International Photographic Competition (IPC) Rules

Congratulations on making the decision to enter into the IPC! This is a fantastic opportunity to put your skills to the test and to grow as an artist.

The rules are explained extensively below because we want you to excel!  Don’t rush through this page, because failure to comply with IPC’s rules could result in your disqualification! We don’t want that!

These rules pertain to images entered as digital files created by any photographic process.
1.    Entrants are required to upload a digital file for each image entered.
2.    No changes to your entry are permitted once the entry deadline has passed. No refunds will be issued after the entry fee is paid.
3.    Entrants must be PPA members to compete in the IPC.
4.    PPA Staff, PPA staff spouses, IPC contracted jurors, and PPA Board members are not eligible to enter.
5.    Images that have received a PPA Exhibition merit before January 1, 2023, will not be eligible to enter.
6.    Any image that placed in the top 32 or higher in a previous year will not be eligible to be entered.
7.    Makers can enter an unlimited number of images per category but are limited to only one image advancing into the round of 32. The image will be selected based on the highest score.

Eligiblity

  1. All images must have been created using photographic processes. Additional processes can be added to the photograph in applicable categories.
  2. All photographic elements must have been created by the maker. No stock or AI images will be allowed.
  3. All processing, manipulation, and rendering must be done by the entrant or under their direct supervision.
  4. 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.
  5. The entrant's name shall not appear anywhere in or on the entry.
  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.

Digital Image Entries Specs

  1. All files must be exactly 4000 pixels on the longest side, have an embedded color profile of either sRGB or Adobe RGB1998, and be saved at a JPEG quality setting of 12.
  2. The raw camera file will be required to be uploaded as part of the registration and verification process. (No AI will be allowed)

Third-party images and software

No third-party imagery or stock photography is allowed.

Non-photographic filters and actions produced by third parties that enhance characteristics of an image but do not add elements to an image are permitted except for in the Reportage and Sports categories.

Disqualification

PPA has the right to disqualify or recategorize any image if it violates the IPC rules and or categories, or undermines the integrity of the competition.

International Shipping

International awards will be shipped, at the member’s expense.

There are 16 competition categories. Each category winner will receive a $1,000 cash prize.

Commercial

Images intended to be used by a commercial client to promote or brand a product or company. Advertising, fashion, beauty, still life, food, architecture, and corporate photography are all included in this category. Composite and non-composite images, and highly manipulated images (Photoshop or similar) are allowed.

Illustrative/Digital Art

An Illustrative or graphic depiction of any concept or subject. Composite and non-composite images and highly manipulated images (Photoshop or similar) are allowed in this category.

Landscape

This category is for photography that is devoted to displaying natural elements such as landscapes, cityscapes, plants, flowers, trees, and close-ups of natural scenes and textures. Aerial, macro, and astrophotography are included in this category. It is allowed to crop, rotate, select dodging and burn, reduce noise, sharpen, adjust color/black-and-white, apply grain, as well as basic retouching. Photo stitching, focus stacking, multi-exposure, etc., is allowed as long as it is shot at the same time and in the same place as a consecutive sequence, seconds or minutes apart. It is NOT allowed to add or move elements by cloning, healing, patching, content-aware fill, liquefy, or similar tools. No in-camera file stacking will be allowed. The originally captured image (in RAW or jpg) must be available if requested by PPA.

Wildlife

Images must depict actual wildlife in a natural habitat. Cropping, rotating, selective dodge and burn, reducing noise, sharpening, adjusting color/black-and-white, applying grain, and minor retouching is allowed. Photo stitching, focus stacking, and multi-exposure are allowed as long as it is shot at the same time and in the same place as a consecutive sequence, seconds or minutes apart. It is NOT allowed to add or move elements by cloning, healing, patching, content-aware fill, liquefy, or similar tools. The original capture image (in RAW or jpg) must be available if requested by PPA.

Illustrative Portrait

Images that include extensive styling, creative photo techniques, specialized makeup, or props are allowed. Post-production techniques are encouraged and may be an essential part of the final story in the photograph. Composite and non-composite images and highly manipulated images (Photoshop or similar) are allowed in this category.

Natural Portrait

Images that depict the natural beauty of a subject.  Lighting and posing should portray and enhance the personality and character of the subject. Images that use extensive makeup or props to transform the natural appearance, must be entered in Illustrative Portrait or Illustration/Digital Art categories. Post-production techniques are not to be an essential part of the final photograph.

