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PPA Today: PPA Competitions Archives

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by James Yates

Looking for a little inspiration or hoping to calm your nerves about photographic competition? It's time for the District Competitions, and you can stream and watch the judging! 

You can stream the judging of the Southeast District Photographic Competition this week, February 24 & 25, from 9am-6pm EST on

If you've ever wanted to take a peek at what the judges are looking for during the Photographic Open or Artistic competition, or to learn more about PPA's 12 Elements of a Merit Image, we invite you to tune in and get inspired. Who knows? Maybe you'll be entering next year!
By Autumn Rice 

PPA's annual International Photographic Competition (IPC) is coming up July 30-August 3, 2017! Though that may seem quite far away, time always flies and it's best to take some time to prepare the best images in your portfolio now so you can enter with confidence. IPC is an excellent opportunity to challenge yourself, so you definitely don't want to miss it! 

By competing in the IPC you'll get the chance to elevate your work through: 

• Engaging with the photographic community 
• Getting critiques from PPA certified jurors 
• Competing against the best in the business 

A great way to get some practice before the official IPC is to compete in your local, state, and district competitions. Then, head to the big stage and compete in PPA's International Photographic Competition. 

To give you an idea of what the judges are looking for, here's an actual critique from last year's competition. This image is "God's Beauty" by Heather Leider. It's being critiqued by Don Dickson, M.Photog.Hon.M.Photog.Cr., CPP, Hon.EA-ASP. 

If that's not enough to convince you, here's a quote from PPA member Kira Derryberry, M.Photog.Cr., CPP about her IPC experience with entering her images in the Print Competition at IPC: 

"I was awarded my Master of Photography degree with Professional Photographers of America! Print competition is hands down one of the largest contributing factors to my growth as a photographer and artist. After competing diligently for the last 3 years I'm proud to call myself a Master! Check that one off the list!" 

This is a great opportunity to improve your work. It's time you start entering your images! 

The judging for the International Photographic Competition will be held July 30-August 3, 2017. Early registration to enter your images opens May 22, 2017 - June 21, 2017 by 5pm ET. Entries after 6/21 will be accepted with a late fee through 7/6. But please note that no entries will be accepted after July 6, 2017 by 5pm ET

This year's IPC has some new rules, so be sure to check them at And don't forget to enter your images into the International Photographic Competition early to beat the crowds and save some money!

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By Autumn Rice

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Photographers, it's time to pull your best images and work on your competition entries for the International Photographic Competition! The IPC will take place this summer, and those who enter will once again get ahead of their peers, so get ready! 

The IPC is PPA's annual competition that allows photographers to test their skills, and get advice on how to improve quality, impact and technique through constructive competition and critiques from qualified jurors. Participating in PPA's photographic competitions gives you the opportunity to:

  • Engage with the passionate and supportive photographic competition community
  • Improve upon your finest work 
  • Earn recognition and admiration from your peers
  • And improve your business!

Interested in entering the IPC?  Here are the levels of competitions you can enter:

  • Local Competitions: Competing in competitions conducted by PPA-affiliated local guilds and associations are a great way to get started.  You will receive a critique of your submission, to help improve your chances for the next level. Check theLoop for more advice on entering local competitions.
  • State Competitions: Competition critiques at this level are often held live, providing insight into improving your work. It's the perfect place to start if you don't have access to a local guild or association. Check theLoop for more advice on entering state competitions.
  • District Competitions: This is your chance to get your last critiques before your work hits the big stage. You're assigned a district based off where you live. Knock their socks off here, and you could earn a Seal of Approval.
  • PPA's International Photographic Competition: Here's the big show. This competition is where your images earn merits and are judged for eligibility in PPA's Loan Collection. Participating in the IPC can help you earn your PPA degree: earn enough merits and you'll earn a Master of Photography degree in no time.

This is a great opportunity to improve your work. Don't hesitate to enter your images!

The judging for the International Photographic Competition will be held July 30-August 3, 2017. Early registration to enter your images opens May 22, 2017 - June 21, 2017 by 5pm ET. Entries after 6/21 will be accepted with a late fee surcharge through 7/6 included. But please note that no entries will be accepted after July 6, 2017 by 5pm ET.

This year's IPC has some new rules. Be sure to check them at and to enter your images into the International Photographic Competition early to beat the crowds and save some money!

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By Chris Homer

As we start 2017, chances are you're looking at ways to improve your photography and your business. Start the year off right by entering your District Photographic Competition!

