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2023 Digital Image Competition and Exhibition Rules

Competition registration for entries opens Monday January 16th, 2023

Deadline to submit entries is Wednesday March 1st @ midnight

MPPA Membership dues must be paid by January 31st to enter as an MPPA Member and be eligible for MPPA awards.

All Fees for entries MUST be paid online at www.montanappa.org

All entries must be registered at www.printcompetition.com.

Print a copy of the rules here:

2023 Print Competition and Exhibition Rules - Digital Only-2.pdf



2023 Digital Image Competition and Exhibition Rules


Print Chair – Mark LaRowe, mark@marklarowephotography.com or 406-577-6122

Please study, understand and follow these rules carefully. Non-compliance with the rules may result in disqualification of entries.

1. Eligibility

  • Any professional photographer who is an active or associate member of MPPA and whose membership is current and in good standing on the date of the image submittal deadline may enter. Active Member being defined as a member in good standing according to the MPPA Code of Ethics including payment of annual dues by the renewal date.
  • To be qualified for all awards in the image competition you must have the appropriate entry fee paid online prior to the deadline of midnight of March 1, 2023. Non-MPPA members may submit entries for scores only, and are not eligible for MPPA awards.

  • Only one case per photographer.

  • Entrant must have captured and created the original exposure or exposures. All processing, manipulation and printing or rendering were done by the entrant or under their direct supervision. Furthermore, no entry will be eligible if made under the supervision of an instructor or in an educational environment or as a class assignment. STUDENTS may enter MPPA Image Competition, refer to Student Entry Section 9.

  • The entrant has obtained and has access to all necessary releases (model or property) and agrees to hold MPPA harmless against all claims and liabilities arising out of MPPA's display, publication and promotion or other use of each image submitted to MPPA.

  • The entrant’s name shall not appear anywhere in or on the face of the entry.

  • A maximum of 6 digital entries may be submitted per entrant.

  • Any entry that has been created from an existing photograph, portrait, graphic or any other artwork produced by another person, is a violation of the competition rules and will not be judged, accepted or displayed. If an entry, in the good-faith opinion of the Jury Chair, violates copyright, trademark or any other applicable law, that entry shall be disqualified. Exception is made for Artist Classification, see Section 4(F).

  • Entries of the same subject in multiple images will be allowed, if the images are entirely different concepts.

  • Entry media includes digital files only.

  • Images previously entered in any past MPPA or PPA District competitions are not eligible.

  • Images submitted for the 2023 Competition and Exhibition may be used by MPPA in the form of awards night slide show, website display, association newsletter and general information packets.

2. Registration

A. All entries must be registered at www.printcompetition.comLog in to your existing account or create a new account if this is your first time entering. After you log in, you can upload your images (you do not need to include a number or category in your image name – just your image by title using an underscore for spaces. Example: What_a_beautiful_day.jpg).

You will be directed to pay your competition entry fees from this site after uploading your images. Be sure and select the correct competition

B. Registration opens on January 16th, 2023 and closes at Midnight on March 1, 2023. You may upload your images at any time during that period. Remember to pay your 2023 MPPA dues by the deadline of January 31, 2023.

C. Entry Fees-

*For MPPA members in good standing the entry fee is $15.00 per image/entry. 
 *Student and Judges entry fee is $10.00 per image/entry. 

*Exhibitors entry fee is $15.00 per image/entry. 

*Out-of-State entry fee is $25.00 per image/entry unless you are an MPPA Member.

*Entry fee without convention fee paid is $25.00.

*All FEES for entries MUST be paid online at www.montanappa.org,

    3. Image Entries

    A. Submission

    • Digital images must be submitted to www.printcompetition.com by midnight (MST) March 1, 2023.
    ●  Digital files must be sized such that the longest dimension is 4000 pixels. 
    ●  Each file must contain an embedded color profile of either sRGB or Adobe RGB1998 and be saved at a JPEG quality setting of 10. In most cases, the file size should not exceed 3.5 MB. Larger files will be accepted when necessary so long as they are JPEG/10. 
    ● To most closely fill the monitor, the best size is 13:20 ratio which is 2600px by 4000px.
    ● Present your final images just as you would when printing them.
    ● Calibration: The monitor used in judging is calibrated to 6500k, 2.2 gamma, 120 lumens. If you have a device, like a Spyder or ColorMunki, use it to calibrate your display to these settings to have the most accurate preview on your own monitor. Follow this link to PPA tutorials for further information on profiles and calibrations. www.ppa.com/ipc_tutorials

    C. All Entries shall abide by the following:

    • Files are to be named, Image_Title (use _ for spaces, e.g. See_Spot_Run.jpg.). The title of the image for competition should be the name of the file.
    • Please read SECTION 12: Awards, if you wish to qualify for any awards. 

