View Full Version : Talk to me about print surface/mounting.

04-11-2007, 03:28 AM
WPPI was very flush this year with prints behind museum mats. And lots of homeprinted inkjet images scored very high.

Is there a current trend as to what scores well with PPA?

Thanks so much;
Susan Stripling

04-11-2007, 05:17 AM
Hey Susan,

I saw your images at Vegas (too bad were getting slammed by the Australians right now) and I noticed the same thing about the mats and home made inkjets.

I think what's old and different is new and exciting again. The matted and canvasy images that did well were strong images to begin with so I think they would have hanged either way.

On thing that I noticed is that simple and big is what's happening in the album competitions. I think most judges are shying away from the multi-multi image/ patterened background/ comic book looking designs.

God, the colors and skin tones on that grand prize winners album looked great even with a projector. I like where the trend is going!

04-11-2007, 01:14 PM
Hi Susan;

I agree with Marc. Competition trends tend to go in cycles. There is a saying "there is nothing new, under the sun". Rather than try to emulate something that has recently done well, I recommend buying some old Loan Collection books to see what scored well years ago. Judges get bored seeing the same repetitive styles. So if you can find an older style, technique, idea and put your slant on it you could have a winner.

04-19-2007, 03:26 PM
I have never entered before in a competition, but am planning on it soon. Do you place your print under a 16x20 mat or directly to a black mat board?

Do smaller (8x10) prints even stand a chance or what is a good size to print?

04-19-2007, 03:50 PM
Hi Timothy;

Will you be entering in a state association competition ? Wherever you are contemplating entering, download and print out the print rules.

I do NOT recommend putting a matte board over your image. For many years that was not allowed in PPA and other competitions. It is allowed again BUT ... the initial thought process of a judge is "what is the maker trying to hide". Step Mounts work very well in competition. I suggest that you invest in one, or more, of the PPA Loan Collection books to see what has done well in the past. You can buy them from Marathon Press.

Image size on the mount material can be 80 square inches minimum. It depends on the subject whether you need a bigger subject area or not. Posting images on here will get you lots of help in this.

Mount material thickness is very important. There is a minimum and a maximum thicknesss for an entry. Too thick, or too thick, will get your prints disqualified. I get mine mounted on 3/16th" Black Core Gator-Foam. All my images are printed on glossy paper and I spray them with hi-gloss spray in my spray booth.

The type images to enter is important. Once again, the Loan Collection books can help in this regard.

Good luck. I will watch for some images for us to peruse.

04-28-2007, 12:18 AM
Hey Timothy,
Welcome first timer, So am I.
I just enter a local print comp for the first time. I used WHCC for the Comp prints(27.50 per 16x20). I have heard a print for comp could cost upwards of $75.00-$100. I was happy with my submission even if it did not score well. I am waiting to hear the results.

04-28-2007, 01:14 AM
[QUOTE=susanstripling;71312 And lots of homeprinted inkjet images scored very high. Is there a current trend as to what scores well with PPA? Thanks so much; Susan Stripling[/QUOTE]

My 2ยข: I just returned from a state judging, where I am friends with the jury chair; BTW, he and the six were all PPA affiliated judges. Well after the end of judging and over a social drink, he and another judge commented that he has many print awards made on Epson Archival Matte paper on his 4000! He commented that his blacks are great. A b/w of mine on satin paper (a RED 79!) was the reason for his comments. Next competition, I'll follow his suggestion!


04-28-2007, 01:58 AM
Mount material thickness is very important. There is a minimum and a maximum thicknesss for an entry. Too thick, or too thick, will get your prints disqualified.

The thickness rules were discontinued 2 or 3 years ago.There are recomendations but no requirements. You can enter any thickness - no limitations. However if the entry is too thin or too thick to be safely displayed it will not appear in the exhibition. It will still get the merit if judged as such, just now be in the show, but it will not be disqualified.


