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How to Score Your Best in Image Competitions - part 3 of 1 2 3 4

by Jane Conner-ziser Published 01/06/2015

8. Make sure you read the submission information and do exactly what is needed. Not every competition requires the same file size and resolution and most of them require specific naming criteria. Type it once and check it twice to ensure your entries won't be disqualified because you didn't upload them correctly. Then breathe, and let go. You've done your best.

Here's how the competition will go from the judges' point of view: When an image comes up, a judge will take a few seconds to 'feel' the emotional impact of the image, then start looking for the technical strengths and weaknesses. If categories of excellence are provided, such as:

PPA Judging Categories USA = Exceptional (100-95), Superior (94-90), Excellent (89-85), Deserving of Merit (84-80), Above Average (79-76), Average (75-74), Fair (73-70), Unacceptable (69-0). SWPP Monthly Judging Categories UK = Gold (highest standard), Silver (above standard), Bronze (acceptable), Unacceptable (below standard). The Convention 16x20 Exhibition is judged as PPA above.

... the judge will likely place the image in the category he/she feels is appropriate for the image based upon his/her opinion and knowledge. If a numerical score is required, the judge's score will position the image high or low within the category.


For instance, in the USA, if a judge feels that an image is Excellent, the score will be between 85-89 points. If the judge feels that it barely makes Excellent, the score will likely be 85. If the judge feels it's a solid Excellent, the score will be 82-84, and if the judge feels it is almost Superior (the next category up) the score will be 89.

In the UK, the judges don't assign numerical scores; they place the image in the overall category they feel accurately represents the image's impact and technical excellence.

In the USA, image competitions at local, state and regional levels are live events for which three to five judges are provided. The images receive numerical scores and judges are allowed to challenge scores that they feel are too high or two low. Images that are challenged have the opportunity to go up or down in score depending on how the discussion goes regarding it. Images that receive merits at the regional level may be entered in the national competition with the merit intact. National judging is not a formal live event with a group, but individual judges that assign categories of Loan Collection, Merit or 'not', plus they provide a critique of the image if the maker requests it. This means that competitors have the opportunity to enter images they are considering at the local level, rework or replace them according to how they do and what the judges' inputs are, enter them again at state, rework or replace again, enter them at regional, where the hope is that they will all merit before going on to national ... where the hope is that they will Loan. Serious competitors will have taken advantage of these options, so the images that get to national judging have been worked on and refined for up to a year!


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1st Published 01/06/2015
last update 06/11/2019 11:06:21

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