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GregYager
10-24-2010, 06:03 PM
I'm sitting in Springfield, Illinois watching my first ever print judging and I must say it's an educational experience. If you've never watched one of these I highly recommend that you make it a point to. It's a great way to get a feel for what to expect.

Joe_Campanellie
10-24-2010, 06:58 PM
An even better way is to work behind the scenes...that will give you a real education as to how the process works from beginning to end. Also gives you access to the people running the competition.

GregYager
10-24-2010, 08:52 PM
I'll be looking for a chance to do just that. This whole process is great. Really teaches you how to critique your work by observing everyone's take on the elements.

GregYager
10-25-2010, 04:51 AM
I was sitting behind the judges using my phone when I sent the first 2 posts on this thread so I kept it short and sweet because I didn't want to miss anything but I have more to say about this.

People that have been here for a while and have watched print judging will find all of this to be old news but I wanted to share this with people like myself that have never competed or seen the review process.

The knowledge you can gain here is priceless. Watching today's judging has shown me how every element of making a competition print comes in to play.

The most important thing can sometimes be the title. You hear the title being called out by the announcer as the display spins around and it gets your mind going as to what it can be. It's the mood setter. Boring titles seemed to make the judges appear less interested. Colorful or intriguing titles seemed to perk their interest and you could see them move to watch the print come around. One image had a title that really didn't fit and it started them on a roll looking for imperfections. Titled properly it might have done better.

Presentation and print quality seemed to play a big role with both the judges and myself. Nicely lacquered prints seemed to jump out and scream "Look at me!" Some prints had a poor finish and it was evident even from where I was sitting. Borders/mats were discussed a lot and very few images looked good without one.

Bigger seems to be better from what I seen. 8x8 images matted on a 16x20 just didn't seem to draw the same attention as ones that took up more of the space. To me it was like the image was sub par and they didn't want to push their luck by blowing it up. This wasn't always the case but it seemed prevalent to me.

Prints with good saturation and crisp blacks fared better than ones that appeared to be "under printed". Distracting "hot spots" were noticed right away.

The folio competition just didn't hold my interest much. Placement of these images is a critical factor though along with matching skin tones. I saw one with 3 different skin tones from the same shoot. The judges obviously noticed this as well. Don't just think pose placement here but color placement as well. It does make a difference.

The album competition is also very dependent on consistency. Keep in mind that images print differently on press printed products than on traditional RC or ink jet. The most common downfall was images that were just too washed out. Great work but it just didn't have any "snap".

I also got to see digital submissions and the whole atmosphere was different for me. The event seemed to lose it's luster. In my mind I was no longer viewing art. I got the feeling I was back at work "soft proofing". Maybe I'm just a traditionalist at heart but looking at the monitor just did nothing for me. The work being shown was excellent but to me it seemed like an unfinished work due to the manner in which I was seeing it. I would be all for projecting these images to 20x30 if it was possible to judge the quality in this manner.

Ok. So that's a "new guy's" take on print judging. As I mentioned earlier I highly recommend that if you've never seen this you really should. I gained a mountain of respect for everyone that submitted images and even more respect for the ones that were there in the chairs beside me watching. It just brings it all together so that it makes sense why we do the things we do.

Michael_Gan
10-25-2010, 03:17 PM
Glad you had a good experience. One note though, on the digital, is that until everyone is on board with the district/national standard, the experience for digital judging will be significantly different. From what I heard about the SE region, it was all very positive.

GregYager
10-25-2010, 03:23 PM
I'm sure it will be better Michael that was just my take on it. It wasn't that they did it bad or anything it just didn't have the same feel for me. Being a newbie meant I really enjoyed the whole pomp and circumstance of seeing the real prints spin around. I just thought how great would it be to project the digital to add a somewhat dramatic feel to it. It may have been the fact that they brought a monitor out on a table that killed it for me. I'm sure that once it becomes a regular part of the event they'll find a way to make them easier to see. I was having to peek between heads to see the images.

Keith_A_Howe
10-25-2010, 04:13 PM
Don't you have to peek between heads to see the prints? Or is that just the case for me cause I am a short guy?

We will continue to have prints accepted as long as enough people enter prints to make it worthwhile to continue judging prints. I am afraid that the general society opinion now days is to take the cheapest and easiest route. Entering digital files is cheaper and easier. Whether it's better is a matter of personal opinion.

