OPPA Competition Tips
Entering competitions and learning from the critiques you receive is one of the best ways to improve your skills as an image maker. OPPA competitions are judged based on The Twelve Elements of a Merit Image. These are the same rules that PPA uses for the IPC (International Photographic Competition) and the District Competitions. Please review our Competition Rules and Image Category Descriptions.
Setting up an account with printcompetition.com
In order to enter the OPPA competitions you need an account with printcompetition.com. You have two choices of membership:
- Standard Membership - $7 per year
- Premium Subscription - $11 per quarter ($44 per year)
Standard membership gives the subscriber access to their own images.
Premium Subscriptions give the subscriber access to Archive of all the images from all the associations with their scores and audio of Judges comments or challenges.
Preparing Your Digital Files
- Monitor: We’re using a high quality 30” NEC SpectraView; it's the same monitor that IPC uses and we’re following the same calibration standards.
- Calibration: The monitor is calibrated to 6500k, 2.2 gamma, 110 lumens. If you have a device like a Spyder or ColorMunki, use it to calibrate your display to these settings in order to have the most accurate preview on your own monitor.
- Color Profile: Submit files with either the sRGB or AdobeRGB1998 color profile embedded. The monitor we’re using can display almost all of the AdobeRGB1998 color space. (The monitor we’re using has its own calibration device, which is used to calibrate the monitor independently of the computer being used with it. Because of that it isn’t necessary for you to have a specific profile for the computer being used for the competition.)
- Image Resolution: Save files as JPEG with the longest dimension measuring 4000 pixels. To most closely fill the monitor, the best size is 13:20 ratio which is 2600px by 4000px.
Keywording and copyright information: This is only a suggestion, and can help save us a lot of time in image preparation for competition. Please enter copyright information in the copyright field of your image file using the following format: "© firstname lastname". For e.g. © John Smith - For Mac: Press the Option key and hold it down while typing G on the keyboard to create the © symbol. For Windows: Press the Alt key and hold it down while typing 0169 on the 10 keypad to create the © symbol. Please clear all keywording from the file information, and only enter the category you have chosen to enter your image in. For e.g. Portrait (Human).
- Clear all keywording from file information, and only enter the category you have chosen to enter your image in. For e.g. Portrait (Human)
- Presentation is one of the 12 Elements of a Merit Image. Present your final images just as you would when printing them. The mats and borders used, should support and enhance the image, not distract from it. A note for vertical images: the monitor is in a horizontal (landscape) orientation, consistent with PPA's District and IPC standards.
- Digital Album Entry:
- Each page/spread file may contain as many images as you desire.
- An entry may contain up to 36 page/spread files.
- Files are to be numbered in viewing order using two digits, i.e. 01.jpg, 02.jpg, 03.jpg, etc.
- Studio identification or entrant’s name cannot appear on any file within the album entry.
- Any image that is part of an album entry is not eligible for entry as an individual submission.
- Albums may contain images from multiple photographers but will be judged as the main photographer’s entry.
If you use Adobe Lightroom, Mark Fitzgerald has a great article on how to prepare output files for competition using Lightroom
Entering the OPPA Members Only Quarterly Competitions
- Membership: You must be a current OPPA member in order to participate. Being a member of OPPA’s Facebook group does not constitute membership in our association. Click here to join OPPA.
- Register: Go to the online registration and create your new account at www.printcompetition.com. The cost is $10/ image or album. Registration generally opens a month before the competition and closes at 6:00am on the Tuesday before the competition. You can upload your images at any time during that period. However, your entry will not be officially registered until the fee is paid. Because entry is limited, it’s recommended that you register and upload early to reserve your spot in the competition.
- Submit Images: Upload your completed images to www.printcompetition.com before 6:00am on the Tuesday before the competition.
- Come to the Competition: Participation in the competition by observing or entering is the best way to get the most out of OPPA’s competitions.
- Be Prepared to Learn: This is one of the most important aspects of participating in our photographic competition. You’ll learn a lot from the critiques, whether they’re for you image or someone else’s. If you’re new to competition, be prepared to disengage from your ego. The judges are experienced, both as image makers and as judges and have lots of good advice to offer. If you pay attention to what they have to say, you’ll learn how to make your images even better – which is the point of the whole process.
- Automatic Eligibility into OPPA Annual Open: Images that merit in a OPPA quarterly competition automatically become eligible to be entered into the OPPA Annual Open Image Competition. You must register and enter the November Open in order for your image to be part of the competition. Additional merit will be earned only if the image is selected for one of the awards.
Competition images are evaluated by a panel of judges who are trained within the Professional Photographers of America system. They use a numeric scoring system to evaluate an image based on how well it meets the 12 Elements of a Merit Image
. (Images are presented anonymously so neither the judges nor the audience will be able to identify an image’s maker.)
100 – 95 Exceptional
94 – 90 Superior
89 – 85 Excellent
84 – 80 Deserving of a Point
79 – 75 Above Average
74 – 70 Average
69 – 65 Below Exhibition Standards
: A score of at least 80 is needed for an image to earn a point.
: Images that earned points qualify the maker to be named Photographer of the Year
in each division and overall. The Photographer of the Year award is calculated using the six highest scoring images from Quarterly Competition from each image maker. At least 4 of the 6 images must have scored 80 or above. The highest aggregate score (regardless of division) is named Photographer of the Year. Divisional Photographers of the Year
awards are calculated using the 3 highest scoring images submitted by a single maker in each division (Portrait Wedding, Commercial/Illustrative/Architectural, and Fine Art/Pictorial)
OPPA Annual Open Competition
images that earned points are eligible for Best in Category and Division Trophies as well as Best First Time Entrant (top 4 scores among first time entrants), Best Color & Best Black and White, CPP Award (awarded to highest scoring image submitted by a CPP), ASP Elite (award to highest scoring image submitted by an ASP member), and vendor-sponsored awards.
Images that earned points are published on the OPPA Website after each competition is complete.
Competition points are also necessary for earning the Fellow of Photography and Associate Fellow of Photography degrees from OPPA.