View Full Version : New comp rules.....

07-31-2005, 03:14 PM
just how free can we be on building thick layers and odd shapes for PPA print compatition?

08-02-2005, 04:20 PM
just how free can we be on building thick layers and odd shapes for PPA print compatition?

Hopefully I understand your message correctly - help me if I didn't.

If you are asking about electronic entries, only the Album Competition category will be opened to electronic entries in 2006, and the rules/guidelines are still in the process of being finalized.

If you are asking about layers on a print submission, such as mounts, sub-mounts, etc. PEC is still encouraging entries that are within the 1/8th-5/8ths thickness rule. Entries that are too thin or too thick or that are odd shapes (circles, etc.) create difficulties in handling and hanging the print exhibit and could mean damaged entries. If your entry exceeds those limitations, or if it's an odd shape that might not be secure on the racks at the exhibition, it will still be judged and will still be eligible for Loan, and the merits will still be awarded if the entry is successful. However - if the entry will be endangered because of size or shape we can not hang it in the exhibition.

Hope that helps!

08-03-2005, 08:45 PM
For individuals that do not hold the PPA Master of Photography Degree recognition, the image that they enter may be any size or shape provided it is mounted on a 16" x 20" presentation mount board. The limitation on the board thickness is not taken into account at the time of judging, but rather at the time of presentation at the International Exhibition. The rods used to hold the images will accept no greater than 3/8" in thickness and images that are too heavy to be supported by the rods or that are too thin and bow within the rod supports will not be exhibited. That is why PEC recommends a minimum thickness of 1/8" to maximum thickness of 3/8". Presentation mount boards that are made of wood, metal or glass will be disqualified from the competition.

Once you earn the designation of PPA Master of Photography, you are no longer bound by the 16" x 20" presentation limitations. Again, images maybe of any size or shape provided the presentation is a minimum of 80 square inches to a maximum of 480 square inches with the longest dimension being 24". Given this requirement a PPA Master of Photography could enter a photograph that is 8" x 10" or 3.5" x 24" all the way up to a 20" x 24" presentation. The same thick or thin guidelines apply as well as the mount material restrictions. In addition the rods that hold the photographs at the Internatioal Exhibition require that there be a flat surface on the bottom and top of the presentation, so circles, ovals and possibly triangles could be entered and merited but would not hang in the exhibition.

I hope this answers your questions with enough detail.

Don Mitchell
PEC Administrator

08-03-2005, 10:18 PM
I could enter an image on a 16x20 foam core....multiple layers.....of tissue and the like amounting to a print that at its thickest point was....?....3 inches thick....

and all wavy and ameba shaped......and it would get judged.....merited...in theory....and even Loan....but NOT be presented to the public....


08-03-2005, 11:37 PM
Why are Masters allowed to enter larger images? From what I saw in Kerrville,
most of thier entrys scored in the high 70's and were then voted into merit
after some debate. Seems to me that thier entries should stand-out without the added TELL of the image size.?? I think this needs to be rethought.


08-04-2005, 02:17 AM
I'd like to see the rule changed to everyone must submit a 20 inch print. If you want it square great. if you want it long and skinny that's ok too.
I've wondered why masters can have odd sizes also. I thought that the whole idea of a 16x20 to begin with is that the judges needed to see that the work would still look sharp enlarged. You can hide a lot of sins in an 8x10. I'm also not a personal fan of digitally adding a matte to a panoramic.

08-04-2005, 03:22 AM
Well, my take on PEC is that as a non-master, you're in a "learning" mode to "master" your image making capabilities. Confining the General Competition to 16x20 boundries levels the playing field for all entries working towards the degree. There's been some incredible creativity using these boundries. IMHO, entrants should not think of this boundry as a hinderence, but take a positive approach as a creative opportunity!

But, I must say, that the Masters category is fun! But I'm glad I've earned that right to the 24 inch rule. Now, if only they can open this up a little more, we've got these image transfers on fabric frescos we'd love to whip on the PEC judges (Joyce Wilson saw it, and is gaga over it).

08-05-2005, 12:12 AM
One of the twelve elements of a merit image is presentation. If a 3" thick mount enhances the presentation of the image and at least 4 of the 6 jurors that sit on that international panel judge the image to be worthy of a merit, then yes it will receive a merit and then be judged for loan. Because of it's thickness however.I would not be able to hang it at the Imaging USA Convention. I would be very careful before you start going crazy with mats. All too often I have heard a juror state that a mat overpowers the image and because of that the image did not hang.

