2017 WPPI First Half Rules

The sponsor of this WPPI Competition is:

Wedding & Portrait Photographers International (WPPI)
Emerald Expositions
100 Broadway. 14th floor
New York, NY 10005

Important Dates and Deadlines:

Entry Uploads Open: March 7th, 2017
Entry Early Bird Ends: March 21st, 2017
Entry Upload First Deadline: May 15, 2017
Entry Upload Final Deadline - EXTENDED DEADLINE RATES APPLY: June 5, 2017*
(* Incurs a $5 late fee per entry)

Winners will be announced in Rangefinder®: July/August 2017 Issue

The competition is open to members of WPPI from anywhere in the world except where prohibited by law.

WPPI Members:
Early BirdEnds March 21st 2017$18 per entry
Normal DeadlineEnds May 15th 2017$20 per entry
Extended DeadlineEnds June 5 2017$25 per entry

Quantity discount
Purchase 8 entries and only pay for 7 (get one free)
Purchase 12 entries and only pay for 10 (get two free)
Purchase 18 entries and only pay for 15 (get three free)

There is no limit to the amount of entries one can submit. Only the top four scoring entries from each contest cycle will contribute to your Honors of Excellence designation.

*PLEASE NOTE, NEW FOR 2017: A maximum of 2 entries per year entered into the first half or second half online competitions may contribute to your Honors of Excellence designation. 2-4 entries per year entered into the annual competition may contribute to your Honors of Excellence designation.

First you must enter electronically. Please visit www.wppiawards.com to register. Once the registration process has been completed, you will receive instructions to upload your images.


Entrant must have captured and created the original exposure within the last 24 months from date of entry deadline. The only exception to this rule is that you may enter a maximum of 1 entry in the annual awards that is older than 24 months.

Entries that have been previously entered in a prior yearly contest cycle may not be entered again. You may however re-enter the same or modified image in the same contest cycle year, however, only your best scoring version of the image will count. An example might be an image entered in First Half, then again in Second Half with some improvements and finally in the Annual as a print. This is allowed however only the best score will count towards your Honors of Excellence Designation.

No identifying studio signature or photographer name can be visible on the front of the image, as the judging is all done anonymously.

All processing, manipulation and printing or rendering must be done by the entrant or under their direct supervision. You may use a digital artist to retouch and/or print your work. In other words, you may instruct your digital artist and say something like: "Bring out more details in the shadows and highlights, increase saturation, add a soft vignette, nip tuck the bride's belly and remove the cigarette from the ground," rather than saying, "I'll send you the file and please interpret the image the way you want. Hoping for a Gold."

No two entries shall be of the same subject, in the same location, in the same category or resemble any other of your entries. Each entry shall be unique to your other submissions. For example, you may enter an image of a full length portrait of the bride at a park AND a close up portrait in a different area of the park. You may not however enter a full length portrait of a bride standing near a tree holding her flowers at her waist and then enter an image of the same bride near the same tree with similar cropping with a slightly different pose. A strong entry might lose its appeal with a similar looking entry. Simply choose the strongest image.

No images taken at a workshop or seminar or under the guidance of an instructor are eligible to be entered into the competition. Only the images made by the instructor can be entered in the appropriate category.

Entries into the Wedding, Portrait and Photojournalism divisions must have been created from one single capture (with the exception of multiple exposures of the same subject matter to achieve HDR, for example, in the Wedding and Portrait divisions). Composite entries are only allowed in the appropriate category of the Creative division. Head, face or body part swaps, etc. from a different exposure are allowed in the Wedding and Portrait divisions, but not the Photojournalism division.

Each entry must be 100% photographic in origin and captured by the entrant. No stock images such as skies, a tree, a building, illustrations, etc, or any element not created by the entrant are allowed. Texture screens are allowed on images except in the Photojournalism division. Non-photographic filters and actions produced by third parties that enhance characteristics of an image but do not add elements to an image are permitted in all divisions except the Photojournalism division. Non-photographic elements like text, patterns, frames and motifs are not allowed.

WPPI has the right to disqualify or recategorize any entry if it does not meet our basic requirements.

