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View Full Version : 1st time for competitions... how do i choose?



RossJamesWallette
11-12-2007, 03:34 AM
Hi, this is my first post here at this site. I have been in professional photography for less than a year but I want to start with print competitions. I was thinking of starting with the WPPI 16x20, and the local state competitions. (As well as sending in for the Microsoft Emerging Pro contest)
I know that the real print competitions are judged and that 80 is good, but that's about all I've gathered.

So, being a horrible judge of my own work and not knowing what it is that makes a high scoring print, how do I choose?

If anyone wants to take the time to look at these and give me an idea of what's better than others I think that might help. These images have overlays on them only because they are on the internet.

http://www.rossjames.net/rossjamesphotoblog/rossjamesphotoblog_laurie2_01.jpghttp://rossjames.net/rossjamesphotoblog/rossjamesphotoblog_04-03-07_14.jpg
http://www.rossjames.net/rossjamesphotoblog/rossjamesphotoblog_cristin_02.jpghttp://rossjames.net/rossjamesphotoblog/rossjamesphotoblog_ember&beau_01.jpg
http://www.rossjames.net/rossjamesphotoblog/07/rossjamesphotoblog_kaleigh_01.jpg
http://www.rossjames.net/rossjamesphotoblog/rossjamesphotoblog_kailey_06.jpg
http://www.rossjames.net/rossjamesphotoblog/rossjamesphotoblog_missy&andy_05.jpg
http://www.rossjames.net/rossjamesphotoblog/rossjamesphotoblog_missy&andy_07.jpg
http://www.rossjames.net/rossjamesphotoblog/rossjamesphotoblog_amanda_01.jpg
http://www.rossjames.net/rossjamesphotoblog/rossjamesphotoblog_cristin_06.jpg
http://rossjames.net/rossjamesphotoblog/rossjamesphotoblog_ember&beau_03.jpg
http://rossjames.net/rossjamesphotoblog/rossjamesphotoblog_04-03-07_02.jpg

Stacey_West
11-12-2007, 04:34 AM
... I want to start with print competitions...I know that the real print competitions are judged and that 80 is good, but that's about all I've gathered.

Hi there - for some great info on the "real" print competition take a look at http://www.ppa.com/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=38. There you'll find all sorts of info including rules, deadlines, the 12 elements of a merit print, etc. Good luck.

Dave_Cisco
11-12-2007, 05:07 AM
The fast track to seeing what wins in PPA competition is to purchase a couple of General Collection/Loan Collection books from past years.:)

Keith_A_Howe
11-12-2007, 02:41 PM
Ross
If I were picking I would choose the first 2 images as well as
http://www.rossjames.net/rossjamesphotoblog/rossjamesphotoblog_missy&andy_07.jpg
http://rossjames.net/rossjamesphotoblog/rossjamesphotoblog_ember&beau_03.jpg.

Note I think I would lessen the (?lucis) effect on the first image to soften her up.
The wedding image I would crop in if the file allows as I am distracted by the white space coming in from the background between the couple.
The last image of the girl and the horse, make sure there is detail in the shadows but give it more punch with levels.

Remember the judging is done under bright lights (meters at 100 ISO 1 sec F16). So print them down 10-20% darker than normal. This will also make them look richer and more saturated. When choosing your background color for the presentation, select it from with in the image so it will def. match.

Good Luck Keith

D._Craig_Flory
11-12-2007, 03:24 PM
Hi Ross;

You have had some good advice given. In addition, I will suggest that you join your state association and then enter competition there. You will learn a lot by not only entering and seeing how well they do but by sitting in the room and watching the judging going on. Then take advantage & have your images critiqued by the judges as well as any Masters in the association.

Keith gave you the lighting specs on the mini-spots. In addition to that ... the judges table is 6 feet away from the prints. So you can view your 16X20's in your studio at 6'.

RossJamesWallette
11-12-2007, 04:49 PM
Hi there - for some great info on the "real" print competition take a look at http://www.ppa.com/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=38. There you'll find all sorts of info including rules, deadlines, the 12 elements of a merit print, etc. Good luck.

Thank you for the link!

RossJamesWallette
11-12-2007, 05:04 PM
Keith, thanks for looking through those.
I just learned what "lucis effect" is by googling it. With that same image would it be a good idea to leave the border or remove it?

thanks!
ross.james

Rick_Massarini
11-12-2007, 09:59 PM
You said the you wanted to start out in print competition by sending your entries to the WPPI 16x20 Print competition... Instead of going to WPPI, why not just send them straight to the PPA International Judging??? An image does not have to be prequalified in any manner before being submitted to to the National Judging. In fact, most of the entries submitted to the Int'l Judging are there being judged for the first time. So, hey, just jump in and do it !!!

It's a great learning experience - and if you want an even bigger learning experience, when you submit your print case, order a print critique. If you order a critique, after the image is judged, no matter if it is accepted, not accepted, or goes Loan, one of the jurors will sit down and personally critique your image on video and give you suggestions for improvement.

