Military Visual Awards

2019 Standard Operating Procedures

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Background: Military Visual Awards was established in 2018 in an effort to produce an extremely high level of productive and healthy competition amongst service members who take photographs. After a successful first year and a lot of media attention, MVA is back for another great competition year. By popular demand, the 2019 competition will include not only photography but also videography and graphic design. Feedback provided by MVA judges serves as great training for members throughout the world and will hopefully inspire media creators to submit their work for other military and civilian competitions. MVA is a free, public competition open to everyone.

Important Dates: Submission deadline: January 31, 2020 at 11:59 P.M. Eastern Standard Time Judging window: February 1, 2020 thru February 29, 2020 Results released: Thursday March 5, 2020 Awards presented: March 12, 2020

Eligibility: MVA entries are open to everyone, military and non-military, worldwide. U.S. Active Duty, Guard or Reserve service members, submitting official military content, MUST have media cleared for public release and have caption info. U.S. Active Duty, Guard or Reserve service members can submit any work(s) created in unofficial capacity.

Registering and Submitting: All entries will be submitted through individual category submission page at

Submission Formatting: Each entry must have a title embedded in the IPTC info of the image. Color or black and white entries are acceptable in all categories. Image Specifications for Digital Originals: The final image should be 10 inches or less at the largest dimension at a resolution no higher than 300 ppi as RGB or Grayscale. Do not use CMYK. Save the image as a JPEG, with the highest quality level of .jpg. Each entrant can submit no more than 5 entries per category (excluding MVA Photographer of the Year, which shall have 1 entree). Category “Picture Story” must consist of at least 5 and no more than 10 individual photos. Note that each picture story submitted counts as one entry. Any additional entries uploaded, in any category exceeding the maximum number of entries, will not be judged. Photo caption will be embedded in the image IPTC metadata. All captions will be reviewed by judges for further background about the image. Please make sure captions are clear and concise. Do not include a byline. See example caption below. “U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Sandra Rodriguez re-pins a weight to a wheel switch on the landing gear of an F/A-18C Hornet aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis, which is under way in the Pacific Ocean, May 20, 2019. Rodriguez is an aviation electrician's mate. The John C. Stennis is participating in an exercise off the coast of Southern California.”

Category Codes: The following abbreviations should be used to designate the category in which an entry should be entered. Each file name will include a Category Code at the beginning. Failure to use the correct code at the beginning of a file name could result in an entry being placed into the wrong category or not judged. ---CDO - Combat Documentation Operational ---CDT- Combat Documentation Training ---PSC - Picture Story Component ---NEW - News ---FEA – Feature ---POR - Portrait /Personality ---ILL – Illustrative Photography PIC - Pictorial ---SPO - Sports ---PS - Picture Story ---MVAPOY - Military Visual Awards Photographer of the Year ---SPV – Spot Video ---SFV – Short Form Video ---LFV – Long Form Video ---MVAVOY – Military Visual Awards Videographer of the Year

File Naming for Single Entries: All files entered into competition must be named as follows: Enter the Category Code (FEA, NEW, PIC, etc.) A dash (-) The VIRIN of the entry (all entries submitted must have a VIRIN assigned). Please ensure that the VIRIN used in the file name matches the VIRIN placed in the IPTC Header. Ex: PIC-180721-A-FR938-036

File Naming for Picture Story Entries: Each picture story will be submitted as a collection of individual images. There is no reason to submit a composite layout. Each file name will begin with PS#, where # is the number of the Picture Story (i.e. PS1, PS2, PS3). A dash. (-) Your VISION ID (format: AANNN). A dash. (-) Sequence number (001) in order of how they should be seen. EX: PS1-FR938-001

MVA Picture Categories: The following categories are established specifically for the MVA Photography Competition. Combat Documentation: This category is separated into two divisions. Each will depict the U.S. military’s participation in a Joint or Service exercise, contingency operation or real-world event. Please choose operational or training. Do not submit without designation. Operational: Depicts real-world operations to include combat operations, disaster relief, and any contingency event not related to training, exercise or simulation. Training: Depicts training, exercise or simulation of contingency support. Picture Story: Series of pictures that reveal a storyline or a single theme. Specifications as to how to submit the Picture Story are found above. News: Scheduled or unscheduled news event. Feature: Storytelling picture not news-related; usually a situation that has strong human interest or a fresh view of a commonplace occurrence. Portrait/Personality: Picture that identifies and captures a subject's character. Illustrative Photography: Photograph produced to illustrate a preconceived theme, concept or idea and does not include text or graphics. Pictorial: Photograph that exploits the visual qualities of the subject with primary emphasis on composition and aesthetics. Sports: Photograph of sports participation or of a sports-related activity. MVA Photographer of the Year (portfolio): A portfolio entry may consist of no more than 10 entries, with at least one entry in the Picture Story category (picture story will count as 1 entry), and at least one entry in four of the remaining categories. No more than two picture stories may be included; however, individual photos that are a part of a picture story are eligible in additional categories. All entries in the portfolio will automatically be distributed to their individual categories and will be judged in those categories and count towards the maximum of 20 entries per entrant limit. Only one portfolio per entrant is allowed. Entrants of this category must submit a one-page biography (see Biography Template.doc) and a digital photograph of themselves with their portfolio. Both the biography and photo must be cleared for release.

MVA Video Categories: The following categories are established specifically for the MVA Videography Competition. Spot: A video more than 15 seconds but not more than 60 seconds. Short Form: A video more than 1 minute but not more than 3 minutes. Long Form: A video more than 3 minutes but not more than 7 minutes. MVA Videographer of the Year (portfolio): Portfolio must consist of at least one Spot, one Short Form and one Long Form video. No more than 6 videos can be submitted in MVAVOY portfolio.

Judging: Each judge has been carefully selected by the MVA staff. The selection process is one of the most crucial parts of the program. Each judge will use their knowledge of photojournalism and broadcast journalism, background and experience to yield an unbiased assessment of high-quality military imagery and videography. They will rank their choices of the top media in each category 1st thru 3rd and one honorable mention. This year we require each judge to video-record their judging process, share their thoughts and keep notes. The recording and any notes will be uploaded to the MVA YouTube channel at the conclusion of the contest for all competitors to review and learn from. This year’s category judges will be announced in January 2020.

Point Rubric: Each judge will be assigned a category or categories. They will review each image/video and score it using the point rubric. The top four final scores will be posted for each category. Anyone else who wishes to review their own scorecard may request access through the MVA website at which point they will be prompted to provide a small donation of $5.00 or an amount of their choosing. They will then be granted access to their complete scores. All proceeds will go towards next year’s MVA competition. More details will be released with final judge selection.

Awards: Winners will be announced on March 5, 2020 All winners will receive a custom MVA certificate and MVA of the year category winners will receive a trophy. Additional prizes will be given for category winners. Service member’s command may be notified of their accomplishment. In addition, the winning images will be showcased on the MVA website, Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube Channel as well as several additional news organizations media platforms. A gallery exhibition will be announced in early 2020. This will allow positive exposure for the winning media creators and military media as a whole.

Contact Information: E-Mail: Phone: (323) 524-3447 Disclosure: Military Visual Awards is in no way affiliated with the Department of Defense or any government agency. MVA cannot be held liable for publishing unreleased DoD imagery if it is wrongfully submitted as an entry. Military members should not expect any official military rewards, recognition, or any additional MVA information not released to all participants.