Reportage/Photojournalism

Images that illustrate an actual public or non-public event, life, an area of human interest, telling news that have meaning in the context or record of events, high impact, and/or lasting emotional response. Images that illustrate sporting events are NOT accepted in this category. See the Sports category below for sport-image submissions. ONLY basic color and brightness adjustments, cropping, dodging, and burning in are allowed. Only single-capture images will be accepted. Composite and multiple-exposure or in-camera file stacked images will not be accepted. The originally captured image (in RAW or jpg) must be available if requested by PPA.

Day of Wedding

Images in the Day of Wedding category must be done in connection with an actual wedding event (not a stylized session). Images must reflect the personality of the subject(s) and/ or illustrate the story of the event. They must include some visual reference(s) that defines the wedding event (traditional clothing, church flowers, etc.). Composite images are allowed as long as post-production is not a significant part of displaying the essence or the personality of the subject(s).

Sports

Images that illustrate an actual public or non-public sporting event. ONLY basic color and brightness adjustments, cropping, dodging, and burning in are allowed. Only single-capture images will be accepted. Composite and multiple-exposure or in-camera file stacked images will not be accepted. The originally captured image (in RAW or jpg) must be available if requested by PPA.

Portrait groups / Families (3 or more people)

Portrait of a family or group of at least 3 or more people.
Composite and non-composite images and highly manipulated images (Photoshop or similar) are allowed in this category.

Yearly Theme: Maternity

Portrait of pregnancy including a person individually or with a group.
Composite and non-composite images and highly manipulated images (Photoshop or similar) are allowed in this category.

Newborn (up to 6 months) 

Portraits of infants under 6 months old individually or with a group.
Composite and non-composite images and highly manipulated images (Photoshop or similar) are allowed in this category.

Boudoir

This category may include subjects in lingerie consistent with the boudoir genre, nudes of individuals and couples from all genders including, semi-nudes, and implied nudes.
Please enter maternity style boudoir in the Maternity category.

Pets and Domestic animals

Portrait of a companion animal or animals, as well as domesticated livestock animals.  Wildlife and wild animals and zoo animals are not allowed in this category. Composite and non-composite images and highly manipulated images (Photoshop or similar) are allowed in this category.

Children and Teens (7 months to 16 years of age)

Portrait of a child or children between the ages of 7 months and 16 years old.  Composite and non-composite images and highly manipulated images (Photoshop or similar) are allowed in this category

High School Seniors (17 to 19 years of age)

Portrait of an individual 17-19 years of age. Composite and non-composite images and highly manipulated images (Photoshop or similar) are allowed in this category.

  • In round one, each image will be given a score based on Impact, Technical Excellence, Composition, and Style. Other factors may be considered based on the category. The top 32 images in each of the 16 categories will move forward to the next round. This round of judging will be online and not available to the public.
  • Round of 32 (Bronze): Images will be placed in a bracket for head-to-head judging. Bracketing is random. A panel of five jurors will select between the two images based on the above criteria. Images are placed in the brackets based on the first round judging results. The system will randomly select images from the opposite sides of the bracket based on the first-round ranking, Images not moving on to the next round will receive the Bronze pin. This round is live and open to the public at Imaging USA.
  • Round of 16 (Silver): Images selected for the Silver round will be randomly put into brackets, and the head-to-head process will be repeated. Images not moving on to the next round will receive the Silver pin. This round is live and open to the public at Imaging USA.
  • Round of 8 (Gold): Images selected for the Gold round will be randomly put into brackets, and the head-to-head process will be repeated. Images not moving on to the next round will receive the Gold pin. This round is live and open to the public at Imaging USA.
  • Round of 4 (Platinum): All images in the Platinum round will be viewed by the jurors, and the top image will be selected as the overall winner of the category. The category winner will receive a trophy and a check for $1000 as well as beginning the category Diamond Photography. Images that are not selected overall winner will receive the Platinum pin. This round is live and open to the public at Imaging USA. These 4 images will be judged together out of which you will get the category winner.
  • GIA Selection Round (Diamond): The 16 category winners will go head-to-head to select the top image of the competition. Jurors will discuss what they like and don’t like about the image. There will be a process to eliminate images until a winner is selected. This will be the Grand Imaging Award winner. The GIA winner will receive a trophy and a check for $10,000.
  • Registration opens July 9, 2024, and closes Sept 12, 2024