Keith

Tss1203
10-25-2010, 04:19 PM
thanks for sharing Greg! I attended our local affiliate print comp last year and it was a eye opening experience. Too bad I can't make it to the judging this year.

I agree with you about digital. There is just something about seeing the actual print that is awesome! I remember at Imaging last year not even paying attention to the monitor w/the images. It didn't hold my interest. I wanna see the prints :)

Tss1203
10-25-2010, 04:19 PM
PS-awesome new photo Keith!

GregYager
10-25-2010, 04:27 PM
Yes Keith I agree with Amy, awesome new pic!

I know people are looking for cheaper and easier but my heart is firmly planted with prints. I think if more people attended the judging they would probably feel the same way. Viewing the prints was easy because they had the chairs on risers behind the judges so even sitting down we could see over their heads. The table that had the monitor on it was short and all of the judges had to huddle together to make sure they were seeing the monitor straight on.

Maybe I need to start a "Save the Prints" campaign to insure we maintain the integrity of having a "Merit Print". It's a cause I would support with vigor!

Keith_A_Howe
10-25-2010, 10:19 PM
On an affiliate judging there are two moniters back to back with three judges viewing each moniter. So there isn't quite as much crowding.

Thanks for the comments on the avatar. It's a snapshot Holly took in Monterey.

Keith

GregYager
10-26-2010, 03:13 PM
Hey Keith I just found out that's there's a way to pair up with a competition mentor. I also heard you might just be the guy that sets this arrangement up. If that rumor is true how do I go about this?

Angela_Lawson
10-26-2010, 03:50 PM
I would definitely be interested in having a competition mentor as well. Please let us know if this rumor is true!

Rick_Massarini
10-26-2010, 05:02 PM
For the last few years at Imaging, PPA has set up mentor booths in the Print Exhibition area. You can sit down with a PEC Juror and get a personal critique of your work. They can tell you what is strong and what you might want to change before submitting your work for judging. Keith always volunteers to be a mentor in one of the booths. Is that what you're asking?

Missy50
10-26-2010, 05:09 PM
Rick, last year, this was by appointment. Jim Dingwell was in charge of setting up the appointments. I believe what they are asking is, will this be available at imaging in Jan and who will be the person to contact to make the appointment?

Keith_A_Howe
10-26-2010, 09:34 PM
Hi
Colleen Sweeney is the new PEC administrator. She just took over for Jim Dingwell. It might take her a bit to get organized. I think her email is csweeney@ppa.com assuming that they continue the normal email address pattern.
Check with her about setting up the mentor booth schedule for IUSA.
In the past this has been Sun, Mon and Tues. There have been 3 booths running at a time with sign up for 10 or 15 min time slots with an approved judge. I have recommended that you bring either 4x5 - 8x10 images about 10 or so or else bring your laptop, with the images in a folder. If using your laptop have it booted up and images loaded before your time starts so that you do not waste any of your time waiting on computers. This mentoring is great for helping choose which images to enter, suggestions on cropping, artwork and presentations as well as asking for thoughts on titles.
Keith

GregYager
10-26-2010, 10:49 PM
This sounds great and I will definitely look into it.

What I would love to find is a retired or semi-retired photographer that's looking to pass on his knowledge by taking a few people under his wings. They don't have to be retired but I doubt anyone running a full time studio would have the time for something like this.

Keith_A_Howe
10-27-2010, 04:31 PM
Sarah Johnston is running the print mentoring this year. I got this from Dennis Craft this morning. She does participate on this forum so hopefully she will see this and give us some more info.

Keith

Joe_Campanellie
10-27-2010, 07:32 PM
Keith...I know I saw this somewhere...do you have the specs on the monitors they are using to judge the digital entries?

Thanks...

Sarah_Johnston
10-28-2010, 01:41 AM
Hi Everyone. Sorry I am a bit behind here. YES the Mentor Booths will be up and running this year. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment please email me and put Mentor Booth in the subject line. sljphoto@hotmail.com There are still times available on all 3 days.
Greg, There photographers out there willing to pass on or help out others while running a full time operation. You just gotta get out there and meet as many people as you can. I found that it just sort of happens. You meet friends that will be able to help in different areas. Keep hanging out here too. This industry is known for it's willingness to help and share. Maybe not someone right in your back yard though. LOL

Brian_Dunn
10-28-2010, 04:30 AM
I know that this won't happen, but imagine if digital files were sent to a film recorder, then projected ten feet across...

