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John_Earl
08-11-2005, 04:04 PM
I'm a member of the Wedding & Portrait Photographers International as well as PPofA, as I'm sure many other PPoA members are.

What do you think about the WPPI's 8X10 Print Competition? Wouldn't this resolve the problem about the bright competition lighting that the PPoA has. I've sat in judging rooms and from the audience area a 16X20 print doesn't look that big so there is no advantage to having larger prints in terms of the perspective of those not judging.

As far as print displays are concerned, quite often the conditions for the display of 16X20s are not ideal, particularly when the prints are so dark. Couldn't some sort of technological fix for print display be found, say on high definition monitors after the prints are digitally captured by a scanner?

If you want to see how beautiful a photographer's work really is the best place seems to be when there are prints displayed during the photographer's program. They are often larger than 16X20 and printed as they would normally be printed.

D._Craig_Flory
08-11-2005, 09:25 PM
I disagree ... print competition prints help show clients what a well printed image looks like. And 8"x10" is a table size portrait. All of us want to sell wall sizes. So even if 16"x20" is a small size, it helps us get clients to order bigger sizes. As for viewing a competition ... when you view prints on the display racks you see them under room light. In the competition room, the viewing conditions are for the judges and not for anyone watching. I've been a print judge twice and think the viewing rules are fine as they are.

Craig Flory

John_Earl
08-12-2005, 06:42 PM
A WPPI representative sent me the following description of their 8X10 competition:

The WPPI 8x10's are a much more photographer-friendly atmosphere than 16x20 judging. The judges sit at the same table as the print is displayed and are permitted to pick up the print if they choose to. (As long as they don't look at the back - which would reveal the photographer's name.)

Now - here is the really great part: We have the halogen lights in the room. The judges can ask that both the halogen lights be turned out and only office lighting remains
- or -
- the lights can be moved around -
- or -
one can be turned off and one left on, etc.

Whatever any of the judges feel would show off a print better - they can request. How cool is that? So yes, the prints do not have to be too dark. Just make sure that detail is not lost by lightening the print during the print process. You don't want to lose detail.

Sounds interesting!

Robin_Arkenberg
10-06-2005, 04:32 PM
I disagree ... print competition prints help show clients what a well printed image looks like. And 8"x10" is a table size portrait. All of us want to sell wall sizes. So even if 16"x20" is a small size, it helps us get clients to order bigger sizes. As for viewing a competition ... when you view prints on the display racks you see them under room light. In the competition room, the viewing conditions are for the judges and not for anyone watching. I've been a print judge twice and think the viewing rules are fine as they are.

Craig Flory

Hi Craig,

I noticed the term "viewing rules" mentioned and was wondering what those rules are. I've sat through a few state print competitions and observed the seating and lighting arrangement for the judges. However, I've also seen quite often, judges get out of their seats and go right up to the print to view it very closely. Is this something that happens frequently?

Just Curious,

Robin

Buddy_Stewart
10-06-2005, 07:15 PM
Robin,
The "viewing rules" are really specifications for the judging setup and the protocol for challenges of the score the image receives. The Jury Chairman's manual gives diagrams for all competitions conducted by the Photographic Exhibitions Committee. You can download this manual from the PPA website. It is found under the Photographic Exhibitions Committee area. Judges may view image at close distance if there is anything feel needs to be looked at closer. Size of the image may demand the viewer to examine it closer or there may be some question about retouching, artwork or detail the juror needs to answer before scoring.
Protocol dictates that a score must be given before comments may be made about the image. Comments are begun by a juror or Jury Chairman challenging the score given. The challenger speaks first and then each juror speaks in turn moving to the right until it comes back to the challenger who gets a rebuttal to the comments made by the other jurors. Each juror may only challenge an image once during the scoring phase. The images receiving scores of 81-78 are automatically challenged and brought back before the panel for a rejudging called the "ins and outs" or thumb vote. An 80% vote of the panel is required to raise the score (78-79 images) or lower the score (81-80 images).
The judging method is the fairest possible. An image is judged by six jurors (5 + an alternate) and a jury chairman, all of whom can challenge the results (possible total of 7 challenges). If more than one panel is operating at the time a juror has the right to ask that the print be sent to another paner for their opinion. Contrary to popular opinion, the judges do want those entering to succeed, however the standard must not be comprimised as the merits received are for the Master's degree.
Hope this helps,
Buddy Stewart
PEC Vice-chairman

