View Full Version : Portrait vs Illustrative

09-16-2009, 06:41 PM
OK, what the heck is the difference between the 'Portrait' category and the 'Illustrative' category?!?

You would think 'Illustrative' would be anything heavy PS or Painter, but I know that isn't the case.

And don't just say 'Illustrative' tells a story because so does a good 'Portrait'. Please Heeeeeeeeeelllppppp!!!!!!

09-16-2009, 08:57 PM
At the national level it doesn't much matter since they are all judges together in Photographic Open.

Illustrative will probably have a different meaning for just about everyone that answers. I can only answer for our own state of Maryland in which Illustrative contains images such as scenic, flowers, nature.

Maybe a dumb answer but Illustrative contains just about anything that you don't look at as a typical portrait.

You can still have Painter and PS images in portrait in my opinion. Just as some of my wildlife images have won in the portrait division also. It has a lot to do with the interpertation of the image and where you want it judged.

09-16-2009, 09:33 PM
At the local/state level, I've used "portrait" for studio portrait that definitely fit within the category. On the flip side, I entered portraits that were more about the storytelling moment into illustrative. For illustration purposes... here are thumbnails (what I could find offhand, sorry they're small) of my 2009 PPA case.

These two I entered in the portrait category:

http://betsysphotography.com/bblog/files/betsysphoto-2009ppaaward-4-250x204.jpg http://betsysphotography.com/bblog/files/betsysphoto-2009ppaaward-3-250x204.jpg

And these two were taken during portrait sessions, but I entered them in illustrative:

http://betsysphotography.com/bblog/files/betsysphoto-2009ppaaward-2-250x204.jpg http://betsysphotography.com/bblog/files/betsysphoto-2009ppaaward-1-250x204.jpg

Obviously at nationals they were all entered under photographic open.

09-16-2009, 09:34 PM
For me it's the intent of the image. If the image is supposed to tell us something about the person, then it's a portrait. If it's supposed to tell us a story or convey the ambience of a particular moment or place - then it's illustrative. Either intent could include a person and could have lot's of computer razzle dazzle. But if it's an image of Sarah Smith - then in my mind it's a portrait, if it's an image of a young woman who could be anyone then it's illustrative. Does that make sense?

I don't think any state or local seperates the images during the actual judging anymore. So the only time a panel would know which catergory a print was entered would be in head to head for awards. I think, and this is JMO, this blurring of lines between what is illustrative and what is portrait is why PEC did away with those catergories and went to photographic open many years ago.


09-16-2009, 10:29 PM
Actually....Maryland and PA still keep those categories separate. The judges do know what categories they are judging.

I guess that could affect scores or the way a judge looks at a print but it shouldn't.

09-17-2009, 12:21 AM
Michigan still has the categories separate I believe. I can't say for sure, but that's what I remember from the last one I sat in on.

09-17-2009, 12:40 AM
Thanks Y'all! This helps some. It is so silly to even have the sub-categories! Still not sure how I am going to enter my prints. Ha!

BTW, Betsy I have a dog similar to your pic! He's a chow/rotti mix and a big Teddy Bear!

09-17-2009, 04:49 PM
It is so silly to even have the sub-categories!

You need the categories in order to give out more awards! :D

09-19-2009, 11:25 PM
Well I sure won't be getting any of those 'other' awards this year! I only had one sealed out of four (I really only expected one this time around, but it wasn't the one I expected! I've been in a creative slump).
There was some REALLY extreme judging going on. At least 3 judges in our room were 'over zealous' about 'down talking' prints to knock down scores. Now I can understand if it is close to a merit but to call back a 73 to knock it below 69?!?! Come on!? Just kick 'em when they're down why don'cha!? The poor print maker will probably never try again.

On another note, due to the scores overall I came up with a fabulous idea for a print! Afterall, Nationals is a long way away, and plenty of time to rework, or scrap and start over for 3 more images! Heck, last year I only got 2 merits at Regionals but ended up 4 for 4 and 3 loan! Just have to get busy and stay positive! ;)