View Full Version : Improving via competition

03-10-2009, 09:48 PM
I know you can improve your images thru entering competition. My question is when you send in a case, and you are not there for the judging, how do you know what could improve?Thanks

03-10-2009, 09:57 PM
Amy, I will be entering competition this year for the first time, and I believe that for an additional fee you can order a video critique of your submission and I have heard this is very helpful.

03-10-2009, 09:59 PM
Well, yes, there's a video critique you can get from International. And sure, you can always WATCH the competition (if you're going to it.)

But... the real learning happens in preparing to enter. Think of all the input you got from other photographers just on one lil' image! Send it to someone like Keith or Don and get just absolutely incredible feedback. (Like how I just volunteered you guys?) Anyway, the learning is in the preparation.

03-10-2009, 10:09 PM
In Ohio, for their print comp, once the images are all hanging in the exhibition, they also have what they call "Master Mob", which is a timeframe in which Master Photogs and even some of the judges are in the exhibition and you can approach them and have them give you specific feedback on your images, ask them questions, etc. Really a great learning experience.

03-10-2009, 10:31 PM
Read her question again please. I have asked this question before and I know where she is coming from. Yes you get some good feedback in preparing but that doesn't help after comp except in International. I said before it would be like taking a critical exam in med school and getting your score but never knowing what answers you got wrong so you could learn from it.

03-10-2009, 10:44 PM
Thanks guys,
Yes Ron nailed it! I cannot be there to see the judging, so I am curious if there is a way for those who cannot be there to know what can be done better.


03-11-2009, 12:08 AM
So has PPA ever thought of doing a live web cast of judging? Maybe not every room but some that way those that enter could log in and watch some or all of the judging. Maybe it would cost a little more but I think that would do more for demystifying print comp than just about anything else.

03-11-2009, 02:45 AM
PP of California did a webcast of their print comp early last month (Feb 09). It was met by rave reviews as many on this forum jumped online to see the judging process. As a past judge of California, this is a good thing!

03-11-2009, 02:30 PM
Hi Amy;

I suggest that you join your state association, if not yet a member. Whether a state competition, a regional, or Imaging, we have a lot of Masters in Pennsylvania including a number of judges and affiliated judges. Our print master is also print master at Mid-East Regional plus he is well known at Imaging. So, I can always get a critique on my images. I suggest you too take advantage of state membership and glean all you can from those in the know.

03-18-2009, 06:46 AM
There is some great advise here. Get to know Masters in your area for face to face critique on your images. Also, there are people on here that would be more than happy to help you out. I think it is best to post things before the comp. to get the help so you might do better in the comp. Also, if you know someone that is going to watch ask them to take notes if your images are discussed. Or maybe they would be willing to ask judges after for ideas on your behalf. The help is out there. If you need help finding someone in your area, let me know and I will see if I can hook you up!

03-18-2009, 07:28 AM

Yes, you can get a critique of your images that you send to the International Judging, but as Ron stated, that really doesn't help you to prepare for submitting your images to judging. You can gain a lot of education by attending your local guild and state competitions and submitting your images there for judging and critiquing. You have tapped into a great source of help right here on the OurPPA forum. We have a few PPA-PEC Affiliate Jurors who are active on the forum. If you are looking for feedback on possible competition entries, you can post them here on the forum and request critique and comment (C&C) and you may be able to get the feedback that you desire. It's all about education and helping each other to grow.

Regarding the video critiques at the International Judging, here's how it works...
On your entry form there is a box to check that you are requesting a video critique. Check that box and include the small additional fee with your print case. Your prints will be flagged with an orange sticker on the back that you have requested a critique. After your image has been through the entire judging process (judged for Merit and, if accepted, judged for Loan) the print will be routed to one of the critique rooms. In the critique room, one of the PPA-PEC Jurors will review your images and critique telling you what, in their opinion was done well, and what they feel you could do to improve the image. At the end of the week, after all the critiques are completed, the DVD's of the critiques are mailed to the creators. (Note: this is how we did it for the last few years since we moved from videotapes to the mini-DVD's. I"m assuming that we will be using the same system this year, but technology does change so don't hold me to the mail delivery of a DVD aspect). The juror who critiques your entry may or may not have been on the panel when the images were judged. In most cases, if they were on the panel, they probably did not see all of your images judged since we usually run about five judging panels at the same time and the members of the panels are regularly juggled around during the day with different people being on different panels at different times - so the chance that the critiquing juror was on the panel when your print came through is relatively low, but any affiliate juror can give you a good evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of your image.

My best recommendations are:
Post your images here on the forum and ask for a no-holds-barred C&C.
Send your prints to the national judging.
Always request a critique.
If you're close to where the judging is being held, you can come in and observe if you wish.
AND - If you REALLY want to get a GREAT education, volunteer to be a print handler at the International Judging - there's no better education you can get. Imagine a week of listening to the top jurors in the world judging, discussing, and debating the merits of what our fellow PPA members believe is their finest work. You really can't buy that kind of educational experience !!! If you're interested in volunteering, contact the PEC coordinator Jim Dingwell and tell him you are interested in working the judging. You'll have to cover your own expenses, but if you work the week you do get a couple of well-deserved service merits and the satisfaction of having given something back to your profession while getting a fabulous free educational experience. We can always use the help - and it's a lot of fun too !!!

03-19-2009, 05:51 PM
Sarah has given you excellant suggestions. To add to it you might even ask a friend to ask some of the judges for you and see if they would give the CC to you over your friends cell phone. This would lessen the he said she said misinterpretion and you can ask questions as well.

Now to address Jonathan with out derailing this thread too far...

So has PPA ever thought of doing a live web cast of judging? Maybe not every room but some that way those that enter could log in and watch some or all of the judging. Maybe it would cost a little more but I think that would do more for demystifying print comp than just about anything else.
Yes they have. Unfortunately there is always a few that spoil it for the rest. The problems as I understand them were people that decided to record and then only use a portion of a judges comments out of context in ways that totally twisted the real comments. There is also the issue of some judges that will become less effective in making challanges because they are aware of the open broad cast. Do you really want to have jurrors hesitate to challange your image and give it the best chance possible, just because of a broadcast concern?
I know - it is a sad thing but after all PEC wants to give the makers the absolute best chances and fairest oppertunity possible.