Print Comp College

“I just bought a professional camera, do I need classes?” Post on social media this morning, lol.

Hmm, I’ve owned cameras and studied photography since I was a kid. I have actually studied photography most of my life. I absolutely LOVE learning more and more and improving my skills.

Yesterday I attended Larry Adkins, Master Photographer’s PPA class, “Print Competition College” (Print Comp College) at the Gina Lantz Photography studio in Thornton. What a great class!!! ALL PPA members should get this class in their early days of being a PPA member. Joining PPA means that new members are lost in a maze of initials. PPA, PPC, CPP, IPPA, GIA, POTY, etc. WHUT??? What does it all mean???? Finally! A class that explains what this flurry of initials mean.

Jen Hargrove encouraged me to take the leap this year and participate in Print Comp on the affiliate level. She has been such an inspirational mentor. I met Jen last April at her Super One Day Dog Portrait Class held here in Denver. I had been a member of PPC for several years at the time. Jen encouraged me to join PPA, not just PPC, and get involved in Print Comp. If I remember correctly, I joined PPA that very day. And from that day on, shit got real!

It wasn’t long until IPPA, Intermountain Professional Photographers affiliate in Utah hosted a class for CPPs, Certified Professional Photographer hopefuls to take a class and later take the test portion of the certification process. The class was taught by Jen Hargrove and Kent Shelton. So, my little dawg Gus and I hopped in the truck and took off to Salt Lake to take the class and give that test a go. It was kind of a whirlwind of a trip. Took the class, passed the test and came home with one more achievement under my belt.

Next hurdle was to try my hand at this Print Competition thing. Putting my images in competition with the best photographers in the world was extremely intimidating. But with Jen’s encouragement and guidance I picked out 4 images and signed up for IPPA’s competition. Of my 4 images, one was actually awarded an 80! Wow!!!! Maybe I could do this after all! Then I found out I had won IPPA’s Rookie of the Year award! My competitive juices started flowing like I hadn’t felt since my horse show days! I’m hooked!

By the time Colorado’s Print Comp arrived I was ready to try again. This time I could submit up to 10 images. I submitted 9 images, even though I still didn’t feel confident in my choices or their presentation. I went down to the location of the judging to be present when my images came up. We sat in a dark room and watched image pop upper judging. At the end of the weekend I had 4 merit images here in our local competition! (Almost 5 but I learned a tough lesson with that one. Seems everyone else learned from that 5th image too as it came up in Larry’s class yesterday as an example or technical excellence gone awry.) Progress!

Every image I have placed in competition has taught me something. I love learning and improving! As I mentioned earlier, I have now participated in 2 PPA affiliate competitions, IPPA and PPC and won the IPPA Rookie of the Year award. Jen has completed earning her Master Photographer award, presented in Atlanta in January. Congratulation Jen!!!

Competition makes us better. Progress is good but my tag line is on my camera strap, “Striving for Perfection.”

“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”