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It's just a week away so make sure you have plans to tune in. IPC Live will give you behind-the-scenes access to the competition like never before.

And here's your host, Booray Perry, Cr.Photog., CPP, with a quick video preview on the show!


With the judging streaming live alongside the show, you won't miss any of the action. Read our previous blog for details. The full broadcast schedule is below.

Watch at Stream.theIPC.org!

Here is the full schedule (all times are Eastern Standard):

IPC Judging Live Stream

·         Monday, Aug. 3, 8:15am-6pm ET

·         Tuesday, Aug. 4, 12:15-9pm  ET

·         Wednesday, Aug. 5, 9:15am-6pm ET

·         Thursday, Aug. 6, 8:15am-6pm ET

 

IPC Live broadcast hosted by Booray 

·         Monday, Aug. 3, 10am & 2pm ET

·         Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2pm & 5pm ET

·         Wednesday, Aug. 5, 10am & 2pm ET

·         Thursday, Aug. 6, 10am & 2pm ET

 

 

Image Critique: Classy DameBy Megan MitchellWe're less than a week away from the International Photographic Competition judging! The judging will be streamed live, August 3-6, and you can watch it for free at Stream.theIPC.org this event will also be supplemented with IPC Live - interviews and Q+A's hosted by Booray Perry, Cr.Photog., CPP.Can't wait for the IPC action? Get a taste of a juror's mindset by watching this image critique. The juror here is Richard Avalo and he is reviewing  CPP Kelli Svancarek's image "Classy Dame." The image did not merit, but that doesn't mean Kelli got nothing from participating - Richard says it the best when he remarks,  "I personally believe that photographic competition is the best and the fastest way to improve your technique and to hone your skills . . . It's been so instrumental in improving the work that I do."
By Megan Mitchell

We're less than a week away from the International Photographic Competition judging! The judging will be streamed live, August 3-6, and you can watch it for free at Stream.theIPC.org this event will also be supplemented with IPC Live - interviews and Q+A's hosted by Booray Perry, Cr.Photog., CPP.

Can't wait for the IPC action? Get a taste of a juror's mindset by watching this image critique. The juror here is Richard Avalo and he is reviewing  CPP Kelli Svancarek's image "Classy Dame." The image did not merit, but that doesn't mean Kelli got nothing from participating - Richard says it the best when he remarks,  "I personally believe that photographic competition is the best and the fastest way to improve your technique and to hone your skills . . . It's been so instrumental in improving the work that I do."

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Want more on IPC? Look at past critiques and bookmark Stream.theIPC.org so you can tune in this August 3-6. We hope that both this critique and watching the judging and the IPC Live broadcast will inspire you - learn from the juror's comments and work towards creating competition-level images daily! You'll even be able to send in your questions through Stream.theIPC.org or through Twitter by using the hashtag #IPCLive. 

Megan Mitchell is an intern at PPA. Though she attends college in New York, she is originally from Georgia - most everyone she meets up north is shocked and disappointed by her lack of a southern accent. She finds great joy and comfort in copy editing and reading. She loves nothing more than words, but her family and friends take a close second.

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By Rachel Noto

Though the deadline for submissions to the 2015 International Photographic Competition (IPC) has already passed, it's never too late to think about improving your skills for next year's competition.
 
If you've entered your work into this year's competition and have requested a critique, here's an example of what you'll be getting back! This is a critique of the image "Dark Queen" by Kelli Svancarek, CPP by Jeff Dachowski, M.Photog.Cr., CPP. This image was both accepted for merit and the prestigious Loan Collection, so watching the critique of this image can be a particularly helpful learning experience for anyone seeking their degreecertification and hoping that their images will do similarly well in this year's competition!   



Hopefully seeing this critique will help you to see what IPC judges look for and encourage you to enter your images in the next IPC! 

You can watch this year's judging in person at Gwinnett Technical College in Lawrenceville, GA from August 3 - 6 to see many more critiques like this one. If you can't make it down to Lawrenceville, you can also stream the judging from the comfort of your own home at Stream.theIPC.org. Booray Perry, Cr.Photog., CPP, will also be hosting a live broadcast twice a day during which he will sit down with judges and talk with them about some of the challenges they face in judging and what they look for in the image. Get the complete schedule for the judging live streaming and IPC Live here!

