View Full Version : Help with understanding competitions

09-05-2011, 10:52 PM
Hi there I'm interested in entering some competitions except I have no clue what I'm doing. Is there something that I can read so that I can be better informed? The first time I have ever heard of an image being on loan was at the chicks who click event. I don't even know what that means though lol I thank you so much for pointing me in the right direction :)

09-06-2011, 12:47 AM
Over the last five years I've probably typed out an explanation at least a dozen times. I am just tired of repeating myself. But that is certainly not your fault and I'd be glad answer whatever questions you have. I just don't want to type it all out again. I am sending you a private message with my cell phone number if you want to call me. In case you don't know because you said you are new, look up at the blue box on the right hand side. It will indicate you have a private message. Click on that and you can access your messages.


09-06-2011, 01:54 AM

I don’t know if there is an article on the PPA website that describes the competition processes, but this is a quick rundown of how it works.

......(Keith - I had this saved from an earlier write up I did on the same subject quite a while back - so I just had to customize it a bit)

Competition can be entered at various levels - Local, State, Regional, National, and non PPA related. There is no requirement that you start out at any particular level.

You can start out in completion by entering your PPA District Competition or the PPA International Photographic Competition (IPC) if you want, and some people start out at the national level, and there is nothing wrong with that, but many people want to get their images reviewed at a lower level first to decide which images to submit to the IPC before jumping in.

The best way to get started is with your local professional photographic Guild. These usually consist of members from a particular metro area, and they usually have monthly meetings with monthly print competitions. This is a great networking opportunity and a chance to get your prints evaluated on a local level. Usually the local competitions allow you to bring in more images than the state competition will, so this can give you an evaluation of which images you might want to submit to the next level of competition. Awards presented at these local events are of local scope only and usually include ribbons and local “bragging rights” If you are in the Phoenix area, you can contact Kay Eskridge at www.imagesbykay.com, she is a Phoenix and Arizona PPA Past President, and she can direct you to the right contact person in your area.

The next level is your state association, which for you would be the Arizona Professional Photographer Association. They have an annual convention with a print competition which will expose you to a wider scale of competitors, and more qualified jurors. Usually at a state judging, you are allowed to enter 4-6 images. Awards at the state level are usually ribbons, trophies, plaques, and statewide titles for State Photographer of the year, etc. Awards received at the state level are only applicable at the state level and do not apply towards PPA national degree programs. If you are interested in joining, you can contact AzPPA’s Executive Director Dan Hammel at lchammel@aol.com or AzPPA Past President Bob Coates at bob@bcphotography.com, I’m sure they will be able to help you.

The next level would be your PPA District judging. This is the first level of PPA competition. At the District level, you can enter up to 4 entries. All District level entries are handled by PPA through their website. The competition is run by PPA Jury Chairs, images are judged by PPA Qualified Jurors and images are judged for PPA Seals of Approval. Images are judged against a “Standard”, and that standard is the “12 Elements of a Merit Print” (see http://www.ppa.com/competitions/international/12elements.php ) and are not judged against other images. Images that receive a score of 80 or higher will receive a PPA “Seal of Approval” and will receive a PPA Exhibition Merit when submitted to the very next PPA International Print Competition. At the District competitions, you may also be eligible for “Best of” awards in the various categories depending on the awards slate being presented by the Regional association hosting the District competition. The PPA Photographic Exhibition Committee has divided the US into 5 Districts. Since you live in Arizona, your District would be Southwest which includes Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mexico. The District map is available on the PPA web site at http://www.ppa.com/pdfs/pecdistrict.pdf. This years SouthWest District judging is coming up at the end of this month in Arlington, TX. The SouthWest PPA District judging is being held in conjunction with the (combined) 2011 Texas PPA and Southwest Regional Convention on September 29th-October 4th, 2011 at the Arlington Sheraton Hotel and Convention Center in Arlington, TX. You can find more information on the SouthWest District judging at the Southwest PPA web site http://www.swppa.com/

NOTE: The SouthWest District Judging and the Southwest Regional Professionald Photographers Association are two distinct different things. SWPPA is a Regional association run by Board members from the 6 member states (Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Colorado). The SouthWest District is a division of the US made by the PPA Photographic Exhibitions Committee that states that the preliminary judgings for that part of the country will be held at one of the member group's conventions and will be participated in by states in the PPA-PEC's SouthWest District (The PPA SouthWest District includes the 6 member states plus Utah, Arizona, and Mexico). I'll bet that last paragraph is about clear as mud - so if you have any specific questions about SouthWest District vs the Southwest Professional Photographers Association, post your specific question and I'll try to clarify.

At the District level, there are two separate competitions that take place - Photographic Open and Electronic Imaging - as these two competitions apply towards two separate PPA degrees. The Photographic Open competition includes Commercial entries and merits earned in this competition apply towards the PPA Master of Photography Degree. Merits earned in the Electronic Imaging competition apply towards the PPA Master Artist Degree. Since there are only a limited number of jurors qualified to judge in the Commercial category and the Electronic Imaging competition, the District preliminary judging for Commercial category and EI competition are held only at the SouthEast District Competition. You can enter up to four images in the Photographic Open Competition (Photographic Open includes the Portrait, Illustrative, and Commercial categories), and up to four images in the separate Electronic Imaging Competition.

