Prints That Win: Deeply Attached

For Bend, Ore. photographer Julia Kelleher, photography is a family affair. Her photography studio, Jewel Images, is celebrating 10 years of capturing family milestones, including the arrival of newborns, pregnancy and other family portraits. Kelleher also shares her own family moments through the photographs she enters in yearly competitions.

“I try to enter my son every year,” Kelleher says. “My goal is to someday create an album of annual competition images for him from when he was very little to when he’s 18 or 19 years old.”

Recently, Kelleher’s quest resulted in a Sunset Print Award for her winning portrait, “Deeply Attached,” in the PPA Western District 2017 competition.

The portrait depicts her young son holding a toy dog attached to a blanket, a gift given to him by his aunt when he was born. Dean’s toy goes by many names, such as “Blankey” or “Stuffy.”

Prints That Win: A Sketch of Innocence

Bend, Ore. photographer Julia Kelleher produces the sweetest images for her clients — angelic newborns resting in a blanket or their parent’s arms … innocent little babes captured in earthy, natural tones.

But with one of her latest competition prints, Kelleher took a familiar subject matter and turned it into a dramatic, winning art piece. “A Sketch of Innocence,” pictured above, won the Sunset Print Award at the 2015 Professional Photographers Association Western District print competition.

Prints that Win: Dennis the Menace

Award Winning Print

Cheri MacCallum, owner of Art by Cheri, Idaho Falls, Idaho, is one of those talented few who have had the honor of winning a LexJet Sunset Award two years in a row.

Unfortunately, we can’t show you MacCallum’s latest winning image; she’s entering it in a national competition and it’s not a good idea to let it leak out to the public. There are affiliated jurors who might see it, who would then have to disqualify themselves from judging.

We had the same issue last year following the PPA Western District competition. The good news is that we can now reveal last year’s winning Sunset Award winner from the PPA Western District: Dennis the Menace.

MacCallum says Dennis the Menace, a portrait photographed in New Orleans, was likely an award winner in the Portrait category for three factors: expression, lighting and painting. MacCallum is a masterful artist in Corel Painter who also paints for other photographers.

“I work on it in Photoshop and re-touch it, take it into Corel Painter and bring it back into Photoshop to prepare it for printing,” says MacCallum. “When I enter print competitions I don’t think about awards, I think about improving myself and pushing the envelope. If the judges think it’s worthy, all the better. Any good photography makes a good competition print as well: posing, lighting, color, composition, subject material… the whole nine yards has to come together.”

MacCallum adds that for competition, the print itself could spell the difference between winning and losing. For this image, MacCallum printed the image on LexJet 8 Mil ImagePro Gloss with her Canon iPF8300 and applied it to art board.

“I called LexJet and told my rep what I was doing and that I didn’t need anything really thick and heavy, or what I normally provide my clients: fine art paper and canvas. Based on that, we came to the conclusion that ImagePro Gloss would be a good fit. Print presentation is definitely one of the elements they look for, and this print material worked well,” adds MacCallum.

Prints that Win: End of the Line by Duncan MacNab

Award winning competition print

A great print can make all the difference at photography competitions. It’s certainly not the only difference, but it can provide that little extra boost that makes judges take notice. Take, for instance, Duncan MacNab’s entry, End of the Line, which won a LexJet Sunset Award for Excellence in Image Quality at the 2011 PPA Western District Competition.

MacNab turned to friend and fellow professional photographer Michael Timmons of The Portrait Gallery is Vasser, Va., to turn his image of a train near Nevada City, Mont., into a printed piece of art. Timmons used LexJet Sunset Photo eSatin Paper to capture all the depth and detail of the image.

“When it came in and I unwrapped it, I called Michael and damn near cried I was so happy with it. The paper is phenomenal. When you really look closely at it, it really has a nice glow,” says MacNab. “The paper lends itself to competitions and Michael’s a master at printing. He knows what I want and off we go.”

MacNab used his Panasonic LUMIX digital camera with a 7-14 mm lens for the capture and converted the image to black and white. He also submitted a color version in another competition, but the black and white image was the award winner.

“It’s one of my favorites that I’ve done in my long career. It just grabs you and demands attention. It came up on the easel and instantly the judges got up and looked at it,” explains MacNab. “I’ve been a jury chairman for 25 years and when I watch the judging panel as the prints come around I can see their eyes and which prints grab their attention. Sometimes they’ll take a closer look at it and find a bunch of things wrong with it and it goes down the tube. Most of the time when you see that pop the judges will look at that image a lot closer. When you see that first reaction you know it’s going to score pretty well.”

Coveted Sunset Award to be Presented at Eight Upcoming Photo Competitions

LexJet is proud to honor and promote excellence in professional photography with its Sunset Award for outstanding photography and inkjet print reproduction at eight annual print competitions held by affiliates of the Professional Photographers of America and other regional professional organizations.

Photography competition awardThis year all five PPA Districts will include the Sunset award in their competitions. The Sunset Award winning image category is selected by the presenting organization (see specific categories below), and the winner is selected by the respective print-competition judging panel.

In addition to the beautiful Sunset Award trophy, the winner will receive a $100 gift certificate that can be used to purchase any of the products included in LexJet’s Sunset portfolio of inkjet materials for professional photographic printing and fine art reproduction.

An additional $300 gift certificate will be presented if the winning photographer purchased materials from LexJet in 2010-11 or used LexJet Sunset media to create the award-winning print. The following print competitions held in conjunction with the hosting organization’s annual conference will be awarding the 2011 LexJet Sunset Award…

PPA District Photographic Competitions:

Other regional competitions:

  • Plymouth Center for the Arts, Fine Art of Photography Regional Juried Photography Exhibition: Exhibition is April 1-30 at the Plymouth Center for the Arts, Plymouth, Mass. The Sunset Award will be presented to the winner of the Best Quality Print & Presentation category.
  • PhotoNorthEast: March 26-29, Woodcliff Lake Hilton, Woodcliff Lake, N.J. The Sunset Award will be presented to the winner of the Best Electronic Imaging category.
  • PPA of PA: April 3-5, Days Inn Penn State, State College, Pa. The Sunset Award will be presented to the winner of the Best Quality Print and Presentation category.