4-H Youth Development Program
4-H Youth Development Program
4-H Youth Development Program
University of California
4-H Youth Development Program

State 4-H Photography Competition

The State 4-H Photography Competition is one of many activities that take place during California 4-H State Field Day

4-H Photography Contest logo

The California 4-H Photography Competition is designed to provide an opportunity for 4-H members (ages 9-19) to showcase their best photographs taken within the past 4-H year. There are no prior requirements to enter this state level competition.

The entries will be judged in the morning to early afternoon. After the judging is complete, the doors will be open to the public for viewing. Best of Show and Best of Division Awards for the photography contest will be displayed once the gallery is open for public viewing.

Competition Winners

Click on photographs to enlarge.

2018 Best of Show: "The Boot Barn" by Callahan Zediker, Siskiyou County

The Boot Barn


2018 Best of Division, Senior: "Slippers and Lights" by Laurel Wagner, Mariposa County




2018 Best of Division, Intermediate: "Hand in Disguise" by Anna Sorensen, Ventura County




2018 Best of Division, Junior: "Blow Flower" by Lydia Salters, San Joaquin County



View all past winners

Contest Divisions

  • Division I: Junior (age 9-10)
  • Division II: Intermediate (age 11-13)
  • Division III: Senior (ages 14-19)


The Danish Judging System is used for the photography competition.

Everyone will compete within their age division for Gold, Blue, Red, or Green.  

All Gold winners will be continue forward for Best of Division and Best of Show.

Everyone will receive a color seal on their judging evaluation sheet of what they have won. Best of Division winners will receive a Photography pin for their 4-H Hat. The Best of Show winner will receive a Rosette Ribbon and a Photography pin for their 4-H Hat.


Official Rules

  • All 4-H members aged 9-19 are allowed to participate.
  • Limit of 2 photographs per person may be entered.

  • MUST pre-register to participate in the competition.
  • Photographs must be taken by the person entering the contest.
  • Photographs must have been taken within the current 4-H year.

  • Photographs must be mounted on a photograph mount/mat board or foam board. Maximum mount/mat board size is 11” x 14”.

  • Photographs must be at least 8” x 10”.

  • Framed photographs will NOT be accepted. A double mount board does not classify as framed.

  • Covering photographs in a plastic protective is strongly discouraged.

  • Following information is required on back of entry: title of photograph, date and location the photograph was taken, 4-H member’s name, age, county, 4-H Club/Unit, and contact information (email, phone, address).

  • Online submission of photographs will NOT be judged. Photographs must be physically brought to competition at UC Davis the day of the competition.

  • Photos can be taken by either digital cameras, cell phones or by cameras using film.

  • Photographs may be either developed by the member or professionally developed.

  • Photographs can be printed via a photo printer with a high dpi or at a professional printing service.

  • Digital enhancements to photographs are allowed.

Competition entries that do not follow the rules above are subject to be marked down on their score or not accepted at all.

Judging Criteria

Competition Entries will be judged in the following areas:

FOCUS: Adjustment of the distance setting on a lens to appropriately define the subject. Standard: Main subject in focus, unless blurriness is obviously intentional (ex: to show motion).

EXPOSURE: The overall brightness and contrast in the photo. Standard: A range of light-to-dark contrast, not over or under exposed, unless it is obviously intended.

COMPOSITION: Placement of the subject in the photo demonstrating artistic ability. Standard: A pleasing balance exists among all components of the composition (ex: Rule of Thirds).

CREATIVITY USE OF SUBJECT: The photograph uses the subject to deliver a message in a creative way.  Standard: The subject can be easily identified by viewers, and captured in a creative way.  Photograph not over cluttered with many subjects.

UNIQUENESS: Use of originality, camera angle, lighting, character studies, and/or creativity.  Standard: The photographer exhibits creativity throughout the photograph.

SIZE REQUIREMENTS: Print and matboard size.  Standard: Did the photographer follow the competition rules by using the correct size requirements?

INFORMATION ON BACK: Required information on back of matboard.  Standard: All the required information listed in the competition rules found on the back of the entry; clear and legible.

MOUNTING: Photograph print is placed on a mount/mat board for display.  Mount/mat board color should be selected based on the photograph.  Does not distract viewer from photograph. Mount board should be clean and have smooth cut edges.  Suggested method for mounting: Spray Adhesive Technique.   Standard: Photograph is mounted straight and proper.  Photograph must stay mounted on its board and not fall while on display.

Contact Us

Got questions?  Contact us!

John Trammell | Competition Coordinator
(909) 844-1747

State 4-H Field Day Coordinator
DeAnn Tenhunfeld, dtenhunfeld@ucanr.edu, 530-750-1340


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