Please note: Historical photos or artistic elements not created by the artist that are visible in an entry are allowed if they are used only to provide context to a story or theme without misrepresenting them as the entrant's work.

If an entrant is proven to knowingly break the rules for an unfair advantage, the entrant will be banned from entering the competition for 1 year and 10 points will be deducted from their Honors of Excellence designation.

People/Subjects that are featured in an image that have placed first, second or third in a previous 16x20 annual, print, album and filmmaking competition cannot be entered and featured in an image again. This is to encourage entrants to photograph a diversity of subjects for continued growth. You may enter a subject that’s featured in an album that has placed first, second or third into the print competition as well and vice versa.

Photographs that have been knowingly or subconsciously plagiarized will be disqualified. Copying or emulating a pose, style or a concept is not considered plagiarism. Copying a photograph where most of the elements are exactly the same (i.e., same subject matter, pose, location, concept, crop, finishing etc.) may be considered plagiarism if not enough elements are considered different. According to WPPI, achieving elements from a painting in a photograph is not considered plagiarism as the execution to achieve the desired result is of a different artistic discipline.

Rules may be changed or modified without notice.


Images entered in the Wedding Category must be made of a real couple on the day their ceremony was performed. The only exception to this rule is for cultural differences where the wedding runs over consecutive days (such as a 3 day Indian wedding for example).

All other bridal images not created on the wedding day will need to be entered in another category such as Wedding Couple Together: Non-Wedding Day or Bride or Groom Alone: Non-Wedding Day, both of which are found in the Creative Division.

The photographer or photographers must have been officially commissioned by the subjects to record their event. Second shooters who have been contracted by the main photographer and/or the subjects may enter their images as well. A second shooter may not enter an image where the main photographer directed or posed the subjects.

Entries into the Wedding division must have been created from one single capture (with the exception of multiple exposures of the same subject matter to achieve HDR, for example). COMPOSITES ARE NOT ALLOWED IN THE WEDDING DIVISION. Head, face or body part swaps, etc. from a different exposure are allowed. Wedding images made of composites must be entered in the Wedding Contemporary category in the Creative Division.

  • Wedding Couple Together: Wedding Day
    Images of a wedding couple created on their wedding day where they are the main focus of the image.
  • Bride Alone: Wedding Day
    Featuring the bride on her own.
  • Groom Alone: Wedding Day
    Featuring the groom on his own.
  • Bridal Party / Family and Friends
    The bridal party, family and/or friends are the main focus.
  • Wedding Details
    Accessories shots of the bride, groom, ceremony or reception are featured as the emphasis in this category.

Entries into this category may be commissioned or noncommissioned. This category can include portraits both posed and moment-based. These portraits may include corporate, travel, creative and interpretive portraits. The portraits may be studio based or environmental.

Entries into the Portrait division must have been created from one single capture (with the exception of multiple exposures of the same subject matter to achieve HDR, for example). COMPOSITES ARE NOT ALLOWED IN THE PORTRAIT DIVISION. Head, face or body part swaps, etc. from a different exposure are allowed. Portrait images made of composites must be entered in the Portrait Contemporary category in the Creative Division.

  • Individual
    Featuring a single person.
  • Group / Families
    Featuring 2 or more people.
  • Newborn
    Newborn babies from 0 to 1 year old. You may include multiple babies in this category such as twins or triplets for example. Photographs of newborns which include siblings and parents are allowed in this category as long as the newborn is a prominent subject in the photograph. Non posed birth photography must be entered into the Photojournalism category in the Photojournalism Division.
  • Children
    Children from 1-12 years old. You may include multiple children in this category where at at least one of the children is 12 years old or younger and the other children are older but cannot be older than 17 years of age. Portraits of children from 1-12 years old which include siblings older than 18+ years old and/or parents must be entered into the Group/Family category.
  • High School Seniors
    Photographs of students for their high school portrait.
  • Engagement
    Any photographs of an engaged couple taken before their wedding day in non-wedding day attire.
  • Animals / Pets
    Images of pets, animals and insects. The pet's owner or a human may be in the photograph but the animal must be a main feature of the image.
  • Boudoir
    Portraits that celebrate the beauty of the human form. This category may only include the exposed form including nudes, semi-nudes, subjects in lingerie and photographs that are consistent with the Boudoir genre including women in a robe, wearing her husband’s shirt etc. This category may include images featuring the exposed male form as well.

