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You might have heard, but the International Photographic Competition (IPC) was last week!

The results are in and they are GOOD! More images, more merit images, and WAY more images going loan. Way to go everyone! Here's an excerpt from our official press release below:


A panel of 45 eminent jurors from across the United States selected the top photographs from nearly 5,000 total entries from August 4-7 at Gwinnett Technical College in Lawrenceville, Georgia.

Judged against a standard of excellence, just over 1,800 images were selected for the General Collection and 918 (roughly 18 percent) were selected for the esteemed Loan Collection--the best of the best. The Loan Collection images will all be published in the much-anticipated "Loan Collection" book and over 200 selected General Collection images will be published in the "Showcase" book by Marathon Press.

Images accepted into the General and Loan Collections will also be on display at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, Tennessee Feb. 1-3, 2015 during Imaging USA, the annual convention and expo for professional photographers. These images constitute one of the world's largest annual exhibits of professional photography gathered simultaneously under one roof.

Those who didn't earn merits this year didn't have to leave empty-handed. Critiques from the IPC judges were available upon request, and the judges completed roughly 1,800 during the competition. The critiques are offered as a way to help participants find areas of improvement and prepare for future photo competitions.

And for the first time, this year's IPC was streamed live online and 1,570 unique visitors from 13 countries tuned in over the four days. 643 of those weren't involved in this year's competition, showcasing the widespread curiosity in competition, but tentativeness to enter. This is something PPA hopes the live stream will help change.

"This was truly the biggest and best IPC yet," said IPC manager Rich Newell, M.Photog.Cr. "Those critiques must be working; we had about 250 more images go Loan this year. And we're thrilled with how many people viewed the live stream. We hope it showed all the non-participants who watched what truly goes on at competition. Hopefully they won't hesitate to enter next year!"

The IPC challenges photographers to grow their artistic and technical photography skills by creatively capturing and presenting their best images, and by doing so, improving their businesses.

 

Here are a few photos from the judging:

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To view full results of the International Photographic Competition, visit PPA.com/IPC. And go ahead and start practicing for next year! Let's see those numbers soar even higher.

Written by IPC Guest Blogger, Christine Walsh-Newton
Blog was originally posted on August 7, 2014

Whew! Was that a roller-coaster ride, or what? IPC 2014 exploded on the scene with a bang and will not be soon forgotten. The excitement of being able to view the judging live online added a whole new dimension to the competition this year! I'm happy, you're happy, we're all happy!

So... yes, I know there's still one more day to go, but some folks' judging has been completed and they're wondering what the next step is - so here are some things you'll want to know about.

1. Results - you should receive your results as the competition is ongoing. Texts are being sent to alert competitors that their image is in line to be judged as well as the results afterwards. If you didn't get signed up for the texts, you can still check how your images are doing by going to the live stream link (http://stream.theipc.org/) , logging in and checking the area that says "View My Images."

The final, official results will be available within several days of the end of IPC 2014 at the PPA website. In 2013, they were available about 1 day later and were posted at: IPC Results

The official results will list your name, the title of your image and the judging results. Results are noted as G, GB or L. G means that your image was accepted into the general collection and will receive 1 merit. GB means that your image was accepted into the general collection AND although it was judged for loan and did not receive a loan designation, a judge felt it was worthy of special recognition and it will be placed in the Showcase Book. More about that later. An L means that your image was judged as worthy of inclusion into the PPA Loan Collection and will receive an extra merit, for a total of 2 merits and will also be published in the Loan Book. More about that later, as well.

2. Bling - Did your name appear in the results four times? Well, happy, happy, joy, joy, you are pretty special! That means that all four of your entries received at least a merit and you are a medalist. You will receive a 4/4 pin suitable for framing... er... suitable for pinning onto your lapel, ID badge ribbon, or if you are degreed, placed upon your medallion ribbon to forever clank when you walk.

There are 5 different 4/4 pins depending on the number of merits & loans that you received:

A first-timer's account of the International Photographic Competition

 

By Penn Hansa, PPA Intern

I naïvely thought I had been at PPA long enough to know what to expect when we went to the International Photographic Competition - lots of images, seasoned judges sitting in a dim room deciding whether the image presented should merit and a solemn air of importance surrounding the entire event.

I was only half correct. IPC is much, much more.

It's an invaluable experience, a chance to learn from some of the most talented photographers in the industry and oddly enough, it feels like a family reunion -- if your family were made up of experienced IPC judges, that is.

