Last night, I attended The Southern Minnesota Professional Photographers Association’s (SMNPPA) Print Competition event. I didn’t submit any photo for the competition; I just went to find out how it worked.
There were about 20+ people in the room. In front of us, there was a curtain (backdrops?) and in the middle lower part of the curtain, there was an opening with a revolving board (which I colored green in my photo). One person (a photographer) would place a photo on the board behind the curtain, and then turned it around for judges and us to see.
Two bright lights pointed at the photo; one on the left, and the other on the right. (In the above photo, you can see a light pole on the right side of the photo.)
Each of the three judges (who sat right in front of the board) would record his score and the fourth person would average out the three scores and announced it as the final score. (One judge would comment on the photo for audience to hear.) Each judge was allowed to challenge the final score, if he strongly disagreed with the number. In that case, judges would each give reasons why he scored so low or high and after the discussion, each would score again. This process would repeat if necessary, until they reached an agreement.
Two pieces of paper were taped on the curtain: “Image Scoring System” and “12 Elements of a Merit Image”. Image Scoring System: Exceptional 100-95; Superior 94-90; Excellent 89-85; Deserving of a Merit 80-84; Above Average 79-75; Average 74-70; Below Exhibition Standards 69-65. 12 Elements of a Merit Image: (1) Impact (2) Creativity (3) Style (4) Composition (5) Print Presentation (6) Center of Interest (7) Lighting (8) Subject Matter (9) Color Balance (10) Technical Excellence (11) Technique (12) Storytelling.
Lessons learned: (1) since there will be two bright lights pointing at the photo, if you want to submit a photo for print competition, you should make it a little darker than normal (because the lights make the photo brighter than how you see on your monitor.) (2) try to make your subject stand out more (3) sharpness is a must (4) noise is bad.
It was a fun night. Fun and educational – just the way I like it.
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