Images entered in the Photojournalism category NEED to have the original RAW file or original Jpeg file submitted along with the final entry. There can be no post production process applied other than white balance adjustment or slight overall, global changes. Localized dodging and burning is allowed (as per conventional wet darkroom techniques). Altering individual pixels within an image is not allowed (e.g., liquefying, spotting, healing, cloning etc.). Global sharpening is allowed. Localized sharpening is not allowed. Split tones are not allowed. HDR effects are not allowed. No images will be allowed that have filters, textures, actions or overlays applied to it. Cropping is allowed. Removing sensor dust spots is allowed. Images entered in the PJ category cannot be posed or coached by the photographer or assistants. A PJ image is one that needs to be captured with no interference from anyone and should reflect a moment in time that was simply captured but not created. If these guidelines are not met, your image will be moved to another category that fits it best. The decision of the jury chairman will be final and not open to discussion with the maker.

  • Wedding Photojournalism
    Unposed, undirected, limited post processed wedding images.

Please note that this is the only division where you may use more than one image capture to create your finished work.

Entries into the commercial category must be paid work. Any entry into the Commercial subcategory of the Creative division must be accompanied by a tear sheet, web link or job invoice of/for the commissioned end user application.

Non-commissioned, personal work of any nature that does not fit into other categories may be entered into the Illustrative category.

  • Commercial
    Commissioned work that is not Wedding and Portrait (domestic) in nature. Entries into this category must be paid work.
  • Fashion/Beauty
    Images where clothes, hair, make up, accessories and the beauty of your subject etc. are the main feature of your entry. *Please note that bridal fashion photography MUST be entered into the Wedding Couple Together: Non-Wedding Day, Bride Alone: Non-Wedding Day or the Groom Alone: Non-Wedding Day categories categories. Bridal fashion photography will not be allowed in the traditional Fashion category. Nude, semi nude or lingere photographs must be entered into the Boudoir category of the Portrait Division.
  • Illustrative
    Non-commissioned, personal work of any nature that does not fit specifically into other categories within the Creative Division may be entered into the Illustrative category.
  • Wedding Contemporary
    A wedding image that is made up of more than one capture to create the final image where more freedom is given to the entrant to enter wedding images beyond the rules of the wedding division. Images entered in this category must be photographed on the day the ceremony was performed. Images entered into this category must be made of more than one image, not just a contemporary looking wedding photograph.
  • Portrait Contemporary
    A portrait image that is made up of more than one capture to create the final image where more freedom is given to the entrant to enter portrait images beyond the rules of the portrait division. Images entered into this category must be made of more than one image, not just a contemporary looking portrait photograph.
  • Wedding Couple Together: Non-Wedding Day
    Images of a couple not created on their wedding day where they are the main focus of the image. This category may include bridal fashion imagery where models are used who are not a real couple. Please note that if a romantic image is intended to be believable between 2 models who are not a real couple that it might adversely affect your score.
  • Bride Alone: Non-Wedding Day
    The bride in bridal wear on her own not created on their wedding day (married or to be married). This category may include bridal fashion photography where models are your subjects.
  • Groom Alone: Non-Wedding Day
    The groom on his own not created on their wedding day (married or to be married). This category may include bridal fashion photography where models are your subjects.


Entrants must be at least 18 years of age as of the date of entry. CONTEST IS VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.
Applicants agree that any entry, or part thereof, may be used by Wedding and Portrait Photographers International, Rangefinder® in any part of their publications, affiliated publications, printed materials or electronic media, such as, but not limited to, their websites or their affiliate's websites.

Each submitted entry, in its entirety, must be a single work of original material taken by the Contest entrant.

By entering the Contest, entrant represents, acknowledges and warrants that the submitted entry is an original work created solely by the entrant, that the entry does not infringe on the copyrights, trademarks, moral rights, rights of privacy/publicity or intellectual property rights of any person or entity, and that no other party has any right, title, claim or interest in the photograph.