"Do you want to see my granddaughter?" a judge asks, while waiting for the next round of judging to start. He pulls out his iPhone and flicks through the images before anyone replies.

"Only if I get to show you mine," another judge replies. "And then we can judge the images!" They all laugh.

But when the session starts, it's all business. In the digital room, the judges sit in twos or threes, and as an image comes on the screen in front of them, they'll review and tap in their vote on an iPod Touch. Oftentimes, they'll lean closer to the screen to see the image more closely, viewing it from different angles to make sure they haven't missed a pixel when considering it.

A common misconception about IPC is that the judges will favor images that suit their style. Because they score in a matter of seconds, it seems easy to believe it. But when a judge challenges an image, it's all laid out on the table and it's clear to see that their deliberation is intense. They'll each speak at length about why they favor an image to merit or what fell short, citing the 12 elements of a merit image

"It's not about the treatment of an image, and whether I like it or not," said Allison Watkins, M.Photog.Cr., CPP. "I have to put my preferences aside to see the image impartially."

I wanted to see more of the thought process behind the deliberation, so I headed to the critique rooms, where judges offer their thoughts and constructive criticism about the image. For each image that is being critiqued, the judge will talk about the image as a whole, explaining their stream of thought as they look at it, including both the positive and the negative. It's a real learning experience to see exactly what makes an image merit and truly invaluable.

I settled behind Gregg Wurtzler, M.Photog.Cr., as he critiqued a few images, and then pulled up a new one. Wurtzler has 14 years of judging and critiquing images under his belt.

"What do you think about this one?" he asked me as he made his initial assessment.

I tried to keep in mind what I had learned about the 12 elements from watching earlier judging and critiques, but was drawing a blank. I liked the image, but something about it seemed off, and I couldn't place my finger on the correct term.

He just chuckled at my confusion and started his critique, first complimenting the photographer on his choice of subject and capturing the right moment, then describing how the photographer could have improved his composition, to notice the placing of the subject's hands and the busy background that was detracting from him.

"At first, it's sometimes difficult to look at the image and have to guess why the judges didn't merit it," Wurtzler said after he finished the critique. "But we've all been doing this long enough that we can usually pinpoint what it is."

Later, I sat behind Mark Garber, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, who has helped thousands of photographers with his critiques.

For any photographer who hasn't entered competitions, take this as an incentive: Garber is a huge advocate, and made a point to encourage all the photographers in his critiques to keep entering their images.

"Competition is quickest way to improve photographic skills," he said. "Every photographer has had images that didn't merit, so don't be discouraged when it happens to you."  

Convinced of the fun and invaluable experience IPC is yet? Find out more about entering your images, becoming a PPA-approved juror and other competitions at PPA.com/IPC.

 

Every year, hundreds of photographers submit their best work in the International Photographic Competition (IPC) to see how they stack up on the world's stage. It's an opportunity to showcase your creativity, skills and work, while learning and shining some light on areas you can improve (because we all get better when we know what we need to work on). 

(c) Professional Photographers of Iowa  _MG_4772_resize.JPG
The best way to learn is by ordering a critique of your image(s). An IPC judge will record a video of your image, reviewing every detail. They will explain your score, what you did well, and of course, what you need to work on for next year. There is no better place to get some one-on-one feedback on how to improve your work!

And this year, PPA's working on a solution to help the IPC judges going a step further. For the first time ever, judging will be streamed live from the comfort of your own home. Closer to the date, we'll release the access information and you'll just have to hop online during judging (August 4-7). You'll be able to see what images make it and which fall short. 

You'll even hear the judges' rebuttals and see how they challenge each other's evaluations of some images! Remember, the best way to improve your skills is to hear the judges' comments on your work, so you'll want to listen closely as they discuss your entry! And for those who entered images in IPC this year, you will even get an update via text message, as to when your image will be presented and judged so you'll know immediately if you merited! 

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If you're still hesitant to enter a professional photographic competition, checking out the live judging from your computer will be  great way to see what it's really like. In the meantime, below you will find some great PPAedu videos that will also help give you some perspective:


Or if you'd like a refresher on the 12 Elements of a Merit Image, you can get them here with some excellent videos from Michael Timmons, M.Photog.M.Artist.Cr., CPP, F-ASP, an IPC Judge. 

Entries for the IPC opened on May 26 and will remain open until next Thursday, June 26. But don't worry, if your images aren't quite there yet, late submissions will be accepted until July 10 with an additional fee. 

