Intent of The Societies of Photographers 20×16″ Print Competition.
The whole focus of the exercise is to reward excellence and innovation in professional photography. It is about creating benchmarks and standards gleaned from the input and discussion of industry peers. This is not about whether you sold the image to your client or not. The fact that you sell images is expected of you as a conventionally operating professional photographer.
This is about you the entrant aspiring to be, and pushing yourself to be, the best of your ability in the art, craft and discipline of professional photography to the end benefit of your customer, our industry, and your own enrichment as a professional photographer.
The Societies of Photographers is committed to providing a medium and a direction for new members of this industry. Even to the most casual observer, watching hundreds of different images, (representing our best efforts), move past one’s eyes whilst being discussed is a fabulously rewarding process – if you allow it to be.
Some people think it’s a waste of time unless they win. It’s a waste if you don’t watch!
Whilst the judges will attempt to discuss the vast majority of images, The Societies of Photographers 20×16″ Print Competition cannot guarantee each print will receive individual critique from the judging panel unless entered into the Nouveau Category.
Judges will be pooled from an international line up, all of whom have judged at International level. It is the intent of The Societies of Photographers 20×16″ Print Competition to be informative, helpful and above all, educational in their comments on all images. The panel of five judges and one panel chair works together to bring a diversity of experience and knowledge to the assessment.
Judges are permitted to enter, but are removed from the judging at an appropriate time (often as part of a standard judge’s rotation) before their work comes up. Any indication by any judge that the work is theirs will result in immediate disqualification of the judge and the entry.
Judges are required to undemonstratively step down from any image they feel unable to judge, either because they know the maker, or because they are uncomfortable with the content, or unable to bring suitable useful commenting to the print. ‘Stepping down’ from a judgement for the later reasons is highly commendable as it allows ‘other eyes’ into the judgement.
Judges may appear to have wildly diverse scores for the same image. This is quite normal and reflects the different experience, knowledge, opinion and appreciation that judges as individuals have. Scores are averaged across the five judges. The Panel Chair may be required to vote in certain circumstances.
It is not acceptable for Judges to make decisions based on personal prejudice or alter averages by vast increases or decreases of score. Judges are not permitted argumentative or confronting behaviour to other judges. Any of this will result in the judge being removed.
A judge may feel strongly that an image has not received the appropriate level of score (in either direction) and may request it brought back. The Panel Chair will accept the subsequent request for re-scoring to be well thought out and concisely presented. This is not a regular occurrence.
Members of the public and entrants are welcomed and encouraged to observe the judging, learn from the process, and congratulate scores. They are not permitted to engage in discussion with any sitting judge, or engage in disruptive behaviour.
Print Presentation Requirements – Please Read Carefully
Prints are destined to be critically appraised by judges, extensively displayed and to be retained for archival purposes. They need to be light and compact for ease of transportation and display; of a standard size and format for ease of handling and judging and be of materials which will not damage other entries. Furthermore, as prints will be viewed by judges, peers and the public, both the content and the presentation must be of a professional standard.
With these requirements in mind, the following notes have been prepared. Please use these requirements when preparing your entry, or if you use professional mounting services pass this information on to them.
Entries not complying with these requirements may be disqualified at the discretion of The Societies 20×16″ Print Competition.
Print Surface finishes – (An advisory)
For many years, it was felt that gloss surface finishing provided the best result. It does certainly reveal all tones, and enhances blacks and colours. However, we now have many wonderful surfaces to work with in order to enhance the communication of our image.
You may find a matt, textured paper works well with your image for example. Please just remember that under the judging lights, a matt surfaced print will not appear to have as strong blacks as a lustre or gloss finished image. This could enhance your image beautifully, or it might just make it dull.
There are many wonderful laminating products available today, but we would caution you against using strongly textured overlays as these generally dominate the image adversely.
The Print Density
It is important that when you assess the prints you are making for judging, they be viewed under lighting that matches internationally accepted standards for the print judging environment.
Some professional laboratories set-up environments matching the national awards systems to make the best prints possible. You can do the same by following these guidelines.
We must advise you to take the trouble to look at your prints before you finish them to make sure they look good under the strength of light we use in judging. This isn’t hard: a strong tungsten light like a Studio light or even a ‘patio light’ will show you tonality.
You want to look at your print with a light source that’s giving you about 1/60th @f2.8 on 100ISO. Believe us when we tell you that far too many prints each year suffer from not being the right density.
All prints and mounts must be stuck together firmly and permanently. Recommended fixatives are dry mount tissue, JAC paper double-sided adhesive and commercial heat/pressure mounting techniques usually available through professional framers and professional laboratories. Hinge mounting is not acceptable in The Societies 20×16″ Print Competition. Improperly mounted, or rippled prints will lose marks for quality of professional presentation.
It is because of this that we recommend using a bevelled-edge window mount over any competition image to protect and enhance the print surface. All glue, velcro, sticky tapes, labels etc must be thoroughly removed before submitting to The Societies 20×16 Print Awards as they may damage other entrant’s work. If we feel any entry supplied will damage another – for whatever reason – we will disqualify it.
The Mount Material.
The mount size of all entries must be 16×20 inches (the metric equivalent 50x40cm is also accepted.).
The mount must comply with either of the following:
Mounted on a backing board and matted behind a window mount.
Flush mounted on single board
The mounting must not exceed 6 mm deep (thick).
Recommended and acceptable backing/mount boards:
- High density foam core
- Self-adhesive mounting board
Both window mount and backing board must be the same size. Stick them together strongly and securely. Double or multiple matting is permissible, (if you really must), however the total thickness of any entry must not be greater than 6 mm.
No mounting on soft Styrofoam, thin chipboard, MDF, aluminum, masonite or acrylic. Taping of mount edges is not acceptable on any entry as this can leave residue on other entries.
If an image is considered unsuitable for the category as marked, The Societies 20×16″ Print Competition reserves the right to move it into a category it deems suitable. Judges are requested to ‘Judge the image’ in front of them and NOT to adversely mark it due to perceived unsuitability of category.
The Societies of Photographers 20×16″ Print Competition reserves the right to reproduce any image submitted for publicity/educational purposes in the UK and overseas. It is the entrant’s responsibility to obtain any and all permissions including the model releases and/or copyright owner’s permission to have the images judged and possibly displayed and published.
Any entry in the Wedding category found to be of models, from a seminar, or not a job that the entrant was hired to do, will result in immediate disqualification of that entry, and will require the return of any prizes, titles and gifts given or their monetary equivalent where applicable at the discretion of The Societies
If several photographic elements are used in the final image, all the elements must have been taken at the same wedding.
If you happen to win an Award, by entering these Awards you agree to be respectful of The Societies and the sponsors of the Awards. Without our sponsors these Awards would not happen, so you are not entitled to use these Awards to make any personal or competitive representations that may be antagonistic to the sponsors.
The Societies 20×16″ Print Competition reserves the right to choose not to judge any image regarded as inflammatory or offensive. This is a rare occurrence.
Overseas Entrants’ Instructions
To ensure your entries are passed through International Customs, without additional fees and taxes, please mark your Customs Declaration as follows:
Printed Matter Only. No Commercial Value.
The Societies 20×16″ Print Competition will not be responsible for paying any import duties or fees and entries requiring such will not be accepted.