Entries that include sculptures, statues, paintings, and other works of art will be accepted as long as they do not constitute copyright infringement or fraud, provided that entrants must be prepared to provide a release form as described below in Third Party Releases/Licenses. When photographing the work of others, it must be as an object in its environment and not a full-frame close up of another person's art.

If the entry includes other people, you must be prepared to provide a signed written personal release from all persons who appear in the entry submitted, authorizing use of the entry as provided below in Third Party Releases/Licenses. If you are unable to provide a personal release, upon request by Sponsor and in the form provided by Sponsor, then your entry may be disqualified. You do not need to send the release with your entry. If you win, we will contact you if a model release is needed.

The entries will be judged in accordance with the Judging Criteria, as defined below. The entry must not, in the sole and unfettered discretion of the Sponsors, contain obscene, provocative, defamatory, sexually explicit, or otherwise objectionable or inappropriate content. Entries deemed inappropriate will be disqualified.

Online entries must be made by the authorized account holder of the email address submitted at the time of entry. Authorized account holder is defined as the natural person who is assigned to an e-mail address by an internet access provider, online service provider, internet domain owner, or other person or organization (e.g., business, educational institution, etc.) that is responsible for assigning email addresses for the domain associated with the submitted email address.

Although WPPI has made every effort to list and explain the rules, it would be impossible to include every possible scenario that clears up any gray areas. As such, if an entrant breaks the spirit of the existing rules, WPPI reserves the right to move an entry into another category or have it disqualified to protect the integrity of the competition.

WPPI reserves the right to prejudge entries before the convention to ensure the remaining entires be judged in the allocated time during the convention. All prejudged entries will receive the same respect and consideration.

Image file specifications - Applies to all WPPI competitions
  1. Size

    At least 1920 pixels on the longest dimension

  2. Resolution

    72 ppi or 300 ppi are acceptable, image is projected at 72ppi

  3. Mode

    RGB color mode (even black-and-white images)

  4. Format

    JPEG file format unless directed to also upload RAW

  5. Color Profile

    sRGB or Adobe 1998 - Untagged space for color profiles is also acceptable.

Download a Photoshop script that resizes your images to 1920pixels at 72ppi
If a submission is submitted and correctly entered, the submission will be judged.


100 Supreme Platinum award. A benchmark that exhibits the best possible use of all skills, creativity and uniqueness.
95-99 Exceptional Gold Distinction. Approaching the highest level of imagination, creativity and technique.
90-94 Outstanding Gold Award. Exhibiting outstanding skills in all areas and originality.
85-89 Excellent Silver Distinction. Excellent use of imagination, skill and technique.
80-84 Above Average Silver Award. Above average skill and technique in most areas.
75-79 Standard Practice No award. Good salable work consistent with standard professional practice.
70-74 Below Standard No award. Requires improvement in technique.
60-69 Below Professional No award. Not up to professional standards.

  • 3 or more qualified members of WPPI will judge each entry in the competition for photographic artistry and craftsmanship. The decision of the judges is final.
  • Comments from judges on what they like or what they feel could be improved will be provided.
  • Contest consists of a panel of judges reviewing images on a digital display and an averaged score being determined.
  • Winners will be selected by the judging panel at the end of the individual scoring round.
  • Once an entry has been judged, the score for that entry is final.  An entry can not be brought back to the panel and rejudged.
  • Decisions of the judges are final and binding.
  • Third, Second, and First Place will be announced online and in Print in Rangefinder® Magazine
  • A judge may not judge an image in which they have been directly involved in the postproduction of the image.
  • A judge may judge an image whose creator is known to them if they are able to submit an unbiased score.
  • A judge should not refrain from judging an entry where they assume they know the creator.  But they may step down if appropriate. An unbiased score must be given.


If the photograph contains any material or elements that are not owned by the entrant and/or which are subject to the rights of third parties, and/or if any persons appear in the photograph, the entrant is responsible for obtaining, prior to submission of the photograph, any and all releases and consents necessary to permit the exhibition and use of the photograph in the manner set forth in these Official Rules without additional compensation. If any person appearing in any photograph is under the age of majority in their state/province/territory of residence the signature of a parent or legal guardian is required on each release.

