The Washington Post Magazine invites area amateur photographers of all ages to compete in the magazine's fourth annual photography contest. Unlike previous contests sponsored by the magazine, this year's competition has a theme: "mirror images." Entries must be a reflection of an image. Contestants may use any reflective surface, such as a glossy automobile fender, a hubcap, the belly of an airplane, a storefront glass wall, or even simply hold a compact mirror close to the camera lense. Judges must be able to perceive that the photo is a reflection and only photos of reflected images will be considered. Entries will be accepted in four categories: color photographs, black-and-white photographs, "instant" photographs, and photographs taken by persons under 16 years of age. All entries must be received by 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 1, 1980.

A first prize award of $100 will be presented to winners in each category. There will also be three $50 second prizes awarded in each category. Other entries of particular distinction will be recognized by certificates of honorable mention.

Judges for the contest will be a panel of experts in the visual arts drawn from inside and outside the staff of The Washington Post.

So that your entries will receive proper handling and judging, please read and carefully follow these rules:

1. Amateur photographers of any age may compete in the color, black-and-white, and instant categories. The youth category is open only to photographers under 16 years of age on Aug. 1, 1980. An amateur will be consideered to be someone who has not sold one or more photographs for a total of more than $25 from Aug. 1, 1979 to Aug. 1, 1980.

2. Contestants may submit up to three entries in each category for which they are eligible. Photographs must have been taken between Aug. 1, 1979 and Aug. 1, 1980.

3. Entries may be mailed to The Washington Post Magazine Photography Contest, The Washington Post, Washington, D.C. 20071, or delivered to the security guard's desk in the lobby of The Washington Post, 1150 15th Street NW in an envelope marked "Washington Post Magazine Photography Contest."

4. Black-and-white entries must be glossy or matte-finished prints no smaller than 5" x 7" and no larger than 11" x 14" including mounting, if any. No negatives will be considered.

5. Color entries may be positive transparencies or glossy of matte-finished prints no smaller than 2 1/4" x 2 1/4" and not larger than 11" x 14" including mounting, if any.

6. Instant photography entries (from cameras such as Kodak's Colorburst or Polariod's SX-70) must be in color and should not be "manipulated" in any way. Entries should be submitted exactly as they are ejected from the camera. Enlarged or reduced instant photos will not be accepted for this category but may be submitted in the other categories.

7. Each individual print or slide must be marked on the back with the contestant's name, address and category.

8. Contestants who want their entries returned must include a stamped self-addressed envelope of sufficient size with the submission. The Washington Post cannot accept responsibility for loss or damage of entries, although all reasonable care will be taken with them. Contestants should submit padded envelopes or packing material to protect their entries when returned. Entries will be returned only by mail and only if a self-addressed stamped envelope is enclosed with the entry. Photos not clearly marked with contestant's name and address will not be returned and will not be considered by judges.

9. To be considered, entries must be received no later than 5 p.m., Aug. 1, 1980. Winners will be announced and most published in the Oct. 12 issue of The Magazine.

10. Employes of The Washington Post, its subsidiaries and members of their families are ineligible to compete.