Tips for Printing

Presentation is one of the keys to success in any photography contest. You can have one of the most stunning images but if your presentation is mediocre it may adversely influence the judges, lowering your score or ranking. This page is intended to provide some helpful tips on how to present your images. 

It's important to note that the 2011 contest rules have been changed. Read the instructions carefully. Of particular note is the following... 

  • The matte size has been standardized to an 11x14 inch format. 
  • White is no longer required as the image border.  In fact, it is not necessary to include any border if you prefer not to. 
  • As in previous years, over mattes are not permitted 

With this in mind, consider the following tips...

How to print your image

Contest-Mat-Sample-WhitepngAn 11x14 matte is a standard size so it should be easy to find in your local craft, framing or photography store.
  • An 11x14 matte requirement does NOT mean that you have to crop your image to 11x14 - it just has to fit within the 11x14 inch matte.

When you're ready to print your image, try this.

  • Open a new document in Photoshop and set the dimensions to 11" x 14" (or 14" x 11")
  • Open your contest image in another window
  • Flatten your contest image
  • Use the Move tool to drag it onto the new blank 11x14 image. It will come in as a separate layer.
  • You can use the Move tool and the Transform tools to size and place the image where you want it, leaving an appropriate "border" around the image.

Add a stroke around the image (optional)

Contest-Mat-Sample-White-CloseupPNGOne way to emphasize your image is to add a small stroke around the image. This is optional. Here's a good way to do that.
  • Create a new blank layer above your contest image layer.
  • Ctr + Click (Command + Click) on the contest image layer. This will create a selection that is the same size as the image.
  • Go to Edit > Stroke...
  • Enter the Width - you want something fairly thin (5 - 15 pixels)
  • Select a color - you can add a black stroke
  • Location - set to Inside
  • Click OK
  • You should now have a nice stroke around the image.

Change the background color

Contest-Mat-Sample-BlackYou can also select the color of your background. To do this, if you've followed the instructions above, you simply select the background layer and change it to your preferred color.

In summary...

When preparing your print for the contest consider the following...
  • You should create a single print that is 11" x 14" and then flush mount that image on the 11" x 14" matte board.
  • The actual contest image does NOT need to be cropped to 11" x 14".
  • Do NOT use an over-matte. Over-mattes are matte boards that are cut to place over an image and provide a border.
  • Remember that everything you present effects how the judges view your image. Sloppy mounting or poor print quality will hurt your changes.
  • Read all instructions carefully. Every year images are rejected before they are even presented to the judges because the directions were not followed properly.
Finally, good luck with your contest entry.
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