By participating, ALL ENTRANTS grant the Sponsors and their designees, licensees or affiliates (the Authorized Parties) a non-exclusive, worldwide license to reproduce, distribute, display and post the entries online so that viewers may view all competing entries. In addition, each WINNER grants to the Authorized Parties a license for use of his/her winning entry in connection with the Contest and promotion of the Contest, in any media now or hereafter known, including but not limited to, print or digital publication in Rangefinder® magazine showcasing the winners; and promotions related to the contest. Authorized Parties will not be required to pay any additional consideration or seek any additional approval in connection with such use.

Winners authorize Emerald Expositions' Photo Group to reproduce, distribute, display and create derivative works of the photograph entry in connection with WPPI 16x20 Print Competition and promotion of WPPI 16x20 Print Competition, in any media now or hereafter known, including but not limited to: publication in Rangefinder® showcasing the winners; exhibit of the work at the WPPI show; The WPPI 16x20 Print Competition live gallery; the WPPI 16x20 Print Competition Web site and on Rangefinderonline.com, wppionline.com or related Photo+ Group websites; and in exhibits and promotions related to the 16x20 Print Competition.

By participating, entrants agree to release, discharge and hold harmless Rangefinder®, and each of their respective partners, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising agencies, agents and their employees, officers, directors, and representatives from any claims, losses, and damages arising out of their participation in this Contest or any Contest-related activities and the acceptance and use, misuse, or possession of any prize awarded hereunder.

Sponsors assume no responsibility for any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, or delay in operation or transmission; communications line failure; theft or destruction of or unauthorized access to Contest entries or entry forms; or alteration of entries or entry forms. Sponsors are not responsible for any problems with or technical malfunction of any telephone network or lines, computer online systems, servers or providers, computer equipment, software, failure of any e-mail entry to be received on account of technical problems or traffic congestion on the Internet or at any Web site, human errors of any kind, or any combination thereof, including any injury or damage to entrants' or any other persons' computers related to or resulting from participation, uploading or downloading of any materials related to this Contest.

This Contest is subject to federal, state, and local laws and regulations. Certain restrictions may apply. Entries void if the Sponsor determines the entry to not be an original, or if the entries are illegible, incomplete, damaged, irregular, altered, counterfeit, produced in error or obtained through fraud or theft.

Participants also agree (a) to be bound by these Official Rules; (b) that the decisions of the Judges are final on all matters relating to the Contest; and (c) if he/she wins that Sponsor may use each winner's name, photograph, likeness, and/or voice in any publicity or advertising relating to the Contest or future promotions without compensation or approval (except in Tennessee and where prohibited by law). All federal, state and local taxes, fees and surcharges on prizes are the sole responsibility of the prize winners. In the event that the selected winner(s) of any prize are/is ineligible or refuses the prize, the prize will be forfeited and Sponsors, in their sole discretion, may choose whether to award the prize to another entrant.

WPPI reserves the right to make changes to the above competition rules at any time without prior notice.

If for any reason the Contest is not capable of running as planned, due to infection by computer virus, bugs, worms, trojan horses, denial of service attacks, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes beyond the control of Sponsors that corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, or proper conduct of this Contest, Sponsors reserve the right, at their sole discretion, to disqualify any individual(s) who tamper with the entry process, and/or to cancel, terminate, modify, or suspend the Contest. If Sponsors elect to cancel or terminate the Contest, Sponsors will not retain any rights in the submitted photographs and will return the entry fees.


Entries that score 80+ will receive downloadable, printable certificates that will be available in your member login area.

An entry that scores:
80-84 Receives a Silver award
85-89 Receives a Silver Distinction award
90-94 Receives a Gold award
95-99 Receives a Gold Distinction award
100 Receives a Platinum award

Every year, a member's top four scoring entries will contribute to their Honors of Excellence status.

The top 5 and equal scoring 5th entries of each category will be rejudged to determine the first, second and third place winner.

First place winners from categories within the Wedding, Photojournalism, Portrait, Creative and Filmmaking Divisions will be eligible to win the First and Second Half Grand Award.


For more information please read our FAQ (frequently asked questions).
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