GregYager
10-28-2010, 06:30 AM
I know that this won't happen, but imagine if digital files were sent to a film recorder, then projected ten feet across...

That would be stellar Brian! I would be happy just seeing it between 20x30 and 40x60. If it's a merit worthy image it should be able to hold up to the scrutiny of being shown large. If it's not merit worthy it will show right away without anyone having to leave their seat.

Jeff_Dachowski
10-28-2010, 12:00 PM
Greg,
Just to be the DA here. What if my intent was to produce a beautiful piece of art as an 8x10. All the artwork, composition etc are all designed to have the most impact on a smaller scale. Wouldn't that image have a hard time holding together at 20x30, or 40x60?
Jeff

GregYager
10-28-2010, 12:20 PM
It sure would Jeff...Think BIG:D

Keith_A_Howe
10-28-2010, 05:24 PM
While I love to think big, there are times when small is the right choice. For example a close up of a sleeping baby face. How is that gonna look as a giant image? It would be one thing as a billboard seen from 100 feet away. But even from halfway across a room it's gonna like like an alien baby that came to eat Cleveland.

Another thing I have heard said is that we don't need a print show because of how cool it would be to just have giant screens above the trade show floor with a slide show of all the images. Yeah, like the vendors are gonna be happy about that. And how many people are gonna stand with their heads tilted back, looking up high and discussing images that are only on the screen for a few seconds. Yeah, that would be good.

KirkDarling
10-28-2010, 07:06 PM
Another thing I have heard said is that we don't need a print show because of how cool it would be to just have giant screens above the trade show floor with a slide show of all the images. Yeah, like the vendors are gonna be happy about that. And how many people are gonna stand with their heads tilted back, looking up high and discussing images that are only on the screen for a few seconds. Yeah, that would be good.

That is a continuing issue with regard to many comparisons of hardcopy versus digital media.

For sure, it's very nice to be able to scan a wall of mounted images and hone in on those that catch your eye, then spend as much time studying them as you desire. I can't see that practically happening any time soon with the digital entries.

Joe_Campanellie
10-28-2010, 07:47 PM
Guess us dinosaurs and prints are going to be phased out at some point in time. Hopefully...just not too soon.

GregYager
10-28-2010, 08:23 PM
My heart is still firmly on prints Joe and I'm gonna make it my mission to do everything I can to keep them as the competition standard.

I'm only one voice but I tend to use it a lot.

Stephanie_Millner
10-28-2010, 08:24 PM
Ok, did I post in this thread somewhere? It keeps showing up like I did but I can't find any evidence of it...

Rick_Massarini
10-28-2010, 09:31 PM
It's kinda hard to discuss the merits of an image with others when viewing them when the image flashes by on a monitor for only a few seconds then it's gone...

GregYager
10-28-2010, 09:54 PM
No you didn't Steff....It's just a thread that's screaming for your input. :D

Sarah_Johnston
10-29-2010, 03:14 AM
I sincerely hope that the next generation of photographers finds a great value in the printed image. I personally find so much value in the print show. Being able to stroll through, get up close and personal to an image. Figure out how the maker did what they did. Get so inspired, that when I get home I feel a renewed creative flow. Some sound as if the print is all but dead and buried. WE can prevent it's demise. How? Enter every year, and enter prints!!!

GregYager
10-29-2010, 03:18 AM
I may not be the young generation but I'm brand new to the organization and I'm all about keeping prints alive. It's a message I plan to spread every chance I get. After all, it is the International Print Competition.

Images are merely allowed. :D

Sarah_Johnston
10-29-2010, 03:58 AM
Greg I hate to be the one to tell you this, but I believe it is going to be known as the International Image Competition.

Stephanie_Millner
10-29-2010, 09:46 AM
Ah, that must be it. Thanks Greg. :)

This relates more to Greg's first post, but every year I write (ok, WROTE) about VPPA State competition. So here's a blog post about my experiences with it in 2008: http://stephaniemillner.net/blog/2009/04/back-from-state-with-a-bevy-of-blues

Sarah_Johnston
10-29-2010, 03:47 PM
Thanks for the link Steff. I remember a couple of those from Nationals. Nice work!!

GregYager
10-29-2010, 05:00 PM
Awesome job at describing what it feels like being judged and having great results. Loved every word of it Steff.