If you're still asking yourself why enter - here are the 10 reasons photographic competition will help your business.


And we should mention - if you're in the Atlanta area and want to see the judging live and in person, IPC Judging at Gwinnett Technical College

(Top Image © Professional Photographers of Iowa, Lower Image © Jim Sanders, Harrisonburg, VA)


On Monday, May 26, entries will open for the 2014 International Photographic Competition
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 (IPC). PPA members that have entered the competition before know that not only can IPC help you earn merits toward your PPA degree; it can also help improve your photography business! 

While having your work judged can be intimidating, especially if it's your first time entering, we get tons of positive feedback on how entering IPC has made entrants better photographers. From keeping you inspired by seeing other IPC entries to being able to charge higher prices if you earn an award, there are many great reasons to enter IPC. Check out 10 of the ways competition can help your business here. 

As you're preparing your images for entry (digital or physical prints), it's important to keep in mind the 12 Elements of a Merit Image. These are the standards by which all photographs in the IPC are judged. By adhering to these standards, you are more likely to earn a high score so you can get those merits towards your degree. Practicing these elements will also help keep your photography at its best! 
 
If you're new to the IPC, or just need a refresher on the 12 Elements, check out our PPAedu video series on the topic with IPC judge Michael Timmons. In part one, Michael covers the elements Impact, Creativity, Style and Composition.  Part two covers Print Presentation, Center Of Interest, Lighting and Subject Matter and part three focuses on  the last 4 elements; Color Balance, Technical Excellence, Technique and Storytelling. You've got to be a PPA member to watch these videos, so join today! 

Once you've reviewed the 12 Elements and are ready to enter, you can read the rules and register for the competition at PPA.com/IPC. Here, you'll also find video tutorials covering topics like choosing the correct category for your images, setting profiles and calibration, entering albums and more. Make sure to review these videos before you enter your images to ensure that you are doing everything correctly! Oh, and if you're planning on mailing in physical prints, you can find a list of approved print cases for shipping to the competition. 

Be sure to enter by June 26 to avoid late fees! Entries will be accepted until July 10, but after June 26, an additional fee is required. 

Once you enter, watch the judging live in-person or streaming online
As we mentioned earlier, entering the IPC is a great way to improve your images and your business as a whole. However, the score you receive won't include all those great judges' comments about your work. You might be surprised by some of the things the judges pick up on!

So, to get the most out of IPC, you'll want to be present while your image is being judged so that you can absorb all of the judges' comments and ideas, and use these to continue to improve your photography. You'll also learn some great lessons while watching others' work being judged, and you may be inspired as well!

Judging will take place August 3 - 7 at Gwinnett Technical College in Lawrenceville, GA. Judging is open to the public, so we encourage you to attend and watch  the judging live. Can't make it to Georgia for the judging? No worries, we've got you covered there too! For the first time ever, all of the judging will be streamed live on PPA.com, so you can still watch from the comfort of your couch. Remember, watching the judging is the best way to learn at IPC, so we hope to see you there, in person or virtually. Stay tuned for more details about the streaming as we get closer to the judging. 

In the meantime, start getting those images ready and enter the IPC beginning May 26! 
Participating in photographic competitions can change your business, but only if you enter. How? Let us count the ways using the International Photographic Competition (IPC) as an example:

1. Get inspired! Take a good look at who else enters in the IPC--there are some pretty creative folks out there! See if any of their work trips your creative trigger and helps you produce even more out-of-the-box images. Nothing helps get the creative juices flowing like being exposed to fantastic works of art.

2. Define your style. The more you compete in photographic competitions, the more you'll be able to hone your personal style. As you fine tune your skill set, this signature style can become a great calling card for your business!

3. It will make you a better photographer. Opt to get an image critique and listen to an IPC Judge walk you through what you did right, what could use some improvement and offer suggestions on things you may have never considered. Even award-winning image makers can learn a thing or two from a fresh, professional set of eyes. Apply what you learn to your next client session and see your business grow!

4. Take on a personal challenge. You want to stay current, push yourself outside your comfort zone and stretch your artistic abilities? The IPC gives you an amazing opportunity to do just that! Set goals for yourself and keep entering year after year to continually improve your work. You can also work on projects that aren't in your typical client assignments. Broaden your photographic horizons! It might transpire into a new product line.

5. Prove you're the best. Let's face it, we all like a little (or a lot) of validation now and again. Entering in the IPC lets you put your best work up against photographers from around the world to see who reigns supreme. And you can see how you can improve year over year to improve yourself! Talk about a confidence boost! Your clients will see your swagger.

