Southwest Photographic Open District Rules

The purpose of this competition is to allow photographers to enter photographic prints, digital files, physical albums, and/or digital albums to be judged against a standard of excellence using the 12 Elements of a Merit Image. Through this competition, PPA members are also eligible to achieve PPA exhibition merits toward the Master of Photography degree.

These rules pertain to images entered as prints or digital files created by traditional photographic processes as well as those captured electronically with a digital camera or scanner.

Competition Rules

The Photographic Open Rules for the Southwest District are:

All entries must be registered at

  1. Entrants may submit either prints, digital files or a combination for judging.
  2. Entrants are required to upload a digital file for each image (print or file) entered. NOTE: For print entries, the digital file submitted MUST match both the image and presentation. If, for example, the submitted print has a mat and the digital file does not show the mat, the entry will be disqualified.
  3. No changes to your entry are permitted once the entry deadline has passed.
  4. No refunds will be issued after the entry fee is paid.
  5. Entrants do not need to be PPA members to compete in the Photographic Open Competition.  Only PPA members who are entering within their home District are eligible to receive PPA Seals of Approval. Only PPA members can earn merits when PPA Seal of Approval images are entered in the PPA International Photographic Competition.
  6. Entries previously merited at any PPA International Competition are not eligible, including any image from a merited album.
  7. Images and prints are not restricted to the previous 16”x20” non‐master format. See size requirements below.


Eligibility requirements for the Southwest Photographic Open Competition are: 

  1. Entrant must have captured and created the original exposure or exposures.
  2. All processing, manipulation and printing or rendering, were done by the entrant or under their direct supervision.
  3. The entrant has obtained and has access to all necessary releases (model or property) and agrees to hold PPA harmless against all claims and liabilities arising out of PPA's display, publication and promotion or other use of each image submitted to PPA.
  4. The entrant's name shall not appear anywhere in or on the face of the entry.
  5. A maximum of four entries may be submitted per entrant.
  6. No entry will be eligible if it has been made under the supervision of an instructor or as a class assignment. All images submitted must be self-directed. Images created in an educational environment under direct supervision from an instructor are ineligible.
  7. Any entry that has been created from an existing photograph, portrait, graphic or any other artwork produced by another person is a violation of the competition rules and will not be judged, accepted or displayed. If an entry, in the good-faith opinion of the IPCC, violates copyright, trademark or any other applicable law, that entry shall be disqualified.
  8. No two entries shall be of the same subject.
  9. Entries bearing the PPA Affiliated Exhibition Seal of Approval and submitted according to the rules of entry will be automatically accepted for exhibition only when submitted to the next PPA International Photographic Competition immediately following the District competition where awarded. (Entries submitted from within the maker's assigned District are eligible for Seals of Approval and will be validated at registration.)
  10. Entry media includes photographic prints, digital files, physical albums, and digital albums.

Once an image has been awarded an exhibition merit in any category of PPA competition, it may not be entered again in any other category, at any time, by any entrant. No image that receives a merit may be entered more than once under any condition, including any image from a merited album.


Registration opens January 31, 2018. Register at

Photographic Open Competition Categories

You must designate one of the below categories for each entry:

  • Portrait: Consists of portrait or wedding images
  • Illustrative: Consists of commercial/industrial images, scenics, pictorials, digital paintings and similar subject matter. Portraits and weddings are not appropriate for this category
  • Album: EVENT albums consist of time‐sensitive social events, such as weddings, bar mitzvahs, etc. NON‐EVENT albums consist of portrait and storytelling albums
  • Multi-maker album: Images in the album must be the work of the entrants (up to three), with a minimum of 20 images per entrant. Each entrant must individually enter the competition and pay appropriate entry fees. Multi‐maker albums will be judged as one entry

Print Entries

The rules regulating print entries are:

