Creative. Fun. Bright and Cheery. Angela Marvel is a natural light Pierce County Photographer specializing in maternity, newborn, baby, children, and family photography. Angela Marvel travels to a location of your choice, using natural light and a patient and casual style to capture expressions and personality.
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Monday, September 26, 2016

What competition did I win?

Since I was asked after winning at the Northwest International Exhibition and then again after I posted about winning at the Central Washington International Exhibit, I thought I would explain what I am entering and how it works :)

I am entering International Competitions approved by the Photographic Society of America where people from all over the world submit prints to be judged. Thus, it's a little different then entering images at your local fair. The two fairs were hosting the show, but were separate from their own photography competitions (at the WA State fair, I did also win 1st place in their local photo competition).

All images are judged by 3-4 judges and given a score. You need to score high enough to be one of the top 35%* or so of scores out of all images entered in the division to be "accepted" into the show (where they are then on display). There can be anywhere between 200-500* images entered in any one division. There are 4 divisions that I enter my prints in: Large Color, Large Monochromatic, Small Color and Small Monochromatic. The difference between Large and Small is basically 8x10 or smaller is Small and then larger then that is Large.

Each show is a little different on how they do awards, however, the two shows I recently won at both give fairly similar awards out.

So it looks something like this:
Prints are scored and make the show (top 35-50% score*). Then from the batch of accepted images in the Division (usually around 100-250* prints), the judges choose a Best of Show (what they feel is the overall best photo in the entire Division), Originality Medal [only at the Northwest International] (judges choose the photo they feel is the most creative of all entries), then they give out Best of Ribbons for 5-8 categories or classes. Those classes are things like: Scenic, Animals, Action, Children, Experiment, General, Misc, Portrait, Human Interest, Design, etc  That means that after they narrow the photos down to the 100-250* that will be displayed for each division, they look at how many prints are in each class or would qualify for a class and choose the best of those to receive the Best of XXX Ribbon. They also give out Honorable Mentions and Judges Choices, but those vary as to how many they give (around 5-12* for each division) depending on how many enter. I received 2 Best of Children and 1 Best of Portraits at the Northwest International and 2 Best of Children and 1 Best of Experiment at the Central WA International.

Some exhibitions make you choose your class when you enter, others award your photos as they see fit. In the Central Washington International I entered my photos into their classes on my entry form, however, at the Northwest International they chose my images as the winners of those categories without me selecting the category.

A specific example is my photo "Alex". It won Best of Children in Small Monochromatic at both shows.

At the Northwest International I simply entered it in Small Monochromatic Prints and that was it. It was scored high enough to get into the show and then the judges chose it as the winner of Best of Children in Small Monochromatic. They could have also chosen it for any other category they saw fit, such as Portraits, or Humor, or Creative, etc. They gave out 1 Best of Show, 1 Originality Medal and then 8 Best of Ribbons in the Small Monochromatic Division.  One of which was for Best of Children for this photo.

At the Central Washington International I choose it to be judged in the Children class on my entry form, (they make you choose). Thus the only award it could win was Best of Children unless it won the entire Division's Best of Show. They gave out 1 Best of Show and then had 7 classes to choose from for which they gave out Best of Class awards. So out of everyone that entered a Small Monochromatic Print in the Class "Children", this print was chosen as the Best.

Hope this explains everything about why I've been so excited about getting these awards in the international competitions the last few weeks. I would have genuinely been excited to win 1 or 2 of these awards, let alone 8 big awards, a Judges Choice, an Honorable Mention and an additional 7 images accepted into the shows. Up until last month the only award I had ever gotten for an International Competition was 1 Honorable Mention out of 11 different shows I entered. Which, by the way, I didn't even get a ribbon because they didn't give actual ribbon awards out, it was in recognition only. So I am very excited that by Christmas I will be updating my photo wall in my hallway with lots of new ribbon bling :)

*in November I will know the exact % and numbers when both shows publish their amount of entries vs amount of acceptances. I am basing most of this on previous years data. As an example, last year at the Northwest International in the Large Color Division 500 prints were submitted, 223 made the show and then they gave out the 10 awards from those 223. I suspect it will be similar numbers for this year, if not even more prints submitted.


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