Dave_Cisco
11-12-2007, 10:34 PM
Sending prints directly to Nationals by a beginner is a very expensive ****-shoot, unless you will be there to hear the critiques. Much better to send them to your State Convention/judging and go there to watch, listen, and learn.

Stacey_West
11-13-2007, 01:07 AM
and if you want an even bigger learning experience, when you submit your print case, order a print critique.

I agree, in fact I don't think print comp is much of a "learning experience" without a critque. Without a critique you'll get a back a stack of prints with numerical scores and very likely you will not really know why they scored the way they did. I know some members felt their critiques from Nationals were too short, etc. but I was very pleased and informed by mine. I felt it was a great value.

I very much like print comp and will continue to enter prints (I enjoy competition and the thrill of trying to merit) but I don't believe it has been as helpful to me, from a standpoint of "learning", as this forum and the near immediate feedback one can receive here. The obvious disadvantage this forum has vs. print comp is that not all who comment on prints here are Masters or judges but I believe most of the feedback here has been of benefit to me...

Keith_A_Howe
11-13-2007, 04:11 AM
Keith, thanks for looking through those.
With that same image would it be a good idea to leave the border or remove it?

thanks!
ross.james

I think that almost every image needs a border or frame. The thing that will make a real difference here is what the image looks like when you are finished working it up. I think that a grungey border will not be the best choice but I am making assumptions on what the image will look like. You want the board to be subtle, adding a hint of framing, maybe take the color from the center of interest. Use it to subtly tell the viewer what is important or to be a gentle seperator from the backer board. It has to be your choice as to what you want the image to look like and what kind of statement you are trying to make. How's that for a non answer kinda answer?
Keith

PS I agree Just enter, and get critiques. I would enter my state or region as well as national. Your regional is a first chance for a merit, if it scores an 80 you get a seal of approval that means when you send it on to the international judging that year, the image automaticly gets the merit and procedes to the Loan Panel. Any prints that have not been jusged before or does not have a seal of approval for that year, Procedes to be judged for deserving of merit. If it recieves a merit it then goes to the loan panel as well.
Keith

Rick_Massarini
11-13-2007, 04:23 AM
My reply was directed towards a PPA member trying to get his feet wet in print competition by sending images to WPPI. I'm not saying anything negative about WPPI, but that is a separate association, and getting an 80 or a 90 at WPPI doesn't get a PPA member any merits towards their PPA degrees. My suggestion was to send the images to a PPA judging that offers a critique. I know that we offer critiques at the International judging, but I don't know if any of the regionals do (I know that our regional, SWPPA, does not) If the work is good enough, the image will be accepted and they're already on their way towards their Masters degree. If it's not accepted, they can get a critique by one of our PEC approved International Jurors giving them suggestions as to how to bring it up to exhibition standards. It's always preferable to start with local, state, or regional judgings first, but If he was sending an entry to a National judging, it seems like it would make more sense for a PPA member to start with a competition within our association. (We're both friends with one member who in his first time entering into a PPA Regional (ours) had his entry score a perfect 100 at regional and later go into the Loan Collection at the Int'l judging - so getting started at the Regional or even National Level is not a bad thing in my perspective, since his first entry got him a 100 and a Loan.)

...But then again, bear in mind that my point of view might be more than just a little bit prejudiced in favor of the PPA International Judging since I've been a volunteer worker here at the Int'l Judging every year for way more years than I care to remember - so I'm kind of prejudiced in favor of our PPA competitions in preference to those of any other group ...

Dave_Cisco
11-13-2007, 04:55 AM
(We're both friends with one member who in his first time entering into a PPA Regional (ours) had his entry score a perfect 100 at regional and later go into the Loan Collection at the Int'l judging - so getting started at the Regional or even National Level is not a bad thing in my perspective, since his first entry got him a 100 and a Loan.)
...
My guess is that the photographer was very accomplished before deciding to compete, or one of the luckiest photogs I've ever heard of.:D

Rick_Massarini
11-13-2007, 06:18 AM
He's not Lucky - He's Good - He just didn't realize how good he was until the jury told him so. You never know how good you are until you try!

D._Craig_Flory
11-13-2007, 11:51 AM
Hi Ross;

Once again ... the best place to start is your state association. Not only can you sit in on the judging, you can get your prints critiqued afterwards. That is where you will really learn. I had a blue ribbon print in our Pa. annual print competition. In the critiques the print chairman put my image on the easel. The judges told me how how much they liked it but also gave ideas of how it could have scored even higher. So I learned something on a print that already had a blue ribbon. And forget WPPI. Concentrate on working towards eventually entering the national PPA competition.

Debra_Collins
11-13-2007, 01:30 PM
I don't know if there are any slots left, or if you are going to the convention in January in Tampa, but you can set up a one-on-one appointment with a judge to critique photos. I thought that was great idea for beginners.

RossJamesWallette
11-14-2007, 03:54 AM
Wow, thank you everybody for the information! I am definitely going to start by joining ppw and I'll probably skip out on the 16x20 at wppi.

And I suppose I will just get better over time with selecting my photos and creating the presentation.