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PPA Photographic Competitions Offer More Options - PPA Today

PPA Photographic Competitions Offer More Options

PPA's International Photographic Competition (IPC) is the gold standard for photography competitions and features the best of the best photographs from around the world in an exhibition every year. Having an image "go Loan"--chosen for inclusion in the world's most prestigious photo exhibit--is an achievement professional photographers cherish.

Since the photographs are judged and critiqued by industry pros with years of experience, doing well in this competition is a message to clients that your work has reached a level of excellence achieved by very few. Plus, when images are accepted in either the General Collection or Loan Collection of IPC, you earn exhibition merits. These merits are the foundation of the PPA master's degrees. Each merit earned puts you one step closer to this career milestone.

PPAScoring.jpgWant to reach this level of excellence? You can start with your PPA District Photographic Competition or go directly to the IPC itself. Whatever your choice, knowing the latest changes only improves your chances (and entering both competitions doubles your opportunity for a merit!).

Why District?
"We all should be taking advantage of competing at the district level," adds Dennis Craft, M.Photog.Cr.Hon.M.Photog., CPP, API, F-ASP,  chairman of PPA's Photographic Exhibitions Committee (PEC).

Entering at the district level is a great way to test-run your images. Plus, if your image scores an 80 or above (out of 100), it will be awarded a PPA Seal of Approval. When that "sealed" image is entered into the next IPC, it will automatically become part of the PPA General Collection, which is exhibited at Imaging USA. You'll also receive an automatic exhibition merit, and that image could be elevated to the Loan Collection during the IPC judging, which nets you an additional merit!

What's your district? Every PPA member is assigned to a district based on where they live (or the address in their PPA member record), and a map is available here:

Competition Changes & Improvements
Over the last few years, some key revisions have been made to modernize the competitions' procedures and make them more entrant-friendly:

  • Size (Almost) Doesn't Matter - The restrictions on the size of the prints have been eased. All photographers will be able to submit different sizes of print images (80 to 480 square inches total, no more than 24 inches on any side).
  • New Categories Encourage Everyday Client Work - The Photographic Open category has been split in two. The new Portrait category is for portraits, wedding images and other work for clients. The new Illustrative category is for landscapes, architectural images, creative composites and other scenic images.
  • Files or Prints, You Decide - Photographers can now submit high-resolution digital versions of their images for judging in every category. "No longer will PPA tell you what format you must submit," says Craft. "Print or decide what's best for your image." 
Although some of the entry details have changed, the pursuit of excellence has not. So don't forget to consider the technical excellence and presentation elements when creating your images (from the 12 Elements of a Merit Image: This includes presentation touches like key lines or borders. As Craft points out, "Those elements are still a part of an image, whether you're viewing it as a print or on a monitor."

If you choose to enter digitally, make sure you also read and follow the parameters for entering the correctly sized and prepared files ( Such pixel dimensions and color profiles are essential to ensure your image displays correctly for the jurors.

Registration & Submission Updates
Not only have the competitions changed in what you can enter, but how you enter has been updated, too! To modernize the process--and keep better records--every photographer must register at and include a digital version of each entry. Remember, online entry and digital upload is required regardless of your entry format (print or digital).

For those used to entering the regional competitions, this may be a big change, as you will not be able register or pay on-site to enter your district competition. However, as long as you enter and pay by the online registration deadline for your district, you will be able to ship your print entries to the designated location. (You may also be able to hand deliver your images. Check your district's competition rules for details.)

Are you ready to excel? Are you ready to discover just how good your images are? Make this the year to find out by entering your PPA District Photographic Competition!

Complete rules for the PPA District Photographic Competitions, including the new digital specs, are at Contact your affiliate association or Colleen Sweeney (, PPA's Event and International Photographic Competition Manager, if you have questions.

, M.Photog.Cr., A-ASP, F-ASP


Thanks for the information, and for making the print competitions more accesible via digital uploads! I'd read most of the articles on the competitions section of the PPA web site, but there's one glaring omission: nowhere do I find a link to actually enter, upload and pay! I'm super-excited to finally enter my first print competition. Would it be possible to prominently link to the entry page? I'm guessing you'll see a lot more entries if the entry/upload page is more prominently featured.

Or is it possible that the link to the entry page will appear on a certain date? If so, please state that more clearly.

Thanks again, and I look forward to entering!

Best regards,
Andrew Shinn

Shinn Photography

Andrew, the committee is finalizing the rules for this year's competition. We hope to have the updated rules posted in March. Online entry should be available shortly after that. Good luck in this year's competition!

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Professional Photographers of America (PPA) published on January 31, 2011 4:26 PM.

Grand Imaging Awards Photos Online was the previous entry in this blog.

Portrait Professional Releases New Version 10 is the next entry in this blog.

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