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By Bethany Clark
Photographers, it's time to pull your best images and work on your competition entries for the International Photographic Competition

The IPC judging will take place this summer, and those who enter will once again get ahead of their peers, so get ready! 

The IPC is PPA's annual photographic competition that allows photographers to test their skills, and get advice on how to improve quality, impact and technique through constructive competition and critiques from qualified jurors. Participating in PPA's photographic competitions gives you the opportunity to:

  • Improve upon your finest work 
  • Earn recognition and admiration from your peers
  • Engage with the passionate and supportive photographic competition community
  • And improve your business!

If you're smarter than average, you'll also choose to have your images critiqued, and will receive a recording from a judge with feedback on each image you've entered in the competition, explaining to you how each photo stacks up against the 12 elements of a winning image, and what you could have done better if it fell a little short! So, don't be shy! Enter your images to be critiqued by official jurors at this year's competition. Recorded critiques are a fantastic way to learn, specifically, how you can take your images to the next level.

To give you an idea of the types of things you can learn from a critique at IPC, check out this one from last year's competition. This is "Forged in Steel" by Shellie Kappelman, critiqued by Cary Garrison:

Important info:

  • Judging for the IPC will be held July 30-August 2, 2017 at Gwinnett Tech in Lawrenceville GA, right outside Atlanta. It's open to the public and it's free to attend, but if you can't make it in person, you have no excuse not to watch the online streaming of the entire judging process! It's one of the best ways to learn what judges are looking for in this image competition.
  • Early registration to enter your images opens May 22, 2017-June 21, 2017 by 5 pm ET
  • Entries after June 21 at 5 pm ET will be accepted with a late fee through July 6. Please note that no entries will be accepted after July 6, 2017 by 5 pm ET
  • Watch live streaming of IPC judging at Stream.TheIPC.org: July 30, 4 pm - 7 pm ET, July 31 and August 1, 8:30 am - 6 pm ET, and August 2, 8:30 am ET to finish.

This year's IPC has some new rules. Be sure to check them out and enter your images early to beat the crowds and save some money!


By Autumn Rice

Judging for the International Photographic Competition (IPC) takes place July 30-August 2, 2017, and while that may seem far away, time always flies and it's best to take some time to prepare the best images in your portfolio now. IPC is an excellent opportunity to challenge yourself, so you definitely don't want to miss it. Entries open May 22, 2017! 

As you enter images, keep in mind that you also have the option to order a critique, during which jurors give you advice that will improve your future work -- tips which could land your work in PPA's Loan Collection, and be honored at Imaging USA

So, don't be shy; enter your images to be critiqued by official jurors at this year's competition! Recorded critiques are a fantastic way to learn, in detail, how you can take your images to the next level. 

Thinking about entering your images and ordering a critique? Take the plunge! You'll get the opportunity to:

  • Understand what the judges expect from competitors 
  • Get an idea about the current state of your photography 
  • Improve your work with advice straight from jurors to help you score in next year's competition 

To give you an idea of what the judges are looking for, here's an actual critique from last year's IPC. This image is "Pink Elegance" by Suzanne Siler, CPP. It's being critiqued by Janel Pahl, M.Photog.Cr., API.

Having a judge take time to give you personal advice on how to improve a specific image is a great opportunity to expand your skills. It's time you start entering your images! 

Important dates:

  • Judging for the IPC will be held July 30-August 2, 2017
  • Early registration to enter your images opens May 22, 2017 - June 21, 2017 by 5 pm ET
  • Entries after June 21 at 5 pm ET will be accepted with a late fee through July 6, 2017 by 5 pm ET
  • Please note that no entries will be accepted after July 6, 2017 by 5 pm ET

This year's IPC has some new rules, so click here to view the Photographic Open rules and the Artist rules, or check them at PPA.com/IPC

And don't forget to enter your images early to beat the crowds and save some money!

By Doug Bennett

doug_bennett_headshot.jpg"Competition? Yikes!! I could never handle the criticism, it would be too nerve wracking. I know I am not good enough yet."

These are just a small sample of the things I have felt myself and heard others say with regard to print competition. But let me share my experiences to include one thing I did that I strongly recommend you not do.

Three years ago I entered my first print competition at the Professional Photographers of Colorado (PPC) annual convention. I had all the emotions mentioned above with the overriding one being that I didn't belong in a competition like this. I was hoping my prints would get a quick score (with no challenges being made by the judges that would involve discussion of my entries) and that I could then quickly slip out the back door!

Earlier that morning, my wife Laura and I stopped off at a favorite Mexican restaurant for breakfast. I had a spicy burrito built around chorizo (a spicy Mexican sausage) and New Mexico style red chile. My thinking was that on this day of potential embarrassment, I was going to at least have one thing I really enjoyed! The anxiety of my first competition in front of professional photographers drifted away as I savored the rich flavors of that burrito.  

During the print competition that day, all four of my entries had juror challenges with one of them having no less than four separate challenges! The impact of my anxiety and excitement on my digestive system along with that burrito was very unpleasant. Not to worry, I will spare you the details of that drama and its resolution. But notice in addition to anxiety, I mentioned "excitement.""

As those juror discussions occurred, rather than feeling embarrassment, I was feeling excitement as they discussed things they liked and things that needed improvement. I had never received this kind of valuable input before and the learning it represented was exciting to me! In a single day, I learned things that would have otherwise taken many years to learn, if ever. Rather than saying, "I can't believe the maker did this to this image", their comments were to the point and professional. I was elated to be learning so much.

So now, two years later, in addition to entering the Southwest District Competition to which Idoug_bennett_autumnjourney.jpg belong, I entered the West, Northeast, and Southeast District Competitions while varying my entries some in each competition. And most importantly, I opted to pay the extra $35 for critiques of my entries. Of course any merit scores I received outside of the Southwest District can't count towards automatic merits by entering them under seal to the IPC.

But what I was after was the learning, and there is no better way to learn by experience than by participating in these print competitions. With the convenience of being able to enter digitally, I could gain all this knowledge and experience without incurring the cost of preparing prints and shipping them off to all these competitions. It's a great deal!  

The digital age of photography has raised the benchmarks and the entrants into this profession. This is a good thing in my opinion, but the one thing that can't be debated is this is the reality. If you strive to be competitive in this market, you cannot afford to not be a PPA member and benefit from all the educational opportunities that PPA offers.

So, with the deadline approaching for the 2013 International Print Competition, be sure and submit your four entries and by all means be sure and opt for the video critiques! Then compete in your state PPA affiliated and PPA District competitions as they start up in the fall and next spring. I guarantee you will be glad you did!

And for my final word of advice, skip the spicy burrito on competition day! 


You are invited to submit artwork for a juried digital art show that will take place May 17, 2012, during the five-year anniversary celebration of the Copyright Alliance. PPA is one of the founding members of the Copyright Alliance (our CEO David Trust is a past board member, too).

Called "Connecting Creators: Showcasing the Artists Among Us," the event itself will take place at Microsoft's D.C. office on May 17, 4:30pm - 8:00pm. Submitting your image means you have a chance to win the Best of Show or Honorable Mention awards and be celebrated at the event! In fact, the Best in Show winner gets a chance to tell their story to members of the copyright community on Capitol Hill during a panel discussion from 4:30pm - 5:30pm.

Interested? Don't forget to submit by April 6 at 5:00pm Eastern! Download the complete details and submission form here.


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