Today I have three photography print competition tips for you. (Please keep in mind that I am NOT a PPA certified judge. I am a CPP, and I have my own personal experience with my prints being judged and watching other photographer's images be judged. My tips are based on that experience alone and are NOT official print competition tips).
1. Consider the color of your print and mat when choosing whether to mount you print on black or white. We have seen lots of photographers create prints with dark digital mats that they then have mounted to white foam core. Having a white mount on a dark image will show on the edges of your print and draw the eyes of the judges. If you do have your image mounted to white, and don't have time to reprint it for competition to match your dark mat, then you can use a grease pencil along the edges of the print to darken them.
2. Turn your image upside down before having it printed to see what draws your eye. Bright areas of an overall dark image and dark areas of an overall light image will attract the eye. If the areas that draw your attention are not the areas you want to draw attention, then flip your image back over and adjust those areas accordingly.
3. In my opinion, Storytelling and Impact are the two most heavily weighted of the 12 elements of a merit image. If you have to sacrifice one of the elements to have the other.... choose the images with the most impact and story-telling. Small technical errors can be overlooked when there is a great story, but missing impact and/or story can kill an otherwise basically technically sound image.