View Full Version : First time entry questions

02-04-2008, 10:13 PM
Can someone shed some light on the correct way to print, mount, and label your prints? I've seen so many threads on this topic but nothing with a clear answer.

I know to print the images down a bit - is that something the lab will know if they're told it's a competition print (using Bay Photo)? Also, my state affiliate's website has labels for the back. They have room for name, address, etc. - but I thought the judges weren't supposed to know who made each print? Also - how do you "securily affix to the back of print"? Finally, what are you supposed to mount on? Gator? Artboard? Thanks!

02-04-2008, 10:18 PM
If you use a "pro lab" they should be familiar with printing for competition. My lab (Kingdom Color & Imaging in VT) has 2 lights set up at the correct exposure, so anything they print for competition is viewed under competition lighting. Print your state labels and tape them to the back of the print. Attach them to the top of the back so that if it were turned around the image would be oriented correctly. The judges do not see the back of the print until the judging process is finished. If they know who made an image they are supposed to signal to the jury chair who will then have the alternate juror score the image.... I have mine mounted on quad weight art board. That way they won't dent. Also if I have a dark image I have the edges blackened with a Sharpie.

How's that? Want to know more?

02-04-2008, 10:21 PM

Probably the best way to determine if you are sending the lab the correct density image is to get an 8x10 test print first. Make sure you let them know its a competition image.

The labels for the images are attached to the back of the image and the judges dont get to see them. If a judge thinks they know who the maker of the image is they have to excuse themselves from judging that image. I use double stick tape to put the labels on the back. Sometimes you get your labels already printed out as stickers from whatever organization you are entering. Make sure your label is at the top of the back of the image when you place it. It will be displayed according to how the label is positioned.

Your lab can do the mounting for you. Much easier and your images will look cleaner and neater. If they dont use the black foam board you need to take a magic marker and color the edges if the image is medium or low key. For higher key leave it alone. Your lab knows what mounting to use

Hope this helps, I spent years printing retouching and mounting my own comp prints for myself and others. I'm so glad the lab does it for me now!

02-04-2008, 10:28 PM
Your state assn. print rules will tell you a lot including where to put the label. I use an ATG gun to put the labels on the back. As Don told you, the judges don't see the back of the prints. The print committee announces the title and all the judges see is the front of the images.

I have an awful handwriting. So, a tip: I scan the label and fill it out in Photoshop. I even have a brush I made from my actual signature. So, I can "sign" it using Photoshop.

Our state assn. print labels say Top so if affixed properly it shows which way the image is to be displayed. If unsure, I will sometimes write "TOP" at the top ... just in case.

Also, I often write the title in big letters on the print back so it's easy for the print committee to read it.

02-04-2008, 10:38 PM
Hey, if you select bayphoto's competition option then they'll automatically print it down for comp lights (I think it's like 30% darker) though you still need to select the mounting that you want. Some people like double weight (don't think they stock quad) but most folks order the black gatorfoam option. It's the $13.75 one. The comp option is also done on regular glossy. When I do mines, I ask for the super duper glossy ones cause it's just so shinny but not metallic.

When you get the hang of it, you can also venture into metallic comp prints and watercolor papers. But for now, I would start with the glossy.

I use scotch tape for the labels.

02-04-2008, 10:42 PM
Hi Stephanie,
I use Bay Photo too and on their ROES ordering system there is a place for competition prints. Bay prints their comp prints on Fuji High Gloss and they know the correct density to print them and they are mounted on Gator Board. You can also send an email to customer service or call them if you have any further instructions. I usually tell them to not print them so dark the skin tones go orange.
I've also had prints made for comp at Millers and they also have a place for print comp. At Millers, I get them printed on lustre and then have them gloss laminated. They mount them on matboard. There are some little things that are particular to print competition. The judges don't want to see white matboard edges on a low key print so you have to darken them with a sharpie. It takes practice and care not to slip and mark the print. A high key image can be on white board.

When I didn't know anything about print competition, I just sent my images in printed and mounted with a keyline around the images. I had two merit that year, so go figure--I was probably just lucky.

The judges don't ever see the label, but you can't have any names or copyright information on the front of your print.

