Image Competition

2021 PPSO Annual Image Competition

Each entrant must register and submit all competition images through printcompetition.com, under the PPSO competition event. 

Explanation of Competition Categories

Images can portray a subject or subjects from all walks of life and should reflect the personality of the subject(s).

  • Children: This sub-category must contain a child or children from birth to age 16.
  • High School Senior: This sub-category portrays a male or female age 16 to 18.
  • Animal: This sub-category captures an animal(s) portrait using structured lighting in a studio or outdoor environment, where the owner or photographer controls the animal.
  • General Portrait: This sub-category includes families, groups, couples, and adults (18 and older), relationships, models, and fashion portraits, in addition to tastefully artistic figure studies.

Capturing the beauty of nature, wildlife, industry, and architectural areas are considered illustrative.

  • Landscape/Nature: This sub-category shares joy and adventures while expressing a sense of place. Wild animals in an uncontrolled lighting environment, zoo animals, flowers, seascapes, cityscapes, urban landscapes, and sunsets with or without people can be placed here.
  • Illustrative/Commercial: This sub-category is used when images are created for a commercial client to advertise a product and promote a brand or company. This can be an interior or exterior of a structure or within an industrial environment. Illustrative can also be conceptual images that tell a story.
  • Photographic Open Album: consists of portrait and story-telling albums.

Reportage: Images that illustrate an actual public or non-public event, life, an area of human interest, telling news that have meaning on the context or record of events, high impact and/or lasting emotional response. Images that illustrate sporting events are included in this category. ONLY basic color and brightness adjustments, cropping, dodging, and burning in are allowed. Only single-capture images will be accepted. Composite and multiple exposure images will not be accepted. The original captured image (in RAW or jpg) must be available if requested by the committee.

This category includes event and non-event albums and books. Event albums/books document social events such as weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, etc. Non-event albums/books tell stories about one or more subjects.

Images created at or in connection with a wedding.

  • Wedding Open: Images can portray a subject or subjects from all aspects of a wedding, including traditional portraits, candids, or detail work.
  • Single Maker Wedding Album: Multiple images combined into a digital album collection exclusively showcasing a specific wedding.
  • Multi‐Maker Wedding Album: Images in the album must be the work of the two entrants, with a minimum of 20 images per entrant. Each entrant must individually enter the competition and pay appropriate entry fees. Multi‐maker Wedding albums will be judged as one entry.

A conceptual image altered or manipulated from its original condition. Creations can be a subtle application using post-processing techniques or a dramatic combination of details to suggest a larger story. The artist is responsible for the idea behind the image and the work done to create the finished art piece.

  • Artist Open
  • Restoration
The Print Chairperson has the right to question the category of any entry as submitted and to change the category at his/her discretion. Once an entry has been accepted for competition by the Print Chairperson, it cannot be withdrawn or its category changed by the entrant without the approval of the Print Chairperson. The Print Chairperson’s decisions in these matters are final. No entry that has already received a Seal of Approval at either the District or National PPA/IPC can be entered in a PPSO image competition. No images or albums containing any image created during any PPSO class, bonus day event or as part of any other workshop, PPA Super 1 Day, or other class assignment are allowed in any print competition.

Rules for Submitting Entries

The purpose of this competition is to allow photographers to enter photographic prints, digital files, and/or digital albums to be judged against a standard of excellence using the 12 Elements of a Merit Image. (For more information, go to PPA.com/IPC.) 

These rules pertain to images entered as prints or digital files created by any photographic processes. All entries must be registered at printcompetition.com, in the PPSO competition event.

  1. Each entrant must register and submit all competition images through printcompetition.com, under the PPSO competition event. 
  2. Entrants may submit digital files, digital albums, or a combination for judging by PPSO. Each entrant may submit a maximum of nine (9) entries, in the Photographic Open, category. Entries can be any combination of individual images and/or albums. (One album counts as one (1) entry in the category.)
  3. Cost of each entry is $10.00 for PPSO members and $15.00 for non-members.
  4. Files must be sized so the longest dimension is 4000 pixels (20 inches at 200 ppi). Consider this your 
mount board and be as creative as you want. Judges will be awarding creativity and the WOW factor. Each 
file must contain an embedded color profile of either sRGB or Adobe RGB1998 and be saved at a JPEG 
quality setting of 10. Total file size should not exceed 10 MB.
  5. When saving the image file, the file name must match the image title you registered. (i.e., for an image titled “Dream Catcher” the digital file name would be Dream_Catcher.jpg. Do not place the title on the image as part of the presentation.  The image title will be announced when the image is displayed to the judges. All images MUST be titled.
  6. When registering your images, make sure you select the correct category, and complete all required information regarding PPA degrees or certifications (some awards will be based on this information).
  7. Entrants are required to upload a digital file for each image entered. 
  8. No changes to your entry are permitted once the entry deadline has passed. No refunds will be issued after the entry fee is paid.
  9. Non-PPSO members may enter the PPSO Photographic Open Competition, for score only.

