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Serving the Bay Area Community of Professional Photographers since 1949

Providing Education, Certification, Image Critique and Competition, and Peer-to-Peer Networking

HomePrint Competition

Print Competition

One of the Member Benefits is being able to participate in the Print Competitions and in order to get the most benefit from Print Competition you have to participate. Other benefits as a result from participating in print competition is learning how you can improve your technical photographic skills, posing skills, image making skills and print presentation. If you have any questions that are not answered below please contact the Print Comp Chairperson directly.

NOTE: PPSCV Print Competitions have been suspended at this time (April 2020).
Still want to compete?
Watch for invitations to Image Competitions using digital images.

PPSCV may hold monthly print competitions during its fiscal year, normally on the second Wednesday of every month. You are allowed up to two entries per competition, which will be scored on its own merits by a panel of jud
ges. Each image will also receive comments from at least one judge to let you know the image’s good points and ways you can improve.

Monthly Competition Rules:

- Classification of Entries

  1. Studio Portrait - Photographic image of a subject in a studio environment.
  2. Environmental Portrait - photographic image of a subject other than a studio.
  3. Social / Special Event (Wedding) - Photographic image pertaining to Weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, Quinceañera, reunions, parties, or other social events are suggested use for this category.
  4. Unclassified/Illustrative - Creative, scenic, photographic art, photojournalism, etc. are suggested for this category.
  5. Scientific / Technical - Photographic prints in the field of industrial and technical photography .

- Print Competition
  1. No print can be entered into PPSCV competition more than twice. Any print receiving a scorer of 70 or greater may not be entered again into any PPSCV monthly competition.
  2. A minimum of 5 entries and three makers are required to hold a monthly print competition..
  3. Print most be entered by the maker and ONLY the maker.
  4. Entry must be 11x14 or 16x20 only, mounted and unframed. No other sizes will be accepted. Dimensions are in inches.
  5. Each member may enter two (2) prints per regular competition.
  6. There must be no studio or photographer's name on the front of the entry. on the back the maker must attach a Print Comp label with their name (not studio names), print title, and print category filed in. "Untitled" as a title is unacceptable and lack of any of the aforementioned disqualifies the print from judging.
  7. Prints must be removed from their cases and  present to the committee.
  8. Deadlines for entries is 15 minutes prior to the start of the meeting.
  9. Judging: The rules will be as follows:
    1. The prints will be voted upon by a panel of three-five judges appointed by the Print Committee Chairperson.
    2. No discussion is allowed during the judging except according to the challenge rules. Any judge may challenge a score given a particular point, at which time they may present a short argument either pro or con, and others may respond. There will be an automatic challenge anytime there is a point spread of ten points or more off the average score. The Jury Chairman may recall a print for review, and will act as a fifth judge if needed.

- Print Critique
  1. Prints up to 16x20 may be submitted for critique during regular Print Competition months.
  2. One print per maker is allowed for critique.
  3. Print critique is contingent on approval of the Print Comp Chairperson.

- Awards
  1. Ribbons will be awarded to images 80 and above.
  2. Ribbon will be awarded to Print of the Month.
  3. Print of the Month will be published on the website, newsletter and PPSCV social media.

Year End Print Competition

  • Who can participate in the Year End Print Competition?
      Any member in good standing who has attended at least five monthly meetings may participate in the year end print competition.

    • What prints may be entered in the Year End Print Competition?
      Up to six prints that have received a score of 70 or above in any PPSCV monthly competition during the current year.

    • Do the prints submitted have to be those actually entered in the monthly competition?
      No, you may have the print reprinted using the feedback given at the monthly competition or you may enter the same prints.

    • What are the print requirements for the Year End Print Competition?
      The print sizes allowed are 11×14, 16×20 (inches), must be mounted and unframed. No maker or studio name or logo may appear on the image.

    • When is the Year End Print Competition?
      The date for the Year End Print Competition is listed on the Calendar page. (Usually the deadline is during the beginning of December.)

    • What are the categories/classifications for submissions?
      The categories are the same as the monthly competitions.

    • What are the steps and requirements for submitting prints for the Year End Print Competition?
      Only the Maker may enter their prints and must collect them after the competition.

    • Each print must have the original Print Comp label on the back. If the original print is not entered, the maker must supply the information from the back of the original print, on the print entered.
      The entries must be turned in by the deadline date as published by the Print Comp Chairperson.

What Are The Judges Looking For ?

12 Elements of Success in Image Competition

In all aspects of life, first impressions are usually lasting impressions; good or bad. So, it goes in print competition. When a photograph initially comes around on the turntable, that first impression either makes or breaks the image. Therefore, many photographers agree that this is the most important element in subjective analysis of judging photography. Since everyone has his or her own personal opinions, likes and dislikes, there must be some sort of standard on which judges can determine the merit of prints. The Photographic Exhibition Committee established the 12 Elements of a merit quality photograph. These elements are endorsed by the International Print Competition Judges.

Listed here are these 12 elements, in order of importance, along with a brief discussion of each.

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.