Radio Interview Transcripts

MorePhotos Radio - Michael Timmons for ImagingUSA


ANNOUNCER:  Welcome to the More Photos’ Radio Photography Spotlight brought to you by helping professional photographers with all their internet needs world wide. Also brought to you by Finally, an e-commerce solution for professional photo labs that makes sense. Now here’s your host, Damien Allen.  DAMIEN: Good afternoon and welcome to More Photos Radio. My name is Damien Allen and joining me on the telephone today is Michael Timmons of The Portrait Gallery and Gallery 143 in Vassar, Michigan. Good afternoon and welcome to More Photos Radio, Michael.
MICHAEL: Thanks, Damien, glad to be with you and visiting with you this morning.
DAMIEN: It’s a pleasure to have you on the show today. You’re going to be speaking at the upcoming conference at Imaging USA, and your topic is going to be Making the Most of Your Talents. Could you tell us a little bit more about the subject you’re going to be covering?
MICHAEL: Yeah, Making the Most of Your Talents is basically a program title that we have come up with to show photographers that are working or that are new photographers the various avenues of selling their photography. Whether this be portraits or weddings or fine art, and we’re going to really hit hard on the fine art aspect of sales, because if you have the ability and the equipment to photograph people, you’re more than qualified to be able to take landscapes and scenics and fine art and actually create another arm of sales through your business. We’ve had photographers from all over the country now that have attended our programs that have eased into the fine art sales of their business and made a lot of extra income without giving up their so-called day job. In other words, they are still doing portraits and weddings, but they are offering this different product line to their clients and making lots of extra money. So that’s what we are going to be talking about is taking the talent you have, the equipment you have, and finding a different stream of revenue for your business.
DAMIEN: What day and times will your workshop be held during the conference and how can the participants find you?
MICHAEL:  We will be speaking on Tuesday evening from 5 – 6:30 prior to the PPA award ceremony in the Opry Land Hotel and Convention Center, and they’ll be signs posted and information placards on which room assignment we will have. So I know our room is going to hold a little bit over 500 people, and I expect we will have a pretty full room.
DAMIEN: What do you hope your participants to your workshop are going to take away at the end of it all?
MICHAEL: What we want the participants to take away from the program is a knowledge that there are other avenues of income available in photography other than like I said portraits and weddings, and we will show them some tips and tricks, some Photoshop techniques and show slide shows and images of how they can take these everyday looking images and create something that really looks like an art piece and it’s very easy and simple to do and does not require a lot of Photoshop knowledge or skills. Everything is very easy to do. In fact, in our week long schools that we teach around the country, we have people that have just bought Photoshop, don’t even know how to use it to extremely advanced Photoshop users and everybody in the class walks away with things they didn’t know that they could do and it’s very exciting.
DAMIEN: How long have you been photographers, and how did you get started with Imaging?
MICHAEL: Tina and I have both been photographers since the mid-80s. We got started with Imaging USA shortly thereafter. We both have been members of Professional Photographers of America for over 20 years, and we have been able to hone our skills and abilities through PPA and its teaching and networking abilities to b where we are at today, and we are finally being able to share information with other photographers to make them more successful and make them more money.
DAMIEN: Both you and your wife are photographers; do you each bring a different perspective to what you are doing?
MICHAEL: Yeah, it’s funny that you asked that question, because Tina and I can actually stand in the same location and photograph the scene entirely differently, and this is something that we started doing together back in the late 90s before we became a couple, so to speak, we would go out and shoot together, and we would be amazed at the difference of our photography being in the same location. So we each bring a different perspective to the work that we present and pretty much the way we teach it.
DAMIEN: Now as an award winning master photographer featured in numerous local, national publications, what contributes to your success? What do you see as the thing that is your niche? 
MICHAEL: I can answer that so easily and that is print competition. Tina and I both have been very avidly involved in the PPA print competition since early in our careers and a lot of people look at print competition these days as a way to boast or as a way to feed your ego. The truth is is that the print competition makes us better photographers. The things we learn and the things we listen to from the judges and from the critiques have allowed us to look at things differently. What we present to our clients is a far better product as a result of the print competition than what we would have been able to stumble on without it, composition, the elements that we look for in a successful print are conveyed on each and every image, because we have learned what to look for. In other words, what takes an image or photograph and makes it a lasting image that holds the viewer’s attention for an extended period of time. This is what creates a successful image whether it be a portrait or a landscape or a painting. We all look for the same visual elements in an image that capture our attention and make us want to look and make us want to look longer. These also result in higher sales, more consistent income flow, so that’s an easy one for us. We both agree 100% that had it not been for print competition, and our involvement in Professional Photographers of America, and our local groups and guilds, we would not be doing photography especially in this economic climate. So these are things that have helped us to become stronger, better photographers in our every day work.