Note for album entries:

  • You may use up to 36 jpegs to tell the story of the album. You may use a minimum of 5 jpg files/spreads.
  • All page/spread files must be sized so the longest dimension is 4000 pixels (20 inches at 200 ppi). Start your album with a blank page numbered 01. Number your remaining jpegs consecutively.
  • Label each album folder as follows: 01_CategoryInitial_Title_FirstnameLastname.jpeg (example: 01_AP_Title_JoeSmith.jpeg)

ELIGIBILITY

  1. The Photographic Open Competition is to show the photographic knowledge and skillset of the maker. However, a maker can use supporting photographic elements that they did not create, provided those elements are referenced as guide images on the face of the entry. The original photographic capture by the entrant should be merit-worthy independent of the work that was not their own. Elements created by the maker must not be part of the guide images. This includes images within an album entry.
  2. All processing, manipulation, and printing or rendering, were done by the entrant or under their direct supervision.
  3. The entrant has obtained and has access to all necessary releases (model or property) and agrees to hold PPSO harmless against all claims and liabilities arising out of PPSO’s display, publication, and promotion or other use of each image submitted to PPSO.
  4. The entrant’s name shall not appear anywhere in or on the face of the entry.
  5. No entry will be eligible if it has been made under the supervision of an instructor or as a class assignment. All images submitted must be self-directed. Images created in an educational environment under direct supervision from an instructor are ineligible.
  6. Any entry that has been created from an existing photograph, portrait, graphic, or any other artwork produced by another person is a violation of the competition rules. If an entry, in the good-faith opinion of the PPSO and the competition jurors, violates copyright, trademark, or any other applicable law, that entry shall not be displayed or published.
  7. Entries of the same subject in multiple images will be allowed as long as the images are entirely different concepts. The final interpretation of this rule is up to the Print Chairperson.

PHOTOGRAPHIC OPEN COMPETITION CATEGORIES

You must designate one of the below categories for each entry.

  • PORTRAIT: Consists of portrait images.
  • ILLUSTRATIVE: Consists of commercial/industrial images, scenic, pictorials, digital paintings, and similar subject matter. Portraits and weddings are not appropriate for this category.
  • REPORTAGE: Images that illustrate an actual public or non-public event, life, an area of human interest, telling news that have meaning on the context or record of events, high impact, and/or lasting emotional response. Images that illustrate sporting events are included in this category. ONLY basic color and brightness adjustments, cropping, dodging and burning in are allowed. Only single-capture images will be accepted. Composite and multiple exposure images will not be accepted. The original captured image (in RAW or jpg) must be available if requested by the committee.
  • ALBUM: consists of portrait and story-telling albums.

The purpose of this competition is to allow the entrant to demonstrate their art skills and expertise. Entries will be judged for digital, artistic, and technical proficiency. Entries can be created using digital or traditional art (such as painting and airbrush) or a combination of both. 

Other entry rules are the same as for Photographic Open, with the exception that the Artist category does not allow album entries. Please refer to the Eligibility guidelines for each Artist category image, for additional image requirements.

ELIGIBILITY

  1. Entries may be created in various artistic mediums. Photographs may be used in this category in creating an entry, but it is not a requirement. Entries may include freehand drawing or painting in traditional or digital applications. Entries can include stock photography, photographs, or artwork from other artist(s) with written consent to use those sources. Documentation may be requested by PPSO before, during, or after the competition. If an entry, in the good-faith opinion of the PPSO or the competition jurors, violates copyright, trademark, or any other applicable law and cannot be proven otherwise, that entry shall be disqualified and merits revoked, if issued.
  2. All processing, manipulation, artwork, or rendering must be done by the entrant. 
  3. Guide images must be included on the face of the entry.
  4. No entry will be eligible if it has been made under the supervision of an instructor or as a class assignment. All images submitted must be self-directed.
  5. Entries of the same subject in multiple images will be allowed as long as the images are entirely different concepts.
  6. Entry media is limited to digital files only.
  7. The entrant’s name shall not appear anywhere in or on the face of the entry.
  8. A maximum of nine (9) entries may be submitted per entrant in this category.

ARTIST COMPETITION CATEGORIES

You must designate one of the below categories for each entry.