If I remember the reason for the size difference between Masters and non-Masters, I believe that Masters were given a little more liberty in order to encourage continued participation from Masters. Until recently, once you received a Master of Photography Degree recognition, PPA had no further recognitions.

The Photographic ExhibitionCommittee will continue to evaluate competition rules and adapt them to new trends and technology. Three years ago PEC reduced the maximum size for masters from 30" down to 24" to better facilitate the handling at both the competition and exhibition. After spending the last two years testing the judging of albums and individual images utilizing electronic submissions, PEC has adopted for 2006 a new rule that will allow albums to be submitted digitally. (DVD or VCD)

Is there a correct size or shape image for entry into a PPA Print Competition.... I wuld have to say yes. The correct size or shape is one that enhances to the overall presentation. A 4" x 5" Polaroid emulsion transfer would probably not be enhanced by a 24" presentation mount board. An oil or acrylic enhanced illustrative portrait , like the one that scored 100 at the recent Western States Competition, would not have had the same impact as an 8"x 10" circle composition. Judges are not always perfect but with there being 6 judges on a panel, the ability to challenge an image up or down in score, and the ability to send the image to another panel for consideration, the PPA judging system is as close to perfect as is humanly possible. In addition, PEC is continually evaluating the jurors performance at the Regional and International level and is now requiring continued education for a juror to remain qualified. PEC is making every effort to keep the judging system a consistent and positive experience for our members.

Keep entering and keep growing.

Don Mitchell
PEC Administrator

09-28-2005, 07:00 PM
I have noticed that the blacks in competition prints are no longer black. The images printed digitally have alot more flexibility in terms of presentation but the blacks are not solid. Under bright lights there is no comparrison to traditional prints. Does this effect the scoring or is it the industry standard now? Which brings me to my next question. What qualifies as an electronic image? Most of the prints in competition now have been electronically created. Is there any difference in the two catagories anymore? Just wondering - David

09-28-2005, 08:20 PM
Hi David,

As I understand it, the EI images are judged souly on the work done to the images - much like the Art/Restoration. The image may, or may not be the entrant's creation. In the print competition, the actual photographer gets the credit for the image, even though the photographer may, or may not have done the artwork. This has always been the case in the past, where the photographer took the image, but the lab artist did the retouch/enhancements. Michael

09-28-2005, 11:05 PM
Makes one wonder...about the initial objective(s) of print competition.. It certainly isn't to measure photographic skills. If this were the case, the rule would be to submit only machine made "straight" prints. Before we had the photographer, the lab doing the retouching, mounting and printing, sometimes a frame shop doing the mat, etc. Now add to this either a lab or independent individual doing digital magic. I guess the rule states all this is OK if "under the supervision of the photographer", but come on! One who supervises the construction of their house shouldn't get the credit for creating it. The basic competition requirements haven't changed much in the past 25 years to my knowledge. I'd love to be able to submit images digitally, at least initially. This would save a small fortune in printing, mounting, shipping, etc. Maybe after judging, photographers would then submit hard prints for those images that merited (this could also be optional, since the merit is earned, not all photographers would choose to make a print just for exhibition).


09-29-2005, 01:01 AM
We all have to "Play the game" and conform to the rules. The only thing my lab does is print ... I prepare my images entirely in Photoshop and upload them to the lab, over the net. They make machine prints and do the mounting. If you are good at Photoshop ... you don't need custom prints.

With all that said ...once we all become Masters the rules loosen up. You are no longer bound by the 16" X 20" size and you can look to break the rules more. Before Photoshop I know photographic artists could help make a blur ribbon ... if the photographer knew what to ask for ... so we had to know retouching too. Now it pays to know Photoshop.

D. Craig Flory PPA Certified

11-17-2005, 04:37 PM
As a master photographer who still enters print competition, I never enter anything but 16x20s. I truly believe that if a master does enter an odd-sized print, the judges automatically hold him or her to a higher bias because they know he or she is a master. I have seen other masters' excellent work not score as well as it should because judges thought he or she should have done better, simply because they are masters.

11-17-2005, 07:23 PM
As a master photographer who still enters print competition, I never enter anything but 16x20s. I truly believe that if a master does enter an odd-sized print, the judges automatically hold him or her to a higher bias because they know he or she is a master. I have seen other masters' excellent work not score as well as it should because judges thought he or she should have done better, simply because they are masters.

