Get an Edge on Photographic Competition

By Jon Allyn M.Photog.MEI.Cr., CPP

If you were trying to win a bake-off at your state fair, you probably wouldn’t take your chances by submitting your entry without tasting it first (and refining your recipe). In fact, you’d probably try several different recipes and solicit the opinions of family and friends. Likewise, only entering the International Photographic Competition probably isn’t the most productive approach for winning and improving. There is a much better way to optimize your results.

Because photographic competition is the ultimate photographic education, it makes sense to enter as often as you can. Doing so also allows you to choose your absolute best images to enter at the international level.

My state of Wisconsin has long been known for the success of its photographers in photographic competition. What you possibly don’t know is the process most of them went through to obtain that success.

In Wisconsin, we currently have four local photography associations, which host up to six competitions each year. Plus, the state competition is in the fall, and the PPA Regional Affiliated competition is in late February. This means that someone entering at just one of the local associations can “test drive” up to 14 images per year. Some of those images might be sent on to the state judging or four new images may be sent. The same holds true for the PPA Regional Affiliated judging.

In fact, it’s possible to have 22 images evaluated prior to choosing what you send to the PPA International Photographic Competition (at least in Wisconsin). This greatly increases your chances of having four merit images going to the “Big Show.”

Clearly, utilizing the resources available to you and putting in the time and effort to refine your images will greatly improve your results at the international level. Look into entering all different levels of photographic competition…and enjoy the journey.

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