6. Charge higher prices. Being able to call yourself an "award winning photographer" gives you some serious clout over your local competition. You can now justify higher prices by letting your clients see the difference between yourself, an international award-winning photographer and that mom with a camera down the street. And if you continue to compete and earn your masters of photography, the designation of "M.Photog." behind your name will pack a punch.

7. Make connections. Even the best photographers can't do it alone. Make some life-long friends along the way as you compete. You'll bond over the thrill of victory (and the occasional agony of defeat). Connect on theLoop or the OurPPA Forums to get support from newbies or seasoned vets on anything competition-related. Still making edits hours before the deadline? They'll be right there with you. And there are countless mentoring opportunities--between the portfolio reviews done by PPA Judges at Imaging USA or finding mentors in your community before you enter, there are plenty of folks who are eager to help you!

8. Judges & clients want different things. Your clients probably don't come to you because they know you'll rock the 12 elements of a merit image by name--but they do come to you because of your style and brand. Competitions give you an opportunity to take risks your clients might be afraid to take with you. 

9. Rejuvenate your love of photography! Fall back in love with what you do. Get out of any mental rut you may be in, stretch your creative wings and do what you love! You have time to work on these works of art (early bird entries close June 26th), so you won't be as constrained by crazy turnaround times. You might be amazing what epiphanies you have with a little extra time on your hands.

10. It's the next step. You're an accomplished professional photographer. With earning high scores at the IPC, you'll earn merits that will set you on the path of earning your master of photography degree. You can also become a judge after earning 18 exhibition merits, taking the judges workshop and starting with local or regional competitions. Continuing your education is important to staying relevant and in tune with what your clients are expecting.

Have more reasons entering competitions will change your business? Let us know on theLoop! This year PPA's International Print Competition is open for entries from May 26 through June 26. It's a great way to be more!
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The International Photographic Competition is quickly approaching! 

Participating in PPA's International Photographic Competition is one of the best ways for you to grow your craft and skills as a creative, professional photographer. It gives you a unique opportunity to engage with others who are just as passionate as you are about this crazy world of photography, along with a chance to improve on your finest work (your best will become even better--how exciting is that?).  

By pushing the limits of your creativity, you allow yourself to grow as an artist. 

"My fellow PPA friends have proven priceless in mentoring me to take my artwork farther so I can create art in a sustainable business," said Heather Michelle Chinn, M.Artist.Cr. "Print Competition alone has continually challenged me as an artist to grow and get out of my comfort zone. When we're uncomfortable, that's when the biggest growth occurs. Without, we stay stagnant or wither away."

And it's not just about you--it's about your clients too! 

"Image competition has made me strive to be a better photographer while challenging me to create better and more unique images for my clients," said Damon Fecitt, Cr.Photog., CPP. 

If you're curious to know or want to brush up on what the IPC judges are looking for, check this post on the 12 elements of a merit image. It's not easy as it might sound... are you ready for the challenge? You can also go full-on behind-the-scenes and see what motivates others to put themselves in such a vulnerable position. Read Christine Walsh-Newton's post about why she competes here.

So what are you waiting for?

The rules are currently online, and entries open May 26th and close June 26th (if you need a little more time, you can enter by July 10th, but there will be a late fee). 
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The world of photographic competitions can seem like a tricky place to navigate. How can pieces of artwork be judged? Isn't it all up to aesthetics and personal preference? On the surface it would seem so, but overall there are 12 elements that have stood the test of time to make an art piece or image successful - regardless of personal taste. We're here to give you the road map (of sorts) to create the most successful images so that you can merit at your next competition!

1.Impact:  
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Definition: the sense one gets upon viewing an image for the first time. Compelling images evoke laughter, sadness, anger, pride, wonder or another intense emotion. There can be impact in any of these 12 elements.
What it really means: This is the eye candy, the wow factor, the reason we love it. We enjoy art because it moves us. It makes us feel something--whether it brings us joy, sadness or anger (or any other emotion aside from blasé for that matter). What emotions does your piece make people feel? This can also be described as the "wow-factor," it draws a person in and captivates their attention.

