About The Image Judging Process at IPC

The International Photographic Competition is a big deal, and those who rise to the top do so by proving that they're the best at their craft.

Judging the entries into the IPC isn't an easy job. In fact, a lot of work goes into judging each year's thousands of submissions. And this work is expertly handled by a group of highly trained and skilled professionals.

IPC's 80+ judges are volunteer members of PPA who come from a wide cross section of the professional photography industry. They've put in the time to understand the ins and outs of the many qualities that make up an image that stands out among all others.

They're also highly trained in competition adjudication, with many hours of training under their belts. Judges are trained to know exactly how to give constructive advice to help you improve your photography. So when you enter into competition, know that your image is being judged in a way designed to help you learn more about your skill set and improve your craft.

See the list of Approved Jurors

There are currently around 81 jurors (typically about 4 to 6 are added per year and about 4 to 6 retire per year). Jurors can only judge the same district once every two years.

To say that the IPC judging process is rigorous is beyond understatement. Every year, thousands of professional photographers enter the IPC seeking distinction and the education that comes with getting this kind of feedback.

What does that mean? It means judging isn't a "done-in-one" kind of process.

Judging: Round One

In round one, judges are looking to see if images are merit-worthy. Or, put another way, they look to see if your image is good enough to make the first cut. Unfortunately, not every image has what it takes to move on to round two.

However, if your images are merit-worthy and score 85 or higher then it's on to round two.

Judging: Round Two

If your image is awesome enough to impress our judges here, then you land the chance to have your work put before the eyes of thousands of your peers.

On top of being able to earn more merits towards a PPA degree, your image can land a spot in the PPA Loan Collection, get published in the annual Loan Collection book and put on display at Imaging USA.


If you're smarter than average, you'll also choose to have your images critiqued, and will receive a recording from a judge with feedback on each image you've entered in the competition, explaining to you how each photo stacks up against the 12 elements of a winning image, and what you could have done better if it fell a little short! Recorded critiques are a fantastic way to learn, specifically, how you can take your images to the next level.

Want to learn more about how the IPC judging process works? Great! We'd love to share that with you!

IPC Judges Workshops give you the skinny on the judging process. Get a better understanding of judging protocol; see what judges look for in a merit-worthy image and gain a firm understanding of what it takes to advance in the IPC!

Learn more about IPC Judges Workshops!

Take a behind the scenes look at how the judging works for PPA's International Photographic Competition! In this short video, you'll find out how the photographic competition judges are selected, and by what standard they judge your images: 

There’s nothing like watching something live, and the IPC judging is no exception. Live judging happens each year near PPA headquarters in Atlanta and is FREE to the public. Not only does watching the IPC judges live and in action give you a chance to peek behind the proverbial curtain, but it also gives insight into what exactly the judges are looking for. Come talk to judges, other participants, and PPA staff when you make a day of IPC live judging!

Can't make it to Atlanta? Watch the live streaming of judging online while it's happening! You don’t have to be a PPA member to watch. Just create an account and then start taking it all in.

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(only available during judging)