Hmmm, interesting take on this. At Western states, all 4 of my images were odd sized 24 inch scoring 86,87,84 and 83. None of them went to loan at national, and I thought the 87 had a pretty good chance.

Any other Masters experience the same thing?

11-17-2005, 10:17 PM
I have noticed that the blacks in competition prints are no longer black. The images printed digitally have alot more flexibility in terms of presentation but the blacks are not solid. Under bright lights there is no comparrison to traditional prints.

Sounds like a lot of people are forgetting to properly adjust their images for the blacks.

When I do my adjustments, I put a info dot on my white and on black, and then adjust to make both correct, it's easy to do, but I do bet that a lot of people forget that, and just mainly adjust for the faces and highlights.

But they should be able to get as good of blacks with digital as they could with film, I know I do.

11-23-2005, 02:38 AM
Thanks Craig
I've been waiting for someone to explain this to me. I think I'll have a talk with my lab about this. I have posted a senior portrait in the senior gallery and am thinking of entering it in competition. I need some feedback on how to present it. I know the image as is doesn't stand much chance but I think with the right cropping, borders and title it might be merit worthy. It is the only print in the gallery under my name. The title in the gallery is Kelsey. Any suggestions? Thanks - David

11-23-2005, 01:34 PM
Hi David;

You may get confused if too many of us Craig's reply to you. I looked at your image ... did you mean to post it vertical ? I see it as a horizontal. And I recommend making it a step mount, with the image in the 3rd quadrant.
(bottom left corner using rule of thirds). I see the background of the 20" X 16" as a sample color from the deepest part of the flowers. Make the accent line around the top layer a sample from the original image also.

Since she is so large in your original image, I really feel you need a step mount to get her smaller. If you look at lots of blue ribbon prints, the top scores are many times using (very) small subjects. Go to lots oif web sitres for state groups that show blue ribbon images to get an idea what judges are looking for. Our state (www.ppaofpa.org) has a slide show you can watch of blue ribbon prints. I also reccomend buying the annual PPA competition books to study as well. Good luck;

D. Craig Flory PPA Certified

11-23-2005, 04:53 PM
Hi David,

If you'd like the Master Photographers to give you an input for your images, visit us at the Master's Forums (portraits, weddings) - of which you already have visited. We currently are having input from the non-national judges at this time, so that they won't remember it during comp time (this may change, if people or the national judges don't mind - I'll ask Michael Taylor and see what he thinks).


11-23-2005, 06:11 PM
OK Michael
Thank you , If anyone has any comments about the image I mentioned please refer to the Masters forum (Portrait). Thanks again - David

11-29-2005, 08:31 PM
I guess I've become "old-fashioned". I wouldn't enter a competition now unless it was from a regular sitting and printed in such a way that would normally be delivered to my customers.

In my "glory years," in the last of which I hung three prints at the National in Chicago, I did all sorts of "creative" things just for competitions. Then I got tired of having muddy looking dark prints, unless they were in blinding light.

One of the prints that hung in Chicago was of Jesus on the cross. ( Mine wasn't anywhere as bloody as Mel Gibson's. ) I was inspired by a vision. I can now say that that I hung the Master in Chicago though even if I never become a Master.

11-30-2005, 12:03 AM
Hi John; I think it's a shame that you will not be persuing a Master of Photography degree. When I apprenticed with a Master from 1970 to 1973, and worked for him two more years, I was always impressed by how much better competition prints looked than regular client work. If a client wanted something great they would opt for custom prints and if that meant printing deep and rich like a competition print ... we sold them a picture light to mount on the frame. They always liked how the image drew everyone's attention when they showed it off with the picture light on and the room lights dimmed. Some opted for track lighting in their homes which achieved the same thing.

I'm a C.P.P., getting Craftsman, and hope to go for Master now. If you don't compete, you not only will not have awards to boast about to clients ... and get free space about it in the newspaper, you will also not continue to have the benefit of knowing where your work stacks up against everyone else. I do hope you change your mind. Sincerely;

D. Craig Flory PPA Certified // floryphotog@mindspring.com

11-30-2005, 04:23 PM
If I'm still in the business, Craig, by the time only digitally produced images for competition are used I might reenter. Then the prints wouldn't need to be so dark.

