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  1. #1

    Unhappy Haven't entered competition...Help me decide

    Three years ago I entered three prints in the Minnesota print competition during my last year of photography school. I can't remember right off what I scored, but i think that 80 was the highest. I really want to start entering and work towards my Master, but being new, I don't have a clue what the judges will scrap or stop and take a second look at. Could I get some feedback from my gallery prints on this site as to what you think the judges would like or dislike, or what I could change to enhance an image. Thanks .

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Palmyra, Pennsylvania

    Default Suggestion

    I have a friend who found a mentor to help guide him. He would send previews to this Master / Craftsman for input on which might work well in competition. Now with e-mail it is so much easier. I'd suggest that you find someone like that for your mentor.

    Also, if you can, join your state association or a local group. Here in Pennsylvania we have a competition once a year. But Northeast Prof. Photog. Assn. has competition at each of their 3 meetings a year ... so up to twelve 16" X20"'s could be entered for ribbons and trophies but more improtantly you would have a way of showing which will score well higher up as in the PPA. And either assn. allows for critiques of the prints. You just take your print to get a critique of what would help it score better.

    So check out what groups are near you and learn from programs as well as competitions and just asking for help from members.

    Craig Flory

  3. #3

    Default Competitions

    First off "Hey Craig"

    I agree with what Craig is saying about a mentor. I have had three different prints scored the dreaded 79 and to make them an 80 was just a simple matter of flipping the image around or making a diffrent mat/presentation for the image. I did not see it because it is difficult to notice things like that in your own work. It was a master photog that pointed it out to me.

    Some of the other state associations have competitions more often.
    Here in Maryland we have 4 competitions through out the year and then our convention.
    We are allowed to enter up to six images in each of the competiions and then we take the six best images from the the four competiions through out the year and enter them in the Convention. I then take my 4 highest scoring images and send them on to regional

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Palmyra, Pennsylvania

    Default The DIRTY DOZEN in print competition ...

    (Hi John) There is a list all of us, who have judged, use as criteria for a good image. Not all 12 are equal. Some carry more weight. Some count more on one print more than on another. In other words, when judging we are all told to judge each image on it's own merits. Here are the Dirty Dozen:

    #1 Composition #2 Color Harmony #3 Creativity #4 Technical Excellence - Print Quality #5 Story Telling #6 Technique #7 Lighting #8 Center of Interest #9 Subject Matter #10 Print Presentation #11 Impact #12 Style

    I'd say that impact, creativity, and story telling can carry an image that may be a little bit lacking in other areas. BUT ... remember this. A blue ribbon merit image has a score of 80+. But maximum is 100. So, strive for a score of 100 so if all 5 judges take off 20 points you still get a merit.

    One thing to think about is the title. I've seen a lot of images score lower than they should have because the title did not fit the image or was hard to understand. One word titles are best. Five words is usually max. Titling comes easily to some people. I usually sound a list of potential titles off friends to see which gets the most votes. If a print has a good title it gets the judges sitting up waiting to see the image after hearing it. If they are disappointed with the print it will get scored quickly. But if it fits and is a good quality image it may get talked about & challenged for a few minutes.

    Type up a large list of the dirty dozen and post it beside your computer. When looking through potential competition images, review the list for each photo.

    Besides joining a state or more local group, I hope this helps.

    D. Craig Flory PPA Certified //

  5. #5

    Default Great info!

    Thanks Craig! That is very helpful information not only for me, but for anyone who is thinking about entering print competition for the first time

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2005

    Default Looking for a Print Competition Mentor

    Anyone like to be a mentor? Please contact me at

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Petaluma, CA


    Hi Bonita!

    We're trying to concentrate the Master Photographers in the "Masters Forums" in the Wedding, Portrait, and quite soon the Commercial section. Some of the members are notifying us when they've posted images in the Gallery section for our critique. This is a great way to get preliminary feedback!

    We'll see ya over there.

    Michael Gan,M.Photog.Cr. CPP,
    Meritage House of Photography

    If your business depends on you, you don't own a business-you have a job. And it's the worst job in the world because you're working for a lunatic... You can't close it when you want to, because if it's closed you don't get paid. You can't leave it when you want to, because if you leave there's nobody there to do the work. You can't sell it when you want to, because who wants to buy a job?
    —Michael Gerber

  8. #8

  9. #9


    I was at Imaging USA and I hope this doesn't come off sounding bad but I didn't really like the styles of a lot of the selections there.

    I know that's a personal thing, but I felt many were too 'clean' in the sense that they were often very cleanly composed and lit and not as moody. I know a lot of people are doing studio portraiture, and I know that I'm not even that great a photographer, but I'm not as inclined to enter a competition based on seeing some of the selections.

    I sometimes feel the same way looking at some of the stuff in the magazine. Am I just being too close minded? I really like a lot of stuff I see in the local galleries here that I can identify with more stylistically.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Palmyra, Pennsylvania

    Default Competing

    Hi Gene;

    If you don't enter, you won't know what the judges will, or will not, like. At PPA judging, there are more than one panel of judges. If a judge liked an image, but it didn't merit, they can ask for it to be sent to another panel.

    Also, no matter how avante-garde your style is ... it still needs to meet most of the "dirty dozen" rules of competition. Some of those rules are weighted higher than others. So, if you have an image that has a lot of impact, then other areas could be weak ... but still merit.

    Till you compete you have no basis at all on how your images would do. I've seen a lot of new styles & techniques that scored high which, in turn, led to classes being taught on that. (see the "Baltrami Effect" as a good example. No one ever thought to photograph through a frosted shower door before but after merits using it ... classes on it were hot !) So start preparing images for competition. If you belong to your state group ... start competing there 1st. Good luck and don't hold back because you think your style will not score well. The judges may love it.

    D. Craig Flory PPA Certified, Cr. Photographer, PPA C.P.P. Liason, PPA Recon

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