The Twelve Elements of a Merit Image: Part 2

  • Instructors:
    Michael Timmons

    PPA Members:


    Michael Timmons is the resident expert on all things competition. Whether it’s the judging, the submission or even the reasons why to compete, Michael knows all.

    In this class, Michael continues his discussion on the 12 Elements of a Merit Print. With the thousands and thousands of images that judges see annually, the 12 elements create a judging standard that is consistent throughout all competitions. Once you understand the standard, you can better create a competition-winning print.

    Begin with a high-level introduction of all elements and how they create an objective measure by which to judge entries. Then, sit back and soak it in as Michael walks you through Elements 4-8.

    • Print Presentation: Learn how less is more and how a simple but elegant presentation can make the difference. Examine how everything from key line to borders should enhance the image. Discuss the do’s and the don’ts and what you should completely avoid.
    • Center of Interest: Michael defines this element, explaining its purpose, and explores how there can be both primary and secondary centers. Understand the importance of drawing in your viewer through the center of interest and how it makes a print merit-worthy.
    • Lighting: This is every photographer’s best and most creative tool, but can also be the Achilles’ heel if used incorrectly. Discuss how to use your lighting to enhance, define, to create interest and three dimensionality, to really make your image what it is.
    • Subject Matter: Michael discusses why a title is critical, and how the subject matter should convey a point or tell a story. Learn what is appropriate and why judges might score low or high.

    Now two-thirds of the way through, Michael continues to demystify the merit process.

    We value your feedback and want to know how we can improve. Please share your thoughts about the class here.

  • Duration: 0:17:42 Expand video to full screen for best view.

      • Michael Timmons

        M.Photog.M.Artist.Cr., CPP, F-ASP

        Michael E. Timmons owns and operates Gallery 143 and the Portrait Gallery in Vassar, Michigan. The Gallery clients includes NASCAR Teams, Hendricks Motor Sports, Drury Inns, and McDonalds Restaurants, in addition to banks, hotels, businesses, doctors' offices, and private collectors. The Portrait Gallery is an all inclusive portrait studio photographing portraits, high school seniors, children, families, commercial and underclass.

        Michael Timmons is a published poet, writer, artist, and photographer. He has been involved in the arts for over 38 years. Michael has lectured around the world and at local, state and regional conventions. He has presented programs several times at the Professional Photographers of America International Convention.  Michael is also an approved PPA International Juror and a PPA Jury Chairman.

        Michael has received his Master of Photography, Master Artist and Photographic Craftsman degrees from Professional Photographers of America, in addition to receiving the Imaging Excellence award.  Michael also was awarded the Fellowship degree from the American Society of Photographers. He is also a Certified Professional Photographer. 

        Michael is a past president of the Arkansas Professional Photographers Association, has served on the Portrait Group for Professional Photographers of America, including Chairman of the committee, and has also served PPA as a member of the Photographic Exhibitions Committee, including Vice Chairman, and several years as a PPA councilor.  Michael is currently serving on the Professional Photographers of America Board of Directors as Vice President for 2014 - 2015. Michael has also served on the board of directors of the Professional Photographers of the Ozarks. Michael has received the Arkansas Distinguished Service Award, the Michigan Service Award, and the American Society of Photographers Service Award. Michael also received the coveted “National Award,” from the Professional Photographers of America.

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