PPOC Image Competitions
Image Competitions are a one of the greatest highlights of being a member of the PPOC. Every three months we convene to compete amongst not only each other, but amongst ourselves.
To start, you can submit up to 4 images that you feel the judges will see and give a high praise critique. If your image(s) receive a score of 80 or above by the panel of five certified judges you win at least a merit award and that same image(s) has a chance to go on to the end of the night where the competition amongst each other begins and the image(s) have a chance to be rewarded Best in Class or, the coveted, Best in Show Award. A Best in Show Award automatically gets you recognition, not only amongst your peers, but also on the front page of the PPOC website. If you have the best image of the night you should then push the images forward to other competitions and compete regionally, nationally and internationally.
During Image Competition General Meetings, which happen five times per year, the judges sit in the front of the room in front of a carefully calibrated monitor. The monitor allows the judges to see the true image in it's true tonal and color capacity. Members and guests of the PPOC get to watch the images as the judges see them on a large projector. Once an image entry is placed on the screen the judges will score the image somewhere between 65 and 100. A 65 means that a judge the feels the image does not offer anything of value to the viewer based on the specific criteria that the judges base their score on. A score of 65 is extremely rare and you simply won't see it very often. A 100 score is an image that goes beyond the bounds of excellence for which the judges feel and unanimously agree that the image is as excellent as an image can get. This is the highest score you can make on an image and very few have achieved this score on an image. You can view the 12 elements that a judge bases their score on HERE.
Each of the five judges holds a keypad in their hands. When an image is presented on the screen the judges each score the image and an average is produced. If the score is 80 or above the photographer of that image will receive, in the very least, a merit ribbon for that image. If the score is 78 or 79 the score will most likely be "challenged". The score is then deliberated amongst the judges to see if the image truly deserves to be just under the coveted score of 80. Once they discuss it out loud they will re-score the image. This score is considered a final score. In some cases an images that scored 79 can be bumped up to a merit score.
After the judges score an images during the competition they offer critiques and reasons for the score they gave the image. This is helpful to the photographer that entered the image in the competition so that the photographer learns to critique their own images before submitting them.
It's important to note that during the competition no images are linked to their creator. You, as the creator of the image, can rest assured that when your image appears on the screen that no one in the room will know you created it until after the show and only in the case of your image(s) receiving a merit award. So the scores and critiques are for you to develop your photography and technique for the next competition. If an image of yours was not fortunate enough to merit it is always helpful to listen to the judges discuss why the image did not merit. In the same token, even if you score an 80 or above it's always good to know why it didn't score a 90 or a 95. The judges will generally offer compliments and constructive criticism on just about every piece that appears on their screen during competition night.
Image Competition nights are extremely entertaining and nerve-racking at the same time. If you're in the crowd watching the images go by through the night you get a wealth of information that will help you better your photography techniques. But when you image pops up on the screen you find it hard not to adjust yourself, cross your fingers and wait for the score to be announced. Nothing feels better than achieving a score of 80 or more on one or more of your images. You should be very proud for a job well done.
Take a look at some of the images that received Best in Class and Best in Show in previous competitions.
In the right column of this page you will see the most recent Best in Class and Best in Show winning images from our competition in November. <--Update
Note: If you will be attending your first image competition most newcomers like to watch the first competition from the sidelines to see what it is like and then gear up to enter the following competition. While this is a great strategy you don't have to do it. If you feel confident with your photography skills and you feel images that you have shot are worthy of recognition you should enter them. You never know what can happen. If you are more comfortable watching from the sidelines, grab a drink and enjoy the evening as this will be just as educational!