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Call For Entries: APA SF Something Personal Exhibition


The key to success is your personal photographic style

Our Twenty Fourth Annual

Something Personal Online Exhibition & Virtual Holiday Party

Thursday, December 9, 2021    7:00 - 9:00 PM, Pacific

2020 Best of Show, © Nader Khouri                            2020 Second Place, © Shawn Fender

Our Call For Entries has begun
Open to all pro photographers, worldwide

Final Call for Entries Deadline :
Wednesday, November 3, 11:59 PM Pacific

2020 First Place, © Hardy Wilson                                                  2020 Third Place, © Andy Frasheski


This special exhibition is sponsored by:

Prizes and Portfolio Reviews


Winners directly connect with a Judge who may hire you, or refer you to others.

Every Top Place Winner is entitled to a special virtual Portfolio / Website Review with an Exhibition Judge.

Each Judge also selects their personal favorite; if they select your image, you get a Review with them.

So each Judge will do two Reviews. Limited to one Review per Winner, so more chances to win.

Judges will be announced soon. (The number of Judges determines the number of Reviews).


Top Place Images will appear on a special printed promo piece that will be sent to creatives in our region.


Each of the Top Four Winners will receive a $175 gift certificate good for: Do-It-Yourself C-Prints, or for Print on Demand service.

Left to Right: © Nicolas Bates, © Tom Kubik, © Markku Lahdesmaki

22 Excellent Reasons Why You Should Enter

1. This is our 24th annual impressive Something Personal exhibit, which is now established as the original, premiere personal work exhibition.

2. Hundreds of Creatives, Photographers, and others are expected to attend the spectacular annual World Premiere Online Gallery Exhibition & Virtual Holiday Party.

3. APA Members get up to a full 50% discount on the Entry fees.

4. Acclaimed Panel of Judges (listed below, soon) will see your work, at their own pace.

5. Top Place winners are entitled to special virtual portfolio / website reviews with Judges.

6. Online Gallery version of the Exhibit will be up for all of 2022 and beyond, (last year's gallery is here).

7. This year, 100 images will appear in the online gallery.

8. Top place images proactively promoted to Creatives with a printed promo and via email.

9. Best of Show image appears on special email Invitation / Announcement.

10. Prestigious Exhibition of 100 images helps all Exhibitors succeed.

11. Simple, reliable, secure online entry procedure, through the APA National website.

12. No limit to the number of images you can enter.

13. No date-created limitations.

14. Fairness Max4 Rule: no one can get more than 4 images accepted into the show.

15. Excellent odds of getting images accepted into the Exhibit.

16. We featured 49 different Exhibitors’ images last year.

17. About 1/3 of all entrants got at least one image in the 2020 Exhibition.

18. Less financial commitment: no printing, matting or framing required this year (online gallery only).

19. Superb opportunity to advance your career, display your own photographic style.

20. Top Exhibitors receive Award banners for their websites, and under their winning images at the Opening.

21. APA Something Personal Exhibit is one of the world’s most respected and prestigious photo contests.

22. Exhibitors' websites get a good boost in online traffic, especially from Creatives.


Left to Right: © John Blais, © Paige Green, © Sara Rubinstein

Our 24th Annual Something Personal Exhibition

APA San Francisco's annual Something Personal Exhibition is well established as the photo event of the year in our region. Something Personal 2021 is a great opportunity to exhibit your finest personal work at the spectacular World Premiere Online Exhibition & Virtual Holiday Party, from 7:00-9:00 PM on Thursday, December 9, 2021.

Every recent year, between 300 and 1000 people have attended the in-person Something Personal Exhibition Holiday Party. We expect many hundreds of people to participate in our online version, this year. All of the top Creatives in our region will receive special invitations, so this is a superb opportunity to show them your finest personal work. We will also display the complete exhibition on our website for over a full year, so your finest personal work will be available to thousands more clients.

Your chances of participating in the APA SF 2021 Something Personal Exhibit are truly excellent! You can online-enter as many JPEG images as you like. We've limited the number of accepted pieces from any one photographer to their top 4, as decided by the Judges' scores.

Left to Right: © Jim Hughes, © Smeeta Mahanti, © Brian Kuhlmann

Your Finest Personal Work

Creatives love to see pro photographers' personal work, because it reveals your true photographic style, without anyone else's influence or input. The APA SF Something Personal Exhibit started more than two decades ago with this core concept, and each time, we've streamlined the process to make it even easier to enter, with very few restrictions. This year, we again have easy online entry and judging.

• No confusing categories.

• No series of images.

• No creation date restrictions; no limitation on when your images were created.

• Only strong, original, creative, truly personal work gets accepted.

• Entries may be black and white, duotone, or color, and should be self-commissioned.

• Entries must represent what you consider to be your finest personal work.

• Alternative print processes (tin type, etc) are acceptable.

• PLEASE NOTE: Panoramas, diptychs & triptychs cannot be entered this year.

No commercial work, please: Images specifically commissioned for publication, or some other use by a paying client are not considered true "personal work" for the purposes of this competition and may be disqualified without prior notification or explanation.

The key to success is your personal photographic style


Left to Right: © Lucas Saugen, © Peter Samuels, © Oliver Hamilton

Acclaimed, World-Class Judges

Each of whom are directly responsible for hiring photographers or buying pro photographers' imagery.

Every Top Place Winner is entitled to special virtual Portfolio / Website Review with a Exhibition Judge.

Each Judge also selects their personal favorite; if they select your image, you get a Review with them.

So, each Judge will do two Reviews. One Review per Winner.