Form a viewing party, attend live, or watch online and see how the IPC can help you to Be More Confident as a photographer!

Rachel Noto is one of the summer interns wandering around the labyrinthine offices of PPA, enthusiastically taking pictures of her cat, and occasionally getting a little writing and design done. An Atlanta native, she's learned to embrace the feeling of getting lost every now and then, though she now spends most of the year in the gridded city of Savannah, Georgia, where she attends the Savannah College of Art and Design. She has a passion for food, cute animals, and communication in all of its forms.

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By Chris Homer 

While entries for this year's International Photographic Competition (IPC) are closed, it's never too early to start thinking about entering the 2016 competition!

If you've never entered the IPC before, you really should consider participating. Simply put, entering images into the IPC is the best way to improve your technique as a photographer! This educational opportunity gets even better if you choose to have your images critiqued by one of PPA's jurors - who are accomplished photographers who have achieved success in the IPC, so they'll be able to give you feedback on how to improve to make your images merit worthy!

For the first-timer, we know the idea of having your work judged can be intimidating, so take a look at an actual critique from a past IPC below. This is Lois Stanfield's, M.Artist., CPP, image "Windswept" being critiqued by Jon Allyn, M.Photog.M.Artist.Cr., CPP, F-ASP. 




We hope seeing a critique has encouraged you to enter the IPC in the future! You can also attend this year's judging live August 3 - 6, 2015 at Gwinnett Technical College in Lawrenceville, GA and hear the judges' comments on each image. 

And remember, you can stream the judging from your computer at Stream.theIPC.org. In addition to a live stream of the judging this year, twice-a-day you will be able to watch a live broadcast hosted by PPA member Booray Perry, Cr.Photog., CPP. In IPC Live, Booray and his guests will answer judging questions and go over some of the image reviews and challenges that will be happening during judging. Get the complete schedule for the judging live streaming  and IPC Live here. 

Form a viewing party, attend live, or watch online and see how the IPC helps you to Be More Confident as a photographer! 


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About the author:
Chris Homer is PPA's SEO & Web Specialist, which basically makes Google Analytics his best friend. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Chris cheers passionately (and obnoxiously) for the Bulldogs in all things from football to checkers. When he's not hard at work on PPA's websites, you'll find Chris at auto racing events around the southeast, where he's known as a master architect of tent villages.



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For the second consecutive year, the International Photographic Competition (IPC) judging will be streamed live, August 3-6 on Stream.theIPC.org. This year will also feature the new IPC Live, which will have live interviews and Q+A's to supplement the judging stream. 

IPC Live will be hosted by Florida wedding photographer and past Imaging USA speaker, Booray Perry, Cr.Photog., CPP! You might recognize Booray from The Photobomb Podcast. You'll get the IPC action with interactive interviews and discussions. You'll even be able to ask questions as you watch the program that will broadcast twice daily.

The live stream allows competitors to follow along with the judging in real time and let prospective competitors check out the process! When watching the stream, you will never have to wonder how IPC images are judged ever again. For those considering the competition, this behind the scenes look is an excellent opportunity to learn what the judges are looking for and remove any apprehension you might have to enter. 

And if you entered, you might get to see your own image be judged! Gather your friends to watch and root together.

All you have to do is go to Stream.theIPC.org, sign in on your computer* with your PPA account or simply register with your email if you're not a PPA photographer - it's free either way! Once you're signed in, you can select which judging room you'd like to watch (portrait, illustrative and event and non-event album). Don't worry, you can switch between rooms at any time. 

You'll hear the judges comment and critique on images live, as well as decide scores! It's an enlightening inside look at the process - like a supercharged version of the critiques we share on the blog each week. 

Ready to watch? Well, you'll have to wait until August 3-6, so save the dates and bookmark Stream.theIPC.org!

Here is the full schedule (all times are Eastern Standard):

IPC Judging Live Stream
  • Monday, Aug. 3, 8:15am-6pm ET
  • Tuesday, Aug. 4, 12:15-9pm  ET
  • Wednesday, Aug. 5, 9:15am-6pm ET
  • Thursday, Aug. 6, 8:15am-6pm ET
  IPC Live broadcast hosted by Booray 
  • Monday, Aug. 3, 10am & 2pm ET
  • Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2pm & 5pm ET
  • Wednesday, Aug. 5, 10am & 2pm ET
  • Thursday, Aug. 6, 10am & 2pm ET

Tune in and Be More Inspired!

