Print Comp Opinions
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
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    Default Print Comp Opinions

    Well California has it's print comp the first week in January, so it's time to start preparing prints soon. So I have some questions. I'm am hoping to get them printed for Calif. and not to have them redone again for PPA.

    How important is the High Gloss finish? If you have an image that is soft and painterly, do you still use this finish? In other words will they take off for using the standard "Endura" surface.

    Does anyone ever enter prints matted as they would be for framing? (i.e. mat board with cut opening.)

    How seriously can a bad title hurt? For instance, if you have an image that is an abstract, how do you go for a "storytelling" title.

    Thanks for your help,
    Auralee

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    North Platte, NE
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    Quote Originally Posted by Auralee Dallas View Post
    How important is the High Gloss finish? If you have an image that is soft and painterly, do you still use this finish? In other words will they take off for using the standard "Endura" surface.

    Does anyone ever enter prints matted as they would be for framing? (i.e. mat board with cut opening.)

    How seriously can a bad title hurt? For instance, if you have an image that is an abstract, how do you go for a "storytelling" title.

    Thanks for your help,
    Auralee
    Gloss depends upon the image and somewhat the paper it's printed on. Obviously a print on watercolor paper would not be sprayed/laminated high gloss. Can you post the image in question? We might be able to give a better opinion if we saw what you are talking about. But in a nutshell - high gloss is not an obsolute must.

    A bad title can really hurt you - but only if it's really bad. You don't want to confuse the judges. You want to tell them what "story' your are trying to tell. An abstract image still has a message - but instead of a story it may just be a feeling. A good title can definately help the print - as i said it tells the judges what to look for in the images and can explain facets that might otherwise be considered shortcomings.

    I don't believe (unless it's changed) there are any rules against surface mats - as opposed to underlays. I've seen them used, but I personally have not seen them enhance or improve the print. Perhaps if the idea of the print is looking through something to the scene or subject, a surface mount mat might enhance that idea but unless there is a strong reason for matting that way I wouldn't do it.

    Hope someone else will chime in with their opinions. It's always good to get feedback from lots of sources.

    Holly
    Holly Howe M.Photog., Cr.
    www.1224artdolls.com

  3. #3

    Default PPC print competition...

    Hey Auralee,

    I know how you feel about the California competition. To bad that it's not the regional comp so the merit does not count for international (PEC) print comp. The western states regional competition (automatic PEC merits) will be judged in Washington on the last week of March.

    My Views:

    About the state competiton: I'll enter the calif competition in support for our state group. I know that the handlers will take care of my images but I don't want to chance it and have a time squeze when my images return the last week of Feb and then I have to turn it around and ship it to Washington. I need to have an extra print ready just in case one does come back damaged.

    About the super duper extra glossy: I think if your image is an iffy 80 then let this not be the one the judges take away points from. Remember judging starts from 100 then deductions are made. Sometimes that "professional" presentation impact under those lights can be the kicker card. Ever heard of the "this will score much higher if burned down a little" comment? Also, it's really hard to burn down a watercolor print and still retain the watercoloriness feel of it.

    About titles: If an image is on the fence, the tittle might be the one element that keeps it over 80. It's really hard to screw up really strong images with a bad tittle but it helps really iffy ones.

    About matt boards: There's a reason why a lot of people choose to go with the black digital mat. IT'S SAFE! Under those lights, a white or light mat really really screams look at the mat. If your image is not that strong, this might be the element (presentation) that can score you down.

    The idea is to not give the judges anything that they could take points away from. It starts from a 100 then goes down from there.


    The following is not really part of your question but since I'm in the print comp analysis mode, here's the skinny on how much my budget is for print comp for 2007.

    Prints: $360. 6x$60 barring none get damaged at PPC or if i'll be confident enough that the small finger print, dinged corner, hair thin scratches will not be a factor. Then again, I'm probably gonna send fresh prints to regionals just to kill that would be doubt. I've got some competition insecurities for next year since I don't think I've done my best yet this season.

    Competiton fees (approx since most entry forms are not avalable yet):

    PPC/State: $170, 6 images + critique fee
    Western states/Regional: $120, 4 images
    PPA/National : $150, 4 images + critique fee
    WPPI/just for fun : $220 - Wppi deadline is feb 9 so it needs a different set. Add another $240 for 4 images.

    Shipping: $280. About $70 round trip to each competition.

    Total competiton budget for 2007 is about $1500, oh let's add on the local competitions for 2007 say $500 for 10?

    Cost of education through print competition: That's a crazy $1500-$2000
    What I learned and earned: Priceless

    Good luck and see ya at PPC!
    Last edited by Marc_Benjamin; 11-20-2006 at 03:39 AM.
    -Marc Benjamin, M. Photog. Cr. F-PPC
    marcbenjamin.com

  4. #4
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    Sep 2005
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    Marc, Remember every judge on the panel has entered prints them selves. They all know about the print handling damage that can occur as a print travels from local to state to regional. I personally saw many slightly damaged prints at National judging last July. Never once did I hear a judge mark down a print for handling damage. I have heard jury chair instruct the panel to disregard handling damage. As I said every judge has entered themselves ( and affilate approved jurors must merit at prints at least every other year to remian affilate approved status) so they understand print handling damage and do not mark off for it. Have you ever seen a juror request the jc to dust the print? That's because they can't tell from the seat if it's damage or flaws in printing. The jc will tell them if it's damage and then they will disregard it. So don't waste any money reprinting just for a slightly dinged corner or a small scratch in the laminate or spray. Of course major damage is just hard to overlook because it's so distracting, then you might want to consider reprinting.

