State Photographic Competition
The Texas Professional Photographers Association (TPPA) is the largest state affiliate of the Professional Photographers of America.
TPPA is a wonderful step to take in your competition journey after your local guild level. At the state level, you can witness a judging panel, listen to comments, and gain so much knowledge about what is expected and how to improve your images going forward in competition. You may watch the judging in person or online.
Images are scored and noted “Merit Worthy”. All images that receive a score of 80 or above earn a point toward the TPPA Fellowships. You do not receive a PPA merit at this level.
District Photographic Competition
Texas is part of the Southwest District of the Professional Photographers of America, which also consists of Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, and Mexico.
Districts are the next step in competition and a great opportunity to see judging at a higher level, hear the remarks, and view great talent once again. You may watch the judging in person in Atlanta or online. Judges give a thumbs up or thumbs down, meaning Merit Worthy or not. Scores are not given. Images that are deemed Merit Worthy earn a “Seal of Approval” from PPA. The “sealed” entry must be entered into the next scheduled national judging, International Photographic Competition (IPC) to receive a PPA merit. You do not receive a PPA merit at this level.
A seal can be “broken” (changed from the previously judged version and re-entered as a new image) to improve the image, based on the input given during judging discussions or critique received (ordered separately). By breaking the seal, as there is a possibility of the image doing better at IPC, there is also a risk of not meriting at all. It is generally not recommended to break the seal until after acquiring the Master of Photography degree.
International Photographic Competition (IPC)
IPC is the highest level of print competition within PPA. This is where images that have a “Seal of Approval” from their district competition receive a PPA merit. You must enter IPC separately from Districts and pay a separate fee to receive your Merit. Sealed images are not automatically forwarded to IPC. New images may also be submitted at this level and go before the judging panel. You can bypass local, state, and districts, and go straight to IPC if you wish.
The important thing to remember regarding print competition is … you can go forward (up), but you may never go backwards.
There is an exception to this rule: If an image does not receive a Seal of Approval at District or a Merit at IPC, the image can be reworked and entered again in those competitions. If that same image has not been previously entered at the state competition, or was entered and did not receive a Merit Worthy score, it may be entered (again) at the state level.
IPC judging is very exciting to watch in person in Atlanta or online. Hearing the judging is an education that you will never forget. Judges give a thumbs up or thumbs down, meaning Merit or not. Scores are not given. After the initial judging where images receive a merit, they go for a second round of judging for “Loan” or “Showcase”.
IPC is where PPA merits are earned, and images can also be accepted into the Loan Collection or Showcase Book. Each image that is deemed Merit Worthy (either sealed images or new images) receives one PPA Merit. Loan images receive a second Merit and are published in a book. Showcase images are published in a separate book.