Learning the fundamentals of Judging a photograph to the 12 elements of a merit image

I had the opportunity and pleasure of taking The Professional Photographers of California (PPC) Print Judging Academy yesterday in Roseville, Ca.  I’m hoping to start my next journey in professional photography by learning the judging process and learning how to evaluate images that are being judged to be 12 elements of merit image  standards that have been in place for decades.

Our class was lead by Tim Mathiesen, M.Photog.Cr.,A-ASP,F-ASP.  Tim has almost 40 years experience as a Master Photographer, is a PPA Print Juror, A PPA Print Jury Chairman, sits on committees who evaluate Juror’s in training, has held about every office available in PPC including Past a President and is on the ballot to be President of PPC again next year.  In other words I don’t know that I could have received basic instruction from a better source yesterday than Tim!  

It was a full day of information on what to look for on judging images.  The morning session comprised of Tim taking great care in covering each of the 12 elements with examples to show so our class of 15 could visually see what he was demonstrating.  He also shared some valuable insight on scores, that being positive on the critique, but to also deliver a message in ways to help the makers grow as photographers.  To speak to the prints without bias and judge the print that is in front of you, not what was up 10 or 15 images ago.

The afternoon we speant judging print examples that he had brought along.  He set up 3 panels of 5 judges where we took turns on the panels mock judging. We would enter a score and the machine would give the scoring average.  Tim would then call on us to speak on the print – starting with Judge that scored highest and then lowest.  Then as part of the training allow anyone else to speak on it and reveal the score they gave.  This was very interesting because he caught some of us scoring low, but when we talked about the print our comments did not necessarily justify the score, and that was a good lesson.

I had a great time yesterday and learned a great deal more about the judging process.  I look forward to taking the next steps on this new path of my professional photography career.








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