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Old 03-17-2006   #1
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Default 12 Elements of PPA Print Competition

Had a request for this...
For those interested in someday entering PPA (Professional Photographers of America) Print Competition.

Here's the hard facts:
*Images have to be 16x20, verticle or horizontal
*Has to be mounted on aprox. 3/8th's inch board, usually double weight mat board, but gatorboard works well too.
*Needs to be printed 20% darker than usual.
*Judging room is darkened, image is placed under Fresnel lights metered at an exact light output.
*Prints are usually laminated or sprayed with clear laquer for an extremely high gloss.
*Most have borders or mats built in with Photoshop.
*Images are judged by 5 Master Photographers, each having years of experience at print competitions in general, and
have attended PPA's judging school. These guys are tough to impress.
*Images may have a text overlay, but it's not common.
*In order to receive a merit, image must score an 80 or higher on a scale from 1-100. All 5 judges vote, a computer
calculates an average score.
*To obtain the Master of Photography Degree from PPA, one must accumulate 13 print merits, and 12 service merits (for attending photographic schools are seminars).

What judges don't like:
Improperly exposed images. Poor lighting or execution. Poor expressions. Images to light or lacking in contrast. Hotspots...like the kind you see when the sun is poking through the tree leaves.


The images are judged on a 12 element standard. These are:

1. IMPACT - Impact is the first reaction when a print is observed. It is the most important of the 12 elements. Does the print grab your attention? Does it make you want to look at it further? Does the title complement the image?

2. CREATIVITY - How novel is the image? The most creative images are totally unique. Use your imagination in creating images, and to share your ideas with others. You want your imagination to spark the imagination of others.

3. STYLE - Style separates one's images from others. You can borrow elements from established styles to help develop your own unique style. Examples of well-known broad styles include realist, cubist, impressionistic, scenic, documentary, glamour, and renaissance.

4. COMPOSITION - Composition, how the image is framed and its elements arranged, is often a matter of how well you follow (or break) the "rules." Create rhythm in your images through repetition and symmetry. Use the rule of thirds to place subjects. Use lines to create design and interest. Don't allow horizon lines to cut through subject heads, and watch for objects "growing" out of subject heads.

5. PRESENTATION - This is the style with which you present your images. Cropping, mounting, and underlays. Dare to be different. But, don't do anything that doesn't enhance your image. Use a color from the main subject as the border to help direct viewer attention. Don't use borders that are too bold. 1/16 to 1/8 inch border is a good rule of thumb. Refer to print competition rules for thickness and print sizes.

6. COLOR BALANCE - This element is the use of color harmony in an image. Light against dark, strong against weak. Do the colors of your subject harmonize with the background? Does the background de-emphasize or compete with your subject?

7. CENTER OF INTEREST - Use design and leading lines to draw the viewer's eye directly to your subject. Your design should hold viewer attention, leaving them free to explore the entire image, but always returning to the center of interest. The fewer distractions, the better.

8. LIGHTING - This means the correct quantity of light to convey the mood of the image. You should always have direction of light, otherwise the image will appear flat and lifeless. Proper lighting of the five views of the human face is essential to a great image.

9. SUBJECT MATTER - A correct and clear interpretation of your subject should be conveyed to the viewer. Your subject should correlate to its surroundings.

10. PRINT QUALITY - Color negatives should be of proper density for prints to hold detail in both highlight and shadow areas. Camera angle, lighting, contrast, and color will also effect overall print quality. Avoid matte sprays and any spray that lessens the brilliance of the photographic print. High gloss prints score best.

11. TECHNIQUE - This is the foundation of photography, but art principles are necessary and should be studied.

12. STATEMENT - Every image should tell a story. Make sure that the story is easy to read. Again, your title can make or break your story. By producing a competition print, which incorporates a majority of these 12 elements, you can create a merit print. Personal experience may tell you that this is difficult to achieve. But, with experience, the goal may be more easily attained. Don't get emotionally involved with your work, to the point of not being able to accept criticism. To learn, you need to enter competitions. Through subjective analysis, we all grow and become better photographers.


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Old 03-17-2006   #2
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Default Re: 12 Elements of PPA Print Competition

Sounds tough , thanks for taking the time to share this info , I have copied it and saved to a wordpad document to meditate on ...
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Old 03-17-2006   #3
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Default Re: 12 Elements of PPA Print Competition

Here's an image I submitted last June. It's a rare example of text on an image. (99% of competition images do not have text). Notice the black mat. (very prevelent in competition images).

What the judges said:
"Outstanding sharpness, edge to edge...although I'm concerned with the overexposed highlights on the white dome. Great color, great angle, nice presentation".

Scored an 84.
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Old 03-17-2006   #4
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Default Re: 12 Elements of PPA Print Competition

Now if you did that again would you PS the highlights out of the dome or go back when you have afternoon sunlight ? It's strange how we all have different tastes in photography , I wouldn't have even considered submitting a photo like that , not because I don't think it is good enough but rather because I am into landscapes and outdoors and see buildings as the evil that is destroying the environment . But I suppose that is what photography is all about ... sucking the marrow out of life .
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Old 03-17-2006   #5
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Default Re: 12 Elements of PPA Print Competition

Desmond, I know what you mean about landscapes....that was my first love.

Any image, any subject matter can be entered into PPA competition.

I actually didn't plan on entering this one.
Another photographer saw it on my website and suggested it would score a merit,.....and they were right.
Weird.

I have already fixed the dome and sent the image to Dallas for this weekend's print competition.

To fix the blown highlights, I actually pulled the dome from another shot. (I bracketed exposures).

Some people will tell you that you can fix anything in PS, but you can't.

I'll post a few more shots from previous competitions when I get back from Dallas.
As well as a cool trick I learned from a Master several years ago.
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Old 03-17-2006   #6
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Default Re: 12 Elements of PPA Print Competition

The cool tricks I am learning right now is Cokin filters . It is amazing how much better a picture can look with a polariser , a gold filter , a graduated filter . Pictures that I have taken before I am doing again and they are looking much better with filters ...
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Old 03-18-2006   #7
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Default Re: 12 Elements of PPA Print Competition

I had heard that an image submitted for judging in PPA must be a commissioned image. That is, it must have been an image that you were paid to do. Is that a requirement?
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Old 03-18-2006   #8
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Default Re: 12 Elements of PPA Print Competition

Jim,
I've heard that question before.
No, it does not have to be a commissioned image. You can enter any image, with any subject matter, regardless if you were paid for creating it or not.

I do not believe you even have to be a member of PPA. You just don't get the merit if the score is above 80.
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Old 03-19-2006   #9
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Default Re: 12 Elements of PPA Print Competition

Hey Mark... I thought the service merits had to include speaking engagements also. At least when I was in PPA that was one of the items to get your CR or Master. Seems to have changed.

Also, I print competition you need to make your print about 10-25% darker then normal viewing. The lighting they use to judge is pretty harsh.

Regards,

Bill
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Old 03-19-2006   #10
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Default Re: 12 Elements of PPA Print Competition

To me, what I see when I look at this is the amount of text on this image is over balances and appears to grab too much attention away from the stadium. I can see the reason to have the TT and SBC, but you are redundent on the SBC initials. With the TT in the lower right corner and the words "Jones SBC Stadium" in the upper left, you would have achived the balance of the text, still had a frame effect, but not had the feeling of too much red text on the image. I'd almost say the SBC and TT in opposite corners like they are would be enough, but having the full stadium name is probably better for an image in this catagory.

Mike


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