While the idea of having your images judged at competition can be intimidating, one of the comments we hear from folks who have entered in the past is that participating in competitions is the best way to improve your photography. The feedback and ideas you'll get from the judges is invaluable when it comes to having stronger images - which in turn leads to a better photography business! 

In the coming weeks, the various District Competitions will be open for entries. View the schedule of competitions below. 

Judging Dates: February 24-25, 2017
Registration Dates (without late fee): January 16, 2017 - February 10, 2017 (by 5pm ET)
Registration Dates (late fee required): February 10, 2017 (after 5pm ET) - February 16, 2017 (by 5pm ET)

Judging Dates: March 3-4, 2017
Registration Dates (without late fee): January 23, 2017 - February 17, 2017 (by 5pm ET)
Registration Dates (late fee required): February 17, 2017 (after 5pm ET) - February 23, 2017 (by 5pm ET)

Judging Dates: March 24-25, 2017
Registration Dates (without late fee): February 10, 2017 - March 10, 2017 (by 5pm ET)
Registration Dates (late fee required): March 10, 2017 (after 5pm ET) - March 16, 2017 (by 5pm ET)

Judging Dates: March 31-April 2, 2017
Registration Dates (without late fee): February 14, 2017 - March 17, 2017 (by 5pm ET)
Registration Dates (late fee required): March 17, 2017 (after 5pm ET) - March 23, 2017 (by 5pm ET)

Judging Dates: April 21-22, 2017
Registration Dates (without late fee): March 7, 2017 - April 7, 2017 (by 5pm ET)
Registration Dates (late fee required): April 7, 2017 (after 5pm ET) - April 13, 2017 (by 5pm ET)

By Tristin Vaccaro
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At Imaging USA 2017 we're awarding individuals for the outstanding photography work they produced in 2016!  There are dozens of awards to give out over the three-day convention, so join us at these special ceremonies to honor those who made significant contributions to the photography industry. 

Attending these ceremonies is great inspiration for many photographers, as you'll see the best images of the year at the Grand Imaging Awards, and get to see who is honored as the Lifetime Achievement Award Winner at the Award & Degree Ceremony!

January 9 | 6:30-7:30pm
The Grand Imaging Awards are awarded yearly at Imaging USA based on the results of the International Photographic Competition (IPC). Bronze, silver, gold, and platinum medalists are announced, along with the top winners from each of the six photographic categories, as chosen by IPC jurors. The top image from all categories will then earn the overall Grand Imaging Award! 

Following the announcement of the Grand Imaging Award winner, finalist images for the World Photographic Cup will be announced. This is a really big deal because these finalists form Team USA that will go on to compete against countries around the world for the World Photographic Cup! Get a glimpse of these finalists and their images that will go on to compete on the world stage. 

You'll see some great images at the Grand Imaging Awards, so you'll want to attend to soak it all in. You may even find some inspiration for future photography projects!

January 10 | 6:30-7:30pm
At the PPA Award and Degree Ceremony we honor those who have gone above and beyond to set themselves apart in the photographic industry. There are tons of awards to give away at this ceremony for individuals, businesses, and groups alike. Awards include the Directors Award, Imaging Excellence Award, and Lifetime Achievement Award. 

Also, those who have taken the extra step to earn a photographic degree will be honored with ribbons and medallions. Degrees include Master of Photography, Photographic Craftsman, and Master of Electronic Imaging. Obtaining a degree takes a large amount of commitment and hard work, and we are proud to name those who have shown this passion for photographic excellence.

So while our winners don't walk down the red carpet, there is great honor in being presented with a PPA award or degree. We want to recognize those who make this industry great, and we hope you will join us at Imaging USA in San Antonio, TX, to honor them, too! 

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By Autumn Rice

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There are great things happening at Imaging USA 2017 in San Antonio, including IPC mentor sessions! PPA International Photographic Competition jurors are offering FREE one-on-one sessions to help improve your images and make them IPC, and merit, ready!

Many photographers have reservations about entering the International Photographic Competition because they don't know what to expect, they're unsure of their work, and they don't know what the judges are looking for.  In these one-on-one mentor sessions, PPA-approved jurors will answer your most pressing questions, and give suggestions on how to improve your images to earn merits toward a PPA Master Degree. Your images must be printed or on a laptop or tablet. We are unable to review any images on phones.  

