View Full Version : So... tell me about album competition.

01-10-2008, 06:05 PM
Ok, to belabor and issue and clog up the forums with my ignorance, now I'm trying to understand album competition. Has anyone ever judged or sat in on album competition, and if so, what are the juges looking for. Does every image in the ablum have to be print competition quality. Are there conventions or expectations for presentations of albums? Are physical albums usually submitted, or is everything done electonically these days?

Any advice? I wasn't able to find much in the comp section on ppa.com. Does the PPA comp differ from regional or affiliate album judging. I guess I'm closest to APPI in Illinois, so I'm most interested in that.


- trr

01-11-2008, 03:33 AM
Maybe I need to get more specific - does anyone know what the specific creiteria for album judging are - if there are any?

thanks again

- trr

01-11-2008, 04:10 AM
You can submit an album entry as either a Traditional album or as a CD entry.

PPA Affiliated Regionals judge according to PPA specifications, with the exception that the regionals provide numerical scores (to help facilitate the special state high print case awards and others where numerical score is the criteria). The jurors judge the album as a whole body of work, and every image is considered in their evaluation, so print and image quality, exposure, color balance, etc. is important in every image.

The light intensity under which the traditional albums are judged is ISO 100, 1 sec between f8 and f11 lit with a 4x6' soft box over and behind the jurors head. CD albums are viewed on a 30" Mac monitor. Since any album sealed at a regional will automatically receives a merit if sent to the next national judging, the rules must be kept consistent with that of national.

I'll send you the pdf file of the Photographic Open Competition print rules in an email.

There have been a couple of changes that will take effect this year. that differ from the 2007 PDF file I am sending you.

On the CD entry...
the maximum number of canvases viewable is now 36 (two page spreads)
Color Space to be sRGB and file in JPG format
File resolution is 2500x1600.
The albums will be viewed on a 30" Mac monitor, and the resolution given above is the resolution of the monitor.
The first image must be blank
The canvases must be named 01.jpg, 02.jpg, etc and placed in a folder named as the name of the entry.
No creator name or studio logos will be permitted in the album.
A CD Album entry must be submitted on a non-rewritable CD.
No slide shows will be accepted, only folders of jpg images.
Please go to the tutourial on the PPA web-site for assistance in preparing your entry.

Check your email in a little while, you should have a pdf attached to an email from Massphoto@aol.com

01-11-2008, 04:35 AM
Thanks Rick,

So, in a typical wedding album that we would produce for a studio sample or client, there would be a mix of crafted shots and PJ. If I wanted to submit an album for competition, should the PJ stuff be removed to have a chance? Also, should I assume that any image in the album should be able to be merit if submitted on its own? Also, is there a posting anywhere that past album merits/winners can be viewed?

thanks for your help, Rick

- trr

01-11-2008, 04:50 AM
It's kind of impossible to have every image in a wedding album be of merit quality, but the body of work (as a whole) must be deserving of a merit - kind of hard to pin that down, since it is a subjective judgement. In a wedding album, you have candids, people walking into and out of church, family groups and other images that if you pulled just any random one out of the album, would probably not hang by itself, but as part of a story, it helps support the whole (I hope I'm making sense). PS images do not need to be removed from an album - sometimes PS and PS effect images help make the album stronger, and sometimes it makes it weaker as sometimes PS effects are overdone and can sometimes actually detract from the album as a whole - again, it's a subjective call of the jurors who are viewing it if the entire work (as a whole) is worth of a merit. One thing to note, though, if you enter an album, and it receives a merit, none of the images in that album can be entered into PPA print competition again, as each of them are a part of a merit work. So if you have 10 merit quality images in an album, and the album goes merit, you can't enter those 10 dynamite images separately since they are part of a 'merit-work".

For the last several years, Dave Johnson and Susan Powers have handled the presentation of the top wedding albums of the year at the convention. I will have to contact them to see if they will have the albums or selected pages from the albums posted somewhere. I'll let you know after I contact Dave.

Also - I had to go to your web-site to send you an email with the pdf attached - you don't have an email address in your OurPPA profile file.