Buddy_Stewart
10-06-2005, 07:48 PM
Robin,
The "viewing rules" are really specifications for the judging setup and the protocol for challenges of the score the image receives. The Jury Chairman's manual gives diagrams for all competitions conducted by the Photographic Exhibitions Committee. You can download this manual from the PPA website. It is found under the Photographic Exhibitions Committee area. Judges may view image at close distance if there is anything feel needs to be looked at closer. Size of the image may demand the viewer to examine it closer or there may be some question about retouching, artwork or detail the juror needs to answer before scoring.
Protocol dictates that a score must be given before comments may be made about the image. Comments are begun by a juror or Jury Chairman challenging the score given. The challenger speaks first and then each juror speaks in turn moving to the right until it comes back to the challenger who gets a rebuttal to the comments made by the other jurors. Each juror may only challenge an image once during the scoring phase. The images receiving scores of 81-78 are automatically challenged and brought back before the panel for a rejudging called the "ins and outs" or thumb vote. An 80% vote of the panel is required to raise the score (78-79 images) or lower the score (81-80 images).
The judging method is the fairest possible. An image is judged by six jurors (5 + an alternate) and a jury chairman, all of whom can challenge the results (possible total of 7 challenges). If more than one panel is operating at the time a juror has the right to ask that the print be sent to another paner for their opinion. Contrary to popular opinion, the judges do want those entering to succeed, however the standard must not be comprimised as the merits received are for the Master's degree.
Hope this helps,
Buddy Stewart
PEC Vice-chairman

Robin_Arkenberg
10-06-2005, 11:35 PM
Thanks Buddy,

I appreciate that. It has bothered me for some time now.

Robin

D._Craig_Flory
10-07-2005, 01:01 AM
There are not always 5 judges and not always 16" X 20"s. In our Pa. state group we have a competition every October meeting of 8" x 10" s ... of images showing our state. Not only are they 8" X 10"s but there are only 3 judges. I've been a judge twice at the Northeast Pa. Prof. Photogs. group and there are only 3 judges there also. The big problem with 5 judges is that each score counts one third instead of 20%.

It was mentioned about judges going up close to look at an image. That is usually to check sharpness and also usually after a challenge of the score. Sometimes it's also to see if artwork is noticeable.

D. Craig Flory PPA Certified

Buddy_Stewart
10-07-2005, 05:33 PM
Craig,
As I stated in the previous post "The Jury Chairman's manual gives diagrams for all competitions " there should always be 5 jurors and an alternate. Should an emergency arise (sickness, weather or some other reason) the jury chairman may use their discretion to work with less jurors on a panel. Many state and local guilds use other arrangements and do not come under the auspices of the Photographic Exhibitions Committee. This is perfectly alright as the results do not apply to the merit program which earns the Master of Photography, Master of Electronic Imaging or master Artist degrees.
PEC does feel however that the closer judgings are conducted to the PEC standard the better success those desiring to achieve merit status for a print will have. In my opinion one of the reasons that so many don't understand or are afraid of the judging process is that the same procedures and protocol standard are not used at all levels.
Pennsylvania has a very good system for promoting competition. I wish other states had the same.
Keep Grinnin',
Buddy

John_Earl
10-10-2005, 08:47 PM
Of course I've always maintained that the lighting for print competition is too bright. By having 8X10s judged this apparently needed brighter lighting would be mitigated.

But, to throw out an idea... why not have a preliminary judging with 8X10s? The cost of producing 16X20 prints for competition is tremendous. If non-competitive prints were eliminated by the screening process of a first-stage 8X10 competition only 16X20s with a chance of hanging would be produced for judging.

Many labs have a service for printing competition prints. These prints are really not suitable for display in most homes. They look murky and dark. I would hope that any customer buying a print that was in a competition would be getting a duplicate print that was printed for "normal" viewing circumstances. And hopefully one that was larger than 16X20!

D._Craig_Flory
10-11-2005, 03:37 PM
Hi John; I disagree on three things. Number one ... I send all my work, over the net, using ftp ... to my lab. It costs me $15.99 for a 16"X20" plus the cost of mounting. I spray the prints in my spray booth. So it now costs me less, for a print case of four, than it did before for one print. Every image I send has been fully enhanced, & prepared, in Photoshop by me.

Secondly, it is our job to teach clients to understand print quality and saturation. The most knowledgable clients have track lighting or photo lights over their images.

Third ... even though we do have a competition of 8"X10"s and three judges, our main convention competition is 16"X20"s with five judges and an alternate. One of the best learning experiences is sitting in on a print competition to see what images score best. An 8"X10" at the back of the room does nothing to help because you can't see what it is that they just commented on but a 16"x20" is big enough. Then later they can walk around the print racks and see close up what they viewed.

