2017 National Sunset Print Award Winners Announced

Congratulations to the winners of the 2017 National Sunset Print Awards. They will be presented with their awards at Imaging USA in Nashville, next month:

1st Place: The Beauty of Innocence – Kimberly J. Smith

2nd Place: Classic – Randy McNeilly

3rd Place: In Flight with Twigs – Uldis Ilvess

There were a total of 31 prints that included a junk boat on a cool and Misty Morning, a celebratory Alabaster Aster, the majesty of a Departing Flight, and even a pack of lawmen in Prepare There’s Trouble. With such a vast array of creativity and artistry displayed by the 2017 Sunset Print Awards around the country, it’s no wonder the judges had a difficult time narrowing the field down to the final three.

Discussing her Southwest PPA win earlier in the year with The Beauty of Innocence, Smith reflected on the photo shoot where she captured the innocence and serenity of a 1-year old, not an easy thing to do! “I could see the artistry in the shot and I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to capture the image,” Smith said of the winning image, pictured above.

“Classic” by Randy McNeilly

Photography veteran Randy McNeilly had a total of three wins out of the PPA Southeast district, but it was his wedding portrait “Classic” – a piece that truly captures the elegance and beauty of a bride on her wedding day – that garnered a 2nd place win in the National awards. McNeilly stressed that spending time with each client is an important part of capturing their personality and learning what story is inside, begging to be told.

“In Flight with Twigs” by Uldis Ilvess

For Uldis Ilvess, a fortuitous road trip helped him score his winning shot for Professional Photographers of Iowa. While driving through the country, he spotted a few homes and decided to see if there was anything interesting. Ilvess recalls, “[there] was this fenced-in area with a pond, and in the shrubs, were these birds nesting.” Watching the birds mesmerized him, but he had to get some pictures which enabled him to capture the grace and beauty of the scene.

Along with an engraved crystal trophy, the winners will also receive cash prizes totaling $1,500 for First Place, $500 for Second Place and $300 for Third Place. We want to thank all the participants in the 2017 Sunset Awards and look forward to seeing this year’s winners in Nashville.

Prints That Win: The Colonel in Twilight

With his portrait photography work, Shelby, N.C., photographer Randy McNeilly is no stranger to delivering images with deep storytelling. Case in point: “The Colonel in Twilight,” above, a stunning portrait of a Vietnamese military man that won not only the Sunset Print Award and Best of Show at the PPA Southeast District print competition with a perfect 100 score, but was also awarded third place in the National Sunset Print Award last month.

Sunset Print Award: Enter to Win Big Prizes at These Upcoming Competitions

Sunset Print Award
Photo by previous Sunset Print Award winner Jeff Dachowski, M. Photog., Cr., CPP, C.Ph.

The Sunset Print Award is being presented at print competitions across the U.S. Though 12 competitions are already completed, there are still about a dozen remaining that you can enter for a chance to win a Sunset Print Award.

Winners of the Sunset Print Award at each competition receive a crystal trophy, a lapel pin, and a $250 gift certificate for Sunset-branded inkjet media. Sunset Print Award winners at each competition receive an additional prize, an iPad Mini, if the winning image is printed on Sunset inkjet media. Entries do not need to be printed on Sunset media to qualify, but must be inkjet-printed.

Each winner in the regional and local competitions is then automatically entered to win the Grand Prize in the national Sunset Print Award competition. The Grand Prize winner receives airfare for two to Sarasota, Fla., with lodging at Lido Beach resort for three days and two nights, a $500 Visa gift card and national recognition. Second and third place winners receive a $500 and $300 Visa gift card respectively.

Following are the competitions being held through the end of March. For a full list of upcoming competitions (there are a bunch of them in April) and more information about those competitions, go to www.sunsetprint.com/competitions/.

Professional Photographers of Ohio, Lewis Center, Ohio: Print submissions are due by Monday, March 17, and the convention, called Photo Blast, runs from March 20-23 in Lewis Center. Click here for more information.

PPA Southeast District, Atlanta: Print submissions are due by March 19. District judging will be held in conjunction with the Georgia state convention in Atlanta, March 27-79. Click here for more information.

Professional Photographers of Michigan, Livonia, Mich.: Entries must be in the print room by 6 p.m. on Friday, March 28, with judging beginning the next morning at 9. The PPM March Madness convention runs March 28 through April 1 in Livonia. Click here for more information.

GPPA Print Competition, Atlanta: All entries must be uploaded by March 20, and the convention runs March 27-29 in Atlanta. There are two opportunities for Sunset Print Awards, through both the PPA Southeast District (see above) and the GPPA Print Competition. Click here for more information.

Wyoming Professional Photographers Association, Casper, Wyo.: Print submissions are due March 24 and the convention runs March 30 through April 1 in Casper. Click here for more information.