2.Technical excellence: 
Definition: the print quality of the image itself as it is presented for viewing. Retouching, manipulation, sharpness, exposure, printing, mounting and correct color are some items that speak to the qualities of the image.
What it really means: This is the nuts and bolts of photography. Exposure, focus, lighting, Photoshop skills, and so much more! It's what makes you a pro. But you can take it too far--be wary of going too far with corrections. 
Each year at the International Photographic Competition (IPC), a panel of jurors votes on whether or not an entry will earn a merit based on the 12 elements of a merit image (read more about the elements on PPA.com). Why are merits important? Well, they're needed for you to earn your PPA degree, showing your dedication to professional photography. Beyond that, earning a merit at IPC is a sign that your image-making skills are improving, which can only help to improve your business! 

Once the jurors determine if an image deserves a merit, the next step is to take any merited images and decide if they become part of PPA's loan collection. Only a small percentage of all the entries to the IPC become part of the loan collection, so it's definitely a big achievement! Loan collection images are exhibited at Imaging USA in the International Photographic Exhibit. The Photographer of the Year awards are also determined by the IPC results, and the winners are recognized at the Award & Degree ceremony held during Imaging USA.

To show you how some past loan images were created, we'll be sharing some images from PPA's loan collection and how the photographer created them. This is "Bandit" by Mona Sadler. M.Photog., CPP, owner of Coastal Pet Portraits in Alliance, N.C. (coastalpetportraits.com)


Mona created "Bandit" during a pet photo special on behalf of Spay Today, an organization that provides free pet spaying. 

"The look on the dog's face was as special as he is," says Sadler. "His owner suffers from MS, and he is a certified service dog. Although living with pain and disability, she and Bandit
give to others." 

1066-1.jpgCAMERA & LENS: Canon EOS 5D camera; Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L
USM lens shot at 100mm
EXPOSURE: 1/200 second at f/8, ISO 200.
LIGHTING: Two Photogenic PowerLights, a 2500DR and a 1500SL, modified
by a 3x4 Aurora soft box and an Aurora Lite Bank; a Larson reflector
bounced in fill light
POST-CAPTURE: Says Mona, "Bandit was being held by his owner when I took
the photo. I painted her out and let the background go white. The painting was
done first in Photoshop then finished in Corel Painter to add texture and brush
strokes. It was my goal to make the portrait look very classical, soft and tender."

Stay tuned for more loan images and the stories behind them. In the meantime, you can view the 2013 results on PPA.com. Plus, look for an online gallery of IPC images coming to PPA.com soon! 

And don't forget to stop by the International Photographic Exhibit at Imaging USA in Phoenix January 12 - 14, 2014 to see loan images from this year's IPC in person. 

IMAGE © Mona Sadler

Each year at the International Photographic Competition (IPC), a panel of jurors votes on whether or not an entry will earn a merit based on the 12 elements of a merit image (read more about the elements on PPA.com). Why are merits important? Well, they're needed for you to earn your PPA degree, showing your dedication to professional photography. Beyond that, earning a merit at IPC is a sign that your image-making skills are improving, which can only help to improve your business! 

Once the jurors determine if an image deserves a merit, the next step is to take any merited images and decide if they become part of PPA's loan collection. Only a small percentage of all the entries to the IPC become part of the loan collection, so it's definitely a big achievement! Loan collection images are exhibited at Imaging USA in the International Photographic Exhibit. The Photographer of the Year awards are also determined by the IPC results, and the winners are recognized at the Award & Degree ceremony held during Imaging USA.

To show you how some past loan images were created, we'll be sharing some images from PPA's loan collection and how the photographer created them. This is "Moon Light Dance" by Frank Salas, M.Photog.Cr., A-ASP, of Frank Salas Photography in Irvine, California.

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"Moon Light Dance" was taken minutes before the end of the wedding couple's reception at the St. Regis Hotel, Monarch Beach Resort, in Southern California. Wedding day time constraints typically test the photographer's creativity, Salas says. "By offering to stay until the end of most events, I'm able to spend a few more minutes looking for new scenic spots where I can create something unique not only for the couple but for myself as well."

CAMERA & LENS: Canon EOS 5D Mark III camera, Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens
SETTINGS & EXPOSURE: f/2.8 for 1/80 second, ISO 1600
LIGHTING: Available light only
POST CAPTURE: Processed and retouched in Adobe CS6 and Lightroom 4; enhanced with filters in Nik software


Stay tuned for more loan images and the stories behind them. In the meantime, you can view the 2013 results on PPA.com. Plus, look for an online gallery of IPC images coming to PPA.com soon! 

And don't forget to stop by the International Photographic Exhibit at Imaging USA in Phoenix January 12 - 14, 2014 to see loan images from this year's IPC in person. 

IMAGE © FRANK SALAS



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