*Audio is not enabled on mobile devices. For full audio and video, please watch on your computer.

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By Megan Mitchell

Your chance to compete in this year's International Photographic Competition (IPC) is almost gone! Entries close after 11:59 pm (EST) on July 10, and if you miss this deadline, you'll have to wait another year before you can have this opportunity to improve your photography again! 

The concept of the IPC is pretty simple. You send in your image(s) (make sure you check out the guidelines so you do it correctly), and a panel of jurors judge it. If your image meets the 12 Elements of a Merit Image, you will earn a merit toward your Master of Photography degree

Unlike standard photography competitions, the IPC allows you to learn directly from the work you submit: if you want to know exactly why your image merited or not so you can target what to improve, you can choose to receive a critique from one of the jurors. It's a neutral and objective critique, from a trained juror, just for your image, done in order to help you in the future.

You will also be able to stream online the entirety of judging live and see the process, the images being challenged and the jurors explaining their viewpoints. Don't miss it! And in case you were wondering, yes, watching the live streaming is free! Just hop on Stream.theIPC.org from August 3-6.  

In the meantime, here's a critique of an image from last year's IPC so you can see that they're really not anything to worry about! Donna Goodhale, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, critiques Suzanne Siler's image, "Heading Home." This image was not accepted in to the Loan or General Collections, which makes it an excellent opportunity to see how the judges aren't there to rip your work apart but rather to offer suggestions on how your image could be improved.

 

So there you have it! Choose an image (you can submit up to 4 per case!), send it off according to the submission guidelines, select to receive a critique and you'll be on your way to becoming an even better photographer! Enter the IPC today and Be More Creative. 

Megan Mitchell is an intern at PPA. Though she attends college in New York, she is originally from Georgia - most everyone she meets up north is shocked and disappointed by her lack of a southern accent. She finds great joy and comfort in copy editing and reading. She loves nothing more than words, but her family and friends take a close second.

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By Rachel Noto

Though the early bird deadline for entries has passed, there's still time to enter your images in this year's International Photographic Competition (IPC)! 

If you've waited until now because you were intimidated by the idea of entering your images into a competition to be judged -- don't be! To learn more and be more prepared, you even have the option to have your images critiqued by an IPC judge so you can get professional feedback on what you've done well and what you can improve on. All IPC judges have earned Master of Photography degrees by submitting their work to competitions like this, so you can be sure that they have the experience to back up the feedback they give you.

To get an idea of what your critique would be like, watch a review of one of last year's merited images, "Grandma Mary" by Pete Rezac, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, with critique by Larry Lourcey M.Photog.Cr., CPP.


Submitting your images comes with more perks than just receiving feedback, of course! All images that earn a seal of approval are awarded with a merit, and all merited images then have a chance to be featured in the prestigious loan collection. Merits on your images go toward your Master of Photography degree, which requires 13 exhibition credits. 

If you're still nervous or feel unprepared, watch this video of PPA Instructor Michael Timmons explaining the process by which IPC judges judge entries and gives tips on everything from image size specifications to where to set your easel compared to the judges' chairs! 
It's not too late! Click here to enter and Be More Confident in your work.

Rachel Noto is one of the summer interns wandering around the labyrinthine offices of PPA, enthusiastically taking pictures of her cat, and occasionally getting a little writing and design done. An Atlanta native, she's learned to embrace the feeling of getting lost every now and then, though she now spends most of the year in the gridded city of Savannah, Georgia, where she attends the Savannah College of Art and Design. She has a passion for food, cute animals, and communication in all of its forms.

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By Megan Mitchell

Have you been on the fence about entering PPA's International Photographic Competition (IPC)? 

If you're simply not entering because you are afraid of not scoring well enough, you might be missing a huge learning opportunity! What did you learn the last time you took a risk and tried to step up your work? What else could you learn? If you want to become a better photographer, these are probably the real questions! 

Entering the IPC and choosing to have your image critiqued is a great way to improve your photography skills. IPC jurors are accomplished photographers who have entered their images into the IPC many times before. Their eyes are trained to see things in your photos you might miss.

