Photography Project

Bell County 4-H Photography Contest

Photos entered at District must qualify at the county level first!

The Bell County entry deadline will be Friday, February 23rd.  Entries must be EMAILED to  The winner of each category in each of the age divisions in the Bell County 4-H Contest will advance to the District 8 Contest.  Senior aged 4-H members that win their category in the county contest, will also advance to the State contest.

Please make sure and follow the instruction on the Texas 4-H Photography Contest Rules AND the District 8 4-H Contest Rules.  Both will be posted on the Bell County 4-H website once available.


***NEW FOR 2024***

Categories will be broken down per age division as follows: (Descriptions Below)

  • Junior Age Division 3 Categories
    1. Animals – Domestic/Wildlife
    2. Plant/Landscape/Nature
    3. People
  • Intermediate Age Division 6 Categories
    1. Animals – Domestic/Wildlife
    2. Plant/Landscape/Nature
    3. People
    4. Details/Macro
    5. Elements of Design
    6. Catch All
  • Senior Age Division All 15 Categories



2023-2024 District 8 Photography Contest

Display Date: Photos will be on display online by May 4, 2024.

The Texas 4-H Photography Contest encourages self-expression and allows youth to demonstrate skills learned in the area of photography, including the use of photographic equipment and process of photographs.


  • To develop life skills in composition, light, story line, posing, and awareness.
  • To gain knowledge about cameras, camera settings, photography dimensions and resolution.
  • To encourage 4-H members to use photography as a meaningful communication tool in their lives.
  • To provide photography project showcase opportunity for 4-H members.
  • To continue to share the message of 4-H.
  • To utilize photographs which can promote and strengthen the 4-H program.

2024 D8 Photography Contest Information:

  • Rules & Guidelines (includes: Rules, Category Descriptions, Judging Criteria, and Score Sheet) PDF MS WORD
  • Description of Categories
  • Judging Criteria
  • Score Sheet MS WORD PDF

Texas 4-H Photography Contest Website


Category Description What is NOT Allowed Examples
ANIMALS – DOMESTIC  Photos focusing on the various animals that have been tamed and made fit for a human environment. To be considered domesticated, the animal must have their behavior, life cycle, or physiology systemically altered as a result of being under human control for many generations.
  • Chickens
  • Cows
  • Dogs/Cats
  • Geese/Ducks (domestic use)
  • Hamsters
  • Horses
  • Pigs
  • Sheep/Goats
ANIMALS – WILDLIFE  Category focuses on animals not tamed or domesticated and commonly found in the wilderness or the bodies of water throughout the country and world. Photos can be of wildlife in nature, zoos, and/or petting zoos. Photos taken through glass.
  • Birds
  • Deer
  • Elephants
  • Snakes
  • Whales
CATCH-ALL Category for photos that CLEARLY DO NOT FIT into one of the other categories. Catch-all is not intended for counties to use to eliminate duplicate photos from multiple 4-H members.
  • Long exposure zoomed images
  • Painting with light
  • Polaroid image & emulsion transfers
  • Still-life
DETAILS & MACRO  Getting in close is the name of the game for this category. We welcome pictures of small details that suggest a larger story. This is also the place for macro photographs (although a macro image of a flower might equally go into the Flowers category).
  • Clocks
  • Coins
  • Ice crystals
  • Insects
  • Stamps
This image composition technique features lines that draw the viewer’s eye from point A to point B, which is the primary subject.
  • A river that begins in the foreground and draws your attention to a photogenic bridge in the background.
ELEMENTS OF DESIGN  Images use of graphic elements of design. Photos that showcase line, shape, pattern, form, texture, perspective, etc. Photo can consist of any subject matter. Digital creations or graphic designs made in commercial programs such as Photoshop, InDesign, or Illustrator.
  • Line
  • Pattern
  • Perspective
  • Shape
ENHANCED  A single photo that has been technically manipulated to be an abstract, panoramic, stitched or composite image.  Other variations are allowed as well.
  • Photoshop composites and creations
  • Images greatly manipulated with a variety of filters
  • Photos with artistic borders
  • Photos stitched into a panoramic
FOOD  Category is a still life specialization of photography, aimed at producing attractive photographs of food for use in such items of advertisements, packaging, menus and/or cookbooks. Photos of alcoholic beverages.
  • Cakes/pies, Easter eggs, fruits and place settings, ingredients, sandwiches, Thanksgiving dinner, etc.
LANDSCAPE & NATURE (NON-ANIMAL)   The focus of this category includes landscapes, outdoor scenics, nature images, sunsets, urban landscapes, seascapes, cityscapes, and farms. Images focus on the beauty of the outdoors. Photos which primary subject is wildlife or person
  • Landscapes/Gardens
  • Scenics
  • Outdoors
MOTION / ACTION  The capture of movement within a single photo.
  • Ferris wheel spinning
  • Horse running across field/pasture
Also known as time-exposure or slow-shutter, this technique involves using a long-duration shutter speed. It can be used to sharply capture stationary elements of an image while blurring, smearing, or obsuring the moving elements. It is also used in low-light conditions.
  •  fireworks
  • moving water
  • light trails
  • Milky Way
  • light painting
  • night or low-light conditions, etc.
PEOPLE  Photos focus from all walks of life, parenting and family, children, babies, models/fashion, sports, and couples. All individuals in the photos mush have provided consent and permission as a subject.  If requested, a release will be needed from the photographer and the subject.
  • Babies
  • Families
  • Kids
  • Models/Fashion
A silhouette is an outline that appears dark (typically a single color) with little or no details/features against a brighter background. Recording patterns of light and shade for a desired effect or emphasis is the definition of a shadow. The silhouette or shadow must be the primary subject and focus of the image.
Reflections Shadows/silhouettes of:

