VPPA ImageFest-VA Image Critique Rules – 2021

Merit / Non-Merit Evaluation

1.   Eligibility:   

a.     ImageFest-VA Image Critique is open to everyone; VPPA Members, Non-members Virginia Residents and Non-Residents, who pay the entry fees by the published deadlines. 

b.     All VPPA Membership levels meeting entry requirements are eligible for any prizes that may be offered.  (Membership descriptions can be found online at www.vppa.org

c.     Students at any education level (college to grade school) may enter Virginia’s Image Critique. 

2.   Entries Allowed:

a.       Each entrant will be able to enter unlimited entries into the Image Critique however only the top six (6) evaluated eligible entries apply toward prizes.

b.     Entries may be of the same subject or object if 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 6b) using the same set and or lighting conditions.

d.     No entry will be eligible if it has been made under the supervision of an instructor or as a class assignment. All images submitted must be self-directed. Images created in an educational environment under direct supervision from an instructor are ineligible.

e.     All processing, manipulation, and printing or rendering should be done by the entrant or under their direct supervision.

f.      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. If an entry, in the good faith opinion of the ICC, violates copyright, trademark or any other applicable law, that entry shall not be displayed or published.

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

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). 

b.       A live critique will be available for $5 per entry (image/album). If you would like a critique, add $5 per entry (image/album) to the online entry at http://www.printcompetition.com for the entry(s)/album(s) you wish critiqued.  At the conclusion of the Image critique judging at ImageFest-VA, the committee will bring up entries one by one that added a critique.  The Judging panel will give live on sight feedback for the entries.   If time is running short, the committee will arrange an online meeting later in the week to complete all critiques.   

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.

d.     Student entry fee is $5 per entry.

e.     Theme Entry fee is $5 per entry and is a donation to a designated VPPA cause each competition.  (See Section 11u)

4.     Deadlines:

a.       ImageFest-VA Image Critique will open on 07/01/2022 and close on 8/01/2022. Entries may be accepted after 8/01/2022 with prior approval from the image competition chair.

b.       A Registration is defined as creating the entry (place marker) at www.printcompetiton.com and paying for the entry.  Registration of all entries for the ImageFest-VA Image Critique will close on 8/01/2022.  All entries to be judged in the Image Critique must be registered by paying the entry fee on www.printcompetition.com by 8/01/2022. All entries can be changed, adjusted, or updated including titles, size, etc at any time until 10 p.m. on 8/01/2022.

c.        All entries must be uploaded to www.printcompetition.com no later than 10 p.m. on Sunday, August 1st, 2022, (one week before the competition).  ImageFest-VA Image Critique will begin Sunday August 8, 2022 time TBD.

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

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

5.     On-Line Entry:

All entries will be entered and payments online through http://www.printcompetition.com

6.     Digital Entries: (Formatting)

a.       Image Entries:

                           i.      Only electronic entries will be accepted in the image competition, 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).  Avoid special characters, as                                         they are sometimes not recognized.

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

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

                                                            vi.      Please make sure you update the Title within www.printcompetition.com

b.       Album Entries: (Event or Non-Event Album)

                         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 entrant’s 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. 

                      vii.      You will be required to submit a jpg image as the “cover” and the album file in a zip format to                                                               www.printcompetition.com

                     viii.      No photographs entered in an album may be entered as a separate entry in another category at any time.

                       ix.      Please make sure you update the Title within www.printcompetition.com

c.        RAW entries:  The entrant will upload their untouched NATIVE CAMERA RAW file and the untouched JPG image for this entry.  Do not change the file name for the JPG or RAW file.  Please make sure you Title the image within www.printcompetition.com

d.       REPORTAGE entries: The entrant will upload their untouched NATIVE CAMERA RAW or JPG file and the minimally retouched JPG image for this category.  Please follow guidelines for Competition entries (item 6a) sizing, titling, etc. the file name for the JPG or RAW file.  Please make sure you Title the image within www.printcompetition.com

7.     Photographic Elements:

a.       Creative Rule: The ImageFest-VA Image Critique is to show the photographic knowledge and skills of the maker. However, a maker can use supporting photographic elements that they did not create, provided those elements are referenced as guide images on the face of the entry. The original photographic capture by the entrant should be merit worthy despite the work that was not their own. Elements created by the maker must not be part of the guide images. This includes images within an album entry.

b.       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”).  (See Item 11t)

c.        12 Elements:

                                                               i.      Impact - Compelling images evoke emotion—laughter, sadness, anger, pride.

                                                             ii.      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.