    4. Classification of Entries - General AND Master Divisions

    A. Portrait -

    1. Man (teenage or adult)
    2. Woman (teenage of adult)
    3. Child (one subject)
    4. Couples (two subjects)
    5. Pets (A Domestic or tamed animal kept for companionship, does not include wildlife)
    6. Groups (Family, teams, groups, etc)

    B. Wedding - Images pertaining to brides, weddings or social event

    C. Album - Albums will be judged for impact, creativity, style, print quality, technique, story content, expressions of subjects, lighting, presentation and salability of work. Albums count as 1 entry. Album entries may be submitted in the form of a traditional album digital entry.

    1. Digital Album Entries - See Video Tutorial: www.ppa.com/ipc_tutorials

    a. All page/spread files must have the longest file dimension at 4000 pixels, have an embedded color profile of either sRGB or Adobe RGB1998 and saved at a JPEG quality setting of 10.

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

    c. An entry shall contain a minimum of 5 page/spread files up to 36 page/spread files.

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

    e. All individual files must be compressed into a single ZIP file. ZIP file must be named: Album Title (use _for spaces, e.g. Summer_Wedding.zip)

    f. Studio identification or entrant's name cannot appear on any file within the album entry.

    g. Digital Files: Monitor Settings, D65, 120 cd/m2, 2.20 gamma

    D. Unclassified/Illustrative - Includes but not limited to creative, scenic, wildlife, photographic art, photojournalism.

    E. Commercial/industrial -

    F. Artist - Entries may be reproduced from existing images, portraits, graphics or any other artwork so long as the entrant is prepared to provide appropriate written documentation indicating permission for usage. This documentation may be requested by MPPA before, during or after the competition. If an entry, in the good-faith opinion of the MPPA Image Judging Committee, violates copyright, trademark or any other applicable law and cannot be proven otherwise, that entry shall be disqualified and merits revoked, if issued. All processing, manipulation, artwork or rendering must be done by the entrant. Printing may be done under their direct supervision. Entries must have been sourced, composited, manipulated and/or produced by digital means.

    You must provide guide/reference images, which must be on the front of the entry and placed either to the side or above/below image. This is to show judges what images you started with, whether it is a composite, painted image, etc.

    G. Senior Folio - Senior Folio Competition is intended to be a showcase of a photographer’s unique presentation of a Senior Folio.

    1. The Senior Folio must be presented in a digital design folio, in either a barn door or book style. Inside mat may be a standard 4x5 or a design of the photographer’s choice. Manipulation is encouraged!

    2. Image total is limited to a maximum of 8 finished images of ONE individual’s senior session(s). Folios with multiple seniors will NOT be accepted. Images are intended to be finished and manipulated at the photographer’s discretion.

    3.  All General, Masters, and Students will compete in one category---awarding only one first, second and third place awards.

    4. Judging will be based on technical quality, lighting, posing, finish, composition, impact, variety and overall storytelling presentation.

    5. Only one (1) Senior Folio entry per member is permitted. 

    6. A Senior Folio submission will not be added to the total number of images entered per case.

    7. Senior Folios will not be included in any other scoring.

    5. Identification

    A. No title, name of maker, award ribbons or seals may appear on the front of any entries.

    B. Studio imprints in Albums or Folios must be covered so as not to be visible.

    6. Masters Division

    A. Only those MPPA members holding the PPA Master's Degree are eligible to enter the Masters Competition.

    B. To be eligible for Master Photographer of the Year and/or Top 5 Master Photographers entrant must enter a minimum of 4 entries (excl. senior folio)

    Note: Check the Masters box when signing the certification on the entry form.

    7. Student Entries

    A. Student entries must be original and may have been created, composed, or exposed as part of any past class assignment or under direct or indirect supervision of an instructor or any other person. The final image entry must have all edits and any special effects done by the Student or under hers or his direction.

    B. Student entries must adhere to all other rules and requirements herein stated. C. Student entries will only be considered for "Student" awards.

    8. Exhibitor Entries

    A. Any commercial supplier, color lab representative or other photographic product exhibitor at our convention may enter.

    B. Entries must comply with all previously stated rules. These entries will be judged under the same criteria but will NOT be eligible for any MPPA awards other than "Best Exhibitor" award.

