Photo FAQs


Review more answers below to such frequently asked questions as…

Who can Participate?
The general public including AmeriCorps members and alums
What's the Contest Theme?
"AmeriCorps Getting Things Done!"
When do I submit my photo?
Submission period between April 19 – June 4, 2010
  1. Do I have to be an AmeriCorps member or alumnus to enter?

    No. The contest is open to the general public including current AmeriCorps members, or AmeriCorps alums. AmeriCorps includes VISTA, NCCC, and State and National programs.

  2. Can I submit an individual or group entry?

    You can work as a team, but the photo must be submitted by one individual. The prize will be awarded to the individual who submitted the photo.

  3. What is the contest schedule?
    Contest Kick-Off:
    April 19, 2010
    Submission Window:
    April 19 – June 4, 2010
    Submission Deadline:
    11:59pm, June 4, 2010
    Judges Voting:
    June 7 – 25, 2010
    Public Voting:
    June 28 – July 9, 2010
    Winners Announced:
    TBD 2010
  4. How and where do I submit my photo?

    Beginning April 19, all photos may be uploaded digitally at or mail your photo and contact information to Stephanie Grocott, AmeriCorps Video and Photo Contest Coordinator, 2819 Saint Paul Street, Baltimore, MD 21218.

  5. What is the theme of the AmeriCorps Photo Contest?

    The theme of the 2010 Photo Contest is AmeriCorps: Getting Things Done!

    Think about the following:

    1. How does AmeriCorps help America tackle some of its biggest challenges and meet educational, environmental, public safety and other human needs?
    2. How can you show the difference AmeriCorps makes in your community?
    3. What impacts or results has AmeriCorps members' service had on the community?
    4. What impact does the AmeriCorps experience have on its members?
    5. How does AmeriCorps have a transforming impact on one person's life?
    6. Why should someone join AmeriCorps?
    7. If you had to illustrate AmeriCorps' impact in one word or idea, what it be?

    The possible ways to show AmeriCorps "getting things done" are endless -- use your creativity to share your AmeriCorps story!

  6. What size and file type should my photo be?

    Digital images should be saved as .JPG files at a suggested minimum size of: 8 by 12 inches at 250 DPI or a 3000 by 2000 pixel image. The file name/label must carry the name of the entrant and the key subject (e.g., Msmith.annualfundraiser.jpg). As noted, the contest photos or derivatives of contest photos may be used in future promotional and recruitment materials, public service advertising, websites and others uses to raise awareness and support recruitment for AmeriCorps.

  7. Do I have to submit my photo digitally?

    No, you may submit a print of your photo via mail, no larger than 8 by 10 inches; and no smaller than 5 by 7 inches. Write the name and phone number of the entrant on the reverse of the print, include the image on a CD.

  8. What is the judging process?

    There will be grand, first, second, and third place awards given for the Best Overall Photo. All entries will first be reviewed by a panel of Corporation judges who will recommend 10 finalists. The 10 finalist photos will then be made available for viewing and voting on the AmeriCorps Photo Contest website from June 28 – July 9, 2010. The general public will have two weeks to vote.

  9. How will I know if my photo is one of the ten finalists?

    The ten finalists will be notified directly via e-mail, overnight package and/or telephone prior to an announcement made on the website for the public voting.

  10. How will I know if I won the contest?

    We will notify the winner directly using contact information submitted with the photo.

  11. What are the contest rules and guidelines?

    A full listing of official rules and guidelines is available at Some highlights include:

    1. The contest is open to the general public including any current AmeriCorps member or AmeriCorps alum.
    2. All photos must be received no later than 11:59PM EDT on June 4, 2010.
    3. Obscene, provocative, inappropriate, offensive, or otherwise objectionable content will not be considered, and such determination is solely at the discretion of the Corporation.
    4. Participants are required to include the AmeriCorps logo somewhere in their photo.
    5. Between April 19 and June 4, photo entries can be submitted digitally online at or sent by mail to Stephanie Grocott, AmeriCorps Contest Coordinator, 2819 Saint Paul Street, Baltimore, MD 21218
    6. You must enter original work and be the sole author or have written permission to incorporate portions authored or owned by third parties.
    7. Any contest participant who publicly insults and defames another party or contestant's entry, whether in the media, in personal blogs, on social networks, or by any other means, may be disqualified from the contest.

  12. Can I submit more than one entry?

    You can submit a maximum of two photos.

  13. What types of photos are you looking for?

    We're looking for bold, creative, and exciting photos to help educate the public about AmeriCorps and inspire them to join! Consider capturing a photo in one or more of these AmeriCorps issue areas:

    1. Helping At-Risk Children and Youth
    2. Being "Green"
    3. Responding to Disasters
    4. Fighting Poverty
    5. Working with Veterans
    6. Supporting Elders
    7. Teaching, Tutoring or Mentoring
    8. Engaging the Community
    9. Mobilizing Volunteers
    10. Improving Public Health

  14. Will I get my photos back?

    No. Due to the high volume, photos will not be returned.

