professional photographers of america

New Award-winning Images: 2018 IPC Results

Last year I entered print competition for the first time, which was a huge learning experience.  I entered again this year, although admittedly kinda at the last minute.  If you're not familiar with Professional Photographers of America's International Photographic Competition (or the "Superbowl" of professional photography as I call it), then read last year's IPC results post first for an overview of how scoring works.

How I did in 2018 IPC

Three out of four of my images were awarded a merit, all within the General Collection.  Not too shabby!  Although my goal was 4/4, it's still better than 2/4 last year.

Now for my entries:


Image 1:  Collie and Columns

I love the architectural elements and leading lines in this image, but unfortunately the judges did not feel strongly about it.  Although I haven't received my critique yet, I'm wondering if perhaps the judges wanted more of a story?  It scored 78.  And actually I'm grateful it didn't score the dreaded 79!  Still one of my favorite images taken this summer.

Collie and Columns

Collie and Columns


Image 2:  Mr. Tough Guy

I love Adobie's intense expression and the colorful graffiti wall.  The ironic part is that Adobie is ANYTHING but tough - he's actually quite gentle and snuggly with his toy bunny.  This one scored 80, and earned a merit in the General Collection.

Mr. Tough Guy

Mr. Tough Guy


Image 3:  Maybe She's Born With It

If you've visited Loyl's Natural Pet in the West U area, you may have met Lucy, one of the resident greeters there.  She has the most amazing eyelashes, and I instantly fell in love with this image of her.  It scored 80, and earned a merit in the General Collection.

Maybe She's Born With It

Maybe She's Born With It


Image 4:  Wish You Were Here

The first three images were all taken during client sessions in Houston, but this last one was taken while on vacation in Paris.  No lie, I spent a couple hours sitting, watching, and walking around the Champ de Mars, waiting for the perfect dog to walk by to pose for me in front of the Eiffel Tower.  When I saw Chicco, I knew he was the one!  And shhhh, don't tell anyone, he's actually Swiss, not French!  This image scored an 80 and earned a merit in the General Collection.

Wish You Were Here

Wish You Were Here

Pulling back the curtain

I love a good before and after!  So I thought I'd pull back the curtain and show how much post-processing work can go on behind the scenes.  The slideshow below shows my four entries 1) straight out of camera, and 2) as submitted into print competition.

Curious to see my entries from last year's competition?  Check out the 2017 IPC results blog post.

Is your dog ready for his close-up?  Fall sessions are booking now - send me a message and let's chat!


2017 IPC Results - my first venture into print competition

Back in June, I mentioned that one of my goals this year was to enter print competition, which I did.  And today, I'm reporting my results!

What is print competition? 

Professional Photographers of America (PPA) is the leading industry association for professional photographers, and like most industry groups, they host conferences, continuing education classes, certification opportunities, and competitions.  International Photographic Competition (IPC) happens once a year, and is the "Superbowl" of professional photography.

Each photographer can enter up to 4 images (a "case").  Each image is judged against 12 elements of a merit image:

  1. impact
  2. technical excellence
  3. creativity
  4. style
  5. composition
  6. presentation
  7. color balance
  8. center of interest
  9. lighting
  10. subject matter
  11. technique
  12. story telling

Yes, that's a lot to consider, and that's why it's challenging! 

How scoring works

Images are shown to a panel of 5 judges, whose scores are averaged together to give an overall score.  The judges have a chance to challenge, discuss, and re-score.  The highest possible score is 100.  Any image that scores 80 or more earns a merit and is accepted into the General Collection.  From that pool, the judges choose the best of the best to showcase in the prestigious Loan Collection, which is published in a book.  So the two words you want to hear are "Merit" and "Loan"!!

How I did in my first competition

Two of my images did not merit.  One image merited in the General Collection, and the last image merited and was accepted into the Loan Collection!  Interestingly, my goal this year was to earn 2 merits, which I achieved.  Next year, you can bet my goal will be 4/4!!

Now for my entries:


Image 1:  Higher Grandpa!

This first image was my "case filler".  I was struggling to pick a 4th image and ultimately chose this one of my daughter because it is special to me.  It was taken on Thanksgiving Day last year at my dad's farm, and he built this wooden swing for my girls.  Entering this image was a good lesson in understanding that sometimes the photographs that are the most meaningful to us are not always the best choice for competition.  It scored 75.

Higher Grandpa!

Higher Grandpa!


Image 2:  They Went That-a-Way

I love Nola's expression and ears in this next image.  It was taken during a charity fundraiser I organized earlier this year.  It scored 78.

They Went That-a-Way

They Went That-a-Way


Image 3:  Dapper Dachshund

Ahhhh Floyd!  If you've been hanging around the blog this year, you've seen this handsome bowtie-wearin' boy several times.  You might also remember his bowtie was actually red gingham.  I personally like the red better, but alas I changed it to blue to satisfy element #7 above.  Yes, print competition typically requires additional post-processing work.

Immediately after I clicked the shutter button on this image, I just knew it would be one of my entries this year.  It scored 81, and earned a merit in the General Collection!

Dapper Dachshund

Dapper Dachshund


Image 4:  Places to Go, People to Lick

And finally, this image of Khloe was taken towards the end of her session - she was trotting along, happy to be on an early morning adventure in downtown Houston. 

I took a chance on this one, and it paid off.  You see, the majority of images submitted to IPC are formal portraits: dramatic lighting, traditional posing, eye contact, and for dogs, typically no tongue showing.  This image broke a lot of the "rules", but I kept gravitating towards it.  So I followed my gut and chose a title that made the tongue "work". 

The judging is streamed live online, and my favorite part was hearing the judges giggle when this image came up.  This image scored an 85, earned a merit, and was selected to be published in the Loan Collection!

Places to Go, People to Lick

Places to Go, People to Lick

All in all, I learned a tremendous amount from entering print competition this year.  I am very happy with my results, and motivated to do even better next year!

So not to brag of course... but I guess you can now call me an award-winning photographer ;-)