Now's the time to decide! If you enter before midnight on June 25th, you'll avoid a late fee - but no worries if you need a little bit longer to put things together, as late entries close July 10th. 

Curious about what sort of things the judges will be looking for? Watch a critique video here! Andrew Jenkins M.Photog.Cr., CPP, critiques Michael Patch's merited image, "Woodland Faces." 


Need a little more help before you take the plunge? See what other photographers have gotten out of entering their images in IPC and what they learnt from their critiques here! Ready to compete in the IPC? Enter the IPC today and Be More Competitive!

Megan Mitchell is an intern at PPA. Though she attends college in New York, she is originally from Georgia - most everyone she meets up north is shocked and disappointed by her lack of a southern accent. She finds great joy and comfort in copy editing and reading. She loves nothing more than words, but her family and friends take a close second.

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By Chris Homer

If you're thinking about entering the International Photographic Competition (IPC), make sure to get your images entered by Midnight ET, June 25! After that date, there's a $35 late entry surcharge! You'll still be able to enter until July 10, but why waste $35? 

If you've never entered the IPC before, don't fear having your images judged. The process can be intimidating, but entering the competition really is one of the best ways to improve your technique as a photographer. Read all about why PPA members enter the IPC and how it can help your career in this post. 

When you enter, you'll also have the option to request your images critiqued by an IPC judge. Go for it! The judges have entered the competition in the past and have achieved success, so they know exactly what to look for in an image. They'll point out ways to improve your photography that you may not have considered before. Check out a critique from last year's IPC. 

Are you ready to Be More Confident in your images? Remember to enter the IPC by June 25 and avoid the late fee! 

And remember - the IPC judging will take place August 3-6 at Gwinnett Technical College in Lawrenceville, GA. Judging is open to the public, so feel free to attend and watch the judging. If you can't make it to the IPC to see the judging live, it will also be streamed online! This year there will even be a live broadcast, twice a day, to answer judging questions and go over some of the image reviews and challenges that will be happening during judging.


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About the author:
Chris Homer is PPA's SEO & Web Specialist, which basically makes Google Analytics his best friend. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Chris cheers passionately (and obnoxiously) for the Bulldogs in all things from football to checkers. When he's not hard at work on PPA's websites, you'll find Chris at auto racing events around the southeast, where he's known as a master architect of tent villages.


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By Chris Homer

PPA's annual International Photographic Competition (IPC) is right around the corner! Are you planning on taking the plunge and entering this year? 

If you've never entered the IPC before, you might feel a little nervous about having your work judged. It's understandable, but know that entering a photographic competition and having your work judged by other professional photographers is one of the best ways to improve your photography technique! 

How?! When entering the IPC, you can select to have your images professionally critiqued. PPA's IPC jurors are accomplished photographers themselves who have successfully participated in the competition, numerous times, and know what makes a great image. As a result of their experience with the competition itself as image makers, but also, as they underwent a long training to become IPC jurors, opting to get an image critique with their candid viewpoint can greatly help you improve your work. That's the reason why they do it! Help photographers Be More Successful at competing. 

Check out the critique below. It is from last year's IPC and is by Andrew Jenkins, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, critiquing Mario Munoz's, M.Photog.Cr., "Reservoir Dogs". Mario's image was accepted into PPA's loan collection and while Mario often enters the IPC, he keeps ordering critiques, because they help him Be More Successful at IPC. 




Are you ready to enter your images in the IPC? Make sure to do so by June 25 to save money (after that date there's an added late fee!) Go ahead and enter today and see how scoring at competition can help you Be More Confident! 


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About the author:
Chris Homer is PPA's SEO & Web Specialist, which basically makes Google Analytics his best friend. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Chris cheers passionately (and obnoxiously) for the Bulldogs in all things from football to checkers. When he's not hard at work on PPA's websites, you'll find Chris at auto racing events around the southeast, where he's known as a master architect of tent villages.


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By Rachel Noto

With the call for entries for PPA's International Photographic Competition (IPC) in full swing, it's now more important than ever to make sure your images are at the top of their game!

