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  • Participation is open to any individual regardless of their membership status in the Professional Photographers of Sacramento Valley (PPSV).
  • Entrants must be a current paid PPSV member to receive PPSV merits or any awards. Entrants who are not members of PPSV will be limited to receiving a score and critique.
  • Entrants must have captured and created the original image(s) in all categories in Section 2, except in the Artist Category.
  • Any entry which has been reproduced from an existing photograph, portrait, graphic or any other artwork produced by another person without written permission is a violation of the competition rules and will not be judged, accepted or displayed. If an entry, in the good-faith opinion of the Image Competition Chairperson, violates copyright, trademark or any other applicable law, it shall be disqualified and merits revoked, if issued.
  • The entrant's name or business logo shall not appear anywhere in or on the face of any entry.
  • A maximum of six (6) entries may be submitted per entrant, with no more than four (4) allowed in a single category, per event, with the exception for PPSV Professional members who judge in a competition. They are prohibited from entering any image in the specific competition in which they are judging, but are allowed to submit up to an additional six images in the calendar year in which they participated in judging.
  • Entries made under the supervision of an instructor or as a class assignment or in connection with a seminar or workshop, or as part of any other teaching or instructional setting will not be eligible.
  • Entries of the same subject in multiple images will be allowed, as long as the images are entirely different concepts.
  • Images with names, studio logos or other identifying information in the image are not eligible for competition.
  • Entries previously merited at any PPSV competition are not eligible, including any image from a merited album.
  • No Artificial Intelligence (AI) generated images are acceptable in any of the categories at this time. Use of filters that utilize AI to enhance existing, maker created images, is ok.

Competition Categories

Digital Image Categories are:

  1. Portrait
  2. Weddings & Events
  3. Commercial
  4. Photo Journalism
  5. Open Illustrative
  6. Artist

The individual entering an image has the responsibility to determine the category in which the image is to be judged. To help decide which category to choose, please consider the following category definitions:

  1. Portrait may be of individuals, groups, or animal(s), where the primary focus is on the subject(s) portrayed. Minor enhancements, such as use of filters, overlays, painting, etc., are acceptable as long as they don't fundamentally alter the image's focus on the person, group or animal.
  2. Weddings & Events are self-explanatory. An 'event ' does not have to be a wedding (i.e., it could be a QuinceaƱera, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, an anniversary, a corporate event, a special celebratory event, etc.) Only images taken during the event are permitted in this category. Images taken on days before or after, such as special bridal or couple sessions, should be placed either in the Portrait, Open Illustrative or Artist categories.
  3. Commercial images are associated with advertising or industrial illustration (such as seen in annual reports). Besides judging on the 12 elements of a merit image. A Guide image(s) must be included on the face of the entry, as to show how the intent/direction, or is being used. Judges will also heavily consider how well the image would work with layout and typography in the selling of a product or idea.
  4. Photojournalism - Image captured at the peak of action and telling a story. Nothing may be altered. Minor dodging, burning, dust spot removal, cropping, curves adjustment, and conversion to black-and-white are the only treatments allowed. The maker must be prepared to submit the original file at any point for verification.
  5. Open Illustrative is a catchall category for everything that is NOT Portrait, Wedding, Event or Commercial. The image may contain people or animals where portraiture is not the primary focus of the image, such as sports photography or animal action. Landscapes, nature and macro photography would also fall into the illustrative category.
  6. Artist represents images that fundamentally alter the original image(s} captured by the camera, including images that were never captured by a camera. Entries may be created in various artistic mediums. Entries may include freehand drawing or painting in traditional or digital applications. Entries can include stock photography, photographs or artwork from other artist(s) with written consent to use those sources. Documentation may be requested by the Image Competition Chairperson before, during or after the competition.  Judges rate computer skills, artistic skills and how ideas are represented, as well as the 12 elements of a merit print. NOTE: Guide images must be included on the face of the entry.
    For guide image samples go to and select the Artist Category, then select either the Merit or Image Excellence Collection.

Image Submission

  • Each person is allowed to submit up to six (6) images per competition.
  • Any individual serving as Image Competition judge for PPSV may not enter an image in the competition in which s/he judges. However, that person will be allowed to enter up to an additional six (6) images in whichever other PPSV Image Competitions during the same calendar year in which s/he judges.
  • Entry fees are $10.00 per image for PPSV members and $15.00 per image for non-members.
  • By entering the PPSV Image Competition, the owner of the image expressly grants rights to PPSV to display that image either electronically or in print format in conjunction with image competition activities or to display as an example of submitted work.
  • Only digital images are accepted, NOT physical prints.
  • All image entry fees must be paid, and digital image submissions received by noon Pacific time on the day immediately preceding the image competition. Image fees shall be paid online via the website.
  • If the Image Competition Chairperson deems an image to be inappropriate to display in our general meeting, s/he will forward that image to three non-judging members of a review committee which shall be composed of PPSV current and/or past board members. The decision of this committee to accept or return the image to its submitter is final.
  • The Image Competition Chairperson has the authority to reject any submitted image if, in his/her judgment, the image does not meet competition standards.
  • Images submitted must be in .jpg format and the LONGEST DIMENSION MUST EQUAL 4,000 pixels. The embedded color profile should be either Adobe RGB (1998) or sRGB.
  • Digital images must be submitted via, which is a fee-based competition website used by many PPA affiliate organizations nationwide.
To become a member:
  1. Create an Account at
  2. Enter your email address and choose a password. Be sure to click on PPSV (Professional Photographers of the Sacramento Valley) and then click “register” at the bottom.
  3. Choose your membership level (Basic is $13/year or Premium is $17/quarterly)

