Preparing Your Print



Dutchess Regional Professional Photographers, Inc.

Print Competition Rules & Regulations

The following Print Competition Rules are the official Rules and Regulations of the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) of which our DRPP organization is an affiliate. Prints entered into our Print Competitions are eligible for regional PPA Competitions as well as National Print Competitions, so all Prints entered in our local Print Competitions should be in compliance with the PPA’s Rules and Regulations.


Print Competition Rules

No photograph will be eligible that has been made under the supervision of an instructor or as a class assignment.

No two images, submitted by a photographer in one Print Competition, shall be of the same subject. i.e.: same model, event, etc. Each Image MUST be distinctly different!


  1. Images may submitted in any shape and size on a mount board a minimum of 80 square inches to a maximum of 480 square inches, with the largest dimension no longer than 24”.
  2. Print entries must be mounted on a standard mount material (double weight mat board, gator board, ¼” foam, or Sintra). Recommended mounting thickness is 1/8″ to 3/8″. “Float” mounting is accepted at entrant’s risk for damage. Images on metal and mounted to another standard material must have rounded corners and smooth edges. No mount that could potentially damage other entries or pose a danger to print handlers will be accepted. Masonite, glass, stretcher frames or conventional frames will not be accepted.
  3. No material may be added to the front or back of an entry that may damage another entry.
  4.  Entries previously merited at a PPA International Exhibition are not eligible.

Complete PPA Competition Rules can be found at:


Registration Rules:

In order to simplify our print competition registration, please Email Clark Thompson on or before 6:00 pm the day prior to the competition with the following information for each entry.

  • Print Category (General, Portrait or Non-member)
  • Your Name
  • Print Title

Also include the above information on the back of each print entry. In addition please indicate the print orientation with an up-arrow .

On the night of the competition please bring your prints to the DRPP conference room and place them on the table in the appropriate pile. There will be a sign for each category.

 The 12 Elements of a Print:

It is the desire of the Professional Photographers of America (and our DRPP organization) to have the best possible Print Competition and to judge all Images for their technical, artistic and commercial excellence. Images entered in PPA / DRPP Print Competitions are judged utilizing the following twelve (12) elements of a Merit Print:

1. Impact
2. Creativity
3. Style
4. Composition
5. Print Presentation
6. Color Balance / Harmony
7. Lighting
8. Subject Matter
9. Center of Interest
10. Print Quality / Technical Excellence
11. Technique
12. Story Telling
These Twelve Elements have been defined as necessary for the success of an Image. Any image, art piece or photograph will reveal some measure of all twelve elements, while a visually superior image will reveal obvious consideration of each one. They are:
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.

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.

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.

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.

Print Presentation affects an image by giving it a finished look. The mats and borders used should support and enhance the image, not distract from it.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.


Judging Procedures

The PPA Point System is used with scores from zero to 100 as follows:

Unacceptable 0 – 69

Acceptable 70 – 73

Average 74 – 75

Above Average 76 – 79

Merit Print 80 – 84

Excellent 85 – 89

Superior 90 – 94

Exceptional 95 – 100

Winning Prints in each DRPP Print Competition, along with photos of the winning photographers, will be displayed on our www.DRPP– website, and the “Best in Show” winner’s photo and brief Bio will be submitted to local newspapers for publicity for the photographer’s Photo Studio business as well as for our DRPP organization. Each year-end at our January Print Competition, the Judges select one Print from the “Merit Prints” (scored 80 or higher during the year) as the winner of DRPP’s prestigious “Print of the Year” Award.