View Full Version : How do I get (re)started?

08-01-2005, 05:11 PM
I haven't entered any prints in a while, and would like to get back into print competion (both at state and at national). Does anyone have some good suggestions how to pick good images and how they should be printed and finished off?

08-01-2005, 11:09 PM
I've never entered, and I'm raring to go at it myself. I can't wait till I hear of the next competition.

08-02-2005, 08:48 PM
Nothing has changed...12 elements of a winning image are still valid. :)

08-02-2005, 09:00 PM
Jump in guys - it will be the greatest education you can imagine!
Take a look at the PPA Loan Collection books, as well as the Showcase books. You will find there is no "PPA Look", but instead many diversified styles, methods and techniques that result in awesome images.
Study the "12 Elements" and then refer back to some of the images that really grabbed your attention. Some will be classical portraiture done so well that it takes your breath away, even though it is without any evidence of anything digital - simple and straightforward. Some will be obviously digitally manipulated - and stretch to the max our imagination and perception. There is room for all kinds of images from the extremely imaginative flights of fantasy to the middle of the road but elegantly executed when they have impact, demonstrate technical proficiency, are well composed, well exposed, and the results are obviously professional. Never underestimate emotional impact - and sometimes simple and clean, extremely well done can have that impact from the sheer perception of clarity and proficiency.
Check out the new galleries here on ourppa.com- there are some great examples to view.

Best of luck - be a little thick skinned and jump in - you can learn from the judges, as most of us have. Enjoy the journey, and be sure to market your successes! The marketing possibilities of competition are the frosting on the cake!

08-04-2005, 05:43 AM
Could someone post the 12 Elements or direct us to a website where they are posted. I would love to see a place on the gallery for winning images to be posted from state or national competition. Helen I love your work!!!

08-04-2005, 01:58 PM
Hi Steve and Ian,

In my opinion a great way to get "restarted" is to find or start a small group also interested in entering. It is so neat to be able to meet and share ideas. Each person will have a different idea to share about your images. The best part is that this type of "peer" interaction will also enhance your business approach.

The hardest part of getting "restarted" or started is the first step. I know, been there :)

Good Luck

08-04-2005, 03:34 PM
Mary has a point. A group of friends bouncing Ideals off one another is a good ideal. I have a wonderful group of great friends--Debbie--Mark---Donella. They can be honest but you have to let them be honest. If you get your feeling hurt you are only hurting yourself. When either your friends or the judges share their thoughts it is because they are teaching with their critique. If you can not take an honest critique then you are not willing to learn. I actually am disapointed when the judges have nothing to say about my images. I want to hear what I can do better.

As Helen says---"Jump in guys - it will be the greatest education you can imagine!"

I remember a seminar I attend in Missouri at the Inn of the Grand Glaise. J. Micheal McBride was the speaker. His class really did alot to give me confidence that we can create art with photography. (Thanks J. Micheal) He and his friends would go on what he calls "Walkabouts" (known as a photo safari). Take your friends out and enjoy the day and see what happens...

08-04-2005, 03:57 PM
Here are the 12 Elements that was asked for! I shortened the explanations because of time and I was too lazy to scan something in to make this a PDF file or something! You can probably download this somewhere on the PPA site too.

1. Impact - Does the print hold your attention?
2. Creativity - Is it unique? Does it spark others imagination?
3. Style - Unique to you or similar to other great artists
4. Composition - Placement of your subject within the image.
5. Presentation - Cropping, mounting, borders, etc.
6. Color Balance - Color harmony within the image, such as light against
dark or strong against weak.
7. Center of Interest - Should hold the viewers attention and yet free to
explore the entire image but always returning the eyes back to the main
8. Lighting -Correct quantity to convey mood of the image. Always have
good direction of light.
9. Subject Matter - A Correct and clear interpretation of your subject. Your
subject should coorelate to its surroundings.
10. Print Quality - Images should be of proper density, for prints to hold detail
in the highlights and shadows.
11. Technique - The foundation of photography but study art principals for
more understanding.
12. Statement - Every image should tell a story. Make sure it's fairly easy to
understand. Have a good title when submitting images into competition

Hope this helps! Print competition does require an honest willingness to learn and be able to accept criticism. It even helps to be able to laugh at yourself now and then! The best education comes from sitting in your states print judging and listening to their comments on everyones prints. Don't think that you'll have overnight success and understand it all after one or two years. I've been doing this for 24 years and I still feel my heart beat when my images come up on the judging panel.

Also, go visit art museums. Inspiration galore. You can't get that out of a book, reproduction, or computer.

Seek out advice from artists you admire like Helen Yancy. They have the ability to speak to you one on one and give you the kind of advice that you can't get from a judging panel.

Finally, in the end, remember to have passion about what you do but remember that your family, friends, and customers will still love you no matter what score you get and that's all that really matters!

Thanks for reading!

Mark Weber

08-09-2005, 03:42 PM
MY question concerns the printing of comp prints. I keep hearing that there are certain standards that must be met. Could someone give me some advice as to what labs are experienced and good at printing prints for competition? Thanks

08-09-2005, 07:54 PM
Hi John,

We've been using Bay Photo in Soquel, California. www.bayphoto.com . We've been using the Ultra High gloss paper, and we tell them to print for PPA competition. Both my wife and I have hung 11 images in the last two years from their printing.

08-11-2005, 01:43 AM
Hi Steve; I have four suggestions for you. The first is to have a quality 8"x10" printed first to "prove out" your image ... since 8"x10" & 16"x20" are proportional. Secondly, don't fill your 16"x20" space with your image. Most images that score well have the main subject matter rather small. Third... try "flipping" the image over in Photoshop to see if it looks better facing the other way. You don't want your subject in the 4th quadrant looking out of the print. Looking back into the print is better. Last ... try to present something new & fresh. I've judged several times for professional groups below state level. After so many prints virtually the same get judges in a funk. A good title followed by a new technique or look is sure to get the judges sitting up again and taking more than just a few seconds to give scores. Oh ... as an add on ... I suggest you join your state assn. and enter. Here in Pennsylvania we have our annual print competition in April but also have a "president's" 8"X10" competition, folio competition, and album competition in October. And the Northeast Pa. grouo has print competition for 16"X20"s 3 times a year. Enter, enter, enter ...

D. Craig Flory PPA Certified

09-01-2005, 03:37 AM
MY question concerns the printing of comp prints. I keep hearing that there are certain standards that must be met. Could someone give me some advice as to what labs are experienced and good at printing prints for competition? Thanks

I use http://www.hhcolorlab.com/
They have an experienced printer who handles all of the print comp orders. I ordered my 2005 prints from them and was very happy. Ask for glossy prints laminated and mounted on black core.