SMNPPA Print Competition Event (NaBloPoMo Day 17)

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.

Thanks for visiting my blog.


About Helen C

A retired computer programmer who loves writing and photographing, and has managed to publish a YA novel "Jin-Ling’s Two Left".
This entry was posted in photo and thoughts, Writing and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to SMNPPA Print Competition Event (NaBloPoMo Day 17)

  1. loisajay says:

    This sound very interesting! Next time, you might submit a photo…..?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Helen C says:

      Good morning, Lois. While in the middle of replying your comment last night, I suddenly wondered if you keep notification on on your phone. I didn’t want to wake you up, so I quit commenting. If I wake you up, I hope you will tell me 😉
      I was surprised not many people submitted to the competition. I knew a few people submitted 3 or 4 — my guess is that they wanted to have enough photos for the event.
      I have to confess that I went with a high expectation of all photos. After all, this is a “professional” competition. I expected myself to wow on every single one of them. But that wasn’t the case. And most the comments I heard were pretty much the same as my own comments. So, I have a mixed feelings about this competition. I think I will sleep on it (right phrase?) for a while and then decide what my next move (or no move) will be.
      Have a wonderful day.

      Liked by 1 person

      • loisajay says:

        Good morning, Helen–my phone is so old….I can see that you commented, but I cannot open the comment so you did not wake me up–no worries! No ‘wow’s’–that is kind of disappointing, considering this was ‘professional.’ I might be biased but I think your photos are pretty darn amazing (you take photos, I take snapshots is the best way for me say it). Yes, please sleep on it (ha!) and decide. Secretly–I hope you decide to go for it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Mabel Kwong says:

    It is interesting two lights are shined on the photo before they are judged. I suppose that goes towards making the photo clear and visible, so that the judged can see every inch of it and every fine detail. No hiding 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen C says:

      Thanks, Mabel. We were told that having two lights shining on the photo is pretty standard for print competition. In other words, all print competition are doing the same. Judges sat 2 or 3 feet away from the photo. Quite often they got down to their knees to take a very close look. We can’t hide anything. 😉
      Have a wonderful day.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Rupali says:

    A good way to learn.

    Liked by 1 person

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