The work of artists can be fundamentally personal, and as such it can feel intimidating to submit work to be criticized and reviewed by masters in the field. However, absorbing a critique is one of the most important aspects of being an artist. Learning to think critically about others' work benefits you as well; in identifying the stronger and weaker parts of the work of your peers, you can turn that same discerning eye on your own work. 

All IPC jurors have earned Master of Photography degrees from PPA by submitting their images to competitions just like you, so their advice comes from a place of experience and empathy.  Hearing the thoughts of one of the jurors themselves is incredibly useful because they are not only a master in their field but have been in your shoes!

Watch Glen Mahan's merited image from the 2014 IPC, "Afrikaans Language Monument," be critiqued by Donna Goodhale, M.Photog., for some insight into what judges look for, and hone your own skills in observation and critique so you can identify the strengths and weaknesses of your own work in order to set your best foot forward in the 2015 competition!


Are your images ready for judging? Submit your work here!

Want to read more examples of critiques and other information about IPC before you submit? Read through the PPA blog's previous posts about the International Photographic Competition!

Rachel Noto is the second of two summer interns wandering around the labyrinthine offices of PPA, enthusiastically taking pictures of her cat, and occasionally getting a little writing and design done. An Atlanta native, she's learned to embrace the feeling of getting lost every now and then, though she now spends most of the year in the gridded city of Savannah, Georgia, where she attends the Savannah College of Art and Design. She has a passion for food, cute animals, and communication in all of its forms.

By Chris Homer

By now, you've heard us say this before, but we'll say it again: Entering your work into a photographic competition like PPA's International Photographic Competition (IPC) is one of the best ways you can improve as an artist. Having your work judged and listening to the critique can help you improve your images in ways you probably have not have considered before.

To make the most of the IPC, we recommend signing up to have your images critiqued by one of PPA's International Jurors, who are themselves accomplished photographers. We understand that if you've never entered the IPC and had your images critiqued the whole process can seem overwhelming! To ease your anxiety, take a look at an actual critique from last year's IPC. Below you'll see Matthew Kauffmann's image "Medic" critiqued by PPA juror Mark Garber, M.Photog.Cr., CPP. 



Ready to enter the IPC and improve your skills? Entries for this year's competition open May 26!


ch_headshot_100x100.jpg
About the author:
Chris Homer is PPA's SEO & Web Specialist, which basically makes Google Analytics his best friend. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Chris cheers passionately (and obnoxiously) for the Bulldogs in all things from football to checkers. When he's not hard at work on PPA's websites, you'll find Chris at auto racing events around the southeast, where he's known as a master architect of tent villages.



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By Chris Homer

As a photographer, you're probably always looking for ways to improve your photography skills. One of the best ways to do this is by entering photographic competitions that provide you some very useful feedback. PPA's International Photographic Competition (IPC) allows you to get just that! The IPC entry submissions open May 26, 2015. Participating is already a great way to push your skills to the next level, but if you choose to get your images critiqued by one of the competition's jurors, you're simply bound to learn more as an artist.

If you've never entered an image into a PPA competition, we understand the process can seem a little daunting at first - but it really is a great way to become a better photographer and it is the structured process that raises the quality of the results. To get rid of some of your apprehensions about entering, check out Andrew Jenkins, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, critiquing an image by Gary Hughes, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, called "Just Do It". It  was accepted into PPA's general collection! 




Ready to enter your work? Be More Daring and learn tons! Entries for the International Photographic Competition open May 26.


ch_headshot_100x100.jpg
About the author:
Chris Homer is PPA's SEO & Web Specialist, which basically makes Google Analytics his best friend. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Chris cheers passionately (and obnoxiously) for the Bulldogs in all things from football to checkers. When he's not hard at work on PPA's websites, you'll find Chris at auto racing events around the southeast, where he's known as a master architect of tent villages. 



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By Chris Homer

Have you ever entered PPA's International Photographic Competition (IPC) or one of the District Photographic Competitions? If you haven't, you really should consider it. Why? Simply put, entering the competitions and having your work critiqued by one of our accomplished judges is one of the best ways to improve your skill as a photographer. 

If you've never entered before, you may be a little intimidated. Fear not! Instead, take a look at the critique below. Once you've seen how it works, hopefully you'll be more comfortable entering and... you'll understand how much you can get from getting feedback on your images! In the video, juror Larry Lourcey, M.Photog.Cr., CPP goes over "My Dad" by PPA photographer Lisa Duncan. 


