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Master's Image Competition Mentor Program

Entering image competition? Here is a free service that can help you critically evaluate and improve your competition images. For those of you who are sitting on the fence, not sure if you should enter, or even if you want to enter image competitions, this could help you to take that first step. This service can also help you determine which images to enter.

Joan Genest, M. Photog., Cr. ASP. has volunteered her services to help us as photographers in selecting the right images for print competitions. Critiques will address numerous issues such as basic composition, impact, color, cropping, matting (should there be a mat or will it detract from the image), clothing choices, and props (are you using too many?). Perhaps you are having trouble deciding which image to select from a recent session? Select 3 or 4 from that session and the Master will help you to figure out which one to submit to the print competition.

Review the 12 Elements of a Merit Image, select the images you would like the Master to critique and then send an email to Joan jmgenest@aol.com. Please type CTPPA Critique in the subject heading. Send your images for critique as attachments. Expect a truly honest opinion of your submitted work(s).

Although emailed submissions initially go to Joan, she may elect to ask another Master Photographer to review/critique the images. Please note that this service is currently being offered for free, however, that may change down the road, so don't hesitate to take advantage of this now!

"The Master's Critique Forum" is a mentoring program that was first created by Nancy Holowitz, Master/Craftsmen, Honorary Educational Degree ASP. With Nancy’s passing we at CTPPA are very pleased that this service will continue. Thank you Joan!

To learn about or refresh yourself on the qualities of a merit image Download the "12 elements of a merit image".pdf to assist you when planning for your image competition entry.

A Mind Map of the 12 Elements was published on PPmag.com by Lisa Dillon, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, and Bryan Welsh, Cr. Photog., API. They share a fresh perspective on PPA's International Photographic Competition. Specifically, they look at the "12 Elements of a Merit Image" in a new light. They write:

"If you're new to image competition, it can feel like a game. It's possible you have only a passing familiarity with the 12 elements of a merit image. Yes, the list is displayed at every image competition and a short description of each element can be found on the PPA website. But do you really understand what they mean? Do you understand how they underpin one another and build upon one another? 

Rather than looking at the elements as a checklist, Lisa and Bryan created a mind map (a diagram used to visually organize information) for a unique take on these elements and how to succeed in the IPC.


Read their fascinating article, "A Fresh Look at the 12 Elements", at PPmag.comwww. today! 

12 Elements of Image Competition

1.Impact: Compelling images evoke emotion—laughter, sadness, anger, pride.

2.Technical Excellence: The quality of the actual image as presented for viewing. Aspects such as retouching, sharpness, printing, color, and exposure should be spot on.

3.Creativity: The image is original, fresh, and an external expression of the maker’s imagination.

4.Style: The subject matter meshes with the presentation. Style can also include the characteristic ways that an artist applies his or her specific lighting, posing, or compositional style to underscore the desired impact.

5.Composition: The visual elements of an image come together to express intent, whether that is to please the viewer. The viewer’s attention is captured and directed where the artist plans it to be.

6.Presentation: The way an image is showcased gives it a finished look. Everything in the presentation—mats, borders, color choices—should work to enhance the image.

7.Color Balance: Color work together to evoke feelings in the viewer. For example, it can bring harmony to an image and enhance the emotional appeal. It can also be incongruous to arouse diverse feelings.

8.Center of Interest: This is where an image’s creator wants a viewer’s attention focused. There may be primary and secondary centers of interest. Sometimes all the elements in an image work together to create the center of interest.

9.Lighting: The image demonstrates excellence in the use and control of light, whether natural or additive. Light informs dimensions and shape, sets tone and mood, and enhances the image.

10.Subject Matter: The subject matter is central to the story being told, so the subject should sync with the story.

11.Technique: The approaches used to create the image—lighting, posting, capture, presentation—work together to be effective.

12.Storytelling: The image evokes the viewer's imagination. While the act of creating is a personal thing, so too is the act of viewing. Each image is a story, and the one it tells a viewer may be unique to that person.

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