  15. Do I need to get consent from people appearing in my photo?

    Yes. All Entrants must declare that they have written consent from people featured or identified in their photos. Please Note: consent requirements may vary from state to state and each participant is responsible for complying with state consent requirements.

  16. Where can I get answers to questions that are not posted here?

    Please visit the AmeriCorps website at where you can learn more about the work AmeriCorps is doing across the United States. You may also reach a contest coordinator by sending a message to .

Q&A from the Video and Photo Contest WebChat

Requirement Regarding the Inclusion of the AmeriCorps Logo in Photos and Videos
  1. Can we Photoshop the logo in the corner of a photo or video, or does the image itself has to capture someone wearing or holding the logo?

    All photo entries must include the AmeriCorps logo on signage or on AmeriCorps gear. While you may Photoshop the logo into a photo, it should not simply be in one corner of the photo. You may Photoshop or otherwise edit the logo onto clothing or signage that did not previously have it. However, having the logo without context in the corner of the photo will not meet the requirement.

    For video entries, the AmeriCorps logo must appear on the screen at some point during the video. This can be added to any place in the video during editing whether or not the logo otherwise appears on signage or gear. It is acceptable to simply have the logo appear in a final screen shot of the video or at any point in the video. If you are inserting an AmeriCorps logo into the video, we recommend using the standard AmeriCorps logo, which is the first logo listed under AmeriCorps on the Corporation's logo page:

    To find AmeriCorps signage or gear, visit and check out the AmeriCorps catalog.

  2. Is there a particular logo that must be used—generic AmeriCorps logo, AmeriCorps contest logo, AmeriCorps VISTA logo, etc.? Where can we locate and download the proper AmeriCorps logo?

    You may use any of the official AmeriCorps logos found here: (please scroll down for logos)

    You should not use the AmeriCorps contest logo.

    Additionally, any state or program specific, customized AmeriCorps logos that adhere to the standards set forth on page 12 of Graphic Standards: A User's Guide may also be used.

  3. Should the photo have the AmeriCorps logo too?

    Yes, all eligible entries—photos and videos—must contain the AmeriCorps logo.

Consent from Subjects
  1. Do we have to submit release forms for anyone in the videos/pictures?

    According to the contest rules, by submitting the photo/video you are declaring that you have the permission of anyone who is recognizable in the photo/video to utilize their image, likeness and/or voice. Photo/video release forms should not be submitted with your entry. However, you should maintain these forms for your records should we need them at a later date.

    Is there a general disclaimer for participants you might film outside of AmeriCorps?

    We have posted a photo/video release form to the new Resource page on the contest site. It may be accessed from either the photo or video contest home pages.

Use of Music or Other Copyrighted Material in Videos
  1. Can we use music in our videos? Do we need permission from the artists?

    Copyrighted music cannot be used without the permission of the copyright owner.

  2. Can't you just contact the artist and ask him/her for permission to use his/her music?

    You may contact the artist or artist’s representative (which may be a record company) to get written permission to use copyrighted material. Please retain the written permission for your records; you may be requested to submit it if you are one of the contest winners.

  3. Isn't it true that music that is so many years old is in the public domain?

    Many pieces of older music are out of copyright, but the performance itself may be protected. You are responsible for ensuring that you are not infringing upon any copyright, which could result in the disqualification of your video entry. If you are not certain you may want to err on the side of not using the music or double-checking with the current or former copyright owner.

  4. Where can I obtain music that I can use in my video?

    Do an internet search for "royalty free music", "rights free music", or "public domain music". There are a number of sites that carry this type of music. You may also find music in the public domain at the Library of Congress (LOC) site. Please note that not all of the music at the LOC is in the public domain so pay careful attention to the annotations about music you may be interested in using.

    Other sources mentioned by webinar participants include:

    • Creative Commons
    • Ask amateur musicians on YouTube for permission to use their music
    • Ask a local musician to contribute an original work
  5. What if there is a speech from a former President that I would like to include in my video?

    Check with the Library of Congress for video clips of presidents’ speeches that are in the public domain.

Content of Videos
  1. I want to make a movie that highlights how AmeriCorps inadvertently connects members of a community. I wonder if anyone has any thoughts about that.

    The message within videos submitted to the AmeriCorps Video and Photo contest should be about how AmeriCorps is impacting communities, members and recipients of service. Making connections between members and communities can be a part of that message.

  2. Are these videos expected to be more or less straightforward documentaries?

    You can use your creativity and imagination in developing your video. Past winners have included a documentary style video, moving comic-book format, script with actors, still photos set to music with brief video clips, and other approaches. Your imagination is the only limit.

Viewing Past Winning Videos and Photos
  1. Can you please post the link for all the past winning videos shown during the webinar?

    All past video contest winners are located here (2007, 2008, and 2009):

    Past photo contest winners may be found here (2009 only):

    The videos are also on the AmeriCorps Presentation DVD that is part of the AmeriCorps Presentation Kit and on the National Service YouTube channel.

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