Visit Our Redesigned Sunset Print Awards Website

The next time you log on to the Sunset Print Awards website, you’ll notice some changes. The sleek new appearance makes it easier for photographers to learn about the prestigious Sunset Print Awards as well as local print competitions offering the award.

Other updates include:

  • Easier navigation
  • Better views of past winners
  • Easy access to the blog for all the latest Sunset news
  • Interviews with winners
  • Recommended Sunset branded media

What hasn’t changed are the benefits to district and local winners or the top three prizes awarded at the International Photographic Competition. Each winner receives a customized crystal trophy, a lapel pin, and a free pack or roll of Sunset Media, while the three IPC finalists receive engraved trophies and cash prizes.

If you are involved in a local PPA group, camera club or other photography organization that has a minimum of 150 printed entries and would like to include the Sunset Print Award in your competition, have your chairperson register today.

This year, we will be presenting awards to the 2019 IPC winners at Imaging USA in Nashville. If you are attending later this month, be sure to stop by the IPC Display and pick up some information about the 2020 Sunset Print Awards.

2019 International Photographic Competition Winners Recognized

Congratulations to the 2019 International Photographic Competition winners. Earlier this summer, the top images were selected from the PPA District Sunset Print Award recipients:

1st Place – Brian Castle “Sins Broken Chains

2nd Place – Kimberly Smith “Owl Always Kneed You

3rd Place – Brooke Kasper “Solitary Journey

Each year, the judges award the top three prints that best embody the 12 Elements of Merit. This year’s district winners included everything from a rocky rush of water in Kari Douma’s “Just Around the River Bend” to a burgeoning chemist in Vanessa Longuski’s “Science.” As always, the talent at the district level makes it difficult for the judges selecting the National IPC winners.

Castle, who took third place in last year’s event, was once again inspired by a dream. “I dropped to my knees and prayed, this light came from above and Archangel Michael came and loaned me his wings to rip the chains apart so we could ascend to Heaven,” he says. What he didn’t expect was to be so personally affected by the photo shoot. “What did people go through back in Biblical days when they were chained like this? I teared up, it was emotional, I couldn’t hold it back,” he says.

Smith, who consistently finishes with district and national wins, had a most unusual image serve as the inspiration for her 2019 entry. “I had to have a knee MRI and they sent me home with the disk,” she says. “As I’m going through them, I noticed one of them looked like an owl.” She combined an image of a tree from a previous photography session and the base image from the MRI into an artistic image of an owl and her owlet. She won the PPA Southwest District award, subsequently leading to her second-place national finish.

Kasper says her award-winning image is extremely personal. While she may be on her own “Solitary Journey,” she has a strong faith in God, so she knows she is never truly alone. “We all have our own personal stories, and this one represents how I’m charting my course,” she says. “We may feel abandoned and alone at times, but we are surrounded by so many wonderful memories of people and things that have given us strength, even in solitude.”

Along with an engraved crystal trophy, the winners also receive cash prizes: $2,000 for first place, $1,000 for second place and $500 for third place. The awards for the winning photographers will be presented at Imaging USA – Nashville in January.

We want to thank all the participants in the 2019 Sunset Print Awards. You can see these and other winners on our newly redesigned Sunset Print Awards site. If you are interested in the 2020 Sunset Print Awards, have your chairperson fill out the application. The Sunset Print Award is offered to those competitions judging a minimum of 150 printed entries.

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.

Heading to Imaging USA? Get Your Free Expo Pass, Courtesy of LexJet

If you’re heading to the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville for Imaging USA 2018, Jan. 14 – 16, make sure to visit LexJet at booth #673. You can also go HERE to claim your free expo pass, courtesy of LexJet.

Stop by our booth to see some innovative new products, watch printer demonstrations and learn about media comparisons for several Sunset products:

Ask about our show specials on select LexJet Sunset media. Our technical director Michael Clementi will be on hand for general questions, or you can call ahead at 800-453-9538 to schedule an appointment for one-on-one training.

We will have the national winning prints from the 2017 Sunset Print Awards as well as information the upcoming 2018 awards. See you in Nashville!

Get a Free Imaging USA Expo Pass

Are you headed to Imaging USA 2016 in Atlanta, Jan. 10-12? We’d love to see you there, and we’re offering free expo passes. All you have to do is go HERE to claim your free pass.

While you’re at Imaging USA next month, please stop by booth #846 to check out our gallery of the stunning winners of the Sunset Print Awards.

We’ll also have a 24-inch Epson printer and our photo print experts discussing topics like: Color management, the importance of printing your own work, and how LexJet can help you set up your own in-house printing operation.

Plus, you can learn all about the LexJet Sunset line of products and more information about getting involved with the Sunset Print Award.

Looking forward to seeing you at Imaging USA!

Prints that Win: The Bike Builder

The Bike Builder by Michael Timmons

Michael and Tina Timmons are Sunset Print Award regulars, in one way or another. Both are past Sunset Print Award-winners for their outstanding photography, but have also printed award-winning images for other photographers across the country.

The Timmons’ most recent Sunset Print Award was earned by Michael at the Professional Photographers of Michigan competition for this slice-of-work image entitled The Bike Builder. It is a stellar example of capturing the essence of the subject and the environment in which that subject works.

The Bike Builder owns Arizona Thunder in Bisbee, Ariz. Michael stumbled upon the motorcycle repair and restoration shop during a road trip in the area following the Imaging USA show in Phoenix this past year.

“Being a motorcycle enthusiast, I noticed a big Harley-Davidson sign outside his shop. We were taking photos in town and stopped in to find out more. I asked him if I could take some photos and he agreed,” Michael recalls. “As soon as I saw the environment I knew I wanted to do something for competition, because of the clutter, the old parts and his character. At the time I got the capture we were having a conversation about his business. I had a tripod set up at the counter, so this scene is what you see from behind the counter when you walk into his shop. He had parts from all different makes, models and years in the shop with two or three bikes he was working on at the time.”

The image you see here is essentially what Michael captured with his Canon 5D Mark II with a 16-35mm lens on a tripod. The lighting is all natural light streaming through the window opposite the subject. The image was then converted in Photoshop with nik Silver Efex Pro 2 to black and white with some minor touchup with Silver Efex.

“When you’re working with someone in their environment, the key is to pull everything together and tell a story inside their everyday workspace. He’s real easygoing and laid back; this is what he does every day, so the story tells itself,” Michael says.

For the presentation at competition, Michael printed The Bike Builder on Sunset Photo eSatin Paper 300g, an inkjet photo paper he uses almost exclusively for competition printing.

“We’ve tested a lot of papers and found that the image quality on Sunset Photo eSatin surpasses other papers we’ve tested. We print competition images for people all over the country and everything that goes out is typically on Sunset Photo eSatin and Sunset Fibre Elite,” Michael explains. “The details, highlights and shadows print a lot better and the white point is a lot higher. We also like the weight and thickness of the paper; it’s easier to handle and it’s a lot more durable than other papers.”