We’ve simplified two categories into one this year - PORTRAIT. Whether you created the scene and brought a model or stepped into a found environment, met someone interesting, and took their photo, these will both live together in this category.

(What we mean: This category is about people. You can dream up conceptual and/or fictional stories and characters, bring props, lights and models.  Or, you can go exploring, meet people and make a portrait of them in their environment.)

A photograph that truthfully portrays people, places or things. 
(What we mean: This is about documenting and telling stories visually as an observer. This includes traditional street photography, photojournalism, news gathering, editorial and taking pictures at events. See NPPA rules.)

A photograph of or relating to the man-made environment.
(What we mean: Photographing the built environment where the predominant elements and subject are man-made. If you take an amazing picture of a bridge or a building it belongs here. If you are taking a picture of a rally that also has a bridge or building in the background it belongs in DOCUMENTARY.)

A photograph of or relating to the natural environment.
(What we mean: Photographing subjects in the natural environment where the predominant elements and subject are naturally occurring. Trees, flowers, bees, and birds go here. If the bird is made of felt and is on a cowboy hat, that belongs in PORTLANDIA.)

• SERIES OF 3 to 5:
A group of images that have an intrinsic connection.
(What we mean: This one is different, so pay attention. A series is a set of 3-5 connected images. The subject matter can come from any of the other categories. You will be judged on the images themselves and also on the connection between them. The series of images should support each other and create something by that connection.
Note: Photographers can submit 3-5 individual JPEGs or create a single JPEG that combines those images.

Keep Portland Weird - A photograph that shows the uniqueness of Portland.
(What we mean: Portland is a wonderful and unique place. The elements that make our city different are hard to define, but you know it when you see it. We are weird, but weird with purpose. We are weird with story. We are weird with meaning. This category is a place to celebrate our story of diversity and strangeness.)


The Craft Awards

The Craft Awards were created to reward excellence in photographic craft and technique. These awards are about the use of a specific photographic tool or principle to create a successful image. You can't submit images for these awards, the judges nominate them during live judging. Winners will be announced during the 2nd intermission.

• Framing
• Directed Light  
• In-Camera Time & Motion (Blur or Stop-action)  
• Creative Focus  
• Black & White

We’re not going to forget about our amazing help, we want to encourage them to step out and take some pictures too!
• 3 Volunteers Awards  

On Assignment: Portland Squared 2019

On May 17th, you and 100 photographers will be turned loose in the City of Portland. We will assign 2 people per square this year. We have reduced the number of squares to 50 but have eliminated dead squares from the past. The squares are still spread across 4 different zones around the City. With Portland Squared, you can go out to do documentary photography or you can go out to create something yourself. We have 6 Category Awards and 5 Craft Awards. We created The Craft Awards to reward excellence in photographic craft and technique. These Awards are about the use of a specific photographic tool or principle to create a successful image.

  1. We want you to think of the Categories and Craft Awards as loose assignments. You don’t have to shoot to these, but they may give you more focus. You can, of course, go out and shoot whatever you find and come back to edit and decide where the images fit best. We have found that shooting for a Category gives you direction and may lead to better photographs.

  2. Images may only be entered into a single Category.

  3. All images are judged anonymously.

  4. Images will be judged on their overall impact, and on the basic elements of merit, including - Emotion, Creativity, Composition & Design, Color Balance, Center of Interest, Lighting, Subject Matter, and Story-Telling.

  5. Images for the Craft Awards will be selected by the Judges Panel.

Live Judging

An exciting benefit for Portland Squared participants is the opportunity to listen and watch the judging in action.  Judges will be candidly reviewing and selecting images with comments on favorable and less than optimal characteristics and quality of the submitted images.  The emphasis will be on picking the best images in each category with the added educational value of constructive criticism from which everyone can benefit.  For all of us, becoming the best photographer that we can be inevitably is a work in progress, so don't miss this outstanding opportunity to learn from your own images and those of others as seen through the eyes of our outstanding panel of judges.