    Holly
    Holly Howe M.Photog., Cr.
    www.1224artdolls.com

  5. #5
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    Aug 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by Auralee Dallas View Post
    How important is the High Gloss finish? If you have an image that is soft and painterly, do you still use this finish? In other words will they take off for using the standard "Endura" surface.
    Auralee - No! we do not "take off" for the standard Endura surface BUT I would recomend regular laminate from the lab or a high gloss spray. Here is the reason... IMPACT is the strongest element we look for. The glossed prints appear more saturated and vibrant under the lights and this translates into impact. Just like a fine piece of wood or gem stone looks totally different when it is varnished and polished brings out all the detail and richness of the item. There are situations where you do not gloss the image, watercolor or custom papers fit this catagory. The fact that you ask about the standard Endura surface tells me you are having the lab print on standard photographic paper.

    Quote Originally Posted by Auralee Dallas View Post
    Does anyone ever enter prints matted as they would be for framing? (i.e. mat board with cut opening.)
    Yes people do enter this way. most of the time the mat becomes a distraction to the image and therefore hurts the impact of the image. The advantage of digital is being able to make the mat colors from sampling colors in the image. So the presentation exactly matches the image. You want the matting presentation to be like the supporting cast to the print. It should frame the image and with a subtle stroke point the viewer to the element or story you want the viewer to look at. Have you ever heard judges say I am having a hard time getting past the presentation or matting? You will find a few fine art photographers that want to enter white overlay mats like they use in museum presentations. The problem that they don't think about is the lighting the judging is done in a (dark room with lights metering F16 at 1 second for ISO 100). When your image turns around on the turntable and the light strikes a bold white mat on an medium to low key image, the glare in the judges eyes distracts from the image. In a museum the viewer is in a lit room with spotlights on the image so it doesn't effect the viewers eye the same, instead it acts as a neutral presentation. Another challenge is a difference in surface if you place the mat on top the print, unless you spray it high gloss it will be a matte finish - as opposed to your glossy print. So once again, that difference makes the mat stand out too much. The answer is yes, you can do a surface mat - but will it enhance the impact. Usually the answer is no. There may be a few occassions when it would be a correct choice, but unless you are sure it does, why take that chance.

    Quote Originally Posted by Auralee Dallas View Post
    How seriously can a bad title hurt? For instance, if you have an image that is an abstract, how do you go for a "storytelling" title.
    Auralee
    First let me tell you how the judges are supposed to look at an image. We do not "take points off". Have you seen a judging where the chart of scores is hanging on the judging booth. A judge is susposed to listen to the title, look at the image for the 12 elements, choose a catagory (derserving of merit, above average, excellant etc.) then decide with in that catagory, where the image is points wise. So If I felt the image was "Deserving of Merit" the possible scores are 80-84. Do I feel it is a strongly deserving image - 84, average deserving image 82 or just at deserving a merit 80.
    Now to answer the question - does a title hurt an image? If the title is weak and we don't get the story or feeling of the image then we "score the image on it's merit". A good title can tell the judge what to look for (and as jurors we always try to understand the title and how it relates to the image) and therefore really help the image. A bad title does nothing to help the image so in that way hurts the image but we [B]DO NOT TAKE OFF FOR A BAD TITLE[B]. I was judging last year and a image came around of a winter scene and birch trees. It was a nice scene but the title was "Hidden Preditors" so we are getting up close and looking for any indication of the preditors, in the shapes of the trees, the snow, anything. It wasn't till I was walking back to my seat and I stepped back another 10 feet or so that I suddenly saw them and started getting goosebumps.( If a judge gets goose bumps - you are gonna score high!) I scored 95 and the average was 80. Once I saw them and challenged to point them out to the rest of the panel, they saw them as well and I forget the exact score but I think it was 97 or 98. My point is if it were not for the title telling us to look deeper it would have been a beautiful 78 or so as we all would have missed the point of the image. If the title had been "Winter Woods" it would have hurt the image - because I wouldn't have bothered to get up and look for the hidden animals. So that's how the wrong title may hurt you.

    Keith
    Keith A. Howe
    M.Photog.,M.Artist, Cr.,D.F.Ph.

  6. #6
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    Aug 2005
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    San Joaquin Valley Calif
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    Thank You, Thank You, Thank You--Holly, Marc, and Keith,

    I knew I could count on you giving me just the information I was looking for. I've made my decision to go with all the images on High Gloss and give them digital mats or keylines. I'm satisfied with all but one title and I'll figure that one out eventually.

    Thank you all again for taking the time to help.

    Auralee

    Marc, I may be a fool, but I'm not going to enter Western States. I know the advantage of the "seal" but I think I'll pass. I passed on it last year and it worked out ok--Just Calif and PPA for me. It's a budgetary thing.

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