  • Artist Open
  • Artist Restoration

The purpose of this competition is to allow photographers to enter photographic prints, digital files, or digital albums to be judged against a standard of excellence using the 12 Elements of a Merit Image. (For more information, go to PPA.com/IPC.) In addition to the twelve elements, for an image to be merit worthy in the wedding competition, additional evaluation will be considered for the entries that illustrate the personality of the subject or subjects and the story of the wedding as well as the artistic and technical skills of the image-maker. Judges will keep in mind that the maker has limited control over many aspects of a wedding.  For example: subject matter, environment and time of day. Ultimately, additional consideration will be given to the maker for technically and artistically executing at a merit level in spite of challenges involved at a typical wedding.

Images and all elements of an image in the Wedding competition must be created in connection with an actual wedding. The entrant or entrants must have captured all elements of the final submission from that wedding. Images in the Wedding competition should reflect the personality or personalities of the subject(s) or the story of the wedding as well as the personality, artistic and technical skills of the image-maker. Images should include some kind of visual wedding reference(s). The original captured image (in RAW or jpg) must be available if requested by PPSO or the jurors.

These rules pertain to images entered as physical prints, digital files or digital albums created by traditional photographic processes as well as those captured electronically with a digital camera or scanner:

Other entry rules are the same as for Photographic Open.

 

ELIGIBILITY

  • Entrant must have captured and created the original exposure or exposures during the time constraints of the wedding.
  • All processing, manipulation and printing or rendering, were done by the entrant or under their direct supervision.
  • The entrant’s name shall not appear anywhere in or on the face of the entry.
  • A maximum of nine (9) entries may be submitted per entrant in the Wedding category. An album counts as one (1) entry.
  • Any entry that has been created from an existing photograph, portrait, graphic or any other artwork produced by another person is a violation of the competition rules and will not be judged, accepted or displayed. If an entry, in the good-faith opinion of the PPSO or the competition jurors, violates copyright, trademark or any other applicable law, that entry shall not be displayed or published.
  • Entries of the same subject in multiple images will be allowed, as long as the images are entirely different concepts. 

WEDDING COMPETITION CATEGORIES

You must designate one of the below categories for each entry.

  • WEDDING OPEN
  • WEDDING ALBUM

CATEGORY DESCRIPTIONS

WEDDING OPEN: Images can portray a subject or subjects from all aspects of a wedding including traditional portraits, candids or detail work.

SINGLE MAKER WEDDING ALBUM: Multiple images combined into a digital album collection exclusively showcasing a specific wedding.

MULTI‐MAKER WEDDING ALBUM: Images in the album must be the work of the two entrants, with a minimum of 20 images per entrant.  Each entrant must individually enter the competition and pay appropriate entry fees. Multi‐maker Wedding albums will be judged as one entry.

The 12 Elements of a Merit Image

Impact is the sense one gets upon viewing an image for the first time. Compelling images evolve laughter, sadness, anger, pride, wonder or another intense emotion. There can be impact in any of these 12 elements.

Technical excellence is the quality of the image itself as it is presented for viewing. Retouching, manipulation, sharpness, exposure, mounting, presentation and correct color are some items that speak to the qualities of the physical image.

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.

Style is defined in a number of ways as it applies to a creative image. If might be defined by a specific genre or simply be recognizable as the characteristics of how a specific artist applies light to a subject. It can impact an image in a positive manner when the subject matter and the style are appropriate for each other, or it can have a negative effect when they are at odds.

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 olds 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.

Presentation affects an image by giving it a finished look. The mats and borders used should support and enhance the image, not distract from it.

Color Balance supplies harmony to an image. And image in which the tones work together effectively supporting the image, can enhance its emotional appeal. Color balance is not always harmonious and can be used to evoke diverse feels for effect.

Center of interest is the points or points on the image where the maker wants the viewer to stop as they view the image. There can be primary and secondary centers of interest. Occasionally there will be no specific center of interest, when the entire scene collectively serves as the center of interest.

Lighting, the use and control, refers to how dimension, shape and roundness are defined in an image. Whether the light applied to an image is manmade or natural, proper use of it should enhance an image.

Subject matter should always be appropriate to the story being told in an image.

Technique is the approach used to create the image. Printing, lighting, posing, capture, presentation media and more are part of the technique applies to an image.

Storytelling 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.

Why would I want to enter print competitions?

There are so many reasons and no better way to improve your images! Whether you are entering your own or listening to the judging of others’ work, the feedback is invaluable and can only give you information that will help you talk your art to the next level. It is also the one of the pathways of earning your degrees through PPA.

GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE. That puts you into your GROW ZONE. Entering a print competition like this can be emotionally challenging, but it can be rewarding as well as you learn to improve your work for your clients.

EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT READY TO ENTER, come learn from others who have. You will be able to observe as the judges discuss and score each image.

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