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MNPPA sponsors an annual print competition which follows the 12 Elements of a Merit Image as laid out by PPA. All members are encouraged to enter so you may grow as an artist through competition. Complete competition rules are made available prior to print competition.


The PPA style of competition works by presenting images anonymously to a panel of qualified photographic judges from all parts of the industry in order to receive a score. Here’s how the scoring system breaks down:

100 – 95 Exceptional 
94 – 90 Superior 
89 – 85 Excellent 
84 – 80 Very Good 
79 – 75 Above Average 
74 – 70 Average 
69 – 0 Unacceptable

Prints scoring 80 or above are considered a “Merit” image, this is what everybody in the competition is really going for. Merits can eventually be applied to degrees through the MNPPA. In addition to merits, MNPPA also has the following awards.

Print Competition Awards


You must be an MNPPA member to qualify for the following awards; students (except the student award) and out-of-state members are not eligible. Non members are encouraged to enter print competition but are not eligible for awards. Each recipient is presented with a beautiful customized award.   

The Minnesota

Portrait Photographer

of the Year


Awarded to the photographer having the highest print total score for their top three prints in the portrait category. Their fourth entry may or may not be in the portrait category, but only their top three portrait scores will count toward this award. A minimum score of 240 for the three prints is required. Both masters and non-masters are eligible.

The Minnesota

Wedding Photographer

of the Year

Awarded to the photographer having the highest print total score for their top three prints in the wedding category. Their fourth entry may or may not be in the wedding category, but only their top three wedding scores will count toward this award. A minimum of 240 for the three prints is required. Both masters and non-masters are eligible.

The Minnesota

Illustrative/Commercial Photographer of the Year

Awarded to the photographer having the highest print total score for their top three prints in the Illustrative/ Commercial category. Their fourth entry may or may not be in the Illustrative/Commercial category, but only their top three Illustrative/Commercial scores will count toward this award. A minimum of 240 for the three prints is required. Both masters and non-masters are eligible.

Court of Honor

The Court of Honor will include the Photographers of the Year, Portrait, Wedding, and Illustrative Photographers of the Year. Additionally the Court of Honor will include six more photographers: the three masters and three non-masters. These six will be selected on the basis of the next highest total print scores for all four entries. Each recipient will receive a Court of Honor award.

Kodak Gallery and Fuji Masterpiece Awards

These awards of excellence will be given to one print entered in each category.



Album Awards

Minnesota gives two Album Awards each year, one for event coverage and one for non-event. In the event of ties, the judges will select the winner.



Student Award

This award is given for the highest total points for entries in the student category.


Dworshak Award

This special award, sponsored by MNPPA, in honor of the late Louis Dworshak of Duluth, is awarded to the finest portrait of the exhibit and is selected on the basis of overall quality. It may or may not be the highest scoring portrait.  


Ellertson Award

This award will be presented to the best illustrative or commercial/industrial print of the exhibit.

Haga Wedding Award

This award, sponsored by MNPPA, in honor of the late Gordon Haga, is given to the top scoring wedding album or print.

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