The top level of competition would be the PPA International Photographic Competition (IPC). This competition is held once a year in June after all of the District competitions for that year have been completed. You can enter a maximum of 4 entries in the Photographic Open competition. If any of your entries have received a “Seal of Approval” at a PPA District competition, you can send that “sealed” entry in to the IPC where it will be automatically accepted for the PPA General Collection. You can also send in unsealed entries which will be judged for acceptance for the General Exhibit. There is no requirement that an image be judged at any other level before being submitted to the IPC - in fact, every year at the IPC, we receive many images that have never been judged before, and some of those are accepted for Exhibition, some even go on to be accepted into the Loan Collection. All accepted images will receive a PPA “Exhibition Merit” towards the appropriate degree (Master of Photography or Master Artist). All prints that are deemed “accepted” will be judged at the IPC for possible inclusion in the PPA “Loan Collection”. Those images accepted for the Loan Collection will be permanently retained by PPA for their various institutional and traveling exhibitions and will be awarded a second “Exhibition Merit” towards the appropriate Masters degree. All non-accepted images will be returned to the maker. Accepted General Exhibit images (along with the non-accepted images from cases that had images accepted) will be held by PPA and returned after being exhibited at the PPA International Convention (Imaging USA) the following January. Images accepted into the PPA Loan Collection will be retained by PPA and will not be returned to the maker.

There is also the PPA Showcase book for which your image can be selected. This is a “Jurors Choice” book, and is filled by images selected by the jurors at the IPC. Each juror is allowed a very limited number of selections for the Showcase Book, so having your image selected for the Showcase Book is also quite an honor.

After the conclusion of the IPC, the top images from the IPC will be again judged for the PPA “Grand Imaging Awards” where the winners can earn cash awards from PPA and valuable merchandise awards from PPA sponsoring industry members.

You can also find some more specific information about the District Competitions in this thread: http://www.ppa.com/community/forums/showthread.php?t=23161

There are also numerous private, independent (Non PPA, and non PPA-affiliated) photographic competitions that you can enter, but be VERY careful about entering those - read the rules - ALL the rules - CAREFULLY. In some of the competitions, just for the honor of entering their competition, you sign away all of your reproduction rights and turn over your copyright to the image to the person conducting the competition - they now own your image - and you may not be able to sell, use, or even display it yourself in your studio or on your website after entering it in their competition - you give the competition owner all of the rights to the image - they can sell it if they wish, and even prevent you from selling it in the future since they now own your image !!! This is NOT the case with a PPA competition. The only rights you license to PPA are the rights to display it at the convention, publish it in the Loan or Showcase books, and display your image if it is selected for the Loan Collection. With a PPA competition, you maintain all of your copyrights - not so with some other competitions - so be CAREFUL !!!

So that is the quick rundown - any specific questions please highlight and I will try to clarify.

09-12-2011, 07:53 PM
Thanks so much for the info. Is there any where that we can view previous entries online? I see a pdf that lists the winners by name and image title, but I'd love to view the images themselves so that I can get a better idea of what type of image is competition worthy.


09-12-2011, 08:23 PM
Julie, you can buy the loan collection books here (http://www.marathonpress.com/ppa-loan-collection/) .

This month's PPA magazine has a wonderful display of loan prints as well as having a series of about 5 in each month's magazine.

Hope that helps!

09-13-2011, 01:11 AM
PPA does not publish all of the images that are accepted for exhibition, but you can see a portion of the Loan collection on-line on the ASP (American Society of Photographers) web site. The link to the 2011 ASP Masters Loan Collection is below. The ASP Masters Loan Colection from 2002 to 2011 can be also be found there in slide show form. These are images from the PPA International Photographic Competition that were accepted for the PPA Loan Collection and were submitted by Masters who are members of the ASP.


09-15-2011, 08:02 PM
Thanks for the info. I watched the slideshow and wow, so many of those are so heavily digitally/artistically rendered; I guess it's time go read the "when is a photograph no longer a photograph" thread.

Thanks again.

11-28-2011, 03:51 AM
Hi, Imaging USA 2012 is coming up soon, and I am wondering when and how I am supposed to submit the photos accepted for exhibition (from the IPC, one general, one loan!) I haven't seen any information, the entries were submitted digitally. Thanks in advance.

11-28-2011, 04:55 AM
I'm confused by your question.

You entered images to IPC digitally and had a General Collection and a Loan Collection, and you're wondering if you need to do more with them?

11-28-2011, 05:26 AM
Hi, Imaging USA 2012 is coming up soon, and I am wondering when and how I am supposed to submit the photos accepted for exhibition (from the IPC, one general, one loan!) I haven't seen any information, the entries were submitted digitally. Thanks in advance.

If you're asking what you need to do to have these images exhibited at Imaging, there is nothing more for you to do except attend the convention and come view the digital exhibit.

The prints and files that were judged at the IPC in June are the images that will be displayed at the convention - and the PEC has the files and prints from the IPC. The accepted prints will be displayed in a print exhibit area, and the digital files that were accepted will be displayed in a digital display that will probably be located right in the front of the print display area.

If you are asking what you need to do to have a print of your digital file displayed - that is not possible - the images are displayed in the format in which they were submitted and judged. So if you submitted a digital file, it will be displayed in the slide show on the monitors in the digital display area.

You can order a copy of the Loan Collection book which will have your image that was accepted for the Loan Collection included in the book.

11-29-2011, 01:15 AM
OK, Rick, that was my question you answered, thanks!