Don't miss out on this opportunity to get a leg-up on the competition and get advice straight from the jurors. All you have to do is sign up for your 15-minute time slot! Sessions will be held from Sunday, January 8, - Tuesday, January 10, 2017, at the IPC area on the Expo floor.

Visit to sign up for your time slot with a juror! Space is extremely limited so sign up for your session today!

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The International Photographic Competition has seen substantial growth over the last few years due to the consistent efforts of its members, staff and competition volunteers. PPA is thrilled with the renewed interest in competition among its members. With this growth in mind, we're excited to share some changes in both the District and International Photographic Competitions.

Here are some of the changes coming to the 2017 Competitions:

  1. All panels convened to determine merit will operate with a five-member panel. This will increase efficiency in the judging. In 2016, a six-juror panel was seated and the lowest score was dropped, therefore five scores were used in determining score. This change is an alignment of the amount of scores required to determine a final score to be congruent with the number of jurors on the panel. The lowest score will no longer be dropped. When a judge associates an entry with an entrant, the judge is required to disqualify themselves from scoring an entry. When this scenario happens, the Jury Chair will enter a score for that entry. In the case of two jurors needing to disqualify themselves, the entry will be skipped until a panel with five jurors can be convened to score the entry.

  2. To further bring consistency between the District Competitions and the IPC, scores will be used to determine merit at both events. A majority of members surveyed stated that they would like the two scoring systems to be the same.

  3. The PPA Loan Collection will be determined in a different manner as well. Images scoring in the "deserving of a merit" category (80-84) will not be reviewed for the Loan Collection. Entries that receive a score of 80-84 at a District judging have the choice to send those Seal of Approval entries on to IPC for a merit towards their degree, or to break the seal to chance a higher score at IPC. 

    • Entries scoring 85-94 at the District or IPC will be reevaluated for the Loan collection at the IPC event. 
    • Entries scoring 95-100 will be automatically accepted into the Loan Collection. Entries in this scoring range from the District events will still need to be submitted to the IPC to be included in the Loan collection and to receive the merits associated with those entries.
  4. Critiques ordered in conjunction with the IPC will be produced off site from the IPC judging. Critiques ordered for both events will be available within four weeks of the competition.

  5. The review mechanism of "outs" will no longer be utilized. Currently, entries scoring 78-79 were reviewed again for merit. The introduction of the majority challenge effectively activates this review on each entry.

  6. Entries into the Artist Competition will now be required to have guide images within the entry.

  7. In the Photographic Open category, an entrant will now be required to have made all elements in the entry. Entries involving elements from other artists may be entered into the Artist Competition.

Beginning in 2018, all district competitions will utilize a minimum of two panels during their judging events. This will allow each district to continue to grow and accommodate those members who are looking to earn their Seals of Approval prior to the IPC.

Once again, PPA is looking forward to further encourage its members to take advantage of these incredible educational opportunities. Look for 2017 District Rules and Schedules this fall on

Be sure to check out the results from this year's exciting IPC

By Chris Homer

The 2016 International Photographic Competition results are now available! Thanks to everyone who entered and congratulations to all the photographers who earned merits or had an image be selected for the PPA Loan Collection! 

Don't forget that all the Loan Collection and merited  images will be on display in the International Photographic Exhibit at Imaging USA 2017, January 8 -10 in San Antonio, TX!

Go to to view the 2016 results, and don't forget to register for Imaging USA 2017 to see all these great images in person! 

ch_headshot_100x100.jpgAbout the author:
Chris Homer is PPA's SEO & Web Specialist, which basically makes Google Analytics his best friend. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Chris cheers passionately (and obnoxiously) for the Bulldogs in all things from football to checkers. When he's not hard at work on PPA's websites, you'll find Chris at auto racing events around the southeast, where he's known as a master architect of tent villages.


Come one, come all to the International Photographic Competition Exhibit at Imaging USA 2017 in San Antonio! The exhibit is free and open to the public, and features thousands of award-winning images from the 2016 Professional Photographers of America (PPA) Loan and General Collections.

The Loan and General Collections are comprised of the best of the best entries from the International Photographic Competition, which selects the year's top images from around the world. Images that earn a merit become part of PPA's General Collection, and then those images are judged again for inclusion in the prestigious Loan Collection. The images in the Loan Collection are bound in a beautiful hardcover book, available through Marathon Press (PPA does not receive any money from sales of this book). These collections are also displayed at the Imaging USA IPC Exhibit every year, so PPA members AND the general public can marvel at the year's best of the best photographs!

