View Full Version : Preparing images

11-01-2010, 05:05 AM

I can't find anything that explains how to prepare images to be seen under the bright competition lighting. Can someone explain how to do this or help me find an existing tutorial?

I'm sure there's a tutorial somewhere, but I haven't found it.



11-01-2010, 01:36 PM
Well...if you send them to a lab that is familiar with making competition prints just ask them to make them to competition standards for density.

If you are going to view them yourself...adjust your lights so that your meter reads 1 second at F16...set the ISO to 100 on your meter.

I use a set of Lowell Tota Lights that I have had for years. Not the exact same as PPA uses but they have worked well for me over the years in evaluating color and density.

There should be something on the ppa.com site under competitions. I'm pretty sure the jury chairman's manual is there and has all the specifics so far as the lighting set up goes. I received a copy of that in the judges class so I know that info is in there.

Hope that helps.

11-01-2010, 04:23 PM

There is nothing in the rules or in any official statements that says you are supposed to compensate for the bright lights. So I kinda doubt that PEC has any tutorials on how to do it. It's just ones of those "folk wisdom" things that you pick up along the way, that prints will look better under the brighter lights if they are printed a little deeper. I assume because you are asking about this it means you haven't entered a lot. So I would suggest you invest in 2 or 3 8x10's . Adjust one file the way you would for a regular client print. Then take the same file and add about 10% density and then the same file again at about 20% density added. PEC uses very specific lights but you don't need to be that picky about it. I just take my two large softboxes, pull the front diffusion panels off and meter on the print I am looking at to be the specs Joe listed. Look at all three prints and see which density looks the way you want it to be viewed. Doing this may save you some money and some heartache. My prefered method of adding density is in levels. Assuming that it is a full range image, I bring my black slider up to about 4 or 5. If you hold the alt key while doing this you can see where you are starting to lose detail. Take it just to the edge of starting to block up the blacks. Then go to the white slider. Hold the alt key again and do the same thing, just to the edge of losing detail. This gets you a full range image. That should be your first 8x10. For me this is my everyday prints. Lets call it "A" Next take your midtone slider and take it to the right to about .90. That's your second 8x10 or the "B" print. Then go back to "A" as a starting point and take your midtone slider to .80 aprox. That should be your third 8x10 or "C". Depending upon the image this may be a little too dark. You want these 8x10's printed on F surface just as you would for the final print. Most images have the most impact on F surface. What you are looking for when comparing the three prints is taht the print "pops" and that there is detail in the highlights and in the shadows.

Another "folk wisdom" tidbit is blacking the edges. If your prints are mounted on regular mount board ( I have mine on black sintra so it's a non-issue) take a black marker and working from the backside color those white edges. Remember the print spins around on a turntable so if the edge is white the first thing a judge sees on your print is a little streak of white flashing by. That white streak is not gonna keep a print from meriting but why not give your print every little advantage you can - kinda like popping a breathe mint before you go into a consultation. Of course a highkey print you would not black the edges, just a mid to low key.


11-01-2010, 05:03 PM
Keith, thank you for explaining all that so in depth!

11-01-2010, 08:46 PM
Thanks Keith and Joe. I'm going to have to save these answers so I can work through them as I prepare for the next competition.