04-29-2007, 07:20 PM
The thickness rules were discontinued 2 or 3 years ago.

I didnt' know that.
Our regional, SWPPA, has thickness requirements because of the print racks that are used to display them after the competition.
If these prints merit at regionals, they're submitted to nationals, but I'm wondering what advantage a maker would have in submitting a really thick presentation.
Any ideas?

04-29-2007, 09:02 PM
Some makers like the actual dimension created by surface mounting a print on several graduated layers of mount board. It is simply an artistic preference. You are correct about the thickness requirement. It was originally started because of print racks, too thin and the print will bow and pop out of the rack - possibly damaging other prints as it falls. Too thick and the weight of the print may bring down the whole rack. Once again damaging several prints in the process. For anyone who doesn't know, the prints are displayed on hanging rods, with clips that hold each image - usually about 3 prints on each rod.

So anyway - we have this thickness rule and JC's are measuring prints with a micrometer for pete's sake and prints are getting DQ'd for nothing that has anything to do with the nature of the competition. Then finally some bright person says "DUH! who cares how thick they are - a great print is a great print. Let's do away with the thickness rule and just say if we can't display it safely, we won't take a chance. But you still get your merit." Another example - in my mind - of PEC trying to make print competition as user friendly as possible.

That being said - if you did a great job and got a merit - you really want your print displayed at IUSA for all your fellow photographers to see. So I suggest you aim for those reccomended guidelines on thickness. It's not that hard to accomplish.

04-29-2007, 10:59 PM
Pennsylvania still has the thickness requirement so I always have my images mounted on 3/16th" gator foam. I know that if I have the correct thickness for my state, they will be fine for Mid-East Regional and PPA.

04-29-2007, 11:13 PM
At NHPPA, I noticed several of the prints were laminted on the back, with what looked like a granite style texture in the finish.
I used to see that look all the time here in Texas, but not so much anymore.

How's that acheived? or rather,...what do you ask for at the lab?

Not sure I want to do it myself, I'm asking more out of curiosity.

04-30-2007, 12:11 AM
Mark, As a judge they don't let me ever see the back . . . cause that's where the maker's name is LOL! I haven't seen what you are talking about. I do know there is a pebble texture laminate, maybe that's it? But why would you spend the money to have the back side laminated? I know I used to spray the backside of the prints to prevent bowing, and when it was mounted on a layer of that gray chipboard backing, it would take on a mottled stone like appearance. Could that be what you are talking about? If it was pebble laminate I am guessing they did it because they had problems with bowing prints. Maybe one of those fine folks from NH will solve this riddle for us.

04-30-2007, 02:27 AM
I didn't notice when I was packing the cases what Mark is talking about. But, then, I was working on little sleep, no food, and the last of my advil. :)

Oh, you said fine folks. Nevermind.

04-30-2007, 02:53 AM
I could see it being used as a bowing preventative. Matter of fact, I'll bet my boots thats what it is.

I guess I didn't explain the texture well enough, though. The texture is in the visual depth of the back of print...it doesn't actually have a texture you can feel.

I used to see this type of backing alot at print competitions around TPPA and SWPPA, but not much anymore.
The images that had the laminate backing were all out of state entries.

04-30-2007, 06:35 AM
Hey Mark M,

I know what type of back your talking about. I don't think that it's actually laminated as part of the process but rather just how the standard thickness gatorfoam core board was made. I get it from my lab from time to time and I think it's really something that just comes from the gator foam boad factory.

It just has a granite looking surface and not really a texture. It's really a pain (or a blessing) since its so glossy that tape and stickers peel off easy.

I dont know but it seems that my prints score better whenever I get mines done on it ! Ha :p

04-30-2007, 07:14 AM
It just has a granite looking surface and not really a texture. It's really a pain (or a blessing) since its so glossy that tape and stickers peel off easy.

That's the stuff I'm talking about.
It's a little heavier, extremely glossy. If memory serves, it's like a forest green color.