Monday, May 15, 2006

WPPI Photography Judging

This post is about how images are judged at WPPI (Wedding Portrait Photographers International).
People want to know how judging is done and how transparent the process is to provide a credible score and award.

Prior to the beginning of the WPPI convention two days are allocated for judging of 16x20 prints and wedding albums. Prints are displayed against a neutral background with consistent lighting that's balanced for both color and intensity. Albums entries are projected with a digital video projector from jpeg files provided by the entrant.

Each catagory of judging has a panel of 5 judges with a moderator. Each image is displayed on a turnstyle by a judging assistant and scored by the judges via a computer keyboard system. Another judging assistant can lock in the scores once all of the judges have entered their scores. Any judge can challange the result and than discussion begins with the low and high scoring judges stating their case for why they feel their score is appropriate. If there is a descrepency in judging of more than 10 points between high and low than there is an automatic challenge and rescore.

Each judge may recuse themselves when they see a possible conflict because of input they've had on the image creation or for other reasons. A backup judge than takes their place for that particular image scoring.
Scoring can be tedious and for that reason, one judge rotates out about every 20-30 minutes.

About the Judges:

Each judge is selected by the WPPI leadership with input from the moderators and other experienced judges.
They have a proven track record of not only producing winning images, but also an ability to look at the work of other photographers and photographic styles and judge it for impact, professional printing, color balance, etc.

Judging is of course subjective by nature and influenced by HOT styles and techniques that change over time, but I think there is a remarkable repeatablity of scoring for prints. As one would expect the most extrodinary images will create the most variablity on initial examination in particular images that push the judges comfort zone.

Friday, May 12, 2006

More Awards at WPPI, Las Vegas 2006

Ines's sister visited us from Germany and the two of them flew out to Las Vegas to watch the WPPI judging.
We entered several albums and 5 prints. I was photographing a wedding that Saturday, but flew out on Sunday morning to join them. We had a productive event including Accolades of Excellence for one of our January weddings and also for 4 of our 16x20 prints.
Each year the quality of work has been progressively better, and this year the judges were instructed to raise the quality required to prove superior quality.
On Monday the ladies went for a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon while I attended the WPPI workshops.
In deference to our guest we headed out to Utah to tour Zion & Bryce National Parks. Mid week we than headed over to Death Valley and had the luck to photograph a rain and dust storm. The temperatures were low with a high of 98 but than we headed up to Mammoth Lakes in the California Sierra Nevada's.
The snow drifts were over the windows of our condo and it snowed that night.

It was a whirlwind trip with a chance to visit with friends from around the country and join our mentor and friend David Williams for dinner. David is from Australia, but makes frequent trips to the US to provide professional photography workshops. We were able to capture some awards, and capture some new images in the desert. We talked with Gerald & Edie Hardage about some of our upcoming workshops. You should visit their website to view some great images. We met Gerald & Edie at one of Rick Ferro's workshops 3 years ago.

I will provide more details about the jury process for judging professional photographs and wedding albums.

WPPI is Wedding & Portrait Photographers International. There trade journal is Rangefinder Magazine.