Strict rules limiting the use of photos taken inside Olympic venues have forced organisers of a nationwide photography competition on to the back foot.

Yesterday, we reported the launch of an Olympic-themed photo competition organised by Sigma Imaging UK.

Sigma urged photographers to submit images capturing the ‘spirit of the Games’, adding that pictures can include the athletes, the crowd and celebrations.

However, a Sigma spokesman today told Amateur Photographer (AP): ‘The Olympics have restricted what users can do with the pictures they take… only for personal use – so it’s a grey area about entering competitions.’

In a subsequent statement posted on Sigma’s UK website, the firm adds: ‘Despite [us] wanting to feature images taken of the Games themselves, [Olympic organiser] Locog has placed restrictions on amateur and professional photographers alike.

‘Therefore, we are inviting you to submit pictures showing the people, the build-up and the atmosphere from outside the arenas – together with local sporting events inspired by the Games.’

The Sigma spokesman told AP: ‘This isn’t ideal. However, the Olympic officials are being very helpful and working with us to make sure it’s all done correctly.’

Sigma warns photographers not to breach the terms and conditions of entry to Olympic events which state that images and video ‘cannot be used for any purpose other than for private and domestic purposes’.

Locog had yet to respond to a request for comment at the time of writing.

• Meanwhile, organisers have reportedly lifted a ban on spectators posting images on websites such as Twitter, according to an article in today’s Times newspaper.

In a statement, Locog told the Times: ‘Spectators can take pictures of whatever they like at our venues and use them on social media. The only restriction is for very large photographic equipment and tripods that obstruct people’s view.’