One other thought ... if you belong to your state group (I strongly recommend that) try having a print critique at a meeting to go over possible images for competition. You could go with more than enough for a print case and narrow it down to the best four. If you don't belong to your state group, consider dropping WPPI and joining. And if you have friends who are Masters ... ask one or more to be a mentor you can send images to for opinions as to which should do well.

So even though I enjoy our 8"X10" competition, I always look forward to the real test at our convention. My suggestion for you is to get on print committee at PPA or at your state association. You will learn a lot about what goes on.

Sincerely; D. Craig Flory PPA Certified

John_Earl
10-12-2005, 04:09 PM
Since I stopped entering PPofA print competitions long ago because of my dislike of the intense lighting used, I guess you and I will just have to agree to disagree about "saturation" and special lighting in the homes of our clients.

The concept that the competition 16X20s cost too much was introduced to me by an employee of one of the most highly regarded labs in the country. I'm glad you have found a method that holds your costs down. Most people are not so lucky!

Is there A PPofA 8X10 print competition that is a preliminary for 16X20 judging? I believe the display conditions at many competitions for accepted prints do not provide bright enough lighting for the 16X20s. 8X10s could be displayed more easily. Also having gone to many judgings I've observed that the fact that 16X20s were used doesn't increase the visability for most attending who are not judges. If 8X10s were used a digital projection from a scanner could be employed so that the print could be seen better by all.

I was just making some suggestions that I thought might benefit photographers that compete in print judgings.

Don_Mitchell
10-12-2005, 06:17 PM
If you read the rules carefully, you found that you can enter ANY SIZE image as long as it is mounted on a 16" x 20" board. I could have mounted a postage stamp in the bottom corner of the mount board if it would have added to the presentation of the image. I actually had all four of my competition images printed by Costco as 12" x 18" images and then mounted them on black foam core from the local office supply. Total cost for each entry was around $10 and 3 out of my four entries hung. I know other photographers that have hung images that were ink jet prints. It is not the size of the image that we should be talking about but rather what we can do with that image to create the emotional and visual impact that will move the judges to score 80 or higher.

There are many avenues within the PPA structure which allow you to secure opinions as to which of your images might score higher in competition. Local affiliates and guilds generally hold monthly print competition and PPA State Affiliates generally hold one or two annual competitions at which you can be scored by a jury of you peers. One word of caution, these competitions are not usually judged by PPA affiliated jurors, so scores do not always reflect the PPA International scoring level.

For the last two years PPA has held a "digital entry" image competition. Although no merits were issued for entries in this competition, it was judged by PPA Affiliated Jurors so it was a good proving ground for my competition images that I was considering sending to the International Print Competition. I was able to submit one image per CD so my hard cost was about $1 for all four entries plus the incredibly low $35 entry fee. The judges viewed the images on a 32 inch plasma monitor and they could have projected those images with a data projector if the audience had been larger.

PEC has also had a free service the last couple of years available in the print exhibition area at the Imaging USA convention. I was able to bring 10 - 8x10s to the convention and sit down with a PPA Affiliated Juror for about half an hour and pick their brain as to which images had more impact and what I could do to improve them. If I felt I needed a second opinion, I was able to schedule another appointment the next day and talk with a different judge. Again, this service was FREE and the convention programs and the trade show was a wonderful bonus.

Print competition has really forced me to expand my way of thinking when creating images and has taught me to view subject matter from a more artistic point of view. In comparing my work today with images I created as little as five years ago, I can personally see the growth in my creativity.

Keep striving for perfection.

Don Mitchell

Dan_Leary
10-18-2005, 06:02 PM
Greetings,

I hate to to this again, but I agree with John, but probably for different reasons.

Last year was my first year competing, and all of my images hung. Some of them didn't score as high as they could have due to a poor print job. The one that I thought would score the highest actually scored the lowest because when it was shown under the competition lights it nearly glowed. No I didn't pay a whole lot of money for the prints and I could have found a better lab, but it's all a very long story that I will spare you and get straight to the point.

I don't mind getting beat with the learning stick, I just don't like paying a small fortune for it. All in all, I spent around $1400.00 on our state convention, that includes prints, hotel, entry fees, meals, etc;. As I've stated before, I've been very fortunate to work with some great photographers and they competed, so I can appreciate the value of doing so myself. However, I read another thread here were the discussion was basically "lack of enthusiasm". Basically, noone is pursuing their masters and other degrees and the debate was "How do we drum up more enthusiasm?" We all drive, but how many of us want to throw down a couple million to start our own NASCAR team? An 8X10 competition be a great way to introduce newer members into print competition without breaking the bank. Plus, if it was done in sitdown fashion with the judges at the table offering critique... how many wouldn't have killed for that when they were first starting out? Even if it was done for just 1/2 of a day and was limited to two years of entering, or even made available for aspiring and affiliate members only. I think the response would be great.