Steps for entering the PPSV Image Competition:

  1. Log-in to your account
  2. Choose the PPSV Logo (available once a competition is open for registration)
  3. Scroll down to the “Create New Image Entry” and click on the link
  4. Enter the Image Title
  5. Select the Image Category
  6. Click on the “Create New Entry” link
  7. Scroll down to the “Entries for the Upcoming Event” section and upload your image(s)
  8. Once uploaded, click on the “Pay Image Fees” link (located in the red bar above the “Create New Image Entry” link) and pay according to the number of entries uploaded. Any entries not paid for prior to the competition night will be removed from the competition. Note: once paid, fees may not be refunded. 

Judging & Scoring

  • Five (5) or (3) judges will be chosen by the Image Competition Chairperson or person designated by the Image Competition Chairperson.
  • Judges must be PPSV professional members or special visitors (PPA/PPC Approved Judges, PPA/PPC Masters, PPA CPP's, or as determined by the Image Competition Chairperson)
  • Judging will be based on PPA's 12 Points of a Merit Image and additionally, in the case of the Artist category, computer and artistic skills.
  • The following PPA Scoring Categories will be used to rate each entry:

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

  • Tabulation of points will be the responsibility of the Competition Chairperson or by one or more PPSV members as directed by the Competition Chairperson.
  • All points will be recorded for future reference.
  • On prints scoring an average of 70 or better, an automatic challenge will be issued if a point spread of ten (10) points exists between one or more judge's score and the resulting average score. In the case of more than one outlier score, the judge who scored highest will comment first, followed by the judge who scored low.


  • Best of Show: (Quarterly)The Best of Class or, in the case of a category with no Best of Class award, the highest scoring image in that class, will be rejudged for the Best of Show Award.
  • Best of Class: (Quarterly) Ribbons will be awarded to the highest scoring image in each category. There must be a minimum of five (5) images entered in a category for an image to be awarded Best of Class, although the Image Comp Chair may request an exception, which may be granted by the PPSV President. In the case of a tie score in a category, the judges will break the tie by indicating which one image should win. The image receiving the most votes will be deemed Best of Class for that category.
  • Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) Award:  
  • Awarded to PPSV Members the highest-scoring entry from a Certified Professional Photographer.
  • Aspiring Artist Award - Awarded to PPSV Members that have entered for the 1st time. The highest 3 scoring images will determine the winner. In the case of a tie, a 4th image will be added to the total, followed by a 5th image if tie resumes. The Jury panel will select the overall winner if there are 3 ties in a row and a winner cannot be determined.
  • Image of the Year Award: Images winning Best of Show during the quarterly competitions in a calendar year will be displayed during the following year’s Kickoff meeting. During that meeting PPSV members will vote for their favorite image and the image with the most votes will win the “Image of the Year” Award. The Image Competition Chairperson and PPSV President will manage the vote process and make decisions regarding any ties for this distinguished award.
  • This voting process can be done online if necessary, based on the decision of the Chairperson & PPSV board.
  • Photographer of the Year (Category): To qualify a photographer must have entered a minimum of six (6) images in a category. The winner will be determined by the highest average score of the top six (6) scoring images entered by the photographer in that category. Note that if any category does not receive a minimum of ten (10) images for the year, no award will be given. The Photographer of the Year in each qualified category shall receive a plaque award to be determined by the Competition Chairperson and PPSV President.
    • Photographer of the Year: To qualify, a photographer must have entered a minimum of two (2) images each in at least three categories during the year, with a minimum of ten (10) images entered overall. The winner shall be determined by the highest average score of ten submitted images, which is calculated as follows: The average of: The highest score from each category where a minimum of two images were entered plus
      • The next highest score from any three separate categories entered plus the remaining highest scores from any entered category until ten scores are reached. The “Photographer of the Year” shall be awarded a special trophy to be determined by the Image Competition Chairperson and PPSV President. The Image Competition Chairperson and PPSV President will have the final word on all occurrences not defined above.

    Professional Photographers of Sacramento Valley
    Est. 1953

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