International Photographic Competition 2018

The 2018 International Photographic Competition just ended last week. This was my second year entering, and I’m proud to say that I have improved. Check out the blog on the 2017 International Photographic Competition, my first year entering, by clicking here.

This year, 1301 artists submitted a total of 5,077 images for competition. Of this, only 513 received medals.

Here’s a reminder of the scoring:

100 – 95: Exceptional
94 – 90: Superior
89 – 85: Excellent
84 – 80: Deserving of a Merit
79 – 75: Above Average
74 – 70: Average
69 – 65: Below Exhibition Standards

I’m proud to say that I received my first IPC merit with this image as it was accepted into the General Collection:

Scotland’s Bonnie Masterpiece – Copyright: Lola Dee Photography (score: 82)

I was fortunate to be able to travel to Scotland for 10 days at the end of May. We had *perfect* weather, so I was able to grab images like this one showing a clear, sunny day. When trying to select one to submit for competition, I was looking for an image that had great foreground, middle-ground, and background while also staying inside the rule of thirds. I really liked how this image, once I cropped it to the above, drew my eye from the tree in the bottom, left corner to the mountains in the middle to the white, puffy clouds in the upper right-hand corner. Believe it or not, but a skilled artist has the ability to direct the viewer’s eye across their piece to make the viewer see what the artist wants him to see. To me, this image was striking straight out of the camera. I edited this image in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop to make it look more like a painting. I softened the mountains and the clouds while making the yellow heather and the tree look like brush strokes.

I absolutely love this image and am so thankful for all of the feedback that I’ve received on it. I will be offering prints of this image for sale. More information on how to order this image to come.

Love Your Neighbor, But Don’t Take Down The Fence – Copyright: Lola Dee Photography (score: 77)

Unfortunately, my other submission from Scotland did not do as well as I had hoped. I fell in love with the hairy coos (highland cattle)! The one in the above photo fell in love with me too. We happened upon this small herd after taking a wrong turn on our wait from Pitlochry to Inverness. What an awesome find! When we got out to take photos of the coos, this one followed and mimicked my every motion.

I selected this image after speaking with another photographer who recommended I enter an image that had the full body of the cow (I had originally wanted to enter an image of just her head). It had seemed to me after watching the 2017 judging that judges appreciated black and white images. I thought that turning this image black and white gave it a more artsy feel while also drawing your attention to the cow in the front of the photograph. The name was meant to give impact and add to the storytelling aspect (which is one of the 12 elements of a merit image – something I wanted to work on from last year). Unfortunately, the announcer totally destroyed the delivery.  He said “Love Your Neighbor” and stopped. Then he added “Love Your Neighbor But Don’t” and stopped. He then said the title in its entirety and added “Oh, I didn’t get it” at which point 10 seconds had already passed and I believe the judges had already judged the image without the intended initial impact of hearing the title before seeing the image. I had hoped for a chuckle… too bad the delivery flopped. Did this subtract from the score? Maybe. There’s no way to know.


When Pillars Meet – Copyright: Lola Dee Photography (score: 79)

This is the image that won my First Place award for the “Groups” category in the local South Carolina competition (2017 PPSC Annual Photographic Competition) at the end of last year. It had scored an 82. One of the biggest things discussed by the judges was the original title: “Pillars of Love” was *highly* criticized and discussed.  The judges said that “love” was too strong for this image since they’re not more… all over each other? To be honest, I wasn’t too happy with that critique. I did, however, revise the name hoping to give it an extra boost at IPC.

I was hoping for a merit in IPC. I missed the judging of this image and am unsure if anything was said. I did, however, pay for feedback on all of my images (something I did not do last year). Hopefully I’ll learn more as to why this was 1 point away from a merit (so heartbreaking!).

The Forest Bride – Copyright: Lola Dee Photography (score: 79)

I entered a very similar image last year into IPC 2017, and it scored a 78. If you look at my posting last year, you can see it is a different shot from the same session (there are very subtle differences). I spoke to another photographer who gave me some heavy critiques. I selected this image and edited it with those critiques in mind. I then entered it into the 2017 PPSC (Professional Photographers of South Carolina) Annual Photographic Competition. It won First Place in the “Wedding” category receiving an 80. Like the image above, I was hoping that it would receive a merit (79s are sooo close!). I’ll be open to hearing what the IPC critique has on this one, but it may be retired at this point.

I am planning to enter again next year and have already started working on some possible submissions. My plan is to work on some of the finer editing points. I have not yet purchased a pen tablet for my computer, so introducing that to my workflow may be a game-changer. We shall see!

Congratulations to all who entered!

To learn more about IPC, click here.