Another great way to learn about photographic competition is by live streaming the district competition judging. You'll be able to view the images and hear what the judges take into consideration. The Northcentral district judging airs live May 20 - 21. It is free to watch, you don't even have to be with PPA and a link will be posted on the Northcentral District website and PPA's Facebook page.
 
Ready to enter your work in a photographic competition to learn and get recognized? Several District Competitions are accepting entries now and entries for the International Photographic Competition will open May 26. Get those images ready! 


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About the author:
Chris Homer is PPA's SEO & Web Specialist, which basically makes Google Analytics his best friend. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Chris cheers passionately (and obnoxiously) for the Bulldogs in all things from football to checkers. When he's not hard at work on PPA's websites, you'll find Chris at auto racing events around the southeast, where he's known as a master architect of tent villages. 



The Northeast District competition is now open! And since you're all hunkered down for this snowstorm, you've got time to do some editing and send in those images. Hopefully you'll be shoveled out by then, but Image submissions will be accepted until March 6. Your entered works will be judged March 13-14 in Columbus, Ohio.

PPA urges our members to enter photographic competition to push yourselves to be more. You'll improve your craft and confidence in the process.

"Once photographers get over the initial fear of competition, most keep entering year after year and become better photographers in the process," said Randy McNeilly, PPA's photographic exhibition committee chairman. "Even if they don't earn a merit right away, there's so much they can learn. Plus, it's a huge confidence boost, not only for the photographer, but also the client who commissions their work--especially once they start to win awards."

At the district level, images either earn a "merit" or "does not merit" score. Merit images are sealed and move on to the International Photographic Competition (IPC), held each August. Non-merit images may be worked on and re-entered into the IPC that same year. Critiques from a PPA judge can be ordered to give entrants personalized feedback on the reason for the score. Entrants and non-entrants alike can watch the judging live online in January.

"The live stream was hugely successful at the International Photographic Competition in August so we're taking it to all of PPA's district competitions," said McNeilly. "This helps debunk some myths about the judging process and shows photographers how much they can learn by attending or ordering their critiques."

The best of the best images will enter the prestigious Loan Collection and be on display at the International Photographic Exhibit during Imaging USA 2016 in Atlanta. They will also be in a coffee table book published by Marathon Press. For inspiration, PPA produced a video featuring 2014's Loan Collection images to show what the best look like.

PPA's District Competitions and the International Photographic Competition are open to the public. PPA photographers and non-members alike are also encouraged to attend the judging. Photographers who belong to PPA are each assigned to districts based on their studio's geographic location. For full district competition information, visit PPA.com/Competitions. To learn more about PPA's membership benefits or to join, visit PPA.com/Join.

 

 

By Chris Homer

At PPA, we understand that entering the International Photographic Competition (IPC) or any of the upcoming District Competitions for the first time can be frightening! But, as we hear from photographers that enter, participating in these competitions really is an amazing way to improve your skills and photography techniques. To get the most out of PPA's photography competitions, consider having your images reviewed and critiqued by an accredited IPC judge. Such constructive critiques will help you understand the elements by which images are judged and help you see what you did well and where you need some work on specific images. It's VERY affordable and will help you grow as an artist more than you can imagine. 

Below you'll find an example of one of these critiques. The image is "Kiss Me Sweetly" by Megan DiPiero and it is critiqued by IPC Judge Larry Lourcey. Check it out and see why this image was accepted into the General Collection! Be more adventurous!



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ch_headshot_100x100.jpg
About the author:
Chris Homer is PPA's SEO & Web Specialist, which basically makes Google Analytics his best friend. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Chris cheers passionately (and obnoxiously) for the Bulldogs in all things from football to checkers. When he's not hard at work on PPA's websites, you'll find Chris at auto racing events around the southeast, where he's known as a master architect of tent villages. 



You might have some fears about entering the International Photographic Competition (IPC), but think about what you could learn! We hear time and time again from competitors that once you overcome your nerves and enter, your skills and technique will improve--not to mention the confidence boost! The best way to get the most out of your IPC experience is to have your images critiqued by an IPC judge.