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

                                                            iv.      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.

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

                                                            vi.      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.  

                                                          vii.      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.

                                                         viii.      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.

                                                            ix.      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.

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

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

                                                          xii.      Story Telling – 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. 

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. Prize Eligibility:

a.       Prizes are awarded to the Top Three Entrant’s in the Critique.  The entrants with the highest evaluated eligible case (case = six entries).

b.       Only current VPPA Members are eligible for Prizes. (all membership levels)

c.        Entrant must enter at least Six entries to be eligible for prizes.

11.  Category Divisions and Classifications:

a.       Student:  Any student can enter.  This category is to allow student’s learning photography to enter a professional image competition and to be evaluated.    

b.       Raw:  The purpose this category is to allow the entry of non-manipulated imagery.  This category is designed for images which come straight from the camera.  You must enter your unedited, unmanipulated untouched NATIVE CAMERA RAW file and a JPG image.  All other competition rules apply (model release, same subject, trademark images, instructor.)

c.        Reportage Images that illustrate an actual public or non-public event, life, an area of human interest, telling news that have meaning in the context or record of events, high impact and/or lasting emotional response. Images that illustrate sporting events are included in this category. ONLY basic color and brightness adjustments, cropping, dodging, and burning in are allowed. Only single-capture images will be accepted. Composite and multiple exposure images will not be accepted. The entrant will upload their untouched NATIVE CAMERA RAW or JPG file and the minimally retouched JPG image for this category.  

Social Event/Wedding Division:

In addition to the twelve elements, for an image to be merit worthy in the wedding category, additional evaluation will be considered for the entries that illustrate the personality of the subject or subjects and the story of the wedding as well as the artistic and technical skills of the image maker. Judges will keep in mind that the maker has limited control over many aspects of a wedding. For example: subject matter, environment, and time of day. Ultimately, additional consideration will be given to the maker for technically and artistically executing at a merit level despite challenges involved at a typical wedding.  Images and all elements of an image in the Wedding competition must be created in connection with an actual wedding. The entrant or entrants must have captured all elements of the final submission from that wedding. Images in the Wedding competition should reflect the personality or personalities of the subject(s) or the story of the wedding as well as the personality, artistic and technical skills of the image-maker. Images should include some kind of visual wedding reference(s). The original captured image (in RAW or jpg) must be available if requested by the ICC committee.   

d.       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.

e.       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.

f.         Event Album:  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.


g.       Non-Event Album:  Group or collection 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.

Portrait Division:

h.       Portrait of a Child: Portrait of ONE (1) Child.  Category must contain a child from birth to age 16 (Image with pets allowed, but should not be the center of interest)

i.         Portrait of a Woman: Adult Woman (Image with pets allowed, but should not be the center of interest)

j.         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.

k.        Portrait of a Man:  Adult Man (Image with pets allowed, but should not be the center of interest)

l.         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 Male or Female ranging in age between 16-18. They may be composites, if desired.  (Image with pets allowed, but should not be the center of interest)

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

n.       Portrait of Pets: This Category captures an animal(s) portrait using structured lighting in a studio or outdoor environment, where the owner or photographer controls the animal.  (Image with people allowed, but should not be the center of interest)

Pictorial Division:

o.       Illustrative:  This category includes macro photography, still life, vignettes, creative art pieces, close-ups of the natural world.  (Image with pets or people allowed, but should not be the center of interest)

p.       Landscape: This category includes scenic photography, seascapes, cityscapes, urban landscapes, and sunsets. (Image with pets or people allowed, but should not be the center of interest)

q.       Nature/Wildlife:  This category includes nature and wild animals in an uncontrolled lighting environment, zoo animal, insects, flowers, field, etc. (Image with people allowed, but should not be the center of interest)

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

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


t.        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.


u.       Theme:  These entries are Completely FUN! The Image Committee will select a theme for each competition and entries should follow that theme.  The Committee will designate a prize for the chosen winner.  The judging panel will choose their favorite.  Monies raised from this fun competition are donated to a designated VPPA fund (established each competition) These entries are not considered for any other credits, prizes, or awards. It is best to follow image submission guidelines.  This is also a great way for folks that typically do not enter Image Competitions to participate.            

12.                        Judging:

a.       There will be a four to five qualified Judging Panel chosen by the Image Committee.

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

For more information:

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

Andee Moore, Image Competition Co-Director – imagecomp@vppa.info or (804) 222-4111 (studio)

Download the competition rules by clicking the link below...

2021_07_15_VPPA _Image_Critique_Rules.pdf

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