By opening the door for more aspiring photographers, it would only benefit the art and profession of what we do by introducing a higher standard of quality and ethics. And wouldn't we all benefit from that?

That's just my opinion, I could be wrong.

Dan

Michael_Gan
10-18-2005, 08:19 PM
Probably one of the biggest mistakes photographers make in competition, and actually (come to think of it) for their clients, is the final evaluation of the print before submission. We often rely too much on the lab to print that "magical image". Part of the masters/mastering process is your ability to not only take the image, but to take charge of the fit and finish of the image. Once I figured out that piece of the puzzle, finishing my masters was relatively easy. Take the time to make sure your criteria for print competition is the right one and your prints will shine. That is was "mastering" is all about, hence the term "Master of Photography".

Buddy_Stewart
10-19-2005, 01:11 PM
Dan wrote "Plus, if it was done in sitdown fashion with the judges at the table offering critique"
This has been happening at the national convention for the last two years and will happen in Austin this January. Any member can bring their images in any size (8x10 reccommended) and sit with an affiliate judge to have them critiqued. This will be happening in the print exhibit area for periods during the exhibit. Come join us.
Buddy Stewart
PEC Vice-chairman

John_Earl
11-03-2005, 10:55 PM
My WPPI 2nd Half Print Competition entries got two 78s and one 76. That seems about right.

78:http://img261.imageshack.us/img261/2210/wellsa3rc.th.png (http://img261.imageshack.us/my.php?image=wellsa3rc.png)

76:http://img261.imageshack.us/img261/112/wellsb1ju.th.png (http://img261.imageshack.us/my.php?image=wellsb1ju.png)

78: http://img371.imageshack.us/img371/818/picture35wo.th.png (http://img371.imageshack.us/my.php?image=picture35wo.png)

Kirk_Kief
11-12-2005, 01:21 AM
John,
You mention having the 8x10s scanned and then projected for the viewing audience. Do you have any idea how long this process would take? Not knowing the numbers for PPA entries, but, let me use our states stastics, Florida. We have, on average, about 650 prints entered. Now, with everything staying the same, if we scanned all 650 prints, then of course you have some handling of the scanned file for sharpening and cropping, then saving. Let's say that one print takes about 1.5 minutes, from laying the print on the scanner through the final save of the image. Remember, also, that most scanners will hold just one 8x10 print. So, with 650 prints, we are looking at approximately 975 minutes for this, or 16.5 hours.
Remember, I'm using numbers from a state competition, the number of entries from a PPA competition is much higher. While your concept is interesting, at least as far as projecting the entries, the actualities just are not feasible.
Besides, in a few more years, with the advances of technology, I think you'll find the print competitions will be changing drastically. I foresee a time in the not too far distant future that we will be submitting files, and not prints. I actually have even worked out a method by which a full digital competition can take place. Actually, it is fascinating, and there are some definite advantages for both the judges and the viewers.

John_Earl
11-14-2005, 11:34 PM
John,
You mention having the 8x10s scanned and then projected for the viewing audience. Do you have any idea how long this process would take? Not knowing the numbers for PPA entries, but, let me use our states stastics, Florida. We have, on average, about 650 prints entered. Now, with everything staying the same, if we scanned all 650 prints, then of course you have some handling of the scanned file for sharpening and cropping, then saving. Let's say that one print takes about 1.5 minutes, from laying the print on the scanner through the final save of the image. Remember, also, that most scanners will hold just one 8x10 print. So, with 650 prints, we are looking at approximately 975 minutes for this, or 16.5 hours.
Remember, I'm using numbers from a state competition, the number of entries from a PPA competition is much higher. While your concept is interesting, at least as far as projecting the entries, the actualities just are not feasible.
Besides, in a few more years, with the advances of technology, I think you'll find the print competitions will be changing drastically. I foresee a time in the not too far distant future that we will be submitting files, and not prints. I actually have even worked out a method by which a full digital competition can take place. Actually, it is fascinating, and there are some definite advantages for both the judges and the viewers.Sounds like the future holds some promise! Maybe if my prints won't have to be so dark I'll enter a competition, not that I'd hang anything!