Below is an example of exactly what we're talking about. Don't forget, you can order critiques at your next 
District Competition too! This is "Entangled" by Pamira Bezman, critiqued by Larry Lourcey. Watch the critique to see why this image was accepted into the General Collection and how it could be improved to go Loan.

If you've never entered a photographic competition before, you're probably feeling some fear of having your images judged by another photographer. It can be nerve-wracking, but as we've heard from members that participate, PPA's International Photographic Competition (IPC) and the District Competitions are some of the best ways to improve your images and your technique as a photographer. To get the most out of the IPC, we recommend getting the images you enter critiqued by a judge who's trained for and dedicated to this photo competition.

To help you get rid of some of your fears, and maybe even encourage you to request a critique at the next District Competition, here's an example of what you can expect! This is "Rustic Cabin" by David Bair, critiqued by Jon Allyn. Take a look!


Georgia photographer, Judith Ann, was lucky (and talented!) enough to earn a merit on her first time entering PPA photographic competition. In this guest blog, she shares the funny story behind her merit image and an afterword with her thoughts following the International Photographic Competition (IPC).

Dog Gone, I Received a Merit!
By Judith Ann

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A lack of communication and poor note taking almost cost me a very important session last year. I'll tell you upfront, the good news is everything turned out better than planned. Pardon the puns, but it caused me to dig deeper into my artsy side when I realized I had been barking up the wrong tree for most of my morning.  

The day started off like a typical morning at my studio, beginning with a review of appointments, ordering sessions and events to help my day flow smoothly for the next eight hours. I have always prided myself on my ability to plan and custom fit each client's session based on their requests. This particular time, my daily calendar informed me I had a pet session scheduled for 10 a.m. My assistant had booked the appointment the day before and the details were sparse. So bright and early I got my chain rattled and had to react quickly to this situation.

The notes said, "English Bulldog/pet picture" and being comfortable with dogs I believed for a hot minute that this would be an easy session--that is until I got up from the computer and started walking to my shoot room. My assistant appeared suddenly and filled in the details about my soon-to-arrive client. The client recently added a "man room" to her home--thus the need for the bulldog portrait for the wall.

"Really?" I asked excitedly. Then she said the portrait was to be based upon the poker playing dogs. I stopped walking.

"Huh? What are poker playing dogs?"

My assistant gave me the look that only the younger generation can give as if to You gotta be kidding me! Have you been living in the dark ages!  "Like, they're everywhere" she said, "I'll show you."

I must have had the dumbest look on my face realizing I was totally unprepared for this session while I stared into a computer screen to see bulldogs playing cards, smoking cigars and looking generally illegal.  

"How old is her dog?" I asked.

"I believe it's a puppy."

 What da' what?

Soon after I heard a car door close and a barking dog headed my way--my moment of truth had arrived. The only thing I had going for me was the fact that this client was a regular customer who trusted me with her family portraits for years, at least up until this point. The studio door cracked opened and the tip of a furry nose nuzzled through and the wrinkly bulldog puppy came barking, jumping and running straight into my lobby.  

I stood there dazed and confused and in my squirreliest­ voice said, "Hi Jennifer!"  

Jennifer gave me a curious smile and said, "What's up?"

"I just realized I don't have a deck of cards," I said. "Would you mind leaving your puppy with me and running over to the store to get a pack while I get the lights set?"

Ha! lights set? How about trying to pull off the fastest-built set in 15 minutes flat?

She agreed and when I heard her car start up I sprang into action. The puppy was left to run around the lobby while I began to think...

My son-in-law was in the studio the day prior drinking the brown, old-fashioned root beer glass bottles. I dug through my trash and apprehended two bottles from the bottom of the garbage can. Yes! Close enough to a beer bottle and now I need a cigar and I think I have one from the proud parent of a baby boy! I hope this pup won't eat my only cigar!

Some further hunting around the studio produced an antique checker board with chips, an old camera and a quick hand dive into my purse brought up some change and dollar bills to hopefully round out the set. We cleared off a side table from the lobby, moved it into the shoot room and carefully arranged the newfound items. Jennifer returned with the fresh deck of cards and it was time to put our puppy to the test.

