertising, promotional and fund-raising materials, publications of the societies, etc., without monetary compensation. Photographer credits will accompany each use.
  • The decisions of the judges are final.
  • Entrants must be 18 years old or older


The 3 judges will blind-judge all entries, which were randomized prior to their review. Judges will score the photographs according to the following criteria:

  • Interpretation (30 pts) Assessment of the level of success of the photographer achieved in interpreting the stated intent of the photographic category.
  • Technical Mastery (25 pts) Evidence of camera-based (mechanical) abilities and/or lighting manipulation skills to create the image. Attention to focus, background and depth of field will be considered as determined by the subject / situation captured.
  • Artistry (25 pts) Evidence of creativity, composition, and visually appealing image creation from camera-based images that are not significantly manipulated using image software.
  • Impact (20 pts) Assessment of the “wow factor” or exceptional visual qualities, or unusual subject/situation.
  • In the event of a category receiving low quality or insufficient submissions necessary for an appropriate comparison, the judges have the right to not make an award for that category.
  • There will be awards given as first, second and third place for each category. One and only one image will be selected from the first-place recipients within each category for consideration as a Best of Show candidate. In the event that judges feel no image rises to the level of “Best of Show,” no award will be given.


  • PAX reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to disqualify and remove any entry that does not comply with the requirements set forth by PAX.
  • You are solely responsible for the protection of both your photography and the confidential information that you may provide during registration (i.e. username and password). PAX will not be held liable for any resulting damages related to a breach or theft of this personal information or work.
  • You must have obtained proper permission to photograph any subjects portrayed in your entries, and you accept all responsibility and liability for such authorization or permission.
  • For a photo in which a person is recognizable, you must secure a model release from the subject or, in the case of a minor, the subject’s parent or guardian and provide it to PAX upon request.
  • Your entries must not infringe upon any person's privacy rights.
  • All terms and conditions subject to change without notice and at the sole discretion of PAX.

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Entry fees can be paid at the ASHS Online Store.

1018 Duke Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: 703.836.4606