Definately go with the professional mounting like Jane suggested--you don't want to have any little edge peeking through or anything like that. Consideration is given to presentation so i't important. It cost about $42 for a comp print, so if you are uncertain, get a test 8x10 or something.

02-04-2008, 11:16 PM
Hi Stephanie,
I use Bay Photo too and on their ROES ordering system there is a place for competition prints. Bay prints their comp prints on Fuji High Gloss and they know the correct density to print them and they are mounted on Gator Board.

Hi Auralee,

There's been a change, I also remember when it was automatic but it's not like that anymore. I had ones done 3 days before western states. The print (regular glossy) as itself is listed at $15 now and desired mounting option has to be selected in addition to if we want the Fuji super gloss.

02-04-2008, 11:31 PM
To see if I understand this right (for Bay Photo'ers):

Artboard for High-Key ($9.75 mount) & Gator Foam for Low-Key ($13.75 mount)? Order as 16x20 Comp Print in Glossy ($15). Is that right?

Stupid question on the labeling... does it matter what kind of tape? (To be fair, it matters what kind of case you're sending these in, so it's a logical question.)

I'm totally lost on the Fuji stuff and how Auralee came out with $42. I'm coming up with $28.75 (plus $1.50 for shipping). What am I doing wrong?

02-04-2008, 11:41 PM
If you have not seen these 12, keep and refer to them: From PPA website.

Twelve elements have been defined as necessary for the success of an art piece or image. Any image, art piece or photograph will reveal some measure of all twelve elements, while a visually superior example will reveal obvious consideration of each one. They are:

1. Impact is the sense one gets upon viewing an image for the first time. Compelling images evoke laughter, sadness, anger, pride, wonder or another intense emotion.
2. Creativity is the external expression of the imagination of the maker by using the medium to convey an idea, message or thought.
3. Style is defined in a number of ways as it applies to a creative image. It 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.
4. 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 holds 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.
5. Print 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.
6. Center of Interest is the point 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.
7. Lighting—the use and control of light—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.
8. Subject Matter should always be appropriate to the story being told in an image.
9. Color Balance supplies harmony to an image. An 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 feelings for effect.
10. Technical excellence is the print quality of the image itself as it is presented for viewing. Sharpness, exposure, printing, mounting and correct color all speak to the qualities of the physical print.
11.Technique is the approach used to create the image. Printing, lighting, posing, film choice, paper selection and more are part of the technique applied to an image.
12. Story Telling 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.

02-04-2008, 11:52 PM
1. Yes, if you have a white step mount/matte, using a white back looks better while black gatorfoam or a sharpied board for low key images. However, I sat through almost the entire western states regional and I was seeing white edges when they turn (prints are on a window turn thingy like how Vanah would turn the letters on Wheel of Fortune before they went digital) all over over the place but not a single comment about it and seems not to be a concern for that panel.

2. The cost went down. Though I think that $15 comp print is a sale price.

3. Try using double sided tape... no J/K! Scotch tape will do, the idea is for the form to be secure with no additional tape or glue residue to screw up somebody else'es print that may be stacked behind yours.

4. There's regular glossy and then there Fuji super gloss. The Fuji super gloss was the default option for bay comp prints for a couple of years. This cost at least 25% more. This changed recently to just default to regular gloss.

Other labs still print on lustre and spray. Some spray it a couple of times just to get it really shiny. Side by side, I don't think there's any amount of praying that could be done to match the Fuji super gloss' shininess. Also, using the fuji super gloss qualifies non Fuji shooters for the Christal archive throphy.

More confused? Volunteer to handle prints and you'll see what were talking about.

02-05-2008, 12:19 AM
I just called Bay and yes the current price is indeed $15 for what used to be $28 plus the mounting. It's still the same Fuji high gloss. The customer service agent didn't seem to know how long this price would be in effect or if it was permanent.

All the more reason to get some comp prints going.

I think the thing about the color of the mat board is more of an "old school" thought. I have some DVDs of recent print competitions and sometimes it gets commented on, but mostly not. If you have a dynamite print, I hardly think that would be the defining difference on getting a merit.