We placed our furry little friend on the table and he curiously looked left, right, up and down and in a split second scooped the cigar into his mouth and brought his head up into the cutest pose. Click. The image was captured in the blink of a (puppy's) eye!

(Side note: The puppy was not harmed in any way in the capturing of this image. As a matter of fact he enjoyed all the attention. The cigar was not lit--we created the smoke and red ash in post-processing.)

My assistant and I discussed better communication techniques through more detailed note taking and a big HEADS UP on unique session requests. As a bonus, we have had several clients request that particular image as artwork for their home.

In this, my first year of PPA image competition, I included "Hold 'Em Ace," and was pleased to earn a merit seal at my state (Georgia PPA) and district (Southeast) competitions I'm excited to hear the results from the IPC! My fingers are crossed on being chosen for the Loan Collection.  

Afterword:

It's official! I've come full circle in completing my first year of competition. I entered the same four images from start to finish (GPPA>SEPPA>IPC) and am excited to say that three of the four images merited! After I received my judge's critiques from the GPPA/SEPPA level, I made some adjustments on three of my four images. "Hold 'Em Ace" had already sealed and I was told you NEVER break the seal once you merit.

My judge's critiques helped me see her perspective on how I could improve my images and I was mostly happy to make the suggested changes. I have to admit I did take a little offense on my critique of "Bonny Boy." The judge made mention on my child's sausage fingers on the bike handle, I took it personally because, to me most children have little sausage fingers. After growling about the comment for several days, I took another look at those baby sausage fingers and began to see why the judge had pointed them out.

I agreed that maybe they were standing out more than they should, so I took my burn tool and ever so slightly browned those little sausages. My images went from being what I considered really good prints to great images with just a few small changes. As a suggestion, don't take the judges' comments to heart--they are there to help you become an even better photographer.  

I was glad I took the time to compete and successfully survived entering into a whole new world. I bet you have already guessed about how I feel about next year, that's right, I'm thinking about conjuring up brand-new ideas that will hopefully earn more merits. It's a win, win situation that will benefit my clients. My final thought is that being able to resource a judge with years of experience, compete with your fellow photographer peers in the industry is bringing me closer to my goal: award-winning photographer, Judith Ann, M.Photog. (master photographer).

 

You might have heard, but the International Photographic Competition (IPC) was last week!

The results are in and they are GOOD! More images, more merit images, and WAY more images going loan. Way to go everyone! Here's an excerpt from our official press release below:


A panel of 45 eminent jurors from across the United States selected the top photographs from nearly 5,000 total entries from August 4-7 at Gwinnett Technical College in Lawrenceville, Georgia.

Judged against a standard of excellence, just over 1,800 images were selected for the General Collection and 918 (roughly 18 percent) were selected for the esteemed Loan Collection--the best of the best. The Loan Collection images will all be published in the much-anticipated "Loan Collection" book and over 200 selected General Collection images will be published in the "Showcase" book by Marathon Press.

Images accepted into the General and Loan Collections will also be on display at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, Tennessee Feb. 1-3, 2015 during Imaging USA, the annual convention and expo for professional photographers. These images constitute one of the world's largest annual exhibits of professional photography gathered simultaneously under one roof.

Those who didn't earn merits this year didn't have to leave empty-handed. Critiques from the IPC judges were available upon request, and the judges completed roughly 1,800 during the competition. The critiques are offered as a way to help participants find areas of improvement and prepare for future photo competitions.

And for the first time, this year's IPC was streamed live online and 1,570 unique visitors from 13 countries tuned in over the four days. 643 of those weren't involved in this year's competition, showcasing the widespread curiosity in competition, but tentativeness to enter. This is something PPA hopes the live stream will help change.

"This was truly the biggest and best IPC yet," said IPC manager Rich Newell, M.Photog.Cr. "Those critiques must be working; we had about 250 more images go Loan this year. And we're thrilled with how many people viewed the live stream. We hope it showed all the non-participants who watched what truly goes on at competition. Hopefully they won't hesitate to enter next year!"

The IPC challenges photographers to grow their artistic and technical photography skills by creatively capturing and presenting their best images, and by doing so, improving their businesses.

 

Here are a few photos from the judging:

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To view full results of the International Photographic Competition, visit PPA.com/IPC. And go ahead and start practicing for next year! Let's see those numbers soar even higher.



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