International Photographic Competition – AKA IPC

Professional Photographers of America (PPA) has an incredible member benefit known as International Photographic Competition. I feel that this one benefit has been worth the price of PPA admission and has helped me develop the photography skills I have today.

sandhill cranesSandhill Cranes – Artist entry from last year – General Collection Merit Image

I do believe there can be a misconception of what this is all about because of the name. The word competition can scare off a lot of folks. It gives them the opportunity to give excuses. “My work is not ready to compete.” “I don’t need to compete and win awards to validate my skills.” “I’ll never win.” And other similar thought patterns that keep them out of the game. I can tell you when I first started my work was, how you say, less than stellar.

YOU DO NOT GET INTO PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPETITION TO WIN AWARDS! Notice that the caps lock was on for that last sentence because it’s supposed to sound like I am shouting. Yes, awards can be a sterling byproduct of imaging competition, but that’s not why you compete. YOU COMPETE TO BECOME A BETTER PHOTOGRAPHER! I see every photographer that gets into image improve their work in a relatively short period. Those that put it off tend to stagnate and their progress is much slower.

PPA image resultsKeeping Watch – Artist entry from last year – General Collection Merit Image

The act of choosing your images. Working on them to remove every possible flaw you can find and putting them before a jury of fellow photographers for feedback is an incredible education. I can’t tell you the number of times I put my best work out there for comment in this process and… Well, let’s say I was less than pleased with the result. Occasionally I would even think to myself, “What the heck do those judges know? They weren’t there and didn’t know what I had to go through to create that image! My client loved it!” After a time away fro the sting of not getting the result I was hoping for wore off I reviewed the judges comments with a calmer frame of mind. And I’ll be darned! They were right. It could have been better had I taken into account the post processing, composition or capture suggestions when producing the image.

polo magazine art proofsSarasota Magazine Designs – Artist entry from last year – Loan Collection Merit Image

And that’s what imaging competition is all about, competing with yourself to become better. Each year you try to do better than the previous one. Eventually, the awards start to come, and that’s great. But, even after I attained enough merits for my Master of Photography Degree and Master Artist Degree and Imaging Excellence Award I still compete. Why? Because I am still trying to be better than, I was the previous year. Imaging competition keeps me sharp. It eeps me pushing the envelope to learn new techniques and perfect my craft. In short, it makes me a better photographer.

 international photographic competition logoYou can Stream the IPC and tune into the learning. You don’t need to be a member of PPA

Wanna be a better photographer? Get in the game! Don’t wait “until you are ready.” If you wait until then, you’ll never be ready. If you aren’t already in you can get an idea of what the judges are looking for in the images by watching the competition online. If you already are in you know that the International Photographic Competition judging process is coming up this Sunday, July 31 thru Thursday, August 4 and will be streamed live. Tune in when you can. There’s an education to be had by being exposed to imagery. More education as you hear the judges speak to the challenges of why they believe an image deserves to be awarded a Merit, or not.

Also returning this year will be the IPC Live broadcast hosted by renowned Florida wedding photographer and co-host of The Photobomb Podcast, Booray Perry, Cr.Photog., CPP. Each day at 10:15 am and 2:15 pm EST, IPC Live will feature live critiques, interviews with the judges, and live Q&A sessions.

If you have any questions about the process, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. Happy to help you.

Yours in Creative Photography,     Bob