01-11-2008, 05:05 AM
Thanks, Rick - I just got the attachments. Is there a limit to how many albums you can submit per year, and do album merits count towards the Master's degree?

once again, many thanks

- trr

01-11-2008, 05:35 AM
In the Photographic Open, you can submit 4 entries each year. They can be any combinations of prints and albums with each being considered one entry. You can send in 4 prints, 1 print and 3 albums, 2 prints and 2 albums, 3 prints and 1 album, or 4 albums. Merits obtained from albums and prints count towards your Master of Photography degree. You can also enter the Electronic Imaging Competition and can send in a case of 4 entries towards your Master of Electronic Imaging Degree. These are separate competitions at the Nationals and require separate entry in separate print cases. If you are interested in this one, let me know and I'll send you the pdf of the EI rules. The Art-Tech Competition (conventional media) is being discontinued due to lack of participation.

01-11-2008, 03:30 PM
If I wanted to submit an album for competition, should the PJ stuff be removed to have a chance? Also, should I assume that any image in the album should be able to be merit if submitted on its own?
Rick answered this pretty well but I wanted to add on. Think about a print that recieves an 80 and the 12 elements. That print might not be merit caliber in every single one of the 12 elements but it certainly will be in most of them. To relate this to an album, not every single image would be a merit on it's own, but a lot of them will. We don't judge an album as a "set" of images but as a work complete. Each image is part of the whole presentation. Just like you might crop out a distracting area in a print, you should leave out a bad image. But not every square inch of a merit image is impactful or merit worthy on it's own, it adds to the whole. That's how you need to think about the images in an album.
In a wedding album we are looking for a complete story and PJ stuff helps tell that. So definately leave it in, unless it distracts from the rest of the album. For example we won't miss that there is no image of the bride entering but we certainly would notice if it was out of focus, so that would be a print to leave out. Omit out of focus, poorly exposed, non-intentional blur of movement, technical imperfections ( big areas of cloning that show, etc). Watch for consistent color balance throughout, and a logical flow to the story. For example, don't jump around from groups/posed to reception and then back to groups/posed. Do not show too many groups, 3-4 is all you need. Don't be repetitive. If you have a series of similar images with minor changes of expression or pose, just show us a couple. Don't make it look like you just went click click click click as the couple moved slightly. Start and finish the album with a high impact image. Those are our first and last impressions of the book. If you are entering an actual book and not a CD - make it a full size book, with pages that are easy to turn, remember the crew is wearing cheap cotton gloves and trying to turn those pages for the panel. Plus smaller pages are harder to see. The impact of an image may get lost in a small book. We just can't see it as well. We can't get up close to look at it.The paper type pages are just too difficult to handle for judging, so invest in a thicker paged book. Paper pages do not affect the score, but you are running a higher risk of accidental damage or that two pages will stick together and we won't see every image.


01-13-2008, 04:40 AM
Everyone needs to copy Keith's last post and save it as a super mini-course in Competition Wedding Albums!!! Keith has just told you exactly what the jurors are looking for in a wedding album entry!!! I know I'm going to copy and save it for posterierity (yeah, I can actually spell, - I just added a little Bush-ism just for kicks...). Also, take heed of his comments about consistent color balance since that is a subject that I regularly hear jurors and critiquers commenting on. Thanks again Keith !!!

01-14-2008, 07:23 PM
Does anyone have a good idea for posting albums for critique? The gallery here seems unwieldy for that. I hate to link to another site, but that might be the only option.


- trr

01-14-2008, 10:20 PM
I would think that you aught to let your style show and the judges will recognize whether it is done well or not. I hate the canvas background look for wedding formals and would hope that wouldn't be an unwritten rule to compete. I got an 82 on my first album (http://www.betterimagephoto.com/albums/irma/) and they tried to challege it up. After ward the judge said your groups are flat lit (which I knew, because they wanted to be out of the church in 5 minutes) but overall great storytelling.

As for sizes Northern IL PPA requires it be between 30 and 50 sides.