DAMIEN: And speaking of print competitions and such, you’re both international jurors. Could you share a few tips on what a portrait photographer or any type of photographer can do to get a good portrait or print. What makes that picture or print great other than what you have already discussed?
MICHAEL: Sure. I mean it’s pretty much what we’re talking about. There’s basically 12 elements of an image that we look for and these are available on the PPA website under competitions, but to be successful in print competition you have to be willing to listen and learn and change and adapt. In this current technological explosion, the tools we have available to us now are vastly greater than they were five, ten, twenty years ago. So we’re able to conceive an idea as photographers and then bring those ideas to fruition through the technical skills we gain in what we do now. I mean, gosh, when I started in this career would I have even thought film would go away or become almost non-existent in my career? I certainly didn’t think so. Even when digital was first introduced I had those same thoughts.  Well this is kind of fun and kind of cool, but will it ever replace film? Well now that it has, for those who are interested in entering print competition, again you have to not wear your feelings on your sleeves. The judges are pretty good at critiquing the images and offering suggestions and advice and unfortunately some people will take that as a slam or be hurt by those comments, and they really shouldn’t. The comments are intended, especially by the international jurors or the affiliated jurors of PPA to be constructive criticism. Presentation is important, not having a full bleed image, you know they go from edge to edge, some kind of border presentation that is simple and elegant is always a good thing for competition print and compositional elements. We’ve all heard of the rule of thirds which is a very easy and basic compositional element and placing your subject in that area, again, is going to help to improve the odds of your print doing well or scoring well. So is there a quick and easy answer to what makes a merit print, probably not, but with a little work I think it’s something that everybody can achieve and obtain.
DAMIEN: What’s going to be new for the Portrait Gallery and Gallery 143 in 2010? Are you going to be doing more conferences, or are there any new projects coming up?
MICHAEL: We have so much going on. Our program has been so well received that we are going to be teaching literally all over the United States this next year starting with Nashville in January. Then we’re going to be in Iowa for their Professional Photographers of Iowa Convention, February 5th – 8th. We’re going to actually be teaching a school in the Bahamas in February which is the 20th – 27th. Gosh what a great place to be in February instead of Michigan, right?
DAMIEN: In deed.
MICHAEL: We’re going to be doing a full day teaching program at the Professional Photographers of Ohio in March of this year, and then we will also be at the Professional Photographers Society of New York in March. That’s the 25th – 30th. April brings us to Pennsylvania the 10th – 13th and then we’re going to be at the Mars School for a week long school May 2nd – 10th, then the Colorado workshops which is in Breckenridge, Colorado, May 16th – 20th which is just a beautiful location to have a week long school and then we turn right around three days later and go to Florida School May 23rd – 27th, then we are home for a couple of weeks, we go to West Coast School June 20th – 25th. We’re going to be in Vancouver, Canada, Image Explorations July 10th – 15th, and then we go all the way back across the country 3 days later to the East Coast School July 18th – 22nd. We’re also working on some other speaking things, private instruction, tutorials, and things like that that will be available through our website shortly. So we’re going to be pretty busy again this year sharing this information in how to help other photographers have some of the success and sales with alternate line of products as we have.
DAMIEN: And if somebody is interested in finding out where you’re going to be and more details, or what is going on with the Portrait Gallery and Gallery 143, how do they get in touch with you? What is the website and contact information, Michael?
MICHAEL: The website the can go to This website is currently under construction. There is one up and running right now, but we should have our new website with all of this information available by the end of this week and prior to our speaking at the Imaging USA. In addition to that we will have an educational arm of the website that lists our speaking engagements, more information about our private seminars, one on one teaching opportunities, and some safari type things we are hoping to do as well as our portrait website and then the Gallery website will list and show some of our images from around the world.
DAMIEN: We’d like to take a moment to thank your sponsor for this conference is Miller’s Professional Imaging, and we thank you for joining us today on the program, Michael.
MICHAEL: Well we really appreciate the opportunity to visit with your this morning and Miller’s Professional Imaging. We have been with them for, I don’t know, 20 something years, and they are wonderful, and we appreciate their sponsorship of our program and getting the word out to people across the country.
DAMIEN: I strongly encourage our listeners to attend Tina and Michael Timmons’ workshops and to attend the Imaging USA Conference in beautiful Nashville, Tennessee, January 10th – 12th, 2010.    You’ve been listening to More Photos Radio. My name is Damien Allen. Everybody have a great afternoon.
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