I don't make any secret about my love affair with print competition. This will be my sixth foray into the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) International Photographic Competition (IPC). My first entry was on a whim, with a new baby and about zero idea of how print competition really worked, I submitted four images (the maximum per case) that I just kind of liked. Of those four, three scored abysmally low while one made it into the prestigious loan collection. The next year, pleased by my success (and ignoring the not-so-successes), I entered again and did much better, with two scoring high enough to be accepted into the general collection and one into the loan collection (think of the general collection as the silver standard and the loan collection as the gold standard). Since then, I've tried to earn a medal every year - a medal is given when you get all four of your images into either the general or loan collections. This year I received a bronze medal with four portraits, including two newborn images, a children's portrait, and a maternity image. I was thrilled with all of the images and pleased with the feedback I received. All these wonderful people were such a joy to photograph and I'm so excited to share my 2018 bronze medal competition case with you today.
But why? Why go to the trouble of submitting anything to print competition? Well, I felt it was important to start competing for several reasons. Primarily, I found that competition was the best way for me to receive truly constructive feedback on my images. Print judges are trained to give feedback that can rip apart an image but encourage you at the same time. Secondly, I had made the decision to pursue my PPA Master of Photography, which requires a certain number of ‘merits’ (scores of 80 or above) along with teaching and learning. I received my Master of Photography designation in 2016. Finally, print competition allows me to get creative. I submit a mix of client and personal work to print competition, and I can submit my nature photographs that may otherwise never get seen or a fun portrait idea. I’m already starting to get creative for next year’s competition. That, in turn, keeps my work fresh and exciting for my clients. So really, why wouldn’t I submit to print competition?
Here’s to a great end to the Competition season and some new and exciting work coming up for 2019. I can’t wait to see what the year brings.
You can see these and other images that have merited in print competition, both in the Professional Photographers of North Carolina (PPNC) competitions and IPC, here.