2017 WPPI 16x20 Print, Album and Filmmaking competition archived rules

The sponsor of the Members Only First and Second 1/2 Competitions is:

Wedding & Portrait Photographers International (WPPI)
Emerald Expositions
85 Broad St. 11th floor
New York, NY 10004

Important Dates and Deadlines:

Early bird for one week ends 2017
First deadline 2017
Extended deadline 2017

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

If you would like to join and enjoy a member discount on the cost of the contest, please go to www.wppionline.com/membership/become-a-member.shtml

$18 Early bird for one week ends
$20 until first deadline
$25 for the extended deadline

Quantity discount
Purchase 8 entries and pay for only 7 (get one free)
Purchase 12 entries and pay for only 10 (get two free)
Purchase 18 entries and pay for only 15 (get three free)
There is no limit to the amount of entries one can submit. Only the top four scoring entries from 1st and 2nd Half Online Competition or The Annual: 16x20 Print, Album and Filmmaking Competition will contribute to your Honors of Excellence designation.

Please register at www.wppiawards.com with the same email address on file with your WPPI membership account. If you do not remember which email address is registered with WPPI, you can look up your account by entering various email addresses until you verify your membership is current. This is a members-only competition.

Note: If you have registered for The Annual: WPPI 16x20 Print, Album and Filmmaking competition or if you have registered to view your scores, you do not need register. You can simply log in with your WPPI email address and password.

Once you log in to www.wppiawards.com, you must pay to enter the competition. You will receive instructions to upload your images after purchase.


Entrant must have captured and created the original exposure within the last 24 months from date of entry deadline.

Entries that have been previously entered in Members Only First and Second 1/2 Competitions, as well as The Annual 16x20 Print, Album and Filmmaking competition may not be entered again.

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

Each image entered may be submitted in only one category.

All processing, manipulation or rendering, must be done by the entrant or under their direct supervision. You may use a digital artist to retouch. 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 and 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 and submitted by the instructor can be entered in the appropriate category.

Entries into the Wedding and Portrait 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. 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 graphic elements like text, patterns, frames and motifs are only allowed in all categories in the Creative division.

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. This rule applies to album submissions as well but images as mentioned above cannot exceed 20% of the album submission.

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.

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

Rules may be changed or modified without notice.


Every year, a member's four top scoring entries will contribute to their Honors of Excellence status. These entries can be from the 1st and 2nd half online competition or The Annual: 16x20 Print, Album and Filmmaking Competition.

Any entry can be entered into both the online competition and the annual competition, but it cannot be counted twice. If an image is entered into both the online and the annual competition then the higher score will count towards your Honors of Excellence title. In most cases, over half of your points must come from the annual competition as detailed in the "Titles/Designations" section below.

As the top 4 scoring entries from the first and second half competition and the annual competition contribute to your Honors of Excellence designation, this is considered a cycle. The cycle will be displayed as 2 years in the "My Points" section of this site. e.g. 2012 - 2013. The reason 2 years are listed is because the 16 x 20 annual competition occurs in the calendar year following the First and Second Half competitions. Because of this NO images entered in the annual competition can be entered again in the following First and Second Half Competitions which occurs in the same calendar year.

For more information, visit Honors of Excellence page.


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 5 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.

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 or Groom Alone: Wedding Day
The bride or groom is featured on his or her own.
Bridal Party / Family and Friends
The bridal party are the main focus including images of family and friends.
Wedding Details
Accessories 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.

  • Individual
    Featuring a single person.
  • Group / Families
    Featuring 2 or more people.
  • Newborn
    Newborn babies from 0 to 1 year old.
  • Children
    Children from 1-12 years old.
  • High School Seniors
    Photographing students for their high school portrait.
  • Engagement
    Any photographs of a couple taken before their wedding day in non-wedding day attire.
  • Animals / Pets
    Including pets and animals. The pet's owner or a human may be in the photograph but the animal must be a main feature of the image.
  • Beauty / Boudoir
    Portraits that celebrate the beauty of the human form including nudes, lingerie and stylized images.

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.

  • 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 entry.

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

Non-commissioned, personal work of any nature (including Landscape, Nature, etc.) 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
    Images where clothes, accessories, etc. are the main feature.

  • *Please note that bridal fashion photography MUST be entered into the Wedding Couple Together: Non-Wedding Day or Bride or Groom Alone: Non-Wedding Day categories. Bridal fashion photography will not be allowed in the traditional Fashion category.

  • Illustrative
    Self commissioned work of any kind including landscapes, etc.

The Composite category within the Creative Division is now split into 2 new categories where composites are allowed:

  • Wedding Contemporary
    A wedding image that is made up of more than one capture to create the final print and/or 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.
  • Portrait Contemporary
    A portrait image that is made up of more than one capture to create the final print and/or more freedom is given to the entrant to enter portrait images beyond the rules of the portrait division.

  • 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.
  • Bride or Groom Alone: Non-Wedding Day
    The bride or groom on their 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 and Rangefinder magazine 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, unless it is an album being entered into the "multiple photographers" category.

By entering the Contest, entrant represents, acknowledges and warrants that the submitted entry is an original work created solely by the entrant. 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.


Image file specifications are:
1920 pixels by the longest dimension
  1. Resolution: 72 ppi or 300 ppi are acceptable, image is projected at 72ppi
    Mode: RGB color mode (even black-and-white images)
    Format: JPEG file format
    Color profiles: sRGB or Adobe 1998
    Untagged space for color profiles is acceptable.
    Not applicable for raw submissions.

    Download a Photoshop script that resizes your images to 1920pixels at 72ppi
  2. If an image is submitted and correctly entered, the image 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.


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 The Photo Group/Emerald Expositions to reproduce, distribute, display and create derivative works of the photograph entry in connection with Members Only First and Second 1/2 Competitions and promotion of Members Only First and Second 1/2 Competitions, 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 Members Only First and Second 1/2 Competitions live gallery; the Members Only First and Second 1/2 Competitions Web site and on Rangefinderonline.com and wppionline.com; and in exhibits and promotions related to the Members Only First and Second 1/2 Competitions.

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
90-95 Receives a "Gold" award
100 Receives a "Gold Distinction" award
96-99 Receives a "Platinum" award

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

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

First, second and third place winners from categories within the Wedding, Portrait and Creative Divisions will be eligible to win the Grand Award in their respective divisions to be announced at the 208 WPPI Awards ceremony.

Grand-Prize Winner

Grand-Prize and First-Place Winners
  • Full Conference Pass to WPPI 2018
  • Images will be published in the December 2017 Rangefinder magazine
  • Images from the 2017 First Half and Second Half competitions will advance to compete for the Grand Award in each category. Grand Awards will be presented at the 2018 WPPI Conference + Expo in Las Vegas.

All 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winning images will be featured in the WPPI online winners' gallery, gain publicity in Rangefinder and WPPI social media pages and received points towards your Honors of Excellence designation.


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