2017 turned out to be a very exciting year for me in regards to the professional level image competition. In 2016, I had competed for the first time in the Maine Professional Photographers Associations annual competition, earning my first "Merit" image, or "Blue Ribbon". To earn a Merit image, your image is judged by a panel of internationally certified judges and deemed worthy to join the most elite ranks of professional standards. Images are judged based on 12 elements as agreed upon by the Professional Photographers of America's image competition standards. PPA is the oldest professional association around, being over 150 years old. These elements are impact, technical excellence, creativity, style, composition, presentation, color balance, center of interest, lighting, subject matter, technique, and story telling. It's very difficult to earn a Merit in the wedding category as we have only seconds to create images that must meet all these standards to be considering "among the best". Many people in competition spends days, weeks, or even months preparing their images for competition -not a luxury to be had at weddings! Anyway, you get the idea, it's really freaking hard...haha
Fast forward to the Maine state competition for 2017! Having gotten a better feel after my first year, this time I entered with a little more confidence and experience. In the end, I was THRILLED to have been awarded 5 Blue Ribbon Merit images, THE MOST that year at the state level! No other photographer had more than 2 Merit images out of their case of 7. You can see all 7 images from my case below.
The final and highest level is the International Photographic Competition. This includes all the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Each year, you are only allowed to enter FOUR IMAGES to represent your work. I entered the first four images below and Merited EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. !!!!
If you succeed on earning merits on every image in your case, you make it into a medalist category. In my case, THE BRONZE MEDALIST CATEGORY! Only a couple hundred people a year can say they earned a spot in a medalist category, and this includes every category. While it's hard to say how few people pulled of a medal in the wedding category, I found out it's safe to say I was one of less than twelve people to have accomplished such a task! Not sure I will ever pull that off again in the wedding category, but I'm excited to be entering again this year with my landscape/nature work hoping to medal for a 2nd year in a row. We will see!
While others honored due so in a relatively subdued fashion, walking across the stage with a gentle wave I, of course, had to do it in my own style...like a COMPLETE IDIOT. Nashville was a blast! :D