  • People
  •  Plants
  • Animals
  • Structures
  • Architectures
  • Natural Structures
PLANT/FLORA  Photos of interesting, unique, and beautiful flowers and flora. Photography can occur outdoors or indoors. Photo subject should be that of a single flower, plant, bush, tree, etc. Large collections of plant/flora should be considered for entry into the Nature & Landscape category.
  • Rose
  • An upward shot of a tree
  • A flower bouquet
THEME  The 2023-2024 theme is “Abandoned”.  Photographs capturing the essence of forgotten or neglected places, things, or structures; emphasizing its worn and forsaken nature. Photo manipulated by software
  • Statue
  • Old Home
  • Cistyscape
  • Town Squeare
  • Barber Shop
  • Etc.


Judging Criteria

Each photograph will be evaluated against the following set of criteria. Based on total points awarded for each photograph, the participant will be awarded a blue, red, or white ribbon. The criteria for evaluating the photographs will be:

IMPACT  (Max Points: 15) Impact is the sense one gets upon viewing an image for the first time. Compelling images evoke laughter, sadness, anger, pride, wonder or another intense emotion. There can be impact in any of the judging elements.
CREATIVITY  (Max Points:  15) Creativity is the original, fresh, and external expression of the imagination of the maker by using the medium to convey an idea, message or thought.
TECHNICAL  (Max Points:  25) Technical is the quality of the image itself as it is presented for viewing, which includes the following aspects:

  • Allowable amounts of retouching and adjustments (removal of red eye, cropping, minor straightening)
  • Sharpness and correct color balance.
  • Lighting, which includes the use and control of light. The use of lighting whether natural or man-made and its proper use to enhance the image.
  • Posing and capturing of the image
COMPOSITION  (Max Points:  20) Composition is important to the design of an image, bringing all of the visual elements together in concert to express the purpose of the image. Proper composition holds the viewer in the image and prompts the viewer to look where the creator intends. Effective composition can be pleasing or disturbing, depending on the intent of the image maker.
SUBJECT MATTER  (Max Points:  15) Subject Matter should always be appropriate to the story being told (i.e. category the photo is entered into) in an image. Subject matter also includes the center of interest for the photograph or where the maker wants the viewer to stop and they view the image.
STORYTELLING  (Max Points:  10) Story Telling refers to the image’s ability to evoke imagination. One beautiful thing about art is that each viewer might collect his own message or read her own story in an image.



Blue, red, and white ribbons will be awarded to each photograph that is not disqualified.

Champion & Reserve in each category. The photo with the highest point value in each category in each age division will be awarded as the Champion of their respective category.  The photo with the second highest point value in each category in each age division will be awarded as the Reserve Champion of their respective category.

Best of Show.  Best of Show awards will be given to one photo in each age division.  The Champion photo from each category will be considered for the Best of Show award.


Other Opportunities


Photography Trip to Houston: Jan 12-14, 2024 (MLK Jr holiday weekend)

Who: Open to all 4-H ages and skill levels! Families are welcome!

What: Drive site-to-site (option to carpool from location to location) and explore long exposure, plant & flora, details & macro, catch-all, movement and outdoor photography. We will visit Buffalo Bayou, Waterfall Park, Japanese Gardens, Graffiti Park, go on a downtown photo adventure and more!

When: Night photography with light trails Friday, full schedule Saturday and half day on Sunday

Cost: Entrance fees for may apply for some locations at your own expense


AMBASSADOR LEADER: Lauren Edwards and Audrey Schmidt

ADULT LEADER: Victoria Schmidt, 979-218-8564, or Liz Schlak, 254-718-1332,



WORKSHOP – Food Photography: February 10, 2024, 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Who: All 4-H age kids 8-18 years old

What: Learn tricks and tips for food photography. This is a hands-on workshop – bring your camera and tripod (if you have one)

Where: Bell County Extension Office, 1605 Main St, Belton

Cost: $10.00 for cost of supplies and lunch (pay at door)



ADULT LEADER: Elizabeth Schlak, 254-718-1332,


MARCH 2024

Photography Trip to Palo Duro Canyon: March 15-18, 2024 (Spring Break)

Who: All 4-H ages and skill levels and their families

What: Shoot Palo Duro Canyon – the “Grand Canyon of Texas”! Learn outdoor and astrophotography while exploring this amazing location.

Where: Palo Duro State Park

Cost: No 4-H fees. Families are responsible for their own expenses.

Note: If planning on attending, it is recommended to reserve your lodging NOW! Campsite with limited tent capacity has been reserved – first come, first served


AMBASSADOR LEADERS: Allison Gray and Joeseph LeBlanc

ADULT LEADER: Brandy Gray, 979-557-3751, or Liz Schlak, 254-718-1332,

Resources and Presentations

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