    9. Judging

    A. The factors considered are: Impact, Technical Quality, Presentation, and Adherence to rules.

    B. Judging will be performed by a panel of three (3) primary judges, one (1) alternate judge and a Jury Chairman.

    C. The point system scores from 0-100 will be used. Images will be scored using the following scale:


    Exceptional....................................100-95

    Superior...........................................94-90

    Excellent.................................. 89-85

    Deserving of Merit...................... 84-80

    Above Average................................79-75

    Average....................................74-70

    Below Exhibition Standard..............69-65

    D. Images judged at this convention are not considered pre-judged or eligible for PPA "Seals of Approval".

    E. An automatic challenge occurs when a judge's score is 10 points above or below the average of all five judges.

    F. The Jury Chairman will have the authority to decide any questions not specifically covered by these rules. Decisions made by the Jury Chairman are final.

    G. MPPA follows PPA’s national standard of The Twelve Elements of a Merit Image for judging:

    The 12 Elements for Success in Print Competition

    1. Impact is the sense one gets upon viewing an image for the first time. Compelling images evoke laughter, sadness, anger, pride, wonder or another intense emotion. There can be impact in any of these twelve elements.

    2. Creativity is the original, fresh, and external expression of the imagination of the maker by using the medium to convey an idea, message or thought.

    3. Technical excellencis the quality of the image itself as it is presented for viewing retouching, manipulation, sharpness, exposure, printing, mounting, and correct color are some items that speak to the qualities of the image.

    4. Composition is important to the design of an image, bringing all the visual elements together in concert to express the purpose of the image. Proper composition holds the viewer in the image and prompts the viewer to look where the creator intends. Effective composition can be pleasing or disturbing, depending on the intent of the image maker.

    5. Lighting is the use and control of light—refers to how dimension, shape and roundness are defined in an image. Whether the light applied to an image is manmade or natural, proper use of it should enhance an image.

    6. Stylis defined in several ways as it applies to a creative image. It might be defined by a specific genre or simply be recognizable as the characteristics of how a specific artist applies light to a subject. It can impact an image in a positive manner when the subject matter and the style are appropriate for each other, or it can have a negative effect when they are at odds.

    7. Image Presentatioaffects an image by giving it a finished look. The mats and borders used should support and enhance the image, not distract from it.

    8. Center of Interest is the point or points on the image where the maker wants the viewer to stop as they view the image. There can be primary and secondary centers of interest. Occasionally there will be no specific center of interest, when the entire scene collectively serves as the center of interest.

    9. Subject Matter should always be appropriate to the story being told in an image.

    10. Color Balance supplies harmony to an image. An image in which the tones work together, effectively supporting the image, can enhance its emotional appeal. Color balance is not always harmonious and can be used to evoke diverse feelings for effect.

    11. Techniquis the approach used to create the image. Lighting, posing, capture, presentation media, and more are part of the technique applied to an image.

    12. Story-Telling refers to the image’s ability to evoke imagination. Each viewer might collect his own message or read her own story in an image.

    10. Awards

    A. General Division:

    1. "Photographer of the Year" award--- will be determined by the highest total score of the four (4) highest scored images of each entrant. Master and Student entries are ineligible for this award. In the event of a tie, both people would receive the award.

    2. “Top Ten Photographers in Montana" award--- will be determined numerically by using the ten highest total scores of the four (4) highest scored images of each entrant. Master and Student entries are ineligible for this award.

    3. "Top First Time Entrant" award --- will be determined by the highest total score of the four (4) highest scored images of each entrant. Only first time entrants are eligible for this award.

    4. First, second and third place category awards--- will be awarded in twelve categories (refer to section 5. Classification of Entries). Awards will be determined by numeric score values. In the event of a tie the Judges will determine 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Only images scoring 78 or above will be considered.

    5. PPA Certified Professional Photographer Award

    B. Masters Division:

    1. "Master Photographer of the Year" award--- will be determined by the highest total score of the four (4) highest scored images of each entrant. General and Student entries are not eligible for this award.

    2. Top Five Master’s awards--- will be determined numerically by using five highest total scores of the four (4) highest scored images of each entrant. General and Student entries are not eligible for this award.

    3. First, second and third place category Master’s awards— will be awarded in twelve categories (refer to Masters Division Rules, sec5&6.)

    Awards will be determined by numeric score values. In the event of a tie, the Judges will determine 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Only images scoring 78 or above will be considered for awards.

    C. Student Division:

    First, second and third place Student’s awards--- One overall first, second and third place award will be determined from the total of the four (4) highest scored images from each student. Student entries are not be eligible for other MPPA awards.

    D. PPA Certified Professional Photographer:

    The PPA Certified Professional Photographer award will be awarded to the “Highest Image Score” by a CPP. This can be awarded to any CPP from any state or PPA Master Level.

    If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Mark LaRowe at: mark@marklarowephotography.com or 406-577-6122 

    Good luck to all!

    Contact us @ MontanaPPA@outlook.com 

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