VPPA Annual Image Competition Rules for 2020

1. Eligibility

2.. Entries Allowed

3.  Entry Fees and Forms

4.  On-Line Entry

5.  Digital Entries

6.  Deadlines

7.    Awards

8.  Damage or Loss

9.  Model Release

10.  Districts: "Randy Searle Cup"

11.  Top 10 Photographers of the Year

12.  Photographic Elements

13.  Category Classifications

14. Credits

15. Judging

16.  For More Information

1.  Eligibility:

a. Annual Competition is open to all VPPA Members, both Virginia Residents and Non Residents, who pay the entry fees by the published deadlines; however, only VPPA members whose dues are current are eligible for credits, awards and trophies.

b. Non-VPPA members may pay to enter unlimited images/albums in the VPPA Annual Image Competition to receive a score and a critique.

c. Membership levels that are  eligible to enter and receive image credits are as follows.  Restrictions apply to some membership levels as stated below:

Professional Membership and Life Membership All Awards

Retired Membership One Retired Award given annually

Non-Resident Professional Membership One Non-Resident Award given annually and Non Resident VPPA Members qualify for the Top Ten Photographer Award

Aspiring Membership One Aspiring Award given annually

  Note: Aspiring Professionals who enter image competition and receive image credits will have these archived until such time as the member upgrades to the Professional Category. These credits will then be applied toward State Degrees.

 2.  Entries Allowed:

a. Each entrant will be able to enter unlimited entries into the annual competition; however only the top six (6) eligible entries apply toward credits, awards and degrees.

b. Entries may be of the same subject or object as long as they are significantly different.  A different concept, look, clothing, background, etc.

c. No entries will be accepted where it is obvious that two or more photographers assembled and photographed the same subject or object (except albums–see album rules 5b) using the same set and or lighting conditions.

d. No entries will be accepted that were made while attending and or under the direction, supervision of an instructor at any seminar, trip, class or safari or other type of gathering or event.

e. No entries of a prurient, pornographic, or questionable sexual nature will be accepted.

f. No entries will be allowed that are trademarked subjects. (Harry Potter, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man, Norman Rockwell, etc.)

g. At the conclusion of VPPA Annual Image Competition any entries that are not part of your Top six (6) are considered “void”.  You may re-enter them in a future VPPA Competition, regardless of score, with or without additional artwork.

h. Image Competition Chairman or his/her designee will have the final decision-making authority regarding eligibility of entries

3.  Entry Fees and Forms:

a. The fee is $15 per entry (image or album).  Late fees may apply after deadline dates.

b. A critique will be available for $10 per entry (image/album). If you would like a critique, add $10 per entry (image/album) to the online entry at http://www.printcompetition.com for the image(s)/album(s) you wish critiqued. Competiton Committee will handle the distribution via email of video critiques, all critiques should be sent to the maker within 3 weeks of the Conclusion of the annual Convention.

c. Entrants should read and understand the Certification Statement on the entry form and the penalties that apply if the entry is in violation of VPPA Rules.

 4.  On-Line Entry

a. All entries will be made on-line through http://www.printcompetition.com

 5. Digital Entries:

a. Image Entries:

i. Only electronic images will be accepted in the all image competitions, no physical prints will be accepted.

ii. Image files should be sized with the longest side at 4000 pixels, quality 10 jpg with an imbedded color space of sRGB or AdobeRGB 1998.

iii. Files are to be named, Image_Title (use_for spaces, e.g. See_Spot_Run.jpg).  Do not use special characters.

iv. Boarders and strokes, although not required, are suggested as part of the overall image presentation.

v. Studio identification or entrants name cannot appear on any part of the entry.  Image/Album will be considered ineligible and disqualified.

b. Album Entries:

                                i. Each page/spread may contain as many images as you desire. 

                                ii. An entry shall contain a minimum of 5 page/spread files up to 36 page/spread and follow the same size requirements as single digital entries (see above)

                                iii. Files are to be numbered in viewing order using two (2) digits, i.e. 01.jpg, 02.jpg, 03.jpg,etc.

                                iv. Studio identification or entrants name cannot appear on any part within the album entry.

                                 v. Longest album spread should be sized at 4000 pixels on the longest side and contain a color

                                profile of either sRGB or AdobeRGB1998.

                                vi. In the case of any Multi-Maker album, images in the album must be the work of the entrants, with a minimum of 20 images per entrant. Multi-Maker                albums will be judged as one entry.  Both makers should submit the files/images.

6. Deadlines:

a. Annual Image Competition will open on 12/15/2019 and close on 2/13/2020. Entries may be accepted after 2/13/2020 with prior approval from the image competition chair or assistant image competition chair.

b. A late fee of $10 will be charged per entry (image or album) if images are registered between 1/16/2020 and 2/13/2020.

c. Registration of all images for the VPPA Annual Image Competition will close on 2/13/2020.  All images have to be registered by paying the entry fee on www.printcompetition.com by 2/13/2020. All images can be changed, adjusted or updated including titles at any time until 10 p.m. on 2/13/2020.

d. All entries must be uploaded to www.printcompetition.com no later than 10 p.m. on Thursday, February 13th, 2020, (one week before the competition).

e. All access to and handling of entries will be limited to the Image Competition Committee members.

f. Failure to comply with the image rules will result in rejection of your entries by the Image Competition Chairmen.

