That work has always been a bit of an enigma to me as there seemed to be so many unwritten rules to print competition and the images just had these finishes that I couldn’t put my finger on. There were so very few resources that I could find to learn more about print competition that I just kept putting off participating.
Then in the fall of 2013, as I was looking through PPA’s Super One Day classes, I saw that a Master Photographer, Christine Walsh-Newton of Gallery C located in Dover, OH was teaching a one day workshop on an introduction to print competition. I signed up immediately!
After that class I started to learn of more resources available for getting started in and improving your images for competition. Here are just a few to help you get started…
–Visit the PPA site and learn about the different levels of competitions. From local and state competition to districts and finally…..the International Print Competition.
-Look for Master Photographers teaching classes in your area on Print Competition. PPA’s Super One Day classes are coming up and you do NOT have to be a member to participate!
–Join your PPA affiliate. They often have print competitions and you can connect with local photographers that may be able to help you on your journey.
– When you enter competition, always select and pay for the critiques. Feedback on your competition prints from the judges is incredibly valuable!
I also found it EXTREMELY helpful to see photographers before and after images of their print competition prints. I have posted my SOOC image and my final print below in the hopes that it is helpful to you to see what type of work I did on my final print.
That image was created using the image on the left below and swapping Hershey's head from the image on the right. I then got rid of all of the green to make the colors more harmonious and extended the corners a bit so the background filled all parts of the image.
I didn't do much to this image other then flip it, straighten the horizon line a bit, brighten the eyes, and add some contrast in Topaz Adjust.
I re-cropped Chalky so he was on the right and looking back into the canvas and I extended the canvas on the left a bit. I cleaned up the brown in his beard, adjusted the catchlight in his far eye, and added some contrast in Topaz Adjust.
I loved this little girl's smirk so I copied and flipped the left side of the image to make it more symmetric. Cropped it down to this crop, which is a suggestion that I received from a great Facebook group for Image Competition Critiques as I had her in the middle of a panoramic crop. I also changed the color in her headband to match her dress and cleaned up the ground a bit.
I am extremely humbled and honored to have earned a Platinum Medal this year. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that would happen. I would also like to congratulate some other incredibly talented pet photographers that medaled at the International Print Competition.
Diamond Photographer of the Year:
Jenny Froh – Jenny Froh Photography
Barbara Breitsameter – Poppy Blue Photography
Margaret Bryant – Margaret Bryant Photography
Nicole Begley – Nicole Begley Photography
Kim Hartz – Kim Hartz Photography
Aileen Harding – A. Harding Photography
Barbara Brady-Smith – Share the Joy Photography
Susan Gertz – Dogpatch Pix
Angela Lawson – AGL Photography
Kelly Schulze – Mountain Dog Photography
Congratulations to everyone that medaled, merited, or participated. So many people have said that print competition makes you a better photographer, and I agree whole-heartedly. I now look at all of my images with a new eye and that eye is sure to develop more as I spend more time participating in print competition. If you have any questions about print competition or where to get started I am happy to try to help. I am still very new to this world, but I hope that I can at least point you in the right direction to get the answers that you seek.
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