Entering image competition can seem a little bit daunting. I have been coming to PPANI meetings for about 6 years. At first very sporadically, I had little ones at home and if there wasn’t a speaker I thought I would want to see I didn’t work really hard to find a sitter. So of course I missed a couple of print competitions, because I didn’t see the value of watching other people’s work get evaluated. But about 3 years ago I finally hit a place in my life, and in my business where there was enough room for personal and professional growth. After attending my first print competition, I was fascinated, what made an image merit worthy, why did some images score so much better than others. Now I aim to get to every meeting, and I enter print competition, even when I’m not sure if an image is going to merit or not.
Why? One of the reasons is growth. The more images I enter, the more I learn about what makes a technically superior image. The other reason is proof to myself and others that I am producing professional level work. In today’s day and age when cell phone’s are taking pretty good images, we as professionals have to be able to dial it up a notch. More than that, we need to give our clients a compelling reason to use us instead of just their trusty, on them all the time, phone. To that end, one of the reasons I enter print competition is to complete my Northern Degree.
At the beginning of every meeting, the volunteer checking you in usually asks if you have a merit degree book from Northern. I collected about three of these before I took the time to start tracking my degree points. I finally realized that the best way to earn points was by entering print competition. You can enter up to 8 images in our PPANI Print competition. The print entry is free as long as you are a member and paid your fee to attend the meeting. So that is 8 points you can earn just by entering your images. It could take you all year to earn that many points just attending meetings.
( Information about entering can be found here: https://ppani.wildapricot.org/resources/Documents/2018%20PPANI%20Competition%20Rules%20New.pdf )
I entered my first PPANI print competition in February of 2018. I entered 7 images and received upper 70 scores on all but one. I had to leave early and was listening to the game day app in my car when my final image came up. I don’t remember what my initial score was, but the image was challenged and brought up to an 85. I had a merit image. I was so excited, it gave me a renewed spirit for learning how to create images that not only were loved and appreciated by my clients, but that are also technically and creatively created. My images are pretty hit or miss when it comes to print competition, but I am learning from each and every one. The judges are usually willing to discuss your image after the competition and can tell you the images strengths and
weaknesses. It’s not always an easy thing to hear, but I have found they are always kind about doing it. We are all still learning. Just some of us (finger directly pointed at me) have more left to learn than others.
As for my PPANI merit image, I finally pulled together 3 images that merited at PPANI and decided to enter Districts and then PPA’s International Print Competition. I may only have one image that merited at IPC, but it’s my first one that merited at PPANI and it’s more than I had before putting my work out there. And quite frankly, it makes me smile.