Image Competition

One of the best ways to become a better photographer is to enter competition. Yup it is pretty scary the first time you enter an image into any competition. We all think our work is just about perfect. Well it doesn't often work that way. We are too close to the image that we created and often overlook some of the things that could have been done better. When you enter an image, it is judged by a panel of five other photographers and one alternate.

They will first score the image according to the PPA Scoring System. PPA has established this scoring system so that there would be a more consistent way of judging the images that are entered at any image competition.

After they are done with the scoring, they will go through a critique by the judges. Although, at first, their comments may seem harsh, but they are intended to help you become a better photographer. When they point out areas that should have been cropped out, retouched or just shot at a different angle, it is intended to help you do a better job next time. We all miss things. It's nice to have others look at your work and either validate that you did a good job or to tell you where you could have done better.

Image Competition is a game and there are rules for the game. You will find our Image Competition Rules on this website. The better you learn how to play the game, the better you will do in the competition and in your every day work. However, keep in mind that not all photographs you take are really competition images. Most of our work is great for our clients, but for competition it needs to be something different, something special and the retouching and other adjustments have to be the very best. If the judges can tell that you did digital manipulation or you tried to hide something by doing that, it will not score well at all. If you have questions about entering competition, talk to the Image Competition Chairman or talk to any of us that have our Master of Photography Degree form PPA. We will all be happy to help you to better understand competition or to look at images and give you suggestions on what you should enter. We will also be happy to advise you on how to crop the image, what needs to be retouched, etc. But remember, it's only our opinion and many times, the judges may feel differently. Ultimately it is up to you on what you enter and what you do with the image before you enter it.

PPA Scoring System

OK, so you are asking yourself "Why the PPA Scoring System?" Those of us that are members of PPA and are entering competition are, or have, doing it so that when we enter the image into PPA's International Photographic Competition. Images or Prints entered have a chance of earning a Merit. Merits are for images that score an 80 or higher. Merits are accumulated to earn the Master of Photography Degree from PPA. Below you will find the guide. Although we use this as a guide there are some of it that don't apply to our competition. You will see there is a category from 79-78 called Deserving of Review. This category is used in the Regional Affiliated Competition and at PPA. If you image scores at 78 or 79 it is brought back before the panel of judges and given another chance to move up to an 80. Likewise, images scoring an 80-81 are also brought back before the judges and can be move down to a 79. The system is called thumbs up, thumbs down. It goes very, very fast. The score of 80 or higher is what we all want. An 80 or higher will get one Merit. You will notice the red line on the chart below. Aim for the scores above the line. You may not always make it, but it's a good place to aim. At the PPA Judging, the Merit Images also go before a panel to select images for the Loan Collection. If select for the Loan Collection you get an additional Merit.

OK, so do I have you confused enough? I hope this helps. If not, don't be afraid to ask questions. As is often said, there is no such thing as a dumb question. We all want to help you become a better photographer and hopefully a stronger business as well.