Photo Director/Producer

I am a photo department head and visual storyteller with 12+ years’ experience at major regional and national media and brands. I have created and curated images for prominent institutions and media, including MasterClass, Square, Airbnb, Wired,  AARP, San Francisco, and Southern Living magazines. I have also produced hundreds of photo shoots, spanning the entire creative process from securing talent to onsite logistics to post-production.



Freelance Executive Content Producer

Shena Hickman has spent the past 24 years determining visual identity, producing content, and executing celebrity talent contracts in advertising, music, publishing, fashion and technology verticals. Excelling in this industry has allowed Shena the opportunity to work with many talented photographers, directors and production partners on content productions domestic and abroad. 

Shena has managed productions for Facebook, Rolex, PUMA, Tumi, Levi’s, adidas Originals, Pepsi, Maybelline, Samsung, GMC, Ford, Verizon, Johnson & Johnson, Bank of America, Andrew Jergens, HP and got Milk? in a very client facing role. Shena prides herself on being a supportive team leader great with building successful marketing campaigns, photography, creative, design and production teams with a skillfulness in pulling various components together to see a project from inception to completion on time and within budget. 

Shena is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. It’s the first Greek-lettered sorority established and incorporated by African-American college women in 1908.



Art & Print Producer

I believe that the definition of a producer is someone who gets stuff done. If I was going to write a book about producing I would call it “I Got A Guy (or Gal)”. 

These days there is rarely a traditional project that is simply a photo shoot or a printed brochure. There are so many new ways to get a message out into the world and most times it is something that no one has quite taken on before. But even if I haven’t done it before, I bet I know someone who can help or refer me to someone who knows how to get it done. And having that experience and network is the key to being a good producer.

I spent the majority of my career at Goodby Silverstein & Partners. While there, I worked on every major brand that passed through the agency doors – Polaroid, Adobe, Elizabeth Arden Fragrances, Nike, NBA, Comcast, Princess Cruise Line and Chevrolet – to name a few. For eleven years, I was also the leader of an amazing team in the role of Director of Art & Print Production and Associate Partner. 

I have had the pleasure of working with such diverse talent as Britney Spears and even an alligator.

I am now in the freelance world and have enjoyed working at a variety of places such as Facebook, Salesforce, 215 McCann, barrettSF, BSSP and GS&P. I have produced or project managed photo shoots, a live stream event, simple videos, product packaging, printed and digital out-of-home, a popcorn truck and store windows. 

My goal is to embrace new challenges, meet talented people and find something to laugh about every day. And maybe one day I will even write that book.



Senior Director, Video
Kendo Brands
(More info soon)



Art & Photo Producer

Senior Art + Content + Photo Producer of award-winning advertising campaigns for DoorDash, UPS, Reebok, Columbia Sportswear, Salesforce, Apple, Harley-Davidson, and several fashion, automotive, finance, travel, electronics, and gaming accounts. 

My specialty is moving mountains to source and produce stellar creative within budget and deadlines, while juggling all the plates of print, video and interactive production. Also negotiating usage/licensing, managing digital assets, light print production, and communicating in a lightening quick-paced environment with team members. 

I am an active participant on panels for commercial photography portfolio shows such as APA, ASMP, PDN and Palm Springs Photo Fest. I'm especially interested in copyright and trademark laws. I am passionate about music, and the French language. In my spare time I volunteer tutor for Kindergarten English language learners, hike and garden. Happy to be doing what I love with so many talented folks. Let's work together!


More Judges will be announced here, very soon.

A list of past years Judges is here.

Left to Right: © Jim Hildreth, © Stan Musilek, © Mark Holley

Entry Fees, Entry Procedures, Specifications


APA members save up to 50% on each entry. 

There are different Entry Fees for different APA Member levels this year.

APA Leader, or Professional  Members : $15 for each entry
APA Associate, or Supporter Members : $20 for each entry
APA Contributor Members : $25 for each entry
Non-Members : $30 for each entry

Not an APA member? Now is a great time to join APA and receive up to a 50% discount on each image you enter.

Current APA member looking to upgrade your membership? Please read the basic Upgrade info here, then please contact: membershiprep@apanational.org

Left to Right: © Tricia Turner, © Hillary Maybery, © Jens Lucking

Entry Procedures:

Please read the Competition Rules (below), and then follow these guidelines and image requirements carefully to ensure the proper submission of your entries.

  • APA Members simply login to their APA Profile to automatically receive the appropriate discounted entry fee.
  • Non APA members can enter by creating a guest account with business name, email address and password.
  • You can upload as many images as you would like during the process (no more than 10 at a time).
  • The system will automatically charge you based on your membership level.
  • Once your transaction is complete, your submission is final and you cannot edit your images.
  • You can return to your APA account at any time to review your entries.
  • You may submit additional images until the final deadline.
  • You will receive an email confirmation upon entering.  
  • If you do not receive a confirmation email, please check your spam, then contact: info@apasf.com

Image Entry Guidelines:

  • All files must be .jpg format
  • File size limit: 10 MB
  • Image size: no smaller than 1200 pixels
  • Image size: no longer than 1800 pixels
  • Color profile is sRGB, image resolution : 72 ppi
  • Do not include disallowed characters (©, ®, •, $, #) in file names which can corrupt the file
  • Images should not contain any text that is not part of the image
  • Judging is blind: image file names are not visible to the judges
  • Each entry fee is for a single image.
  • Please upload no more than 10 entries at a time.
  • You can enter more than once, in batches of 10 or less, if you would like to submit more.


Everyone who enters will be notified of their entry status oneway or the other, on or before November 16, 2021. APA SF never leaves you wondering; we know you want to know. Decisions of the judges shall be final and binding.


Left to Right: © Gene Lee, © Dawn Heumann, © Kevin Tiell


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