7. Awards:

a. Aspiring Award: Awarded to a member who has a current Aspiring Professional Membership. Aspiring members are only eligible for the Aspiring Award.  It is based on the highest scoring eligible image by an Aspiring Professional Member.

b. Retired Award: Awarded to a member who has a current Retired Membership and is retired from photography.  It is based on the highest scoring eligible image by a Retired Member.

c. Non-Resident Award: Awarded to a member who has a current VPPA Professional Membership but resides in or has registered their business in a state other than Virginia.  It  is  based on the highest scoring eligible image by a Non-Resident Professional Member.

d. Nancy Justice Award: Awarded to a current VPPA Professional or Life Member who has entered the Virginia annual image competition for the first time. This award will be determined by the entrant who qualifies and has the highest scoring eligible entry and is a First Time Entrant.

e. Non-Master Award: Awarded to the VPPA Professional or Life Member who does not currently hold the PPA Master of Photography Degree. This award will be based on the highest scoring eligible entry.

f. Best of Category: Awarded to the eligible image scoring 80 or above chosen by the panel of Judges best meeting the Category definition.

g. Court of Honor Category: Awarded to the eligible image scoring 80 or above chosen by the panel of Judges as the 2nd best image meeting the Category definition.

h. Photographer of the Year: The VPPA Professional or Life Member with the highest total image/award credits will receive the Virginia Photographer of the Year Award. Credits will be determined based on the entrant’s top six(6) highest scored eligible entries. (See Section 14)

i. Top 10 VPPA Photographer of the Year: Top 10 Awards will be given to the top 10 entrants based on the total of their top six (6) eligible image scores regardless of the total number of entries.  There is a formula for determining award winners in the event of a tie which is described in this document. (See Section 11)

j. Randy Searle Cup – District (See Section 10)

k. PPA National Award: Awarded to a Virginia PPA member chosen by his/her Peers.

l. PPA CPP Award: Awarded to the highest scoring image by a VA CPP member.

m. VA CPP Award: Awarded to the 2nd highest scoring image (not awarded another award) by a VA CPP member.

n. ASP Award: Awarded to the highest scoring image by a Current ASP member.

o. Ribbons/Credits: The Top six(6) highest scoring eligible entries per entrant will count toward ribbons (blue, red and white) and category/trophy considerations for First Place and Court of Honor (2ndplace). (See Section 14)

p. Only the top six (6) entries will be calculated and eligible for degrees (SP&FP).

q. Kodak, Fuji and Lex-Jet Awards will not be considered in VPPA Judging as of 2017. Vendor awards will no longer be oered for state image competitions.  Further, these may be awarded at PPA District and IPC Competitions. Please check the PPA District and IPC Rules for each vendor if you are interested in your prints being considered for these awards as prints are still accepted at these competitions.

8. Damage or Loss:

a. The VPPA assumes no responsibility for damage, loss, storage, handling, or exhibiting of entries.

b. Entrant Agrees to hold VPPA harmless against any liabilities  or claims arising out of the VPPA’s consideration, display, or other use of photographs, entries, or other materials submitted by entrant to VPPA.

9. Model Release:

a. Entrant must be able to submit, on request, a model release from each subject if the image is of recognizable people or pets, private homes, private possessions, or businesses.

b.  Model Release forms, if required, will be available by request.

10. Districts: “Randy Searle Cup”

*Districts (Blue Ridge/Capital/Northern/Tidewater) will compete against each other for the highest average score award by percentage of participation in each District. Only the top 6 scores will apply per entrant.

11. Top 10 Photographers of the Year:

a. These numbers are calculated based on the cumulative scores of the entrants’ top six (6) eligible entries. The 10  entrants with the highest scores will receive one of these (10) awards.

Tie Breaker: Determined by the single highest scoring eligible entry.  In the event of another tie, the second highest scoring eligible entry will be determined to break the tie.  As ties continue the winner will be determined by the next highest scoring single eligible entry at each level until a winner is determined. 

12. Photographic Elements:

a. Artist Category: Purchased digital backgrounds and image parts or elements will be accepted because it is judged on the work done to the image. An entry in this category Must include a compilation of parts, steps or stages used to make up the image on the front side, top or bottom of the image file (“guide images”).

b. Creative Category: Purchased digital backgrounds and image parts or elements will be accepted but it is judged on the photography.  Any purchased or parts not photographed by the maker must be shown along the face of the image (guide images).

c. All other categories: Photographic elements must be photographed by the maker. Purchased digital backgrounds and image parts or elements will not be accepted.