  • Images may submitted in any shape and size on a mount board a minimum of 80 square inches to a maximum of 480 square inches, with the largest dimension no longer than 24".
  • Print entries must be mounted on a standard mount material (double weight mat board, gator board, ¼" foam, or Sintra). Recommended mounting thickness is 1/8" to 3/8". "Float" mounting is accepted at entrant's risk for damage. Images on metal and mounted to another standard material must have rounded corners and smooth edges. No mount that could potentially damage other entries or pose a danger to print handlers will be accepted. Masonite, glass, stretcher frames or conventional frames will not be accepted.
  • No material may be added to the front or back of an entry that may damage another entry.
  • A digital reference file must be submitted with each print entry. This file must match the submitted print entry, both image and presentation (if a real mat is used on the print, a reasonable facsimile must be used in the digital file). File specifications are the same as under the Digital Submission categories.
  • If a print is submitted and correctly entered, the print will be judged.

Physical Album Entries

The rules regulating physical album entries are:

  • Album cover size must be between 63‐400 square inches.
  • No multiple volume albums are allowed.
  • Each page/spread file may contain as many images as you desire.
  • An entry shall contain a minimum of 5 page/spread files up to 36 page/spread files.
  • Any studio identification or entrant's name in the album must be covered.
  • Each entrant must use the same title when entering a multi‐maker album.

Digital Submission

The rules regulating digital submission are:

  • Files must be sized so the longest dimension is 4000 pixels. Each file must contain an embedded color profile of either sRGB or Adobe RGB1998 and be saved at a JPEG quality setting of 10. In most cases, total file size should not exceed 3.5 MB. Larger files will be accepted when necessary so long are they are JPEG/10.
  • Files are to be named, Image 1.JPEG  No underscores or special characters

Learn more about digital submission by watching this tutorial video.

Digital Album Entry

The rules regulating digital album entry are:

  • All page/spread files must have the longest file dimension at 4000 pixels, have an embedded color profile of either sRGB or Adobe RGB1998 and saved at a JPEG quality setting of 10.
  • Each page/spread file may contain as many images as you desire.
  • An entry shall contain a minimum of 5 page/spread files up to 36 page/spread files.
  • Files are to be numbered in viewing order using two digits, i.e. 01 jpg, 02 jpg, 03 jpg, etc.
  • All individual files must be compressed into a single ZIP file. ZIP file must be named: Album (e.g. Summer
  • Studio identification or entrant's name cannot appear on any file within the album entry.
  • Each entrant must use the same title when entering a multi‐maker album.

Learn more about digital album entry by watching this tutorial video.

Viewing Conditions for Image Review

Your images must be the following conditions to be accepted for consideration:

  • Prints: LED lighting, 3000K, EV8 (ISO 100, f/16@ 1 sec.)
  • Digital Files: Monitor Settings, D65, 120 cd/m2, 2.20 gamma

Deadlines and Fees

Deadlines and fees include:

  • $129.00 for PPA members registered by 5:00pm EST, February 28, 2018. (non‐members: $65 additional)
  • Please note, any PPA member that entered a district competition will pay a reduced case fee for IPC of $50.00 for PPA members registered by 5:00pm EST, June 27, 2018
  • $164.00 for PPA members registering February 28, 2018 after 5:00pm EST, through March 15, 2018 at 5:00pm. No registrations accepted after March 15, 2018 at 5:00 pm EST
  • $39.00 per case for image critiques. Please allow 4 to 6 week following the completion of the competition.  Critiques will be posted in your “My PPA” account
  • Physical print entry cases must be received by March 22, 2018.

Shipping Instructions

For print entries to be returned, they must be shipped in an approved print case. 

Ship to: 

PPA SW District Photographic Competition,
229 Peachtree St. NE, Suite 2200, Atlanta, GA 30303

PPA assumes no responsibility for damage to entries or print cases.

Note: Failure to comply with these rules may result in disqualification of entry. The decision of the International Photographic Competition Committee is final.

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