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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


  • Be familiar with the current category information from the Rules document: Rules and Information Page
  • Jurors will not see any entry before the actual judging begins.
  • There must be no comment or discussion, implied or spoken, before the entry has been judged and the score announced.
  • All entries must be judged in the category requested by the entrant. The jury chairman and the jury may feel that the entry has been classified improperly, but choice of category is purely at the discretion of the entrant.
  • Once an image has been judged and the average score has been announced, there will be judging comments, with only one judge commenting on an image at a time. Subsequent images will receive comments from a different judge until all judges have had the opportunity to comment, at which time the rotation will begin again. The Image Competition Chairperson will designate which judge comments first and the order of subsequent judges to comment. 
  • As best as possible judges should relate comments to PPA’s 12 Elements, and in the case of the Artist category, proficiency in computer and/or artistic skills.
  • Prior to scoring the only comments by judges will be limited to requesting a repeat of the image title and category.
  • Jurors wanting to challenge an image shall call out the word, “challenge”, give their score, then the reasons for that score. The next juror will then give their score and an explanation of why they agree or disagree with the challenger. Each juror will do the same in turn. Note, repetitious comments and explanations are to be avoided. The juror should comment as "I agree with ________ concerning the ____________." Once a juror comments, they may not make additional comments once the next juror starts to speak.
  • Judges may change their score only if it’s honestly felt they gained new insight during the challenge.
  • Each juror should be flexible enough to listen to a fellow jurors’ opinion. If a juror feels that they have misjudged, the juror must be willing to alter his or her vote.
  • Be brief and concise in the expression of opinions. Spend time where it is needed to affect a fair evaluation. Always endeavor to be fair to the entrant.
  • The system allows for a difference of opinion. It is wrong to dominate the judging by voting higher or lower, just to nullify someone else’s vote. This must never be done.
  • An automatic challenge occurs when any juror scores more than ten points off the final average score of 70 or higher. When there is a high and low challenge on the same entry, the highest score will get the challenge and rebuttal.
  • Your evaluation of the image should be based primarily on the PPA Twelve Elements of a Merit Print, and, in the case of Artist category, computer and artistic skills, in addition to your experience as a professional photographer.
  • Pick Grade Level – Then select the score in that Level (From the 'Scoring Categories' below)
  • Use the entire scoring range – it’s unfair to score an image higher to avoid embarrassing a photographer’s work as that gives them a false impression of how that image will be judged at the district or IPC level. In the same vein, if you think a maker has done an outstanding job don’t be afraid to score in the Excellent or above categories. 
  • Make no comparisons with other entries

Professional Photographers of Sacramento Valley
Est. 1953

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