13. Category Classifications:

a. Portrait of a Man:  Adult Man (Image with pets or animals allowed)

b. Portrait of a Woman: Adult Woman (Image with pets or animals allowed)

c. Portrait of a Child: Portrait of one (1) Child. (Image with pets or animals allowed)

d. Portrait of a Group: Includes more than one person of any age group, with or without animals.

e. Portrait of Pets or Animals: All animal photographs, individuals or groups of animals, wild or tame, large or small. People should not be the center of interest.

f. Portrait of a Bride: Brides photographed in the studio, outdoors, indoors or on location. Bridal portraits made on the wedding day must be entered in Social Event Portrait.  There should be no other people in the photograph.

g. Portrait of High School Senior: Only portraits made in the studio, outdoors, indoors or on location of an individual high school senior are eligible for this category. They may be composites, if desired. 

h. Social Event Portrait: Posed portraits made at a social event. They may be of individuals or groups, including but not limited to brides, grooms, family members, Bar/ Bat Mitzvah participants or groups, and wedding parties.

i. Social Event Candid: Candid photographs made on a wedding day, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, or other social event. The purpose of this category is to show how well a photographer can operate under the pressure of a social event.

 j. Architectural: Photographs of building exteriors, interiors, or architectural details.

k. Illustrative: Includes photographs which could be used for advertising in fliers, brochures, greeting cards, calendars, printed matter of all types and websites. Subject matter is a varied as the category.

l. Pictorial: Scenic or landscape photographs, still life, or close-ups of the natural world; people may be in the images, but should not be the center of interest.

m. Photojournalism: All images made “on the spot”, except for social event photography. Subjects may be crowds, individuals, street scenes, fires or accidents, racing or athletic events; these are typically the types of images seen in newspapers and news magazines.

n. Commercial/Industrial: These are photographs made for advertising or for depicting activities associated with business, industry, sales, marketing, commerce, etc.

o. Creative: Consists of images that have additional elements not created by the maker. All elements not created by the maker must be shown in a guide image. (All the other rules still apply with the exception that you may have additional elements in your image not create by the maker. These elements must be shown in a guide image. The purpose of this new category is to allow makers to enter some of their everyday images that may contain digital background or other elements that were previously not allowed. You will still need to have all releases necessary. The jurors will be instructed to evaluate the entire image but the elements that were created by the maker must still be merit worthy as well as the overall image.)

p. Artist: A conceptual image altered or manipulated from its original condition.  Creations can be a subtle application using post processing techniques, or a dramatic combination of details to suggest a larger story.  The artist is responsible for the idea behind the image and the work done to create the finished art piece.  Artist category is designed to judge the technique of the artist. An entry in this category must include a compilation of parts, steps or stages used to make up the image on the front side, top or bottom of the image file (“guide images”). The maker will be judged on how well he/she handled the medium used in the image. This category will include enhancements/ restoration, composited images and single image files.


q. Event: This sub-category is a collection of images highlighting one or more individuals associated with a Wedding or Bar/Bat Mitzvah.  All photographs must be from the same social event. There may be more than one maker for an Event Album; such an album will count as one entry for each maker and should be so indicated on the entry form.

s. Non-Event:  This sub-category contains a group or selection of images used to express people, places, or things, not specifically in a social setting.  The album should have photographs from the same portrait sitting, commercial assignment, or be a “Day in the Life”, “Baby to Adult”, or High School Senior type album. It could also be a compilation of images from one trip or one assignment.

** Event or Non-Event Albums: No photographs entered in an album may be entered as a separate entry in another category at any time.


a. Print Credits are accumulated by earning Best in Show, Best in Category (selected by the judges from all eligible entries 80 and above), Court of Honor (2nd Place) and ribbons (blue, red & white).

b. The total number of credits from your top 6 entries are used to determine the Virginia Photographer of the Year.

c. The total number of credits from your top 6 entries are used toward earning a VPPA degree (SP,FP).

d. Schedule of credits:

 *Only your top six highest scoring eligible entries will be considered for

Ribbons/Credits and Awards.

 Blue Ribbon (Score of 80 & above)                                  4 Credits

Red Ribbon (Score of 79 -75)                                              3 Credits

White Ribbon (Score of 74 -70)                                        2 Credits

 Best in Show                                                                                5 Credits

Best of Category                                                                        4 Credits

Court of Honor (2ndPlace)                                                  3 Credits

  i. NOTE: These credits are awarded only at the State Convention; not at Seminars or District Meetings.

ii. NOTE: No additional credits are given for the Virginia Photographer of the Year Award, Top Ten Photographer of the Year, the Nancy Justice Trophy, the PPA National Award, the CPP Award, VA CPP Award, the ASP Award, the Randy Searle District Winner or the Virginia Award.


a. There will be a five (5) Juror Panel with a minimum of three (3) Approved Aliate IPC Jurors and a maximum of two (2) IPC Jurors in Training.

b. All image judging will follow as close to IPC Rules (International Photographic Competition).

 For more information:

 Jamie Hayes, Image Competition Co-Chairman – jamie@hayesandfisk.com or (804) 740-9307 (studio)

 Andee Moore, Image Competition Co-Chairman – andee@reallifeevents.net or (804) 222-4111 (studio)


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