Good luck, get involved and get recognized! Check with each competition to verify submission deadlines, judging dates, submission/entry rules and more.

And be sure to visit www.sunsetprint.com for more information about the Sunset Print Award, a full list of upcoming competitions, the Sunset product line, and more. If you have any questions, contact a LexJet customer specialist at 800-453-9538.

Prints that Win: Something Old, Something New

Portrait photography

Lightning does strike twice, or at least the LexJet Sunset Award for outstanding photography did. Ann Naugher was honored earlier this year with a LexJet Sunset Award at PPA’s Southeast District competition for her portrait entitled Windswept, and most recently added another to her collection with another portrait entitled Monet’s Garden at the PPA’s Southwest District competition.

Naugher’s specialty is children’s portrait photography enhanced with Corel Painter, printed on fine-art canvas, embellished with oil paints and then finished with a lacquer. What results are classic yet timeless pieces of art that have gained a nationwide following of enthusiastic and appreciative customers.

Though Naugher has carved a popular and award-winning niche with her style of portrait photography, she likes to share credit with the artist who paints her backgrounds – David Maheu of Backgrounds by Maheu – and the subjects of the photos.

For the Monet’s Garden portrait, Maheu painted a rendition of Monet’s Rose Garden at Giverny, which Naugher then used as a background and the key element from which everything else in the photograph flowed.

“My business is primarily based on high-end, classic children’s work. When I do ‘classic’ I never want it to be stodgy, boring or monochromatic; I want to incorporate contemporary with classic,” explains Naugher. “The old master’s work at the time was very contemporary and the colors used are very much in vogue today. I wanted to give my client something new and vibrant, but born of something old and timeless.”

When Naugher visited with the judges following the PPA Southwest District competition, her goals were corroborated by their comments, such as that it’s a classic portrait that incorporates good lighting, balance and composition. “That’s what I was hoping to accomplish,” she says.

Monet’s Garden garnered a 99 out of 100 at the competition. Previously, at the Oklahoma competition (Naugher is based in Tulsa), it scored a 100.

Prints that Win: Old West Shootout in the Southeast

Award winning photography and printing

Ghost Town in the Sky, located above Maggie Valley, N.C., is a themed amusement park that’s preparing to re-open to the public. As part of that, the “ghost town” needed some publicity shots and turned to veteran photographer Jeff Gulle.

Gulle used the opportunity to educate some of the students from the photography class he teaches at North Georgia Technical College in Clarksville, Ga., and to produce a competition-worthy image. Gulle accomplished both, garnering a LexJet Sunset Award for his image entitled Showdown at the Georgia PPA print competition held in conjunction with the PPA Southeast District convention.

“It was a beautiful day and it worked out really well. I photographed various characters they feature at Ghost Town in the Sky, and my favorite was the Preacher,” says Gulle.

Gulle perfectly posed the Preacher with the ghost town as a backdrop. Since he shot the scene with a wider angle the buildings skewed a bit so he straightened them out in the editing process and added a Topaz Photoshop plug-in filter to make the scene “grittier” in keeping with the ghost town theme.

Gulle says he’s been printing more of his own work over the past few years since he acquired an Epson Stylus Pro 3880, and uses it in the classroom as part of the instruction. He plans to use the gift certificate that came with the LexJet Sunset Award to buy his favorite Sunset paper, LexJet Sunset Photo Metallic Paper.

Two Chances to Win a LexJet Sunset Award at Ohio and Georgia Photo Conventions

Photo competitions in Ohio and GeorgiaThis month, professional photographers have two chances to win LexJet Sunset Awards in the print competitions at the Professional Photographers of Ohio (PPA Northeast District) and Georgia PPA (PPA Southeast District) conventions.

LexJet Sunset Award winners get a beautiful trophy and a gift certificate. And if the award-winning image is printed on LexJet media, winners in these two print competitions also get an iPad.

The PPA Northeast District, hosted by the Professional Photographers of Ohio, runs March 14-18 at the Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, Ohio. Entries for the Print Competition are due on Thursday, March 8. Entries will be judged March 15-16 and awarded on March 17. Click here for more information and competition rules.

The PPA Southeast District, hosted by the Georgia PPA, will be held March 31 through April 3 at the Athens Classic Center & Athens Hotel Indigo in Athens, Ga. Entries for this competition are due by March 28 and awards will be given on April 3.  The LexJet Sunset Award winner in the offical District competition gets a $200 gift certficate and an iPad, if the winner is printed on LexJet Paper.

There’s also a LexJet Sunset Award up for grabs for the Georgia PPA members-only competition, which comes with a $100 gift certificate and must be printed on LexJet paper. For more information and rules, click here, and click here for the scoop on the Georgia PPA members-only LexJet Sunset Award.

Good luck, and if you have any questions, contact Tom Gruss at LexJet: tom.gruss@lexjet.com, or call 941-906-3377.