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UPDATE:  Image Competition will be held VIRTUALLY this year, thanks to COVID-19!

Competition Can Improve Your Art and Your Business!

The Florida Professional Photographers sponsors an annual PPA style image competition at Focus which allows entrants to compete with either printed or digital entries. This competition is for members to be able to engage with the passionate and supportive photographic competition community, improve upon your quality of work (everybody wants to get better right?), earn recognition and admiration from your peers and improve your business.


The PPA style of competition works by presenting images anonymously to a panel of qualified photographic judges from all parts of the industry in order to receive a score. Here’s how the scoring system works:

100 – 95 Exceptional 
94 – 90 Superior 
89 – 85 Excellent 
84 – 80 Deserving of a Merit 
79 – 75 Above Average 
74 – 70 Average 
69 – 0 Unacceptable

In reality most images in competition receive scores between 69 and 100. Anything above an 80 is considered a “Merit” image, this is everybody in the competition is really going for. Those merits add up and can eventually be applied to degrees through the FPP like the Florida Degree of Photographic Excellence. Learn more about awards and degrees here.

The images in competition are judged on criteria called “The Twelve Elements” here they are in the order of their importance:

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.) Technical excellence is the print 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 physical print.

3.) 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.

4.) Style is defined in a number of 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.

5.) Composition is important to the design of an image, bringing all of 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.

6.) Presentation affects an image by giving it a finished look. The mats and borders used, either physical or digital, should support and enhance the image, not distract from it.

7.) 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.

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.) Lighting —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.

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

11.) Technique is the approach used to create the image. Printing, 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. One beautiful thing about art is that each viewer might collect his own message or read her own story in an image.

For a complete list of rules, guidelines, a gallery of past competition images and information on the Award and Degree program, visit the FPP Homepage.

To contact the FPP Competition Manager email Linda Long at