Photographic Open Competition Rules

Please review thoroughly!

The purpose of this competition is to allow photographers to enter photographs and albums to be judged against a standard of excellence using the 12 Elements of a Merit Image. Through this competition, DPPA members are also eligible to achieve DPPA Awards at the Awards Ceremony. These rules pertain to images entered as digital files created by any photographic processes. All entries must be registered at (Entering procedures for to follow.)

1. Entrants may submit a case of digital files, digital albums, or a combination for judging. Entrants can enter a “case” of up to 6 images, of which the top four scores of those 6 images will be used to determine DPPA awards. However, you may enter additional images for judging, but those scores will not be used for DPPA awards.

2. Entrants are required to upload a digital file for each image.

3. No changes to your entry are permitted once the entry deadline has passed. No refunds will be issued after the entry fee is paid.

4. Judging Procedures – Professional Photographers of America procedures and scoring will be used in this exhibit, except for changes covered within these rules.


1. Any DPPA member in good standing may enter. Out of State and Non-Member guests are welcome to enter (Out of state and Non-Member guests are not eligible for DPPA awards).

2. Membership dues must be paid and received by the DPPA Treasurer one week prior to the competition event.

3. Entrant must have captured and created the original photographic exposure or exposures.

4. All processing, manipulation, or rendering were done by the entrant or under their direct supervision.

5. The entrant has obtained and has access to all necessary releases (model or property) and agrees to hold DPPA harmless against all claims and liabilities arising out of DPPA's display, publication, and promotion or other use of each image submitted to DPPA.

6. The entrant's name shall not appear anywhere in or on the face of the entry.

7. No entry will be eligible if it has been made under the supervision of an instructor or as a class assignment. All images submitted must be self-directed. Images created in an educational environment under direct supervision from an instructor are ineligible.

8. Once an image has been awarded a blue ribbon (score of 80 or above) in any category of DPPA competition, it may not be entered again in any other category or DPPA competition, at any time, by any entrant. No image that receives a merit may be entered more than once under any condition, including any image from a merited album.

9. Entries of the same subject in multiple images will be allowed, as long as the images are entirely different concepts.


You must designate one of the below categories for each entry.


Images can portray a subject or subjects from all walks of life and should reflect the personality of the subject(s).


Capturing the beauty of nature, wildlife, industry, and architectural areas are considered illustrative.

Landscape/Nature: This description shares joy and adventures while expressing a sense of place. Wild animals in an uncontrolled lighting environment, zoo animals, flowers, seascapes, cityscapes, urban landscapes, and sunsets with or without people can be placed here.

Illustrative/Commercial: This is used when images are created for a commercial client to advertise a product and promote a brand or company. This can be an interior or exterior of a structure or within an industrial environment. Illustrative can also be conceptual images that tell a story.


Images can portray a subject or subjects from all aspects of a wedding including traditional portraits, candids, or detailed work.


This category consists of images that have additional photographic elements not created by the maker. All the other PO rules still apply with the exception that an entrant may choose to use photographic elements in the image not created by the maker. These photographic elements must be shown in a guide image. The purpose of this category is to allow makers to enter everyday images that may contain digital backgrounds or other photographic elements not created by the entrant. All necessary releases are required. The jurors will evaluate the entire image, but the photographic elements that were created by the maker must still be merit worthy as well as the overall image.



Multiple images combined into a digital album collection from one maker.


Images in the album must be the work of the two entrants, with a minimum of 20 images per entrant. Each entrant must individually enter the competition and pay appropriate entry fees. Multi‐maker albums will be judged as one entry.