Stephanie_Millner
10-29-2010, 05:16 PM
Thank you! :)
Here's another blog post I wrote about entering print comp (or the trials and tribulations of entering from another country anyway) http://stephaniemillner.net/blog/2010/06/so-exciting-long-post

GregYager
10-29-2010, 05:25 PM
Greg I hate to be the one to tell you this, but I believe it is going to be known as the International Image Competition.

Don't make me cry Sarah.....:(

Joe_Campanellie
10-29-2010, 06:20 PM
Ah, that must be it. Thanks Greg. :)

This relates more to Greg's first post, but every year I write (ok, WROTE) about VPPA State competition. So here's a blog post about my experiences with it in 2008: http://stephaniemillner.net/blog/2009/04/back-from-state-with-a-bevy-of-blues

Oh Oh...I think MJ and I might have been judges that year.

Joe_Campanellie
10-29-2010, 06:26 PM
Even after all these years of entering prints at the state, regional, and national levels...I still get huge butterflies when watching the print competition. I'm sure it's the same for the others also. It's very nerve racking to put your heart and soul into something and in the end hope that the judges appreciate what you have worked so hard on and "get it".

Karen_Walker
10-29-2010, 09:13 PM
Not to hijack the thread, but along the same subject; has anyone with loan or showcase book images been contacted by Marathon about the upcoming books? I thought I would have heard from them by now.

Keith_A_Howe
10-29-2010, 09:37 PM
We heard from Marathon that they are ahead of scheduale from last year. What are you asking? If they will contact you to order? If they will contact you with a proof of your images? or when they are ready to ship?

Keith

Karen_Walker
10-29-2010, 10:23 PM
I remember from last year that I was contacted for approval of my image and title for accuracy and was contacted again later with an offer to pre-purchase the loan book. That was in September last year. I haven't heard anything from Marathon this year. I called Marathon today and am waiting for a return call. Just wondering if anyone else was asked to approve their images and titles. I'll be pretty bummed if I miss out on being in the book because the email went into my spam folder or I somehow overlooked it.

Joe_Campanellie
10-29-2010, 11:01 PM
I heard from them months ago to approve the title and such.

Keith_A_Howe
10-30-2010, 12:21 AM
Karen, I got an email for the loan images several months ago. I think you should check your spam folder. That being said, I think they call people if they don't hear from them via email, so if they haven't called you either that would concern me.

Keith

Keith_A_Howe
10-30-2010, 12:25 AM
I just went back and looked. I got an email with the three proofs on September 24th.

Keith

Karen_Walker
10-30-2010, 02:04 AM
Keith, thanks so much for checking your email. Unfortunately, my spam is automatically deleted after 30 days. If my email came the same time as yours, I may have missed it since my husband was in the hospital having heart surgery. Needless to say, I was a little distracted.
I hope I didn't miss my chance to be in the book, actually I'd have images in both the loan and showcase books. I'm still pretty new to competition and it means a lot to me.
For anyone still on the fence about entering competition, let me say that it's a worthwhile experience. I've learned to look at my work in an entirely different way. And watching the judging is not only educational but is especially exciting when you've entered images.

Rick_Massarini
10-30-2010, 02:15 AM
If you haven't heard from Marathon yet, I suggest that you contact Linda Varn - she handles the Loan and Showcase books. Her email is: lindav@marathonpress.net

Stephanie_Millner
10-30-2010, 09:40 AM
Oh Oh...I think MJ and I might have been judges that year.

Actually, Joe - it was you I was referring to! (re: wedding image) :) :cool:

FYI - I just spoke with Linda Varn maybe 2-3 weeks ago. The Loan books are already in final production. Most likely you DID approve your images though - they were done differently than last year, in a form email from Marathon. I totally forgot I even approved it until Linda contacted me in regards to my country of residence. It was done only a few weeks after judging, really.

Joe_Campanellie
10-30-2010, 01:12 PM
Hope we were good to you. I remember the wedding image. Lots of impact with the use of color. VA has a great competition every year.. Lots of entries and lots of very good photographers. Usually takes at least a day and a half to judge everything.

Jeff_Dachowski
10-30-2010, 02:48 PM
Hope we were good to you. I remember the wedding image. Lots of impact with the use of color. VA has a great competition every year.. Lots of entries and lots of very good photographers. Usually takes at least a day and a half to judge everything.