I have track lights in my studio and encourage my customers to use proper lighting in their homes to display their photographs. And this is for work that is printed to non-competition standards, in other words not so dark. I've had to send some photographs back to my lab because they were too dark. I've always wondered if the association of dark competition-type prints with proper print density has prejudiced some printers to print photographs in a way that is too dark.

For a brief time I worked in a lab doing custom printing and people were trying to hire me away. I printed my own work for decades. Over ten years ago when RA paper became the norm I struggled to print it until I realized that the paper's speed caused the temperature of the enlarger bulb to shift color balance. I learned to adjust. The closed loop type enlargers that automatically adjust for the bulb's temperature were too big an investment. I'd already committed to a new Colex paper processor that I would have had second thoughts about if I realized how different the RA paper was. I spent a lot of time and wasted tons of paper for ten years. When the processor began to deteriorate I decided to outsource all my printing. By that time I was only doing proofing anyway. I never paid myself enough for the endless hours pursuing "perfection" when I was printing. That's why I wonder if all the new digital photographers are paying themselves enough to color correct, photoshop and manage their files. I also wonder if the rapid evolution of digital technology will make their equipment obsolete too quickly.

I think my work is good but not exceptional so I probably wouldn't have much luck in hanging anything anyway. Of course anything I'd enter would only be what I normally photograph for my customers. No more crucifixions!

12-01-2005, 05:14 PM
In my humble opinion, I believe this string has taken a wrong turn. The focus of the discussion should not be how dark a competition image is in comparison to work you deliver in the general course of a business day. Don’t use print saturation or the cost of image production as an excuse for your failure. I will generally have Costco print 8x10 glossy images of my digital files ($1.50 each) until I am fully satisfied with the results and send it off to Buckeye for the finished 16 x 20. Don’t start to complain about digital having a greater advantage over images created using silver based emulsions or you could end up sounding like an old curmudgeon. Digital is only a tool that opens us to new opportunities. What we need to do is to encourage each other with positive reinforcement to better ourselves and our profession.

It took me a while to figure out, but once I realized who the “client” was for competition images, I started to hang.

For those who are reading this with the anticipation of entering images into competition, remember, the competition client is not the subject in front of your camera. It is not their mother, father, husband, wife, girlfriend, or boyfriend. The client is actually 6 very talented individuals with enough hardware around their neck to make a chiropractor smile. They have been there, done that and see it at every competition. Unlike you, they have no personal or emotional investment in that image that stands before them. They sit there for hours on end, and on the national level for 30+ hours, evaluating image after image, after image, after image, after image, after image, after image, after image, after image………………⠦Once a judge has seen 25 sets of fairy wings, the 26th tends to lose it’s impact. The image that you can so easily sell to a grandmother because of her emotional attachment to that cute little smile on the subject’s face , isn’t going to cut it in competition.
If you are going to enter an image into competition you must sell that image to a different type of client, six judges who have a passion for perfection. To their credit, this client has told you the décor and lighting conditions of the room in which this image will hang. To capture this client’s attention your image must have the “wow factor”. The “wow factor” can be a tradition portrait that is flawless in appearance, a candid image that stirs their emotion, or yes, an image that has been digitally manipulated to the point where a judge has to question “How’d they do that”. “Warning”, if the same type of digital manipulation continues to be used, see fairy wings comment above. There are 12 elements of a merit image, but in my experience each one of those 12 leads to only one element, “ IMPACT”.

I would suggest to the individual who is truly interested in going for that Master Degree that you find a companion who shares your interest in photography and schedule a trip to the local art museum to study the classics. Go to the news stand and pick up some of the more contemporary magazines that feature ad work from commercial and advertising photographers that are pushing the envelope. Schedule a trip to the local park or zoo and photograph letters or numbers that are “not man-made“. Make it a challenge as to who can capture the greater number or recognizable images. This will force you to see light, shadow, texture and design. Kind of like seeing animal shapes in cloud formations. The loser of course will buy lunch. Choose a chapter from a novel to depict in a photographic image and see who can score higher at your local competition. And finally, find a mentor to evaluate your work and provide positive reinforcement from a point of view that is not as invested in the image.

For those of you who are willing to challenge your imaging talents and are willing to accept that 70’s score as an opportunity for growth, then jump in. It can only make you better.

Don Mitchell, PPA Certified, M.Photog.Cr, Hon M.Photog., F-PPC