Every year at Imaging USA, PPA hosts the Grand Imaging Awards, where IPC winners compete for the best of 2016's Loan Collection in six categories: Event Albums, Non-Event Albums, Illustrative, Artist, Portrait, and Wedding. One of those six winners goes on to win the Grand Imaging Award!

Following the Grand Imaging Awards is a presentation by the World Photographic Cup! This is an international competition designed to bring together photographers from all over the globe in a spirit of friendship and unity. The United States team is made up of images from the Grand Imaging Awards, and in all, more than 25 countries are vying for this year's World Photographic Cup!

Want to enter the International Photographic Competition but don't know where or how to start? Consider enrolling in the Imaging USA pre-convention class "The Competition You Can't Lose" featuring Jessica Vogel, M.Photog.Cr., CPP and Timothy Walden, M.Photog.Hon.M.Photog.Cr., CPP, F-ASP.

We understand it's a big question: "Why should I enter the International Photographic Competition?" This program will answer this question AND it will guide you through the process, showing you how this competition is an investment in yourself and your business. Separate registration is required for pre-convention classes at

The IPC Exhibit is inside the Merit Café, where you'll also gain a first look at the new IPC rules that are in effect for the 2017 competition, as well as a series of short seminars geared to getting you familiar with and better prepared for future photographic competitions! Seminars cover Creating Portraits, Technical Excellence, Competition Concepts, Print Presentation, Lighting, Landscape Composition, Marketing, Degrees, and much more. Questions will be more than welcome, so ask away! You'll also have the opportunity to get one-on-one advice from official IPC jurors about how to improve your photos for the competition. These 15-minute sessions are limited, so be sure to reserve yours today!

We can't wait to see you at Imaging USA in January. But hurry up and register by Dec. 8 at for the Early Bird savings, OR use the Join & Go option to become a member of PPA and your full access pass to Imaging 2017 will be FREE as a welcome gift!

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By Autumn Rice

The entries are in, now let the judging begin! 

For the third consecutive year, the International Photographic Competition judging will be streamed live on Save the date for July 31- August 4, 2016 and be a part of all the IPC action!

The live stream is a great opportunity for competitors and spectators to immerse themselves in the world of PPA competition, and follow the judges as they critique images and even decide scores. During streaming, viewers will get the chance to see exactly what the judges are looking for, what they like and don't like, and understand the method behind the 12 Elements of a Merit Image. And if you entered, you might get to see your own image being judged! Gather your friends to watch and cheer together.

Also returning this year will be the IPC Live broadcast hosted by renowned Florida wedding photographer and co-host of The Photobomb Podcast, Booray Perry, Cr.Photog., CPP. Each day at 10:15 am and 2:15 pm EST, IPC Live will feature live critiques, interviews with the judges, and live Q&A sessions.

All you have to do is go to, sign in on your computer with your PPA account, or simply register with your email if you're not a PPA photographer - it's free either way! Once signed in, you can select which judging room you'd like to watch (portrait, illustrative, and event and non-event album). Don't worry, you can switch between rooms at any time. 

Here is the full schedule (all times are Eastern Standard): 

IPC Judging Live Stream
  • Sunday, July 31, 4:30 pm-6:30 pm EST
  • Monday, Aug. 1, 8:00 am-6:00 pm  EST
  • Tuesday, Aug. 2, 8:00 am-6:00 pm  EST
  • Wednesday, Aug. 3, 8:00 am-6:00 pm  EST
  • Thursday, Aug. 4, 8:00 am-6:00 pm  EST
  IPC Live broadcast hosted by Booray Perry 
  • Monday, Aug. 1, 10:15 am & 2:15 pm EST
  • Tuesday, Aug. 2, 10:15 am & 2:15 pm EST
  • Wednesday, Aug. 3, 10:15 am & 2:15 pm EST
  • Thursday, Aug. 4, 10:15 am & 2:15 pm EST

You can also attend IPC in person! Come to Gwinnett Technical College, Building 100, 5150 Sugarloaf Pkwy, Lawrenceville, GA 30043. There will be signs directing you to IPC.

So save the dates, July 31-August 4, and bookmark, so you'll be ready for the IPC Judging Live Stream and IPC Live Broadcast hosted by Booray Perry. 

Tune in to Be More Competitive! 

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries in the PPA Competitions category.

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