Joe,
I am thrilled to be judging there in Feb. Cant wait to see the entries!
Jeff

Joe_Campanellie
10-30-2010, 04:25 PM
Jeff...great group of people. We have a lot of friends in VA. Pat Hansen runs the print competition and does all the behind the scenes work. If she still holds that position. She's great to work with.

I sent VA info for judging but never heard back. Guess I was too hard on them. Trying to get some judging with affiliates so I can get my letters done for the approved juror.

If you hear of anything...let me know.

Jeff_Dachowski
10-30-2010, 06:01 PM
I sent VA info for judging but never heard back. Guess I was too hard on them. Trying to get some judging with affiliates so I can get my letters done for the approved juror.

If you hear of anything...let me know.
Joe,
I did get your info. Unfortunatley, it was too late. Our judges had already been selected. Dont take it to hard that you didnt get called back again. It is rare to judge the same state twice in a row. Most states are looking to have different judges every year. We almost never have the same udge back to back, unless there is an emergency or something.
Jeff

Joe_Campanellie
10-30-2010, 07:23 PM
We haven't been there since 2008. Should have gotten this info out a lot earlier. Got distracted by a lot of stuff that was going on in PA. Not our home state but my wife and I have been members there for some 15 years.

Stephanie_Millner
10-30-2010, 08:30 PM
VPPA has a tough comp. A lot of big-time repeat players - generally the same 6-7 people who clean up all the awards every year. Then even the others who aren't the aforementioned group are still all national level Photogs of the Year (yes, Barbi - I'm talking about you!). Tough comp, but some good good stuff coming out of there.

Thanks Joe, even though you originally judged my wedding image at a 74, and thus I will give you grief for years to come. ("A wedding image should show the entire dress"...) :P

Joe_Campanellie
10-30-2010, 09:29 PM
Oh well...that's why there's five us up there. It's just an opinion. Can't be right all the time.

Suzy_Roberts
10-31-2010, 12:55 AM
ok..i'll throw my 2 cents in...as SWPPA was my first time to enter print comp...mind you I entered digitally...i got 4 for 4 at SWPPA.
Like I said, my first time entering, so obviously there were pros and cons...I can tell you tho, next year, I will be entering prints. I disliked the way the merited digital prints were viewed at SWPPA. Granted, I understand it was the first time that digital was allowed in a regional comeptition, but when people asked which prints were mine, I had to try and explain them and then we would have to wait for the entire slideshow to play again...
Now, I can ALSO tell you that if there had NOT been a digital entry allowed at SWPPA, I wouldn't have entered. A multitude of reasons really...laziness, not knowing the "printing" rules" things of that nature...

on an unrelated note...Steff, I cannot for the life of me pull up your blog entry and it makes me so sad!! :( I've tried in both IE and FF and it says page not found!! :(

GregYager
10-31-2010, 09:03 AM
...I can tell you tho, next year, I will be entering prints. I disliked the way the merited digital prints were viewed at SWPPA. Granted, I understand it was the first time that digital was allowed in a regional comeptition, but when people asked which prints were mine, I had to try and explain them and then we would have to wait for the entire slideshow to play again...
:(

That's music to my ears Suzy! I love your work and I think it's worthy of being made into prints.

Stephanie_Millner
10-31-2010, 10:53 AM
See, I'm actually considering doing FILES this year, only due to the fact that I had so much difficultly (and money lost) entering prints last year... but I might just send a case sight-unseen to my dad again. That seemed to work well for me... :)

Suzy, can you IM me later with what version of IE and FF you're using. I'd love to figure out why it's not loading. Need to make sure it's nothing on my end.

Bob_Coates
12-17-2010, 05:06 PM
See, I'm actually considering doing FILES this year, only due to the fact that I had so much difficultly (and money lost) entering prints last year...


It's not money lost. It's money invested in your education... Just a thought.

GregYager
12-17-2010, 05:16 PM
It's not money lost. It's money invested in your education... Just a thought.

She means money lost because she never got her print case back that was lost somewhere in transit.

Stephanie_Millner
12-17-2010, 06:58 PM
Yes, it's been almost a year and it's still missing!

GregYager
12-17-2010, 08:44 PM
Hey Steff...You're in ROME! We have no pity for your complaints. We're jealous and will stay that way until you move to a less glamorous location.:rolleyes:

Bob_Coates
12-18-2010, 11:24 AM
Whoops....